My Judgment Withheld in the Zimmerman Case, by Stacy Swimp

swimp_smI shake my head in disappointment and disgust that — in the 21st century — so many people are still blinded by bigotry.

And nowhere is this bigotry more apparent than in the feelings and assertions about the case of George Zimmerman, on trial for the death of Trayvon Martin.

What would seem to be a tragic shooting that occurred in Florida early last year has morphed into a simmering source of racial tension that grips our nation.

Zimmerman is Hispanic and Martin was black. So? Those who seek to exploit the situation have now essentially turned the case into a white vs. black, haves vs. have-nots powderkeg.

Personally, I do not bear witness to anything I have not seen with my own eyes. Likewise, I do not vouch for anyone with whom I have not experienced adversity. Along this same line of thinking, I will not let the media determine how I respond to the Zimmerman case or related events.

I do not want to make a snap judgment about the case as so many others have done.

While wanting to keep my own peace about the Zimmerman case, I nonetheless find that I am often asked about it because I am an outspoken black conservative.

Some assume that I would be on the side of George Zimmerman simply because I am a conservative. For some odd reason, these people think that my respect for the rule of law means that I must also automatically side with someone who might eventually be judged to be an out-of-control vigilante.

Then there are others who think I will reject Zimmerman’s assertions of innocence because I share a cultural identity with the victim, Trayvon Martin. This is code for the fact that Trayvon and I are both black. These people, the most likely to scream racism, are the ones who apparently believe racial solidarity can trump the rule of law.

Ignorance would appear to abound in all directions. I pray that justice is true and that God’s will be done — whatever decision is rendered by the jury in the Zimmerman case.

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Stacy Swimp is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.

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