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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 16, 2013 at 7:37 PM

The George Zimmerman verdict

Racial issue can’t be ignored

George Zimmerman arrives for his trial. Zimmerman was acquitted on Saturday when the jury found that he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old. [Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images.]

George Zimmerman arrives for his trial. Zimmerman was acquitted on Saturday when the jury found that he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old. [Gary W. Green-Pool/Getty Images.]

I am baffled and disturbed that the editorial outlining the “next step” in the Trayvon Martin case avoids the racial aspects of this case. [“The next step after the Trayvon Martin case,” Opinion, July 16.]

In fact, you go so far as to disparage the U.S. Justice Department’s consideration of a civil-rights claim against George Zimmerman, asserting that “the failure of the prosecution to muster a compelling case for manslaughter does not bode well for arguing some higher level of racial animus.”

So let’s just ignore this issue? Please do tell.

Beverly Marcus, Seattle

Jury should have acknowledged gender, race

If I’d been on the George Zimmerman jury, I hope I would have realized that my years of being female have predisposed me to be nice and get along, and that I would remember how that behavior can be dangerous to justice.

I hope I would have realized that years of cultural and institutional messages have deeply ingrained into me the message that black males, particularly young black males, are to be feared, and that males who look more like me are to be trusted and assumed to have good judgment.

I hope I would have remembered that cultural norms privilege what certain groups of people have decided is the best way to do things. Usually, it is the group of people who dominate society; people who look like me.

My white skin matters. The whiteness of five of the women on the jury mattered. The gender of the jury mattered. Oppression thrives when such truths are silenced.

If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have insisted we talk about how oppression has made all of us, Zimmerman included, seem less fully human. That is why another young black man is dead.

Diane Schmitz, Seattle

“Stand Your Ground” laws are dangerous

While the country seems to be wrestling with whether the George Zimmerman verdict was about race or guns, I maintain that this is clearly a legal issue.

I don’t care if you are black, white, pro-gun or pro-gun-control. Ask yourself if you really want somebody like George Zimmerman, a person with no legal or police experience, walking around in your neighborhood deciding whether or not you are a threat and whether or not that threat justifies the use of lethal force.

I fear that, in the future, more people will pay the ultimate price for “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Steve Alberts, Vashon

0 Comments | Topics: florida, gender, george zimmerman

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