I feared from the beginning that it would be impossible to convict George Zimmerman in a racially polarized country; then, when a photo of his injuries emerged more than a year ago, I said the chances of a conviction had "dropped to zero" (never mind the fact that this evidence was unconvincing even to a doctor regularly employed by the Murdoch press). So he's been acquitted now; I wish I were surprised, but I'm not.
Predictions of a violent reaction on the part of Trayvon Martin supporters haven't come true, with, as far as I can tell, one exception:
Protesters angered by the acquittal of George Zimmerman held largely peaceful demonstrations in three California cities, but broke windows and started small street fires Oakland, police said....There are inevitably going to be more protests, and the vast majority, if not all, will be peaceful, but I find myself wonder whether anyone should even bother. White America doesn't care. White America's empathy fatigue kicked in decades ago. We're hopeless. Yeah, a lot of us voted for Obama, but many white Obama voters just wanted to close the books on race.
Small demonstrations also took place in a handful of cities in Florida, as well as in Atlanta, Washington and New York.
The Oakland police dispatch office said about 100 people protested, with some in the crowd breaking windows on businesses and starting small fires in the streets....
Local media reports said some Oakland marchers vandalized a police squad car and police formed a line to block the protesters' path.
The Oakland Tribune said some windows on the newspaper's downtown offices were broken, and footage from a television helicopter show people attempting to start fires in the street and spray painting anti-police graffiti.
Protesters also reportedly burned an American and a California state flag and spray painted Alameda County's Davidson courthouse....
Marches in the streets aren't going to make much difference. An economic boycott of Florida and other states with Stand Your Ground laws would probably have a greater impact, because in America money talks. And if that's wildly unrealistic, then this isn't:
When the story of Trayvon Martin's killing first made national news, attention quickly turned to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) -- a conservative group with corporate backing that crafts model legislation and recruits members of local governments to propose and pass it. ALEC is the group that crafted Stand Your Ground.... Since the trial started, though, discussion of ALEC has faded from the national conversation. On Sunday, in the wake of the jury finding George Zimmerman not guilty, President of the National Urban League Marc Morial tried to refocus people's attention back on ALEC, calling for concerned activists to demand that ALEC's corporate partners denounce the group.March if you must, but concentrate on hitting the bastards in the wallet, or threatening to. Drain the swamp.
Morial made the call on MSNBC's Up With Steve Kornacki:
MORIAL: It's important to recognize a year ago when there was some sunlight on ALEC, many of us called for many of its major supporters to withdraw. I want to renew that call this morning, because the poison of the stand your ground law was from ALEC....In the months following the killing of Trayvon Martin, over 46 groups -- including Wal Mart, MillerCoors, Best Buy, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola -- dropped their ALEC memberships. Non-profit groups including the Gates Foundation also abandoned the group.
But with the lack of "sunlight," as Morial calls it, the flow of groups leaving ALEC slowed and eventually stopped altogether....
Fox really, really wants footage of unrest in the wake of this verdict -- and, hell, even peaceful protests will probably stir its viewers' fight-or-flight mechanisms. And not just Fox:
CNN Heavily Features New Black Panthers In Dramatic Zimmerman Verdict Reaction Montage]The press wants a "long, hot summer" story. I hope it not only doesn't get one but can't even cobble together enough misleading footage to make one up.
The morning after an emotional verdict in the George Zimmerman trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin, CNN viewers were treated to a dramatically-scored montage of reactions to the jury's "not guilty" decision, and those viewers could be forgiven for thinking that quasi-militant barely-group The New Black Panthers figured heavily in the mix. The video package featured several shots of New Black Panther members holding Skittles, and chanting with protesters....
... the group that's leading CNN's montage managed a contingent of two [in courthouse protests]. Somehow, CNN managed to get both Kojo Kayrallah and Brother James Muhammad into their montage, in front of a huge banner that wasn't theirs, chanting with people who weren't in their group. Given the right-wing media's longstanding campaign to aid the New Black Panthers in scaring white people by inflating their numbers, this is an important piece of context to that video, which could have included any number of the peaceful demonstrations that occurred last night.
Meanwhile, here's a story that probably won't get much play:
Disturbing news that Lester Chambers, 73, a founder of the classic '60s group The Chambers Brothers (the immortal psychedelic/soul "Time Has Come Today" and much more) was attacked on stage at a blues festival this weekend and badly hurt--after he dedicated "People Get Ready" to Trayvon Martin. Details murky and trying to confirm timing of attack but here's report so far. Lester seems to be feeling better now with bruised ribs and more.The Chambers Brothers are one of the few African-American bands from the late 1960s to cross over to "classic rock" status; I haven't been able to learn anything about the assailant, but I'm going to take a while stab in the dark and predict she'll turn out to be rather low in melanin. (UPDATE: Yes.) And I bet she won't figure much in news reports about the verdict aftermath.