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May 23rd, 2012
09:05 PM ET

Opinion: What to take away from the death of Trayvon Martin

Editor’s note: Susan Bodnar is a clinical psychologist who works with people from diverse backgrounds and teaches at Columbia University’s Teachers College and at The Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, two children and all of their pets.

By Susan Bodnar, Special to CNN

(CNN) - When I learned of the news that a young black male, Trayvon Martin, had been shot and killed, it knocked the tears out of me.

Could this have happened to my child? One of his friends?

Martin was like many of our adolescent children – a little bit confused about his identity, and perhaps acted out as most teenagers do.

But we should stop viewing the release of recent evidence,  and news about George Zimmerman as a spectacle.

Instead let’s discuss how a white Hispanic man came to view an unarmed black teenager as dangerous, and explore racism’s lingering vestiges after the death of Trayvon Martin.

We are still learning the exact circumstances that preceded George Zimmerman firing his gun at Trayvon Martin.

We do know that Martin would still be alive if Zimmerman had followed the police dispatcher’s instructions not to pursue the teenager.

But it should not stop us from examining race’s role in this tragedy.

Sanford, Florida, the city where Martin was shot, reflects how history and perceptions of race can fuel circumstance.

Maybe the population grew too quickly, or the recession fell too hard.

Whatever the reason, recent events began to expose fractures within Sanford.

There was a series of burglaries by young black men, and residents feared for their safety.

Zimmerman led a neighborhood watch association, and repeatedly contacted police authorities about black men.

In addition to this recent crime, other incidents exacerbated tensions between Sanford’s black and white communities.

In 2010, the white son of a police lieutenant attacked a homeless black man, the violence captured on video.

Police Chief Brian Tooley resigned over the incident and Bill Lee took over , with a focus on mending tensions between police and the black community.

The relationship between increased crime and a police department that is not trusted by many of Sanford’s black citizens should not be ignored.

Ordinary citizens take their cues from how civic authority conducts itself.

When police use racial profiling to prevent crimes and do not prosecute crimes against black Americans, they establish a tolerance for inequality.

These perceptions can destroy another person’s life, even if they don’t lead to murder.

That is why exploring the role of race is important.

White Americans still hold a good deal of the social and economic power in this country.

With entitlement comes the responsibility to acknowledge racism’s continued reach, despite civil rights legislation and the election of Barack Obama.

A frank and open dialogue about race, especially in a society where nonwhite newborns now outnumber white births, benefits all of us, not just people of color.

Have I ever been surprised upon meeting wealthy black Americans with happy childhoods?

Have I ever assumed that black Americans would have liberal politics because of their story?

Have any black Americans been surprised when learning about the tough economic battles and ensuing psychological scars faced by members of my family?

As my cheeks burned a mighty red, I have looked into the eyes of black Americans and acknowledged racial bias, saying I’m sorry and asking how to be different.

Some of my best white friends have allowed me to appear as the lone racist in a group when I have tried to discuss our shared racism.

But talking about prejudice can elicit shared humanity from those who wear different costumes of origin.

I understand the anxiety about losing deep attachments to a familiar and beloved culture. Sharing power with people of other races might alter how we know ourselves.

Change frightens.

Despite this, many have found the willpower to see a real person behind skin color’s veil.

Think before reacting. Reflect and assess when encountering difference.

Thinking and reflecting can counteract the damage of bias, and a more complex understanding of inequality can emerge.

It will not bring Trayvon Martin back to life, and it will not heal those who loved him.

But we can uplift his memory by confronting our own bias and impacting our own friends and family.

Let Trayvon Martin’s life be this gift.

The opinions expressed are solely those of Susan Bodnar.

soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. Andybinga

    An unrealistic liberal "cry me a river" type article that does not recognize the fact Trayvon Martin would still be alive today if he did not attack others.

    This out of touch writer needs to Google "Homicide by Race" and go to the United States Department of Justice site and see that 12.6% of the population is responsible for over 52% of all homicides.

    May 30, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. MadDawg

    Well Susan I can see your bleeding heart has made you blind to what the facts may or may not be. You just like countless others have made up your mind.

    Just as a side note, I've noticed an alarming amount of non-black women that feel the same as you do.

    ...If you want a real challenge why don't you write an article about being a white male in America written from the words of white males.

    May 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • D. Prince

      hahahahahahahah. Get off your soap box and enjoy being white. Wow. Got a good laugh out of that one.

      May 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dion Green

      haha, yes you would be hard pressed to find much sympathy for the struggle of white men. maybe you could show some examples?

      May 30, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. HMMM.

    You are a racist. Go away please, and teach an anti white man indoctrination course.. er I mean, a mandatory liberal arts course at some university.

    May 29, 2012 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. tbaby

    I guess we can for now. In about 15-20 years and majority of the bigots are gone, the grey area of race will be in the forefront. And just the nature of that race says they know how to ACCEPT each others differences and the baby will be of two races- and prejudice will hopefully be a thing of the past; or at least those who oppose will be in the minority and not by color but numbers. So let talk about it now because as adults, you(those who still cant grasp that we are all here to stay) still haven't learned how to treat others how you want to be treated. If you truly respect ed yourself than you'd respect everyone else you come in contact with. So yes lets allow the younger generations teach the older one how to JUST GET ALONG. My take on it anyway.

    May 29, 2012 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      That's really, really funny. "The bigots will be in the minority; the issue of race will be over."

      Ok. In the incredibly slim chance that the next 15-20 years sees a remarkable amount of interbreeding, we'll say that race could become less of an issue; everyone would be mixed race. Then no one would kill each other over race!

      They would kill each other over religion, politics, gender, s3xu4lity, money, power, food, resources, or just for the fun of it, but they wouldn't do it because of the color of their skin! That's great!

      As long as you have divisive interests, there will always be the potential for large scale violence. Nature is conflict. Even social animals know this.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. historygeek5

    Ms. Bodnar,
    Similar to an adulterous husband buying his wife candy and jewelery and other assorted gifts, but refusing to acknowledge the adultery itself. I believe before dialogue about race can be effective we must first acknowledge the past. Otherwise you will have the appearance of a healed relationship, but the raw emotions will simply continue to fester below the surface.

    I liken this challenge to a person wanting to help get a huge thorn out of the paw of an enormous, ferocious, man-eating lion, who is nonetheless in agony. Fear of being mauled or killed if we breach the subject of our racial past is astronomical. But obviously we must! So where do we begin the process of having "genuine" versus "superficial" dialogue regarding the past if the levels of fear are so huge?

    May 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Good question, Historygeek. I think we begin by just starting, seeing where it goes, and accepting the intense responses (the roar) such dialogues inspire. Eventually, some of the conversation will reach some people. Soon enough one of those conversations will be so good that many people feel heard, respected and open to seeing things differently. Noting frightens like recognizing the history of human cruelty. Nothing redeems quite like recognizing the history of human cruelty. SInce we have all been there, we can all do better. Moving beyond race and making determinations about people because of their skin color is just a starting point. Even lions can be tamed.

      May 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chester

    Zimmerman deserves to be recognized as an American citizen. Why are left wingers convicting him based on his not being black?

    May 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pompano Jack

    Perhaps another take away from this case.....the Chicago Sun Times reports that four people are dead and at least 28 others were wounded in weekend shootings across the city since Friday afternoon, including a 7-year-old girl shot while playing in front of her South Side home. No mention on the CNN mainpage, no mention on the Justice page.....but the single Sanford case warrants virtually limitless coverage. Curious how the media can shape the news and your perception of whats happening.

    May 28, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Does the media skew our perceptions of the facts? Certainly. Does public reaction skew the media? Certainly. It is a delicate balancing act that journalists and citizens try to manage. The Trayvon Martin case drew attention because it speaks to racial profiling, an issue with which our country struggles. Also, it raises issues about racial bias with which people of color live everyday. Some biases – especially those regarding class and ethnicity – haunt white people as well. Yet biases play out differently when skin color becomes the trigger for them. Even though the exact facts of the case are still being determined, this sad situation evoked a huge response from people around the country. The basic outline of what happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin spoke a truth that resonated for many, many people. Mistakes were made but the media made a good and honest effort to cover a terrible event that drew tears, anguish and a desire for growth from people of all races, classes and cultures.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
      • MadDawg

        "The Trayvon Martin case drew attention because it speaks to racial profiling, an issue with which our country struggles"

        Susan please list your source that GZ actually "Racially Profiled" Trayvon.

        This thought or mentality that anytime a non-white is involved is some wrong doing they were racially profiled is idiotic at best. It falls right in there with the hate crime nonsense.

        There is absolutely no prof that GZ profiled Trayvon based on the actual 911 tapes (not the doctored ones). Also lets not forget that the neighborhood had been terrorized by young black men. If calling a duck a duck is racial profiling then we're all in trouble.

        May 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • chester

      This case is famous because the lefties made it famous. When the left invented the story it did not match reality (I believe maybe they thought what they made up was true) things went south after that. Everything since has been regrettable I am sure for everyone. Hopefully, jessie and al haven't caused any deaths yet.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. historygeek5

    Ms Bodnar,
    I greatly appreciate your taking the time to respond to the comments about your piece. I believe a full compliment of "facilitators" can greatly help these types of discussions. However, it is my belief that a large part of the problem is that there are separate "languages" being spoken. And for that we need people with the courage to "go across the aisle" to the "other" group and translate what "their" group is trying to tell them. "At the risk of great personal injury" in today's polarized climate.

    May 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Wow, I love this point!

      May 28, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. historygeek5

    Ms Bodnar,
    I recently viewed a movie called "Endgame". About the fall of apartheid in South Africa. The was one scene that was particularly profound for me. William Hurt's character said something akin to "we (the Afrikaners) are not blind to what we are doing. We actually fear that someday we will get what we deserve for the things we have done". Where would you say that concept should come up our current and future American dialogues about race?

    May 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jenn Blank

    It drives me crazy that articles keep focusing on the racism of white people, but what about the racism of other people? Are white the only folks who can be racist?

    Racism is a problem on all sides. Period. To say that we have to face our bias it very true and I agree, but we ALL need to face our bias. This includes Black Hispanic, Asian, White, and any other race or ethnicity you can think of.

    May 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • historygeek5

      Four words: Social and economic power!

      May 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • cody

        Three words: Get over it.

        May 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lovemygirl

    Wow, the author mentioned an incident in Sanford "In 2010, the white son of a police lieutenant attacked a homeless black man" and did not Mention that George Zimmerman led the effort to bring the son to justice?

    May 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rebecca

    i feel that this person was guilty if you listen to the Other tapes you will hear the intent to disrupt the path of this boy on his way home talking to his girl. the truth is what it is. If the person following got out of his own way it would not have happened a jury is going to think of his life if he had not wanted some candy. But the racists are going to always interfere. hearing the statistics i also feel, It is ashame that so many whites die but the crimes against whites have to stop too. i have read more then i need to about the increasing death of whites. when will it be over and we all live as a one. Talking about it instead of anger has to work.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. viper623

    susan do you actually believe the crap that you just poured out of your mouth ? the real victem here is zimmerman he was the one attacked by a criminal thug who took upon himself to victemize an innocent person such as zimmerman trayvon got what he diserved for trying to victemize another innocent person, be a good little girl and go back to school and read up on all the evidence in this case and then you might know half way what your talking about, trayvon can best be remebered as a criminal thug and victemizer

    May 27, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. sharon hoggard

    Why are DC schools having a Trayvon Martin day? he was on his THIRD suspension from school. Why shoud that be celebrated? How will they celebrate? Will they all be suspended? I find this confusing.

    May 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharon hoggard

      My point is, had he been in school, this would not have happened. I dont have any answers, just questions. Sad tragedy.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Betsy

      Stupid is as stupid goes. The race card has ran its game. There are many races and only the black race can't rise above their benchmark because they cannot vision a future with an American dream, so many have faught and died to provide. They are too busy living in the past. Get over it already and enjoy the freedoms you deserve. You will never be able to pull others Down to your level, we have been there and refuse to go back.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fern

    Reading through the comments, not a lot of people got what the article is about, sadly proving the point.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yelu

      fern, I guess I am not sure which article you are talking about. A lot of people got a lot from the Susan Bodnar's article but you apparently. But I say you did get something out of it by your response. It is all good.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Yelu

    Jose, this is all you got from the story? Are you sure? This is an education. Life is short, please, for your sake and for everyone's sake around you that you have met and will meet in the future, please, power yourself with education. It is vital for survival.

    May 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  17. nowreality

    I am really surprised to hear a fellow Marine refer to such a broad statement as "blacks" when dark green and light green Marines are in the same trenches. Anyways myself being a tax payer since the age of 15 and by the way being partially black, find it very weird that anyone being around different races in the same fight would blanket everyone like this. I guess bootcamp did not do the trick for certain Marines. Lifes opportunities passed you by and for what ever reason you did not take the opportunity and take advantage of learning about someone characteristically different from your self. Sorry for you you are the same as your parents.

    May 26, 2012 at 4:13 am | Report abuse |
  18. Ton

    The "take away" from the death of Trayvon Martin is about race? Not about how he beat and assaulted someone? And got shot for it? Race had nothing to do with it.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yelu

      Ton and Jose, yes, it is all about race. It is all about racial profiling. You yourselves have admitted to it by claiming that all the burglaries committed in the neighborhood were done by blacks dressed like Martin. You have in essence supported the claim of millions from all over the world that this death could have been avoided had there been no racical profiling. So in other words, you are actually supported the claim of racial profiling in this case. To your own admittances and examples. Thank you.

      May 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ton

        "You yourselves have admitted to it by claiming that all the burglaries committed in the neighborhood were done by blacks dressed like Martin." Huh?

        May 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Lee

    The death of Trayvon Martin had nothing to do with race. If I saw someone I did not know loitering around my building on cold, dark, raining night – I would call 911, too. If they took off running I would try to see where they went. This young man (Martin) was not scared – when he noticed Zimmerman on the phone and watching him – he walk towards Zimmerman (proof is 911 call and DeeDee testimony) – he could have taken another route or hung up with Deedee and called 911. There were less race issues and violence – before the media started spewing all the propaganda about a white nazi cop want to be hunting a little black child in the streets and shooting him like a rabid dog.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  20. oscar g. serna

    Dear Susan, I admire you for saying what most people including myself feel. I just can't understand how people can't see past someone's color of their skin. I do believe everybody blood is still RED, why can't people see that. At times I feel ashamed to be a American, I guess people refuse to see life for what it really is. GOD BLESS you Susan

    May 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Change!

    The color of our skin is not a factor in the case. Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong. We all put our jeans on the same way, I continue to pray that Justice is served in this case and every case across the world. No one has the right to take no one life regardless of the issue. Straight like that

    May 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • oscar g. serna

      you must be living in a fantasy world not here in the USA. And if you are living here I know you must be blind in one eye and can't see out the other, I feel sorry for you,may GOD BLESS you.

      May 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  22. taquinas

    "The real question before us is how do we set up contexts so that people start to know each other. It starts at school and in neighborhoods"

    And Jackson, Sharpton, Crump are going to schools now, and teaching children that Martin was murdered by a racist.

    So, do you think that those folks should be condemned?

    May 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • fugislalcla

      They are teaching that it is stupidly racist to assume that because a person's skin is Black that is evidence of intent to commit a crime.Got any problem with that teaching?

      May 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pompano Jack

      Actually, and this may seem problematic, but it was Jesse Jackson himself who said: "There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery - (and) then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." Is this racial discrimination, or simply the truth... could it be both, and thats why we can't get off the dime?

      May 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  23. msclvr

    From the beginning and up until now I have sd & still beleive 1 thing. If GZ never would have followed TM this would not have happened. GZ nvr stopped following TM even after being instructed not to he still continued. His own brother admitted it on the PIerce Morgan show when asked abt the racial slur he stated "that was GZ heavy breathing from him running" it can also be heard during one of the 911 calls, (the heavy breathing and clothes rustling) I notice when I say this I get a lot of respones that some of you beleive GZ had the right to pursue him as if he was superior to TM which is really unbelievable that people actually feel this way.

    May 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • fugislalcla

      They believe that Dred Scott is still the law of the land or that the 'Black codes' are still in force.They are of the opinion that any White has the right to demand of any Black 'why are you here in this public space' and the Black has a duty to explain himself for 'being out of place'.And not to resist such aggression.If they want to proclaim their belief by putting it into law fine.Their claimed belief in law and order is a lie.Being that they view themselves as gods , facts have no meaning as they create their own reality.Just full of opportunistic beliefs.Millions of anti Jesus people , which would make them what?

      May 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Zimmerman merely responded to 911 request- " which way is he going" Zimmerman gets out of his vehicle, because Martin is running between the building – when the operator hears heavy breathing he asks Zimmerman if he is following. Zimmerman says – yes. When 911 tells him they don't need him to do that – he responds " okay" and immediately stops- his breathing slows and he carries on his conversation with 911 for at least another minute. Zimmerman and his family is being destroyed by false media. Zimmerman at least got off his behind and try to protect his community – everyone else pulled the shades and locked their doors. Sad.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yelu

        Yes, right Lee, everyone else pulled their shades and locked their doors when they saw it was an 'unarmed kid' with skittles and an iced-tea. That is what common sense citizens do. Then call 911 if you so choose. Heck even law enforcemnet officer's will call for backup faced with dangerous situations.
        In this matter, Martin was Walking, talking, minding his business in a neighborhood he had every right to be at.
        What is the danger in that? You want to go there?

        May 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  24. ireedgud

    The "racism" involved in this story was invented by NBC when they edited Zimmerman's 911 call. I believe that Zimmerman should serve jail time because he should have let the police handle Martin.

    However, the racism comes into play here when all of the liberals feel the need to exonerate a black man, just because he’s black, and demonize a Hispanic man, because his skin is too light. Reverse racism is still racism.

    May 25, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Let me repeat that I don't know what happened between Zimmerman and Martin. I chose my words very carefully. If you read the comments posted here by readers it should be very clear that many tensions exist between different groups of our society. Label me as a liberal if you will but the truth of what I speak is very apparent in what the readers have said. Zimmerman has been shared with a crime. The jury will decide his guilt or innocence. Let's try and focus on how we can move beyond more oppositional ways of seeing things to a more racially/culturally/economically blind society. The comments here – despite their often difficult tone – are a good place to start. There is honesty here and that is always a good place to begin.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Charla

        Thank you for expressing yourself in such an concise and thoughtful manner. In a short article, you have covered a series of layered issues from race to our current economic climate which tend to worsen any underlying racial or social tensions in local communities. What often bothers me about race related discussions is the lack of humanity extended to one another, and the tendency for otherwise rational people to engage in abusive remarks and inflammatory exchanges. I applaud you for your courage and I sincerely appreciate your responses, because I can only imagine how emotionally and intellectually exhausting it can be to continually respond respectfully to comments that are inflammatory at best.

        May 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Yelu

        Thank you Susan. You couldn't have put it any better.

        May 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Chris

    Props to you Susan for really involving yourself in the discussion thread. Don't see that too often, RESPECT!

    May 25, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Vim

      Agreed, that is very cool. Good job, Susan!

      May 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Thank you.

      May 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Omar

    Zimmerman is innocent

    May 25, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • fay ruujin

      never of having a brain. he may only get away with murder because of a very poorly thought-out law or a dumb jury

      May 25, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  27. Tesla

    Alrighty then, I'm now firmly in Gaff's and 88up's corner. Deletion of posts is a great method for winning an argument. I don't know if it's Madame Bodnar or someone who simply doesn't like what's being said, but thank you. Whoever it is, you've brought a new level of maturity to this discussion.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  28. Jim

    To think these are the people who are teaching our kids. No wonder they are adrift in a sea of affluence.

    May 25, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Teacher, yes. Sea of affluence? Hardly, not me at any rate. This sound like you feel some frustration about class issues in our country. If so, I would love to know about your experience. Otherwise, I fear these type sof comments sound a bit unhelpful and bullyish.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        Well, rthen, let's have "a discussion" on that charge.

        1. You've tied Zimmerman's act to "racism."

        2. You've accused him of comitting a "crime."

        Already, you shown a bias that some might expect would come across in your teaching.

        Sorry if you think I'm a bully for pointing that out!

        May 25, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  29. Jim

    OMG! Thank you Mrs. Columbia U Elitist for exploring your self-hatred. Your column ignores solid statistics. Get your head out of the sand you idiot.In case you haven't noticed your generations revolution is OVER. We all lost. This is about self-defense. Not all of us live in the ivory tower you do. If someone attacks me or my family, regardless of race they are going down. The bottom line is you are weak. You are not fit and criminal thugs don't care about your "feelings".

    May 25, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Jim – Self-defense is a legally recognized right of all citizens. No one other than George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin can speak to exactly what happened between them. A trial will allow the airing of facts and a jury will decide. Racial schisms concern me because they provide contexts that lead to innocent people being killed, or damaged in any number of ways. This case offers an opportunity for genuine dialogue about our society's lingering race and class and ethnically based stereotypes precisely because of its complexity

      May 25, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        But aren't the "racial schisms" being exaggerated, used and inflamed by people who would make this a matter of "racism" for their own agenda?

        I think in this case we can clear Zimmerman of the charge of racism.

        We can not clear those that have lied about the incident in order to raise racial tensions for their own personal gaim and publicity.

        And what of the motivations of those who jumped the "racist" bandwagon?

        There is serious damage – racal tensions, a man villified and possibly ruined – living in fear for his life, assaults "for Trayvon", and the potential for riots this summer.

        Let's recognize what the very real damage from this incident is.

        Let's also lay the blame for that where it belongs.

        This is not an isolated incident. Why not talk about just who is at fault here, and scorn them for their dishonest and self-serving behavior?

        May 25, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  30. Vim

    "Martin was like many of our adolescent children" – lie

    "a white Hispanic man" – agenda

    "In addition to this recent crime" – Zimmerman's non-crime?

    "if Zimmerman had followed the police dispatcher’s instructions" – lie

    Either your bias or ignorance is showing heavily. You have not articulated objectively enough for an open discussion on racism.

    May 25, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Vim, you wrote: "You have not articulated objectively enough for an open discussion on racism." I have no doubt that a lack of perfection characterizes my attempt to open a dialogue about racism. What do you think would have been a better approach?

      May 25, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        "In addition to this recent crime, "

        There you go, you've called what Zimmerman did a "crime."

        You've convicted him already, facts be darned.

        Game set and match.

        That charge, as well as exposing your own preconceived ideas about this incident, may be libelous as well.

        I hope Mr. Zimmerman's attorney doesn't come across this column!

        May 25, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Vim

        Susan, I replied with various suggestions for improving your method seeking a discussion on racism but it has now been deleted. It was up for about 3 hours and now it's gone. I was not mean or insulting in any way. Others have posted about their civil comments being deleted here as well, and am aware that you are not the one deleting them. I hope this opens your eyes to where the racism problem is in society today. You want a discussion on racism and your forum moderators are the ones preventing you from having one. Think about it.

        May 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • William

      Also, I'm pretty sure that Zimmerman, the assumed racist, help bring the story about "the white son of a police lieutenant attacked a homeless black man" to the public.

      Susan, why not mention the numerous hate-crimes that black people have been committing against white people in the name of Trayvon? There is definitive racist there.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
      • Susan Bodnar

        William – the ways in which racial tensions can spiral out of control is one of the reasons I wrote this article. A strong patriot and very connected to my faith, I worry tremendously about the escalating tensions between people of different groups because I love my country – in all its different shapes, sizes and colors. The tragedy of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman has opened up some deep wounds. Yes, there have been retaliation crimes. But where do we start to unravel this mess? Where do racial/class/ethnic biases begin? How do we talk about this stuff?

        May 25, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Yelu

      Vim, and now you want to make up your own court records and file? You perhaps can even change 911 dispatch orders to your own advantage? It is all the truth. Sorry if it hurts.

      May 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  31. still awake

    I don't understand why you deviate so far from the actual facts of the case you say we should stop looking at the recent new evidence that has come out, but that is exactly what we should look at. The evidence is what should speak not peoples personal bias. When the evidence is finally all laid out then we will know if one person killed the other in self defense or not. So many more problems begin to arise when articles like this are put forth trying to create or validate some deeper "evil" motive.

    May 25, 2012 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  32. 88up

    It is obvious that you are only attempting to dodge bullets rather than get pinned down to actually answering a real question about how you really feel about the real concerns that were posed to you; you lamely skated and we noticed. You sound like a poliction who is like a deer frozen in the headlighs of the cars of real Americans posing questions that freeze your mind up (scared to move in any direction because you have no real values in which you stand other than those given to you by racially motivated spinsters and crooks) rather than the people you surround yourself with who are distanced from the average people who you seem to know nothing about. You should keep your job at your liberal based college because private companies that pay your sallary in taxes and support our Nation very much do not like your kind.

    May 25, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Nowreality

      There are two places that color does not matter: the newborn area of the hospital and the cemetery. In between those places(peoples life times) are filled with difeferences in colors and similarities. Being a military veteran and serving with all different colors of the rainbow, I learned that color was not an issue once you really get to know a person. The stereotypes some carry with themselves are usually passed down through generations or feuled by media. I have watched my children, which are multi racial, play with other kids and not once refer to another child by their color. Only when my children got to late grade school were issues of color brought up. The point I am trying to make is that people are not born racist they are taught racism, and the only way to break that is to leave the pack of sheep and think for yourself.

      May 25, 2012 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Susan Bodnar

        Nowreality, you said: "I earned that color was not an issue once you really got to know a person." And, "The only point I am trying to make is that people are not born racist they are taught racism, and the only way to break that is to leave the pack of sheep and think for yourself." These are excellent points to bring to our discussion. The real question before us is how do we set up contexts so that people start to know each other. It starts at school and in neighborhoods, and of course, the military where you proudly served our country! Thank you.

        May 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        Come on, you'e censoring my posts.

        "The real question before us is how do we set up contexts so that people start to know each other. It starts at school and in neighborhoods"

        So, meanwhile Sharpton, Jackson, Crump at al are going TO SCHOOLS to tell the kids that Martin was murdered by a racist.

        I know I'm poking fun at your favorite sacred cow, but – Where's the cry to put a stop to that?

        May 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lee

        Solve the big issues like jobs, healthcare, corporate and governmental theft, environmental stresses....stop pointing at people and apologizing for your racial concerns...and when you do report something – get the facts straight. Stop crying over the past – And picking at scabs. If you want to get a social cause help the middle eastern women that are locked away, beaten, and buried alive. Don't invent a cause where one doesn't exist.

        May 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Betsy

        Not all people are taught to be racist. Sometimes events in a persons life makes one a racist.

        May 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Susan Bodnar

    Dangerous criminals, political leaders, and military heads – not to mention perpetuators of genocide – come in all colors, in all countries.

    May 25, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  34. SueEllen

    I'm racist for a reason. You are 5 times more likely to be attacked by a black man than a man of any other race and let's just look at the creative weapons they make in prison its not a wild jump in logic to think what a can of tea can do!

    May 24, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      You express a common perception and saying it out loud invites conversation.The Wikipedia page about race and crime in the United States can point you to good information on this topic. It is a heartbreaking and complicated issue. The statistics continue to show that crimes between racial minorities exceed those between racial minorities and white people. I only ask that you read up on this issue and see if it can help ease your fears. Open your mind to those people you might mistake for a criminal only because of their skin color. Dangerous people come in all hues. So too do safe and good people.

      May 25, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
      • Jim

        Heartbreaking? No for me it hardens my heart! Quit making excuses. It's about accountability and you are afraid to hold anybody accountable because you want so bad to be the good guy. As Oliver Wendall Holmes said, "detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife".

        May 25, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  35. steel

    Sorry for Zimmerman and Trayvon. Zimmerman made a over zealous mistake in not following a command. It is many people desire to be a hero or a great job person in front of others. Perhapes Trayvon was minding his own business from the store he did not stick up to his way home. Hey, every Black male do not have the mind set to hurt, rob, kill, steal, or destroy just because the media shows things that way. if the truth be told you will find whites do alot of wrong things in their respectable communities that are not publish for " we have a lovely, quiet, non violent town a safe place to live" ;)) right!

    May 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Right!

      May 25, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        Hey! Where did Tesla's brilliant response to this post go!

        It disappeared!

        See: "The Delphi Method" for how to have a "discussion"!

        May 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      What command did he not follow?

      May 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Martin was not unarmed – he had two of them – and used the fist at the end of them to bring Zimmerman to the ground and beat him.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jamie Scott

    The reason there will always be racism is because when a "White" (Hispanic) guy (George) says "They" and he's talking about MORE THAN ONE person he gets called a racist....But when a Black woman (Trayvon's mother) says "THEY killed my son" when she was talking about just ONE PERSON NO ONE calls her racist.

    If African American's really want to put a stop to racism then they should stop being so racist and ignoring when THEY are being racist!!

    May 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Pompano Jack

    Ms. Bodnar, the frustration and anger you see is mostly fatigue. Perhaps you could condense your analysis and philosophy to "The Golden Rule". Its a lot easier to follow, and if you can get it equally from both sides, I'd argue the problem is solved. And if you can't get it, I'd argue that none of the other theories/approaches would be effective anyway.

    May 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Pompano Jack – nice rule! I like this.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  38. mail@oldmanssite.com

    This has changed my opinions on race, but not in the way you want.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Aunt Esther

    "As my cheeks burned a mighty red, I have looked into the eyes of black Americans and acknowledged racial bias, saying I’m sorry and asking how to be different.

    Some of my best white friends have allowed me to appear as the lone racist in a group when I have tried to discuss our shared racism."

    Sweetie, you need to seek help for that acute case of guilty white liberalism you're obviously suffering from. I wonder how many blacks as well as whites have been needlessly embarrassed due to your histrionic posturings?

    May 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Guilty white liberalism? Me? Not a chance. White, yes. Liberal, more center than left, but probably. Guilty? Absolutely not. I wonder why being sensitive to how people use stereotypes comes across as guilt? The word I might use here is honest, and proud of it.Racial discrimination still factors in our society – on the part of all races.

      May 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • 88up

        Susan Bodnar, you said "I wonder why being sensitive to how people use stereotypes comes across as guilt?"

        The definition of stereotype is idea held as a standard, example.

        The antonym of stereotype is difference.

        So how would you like to use difference to as you say "get to a better place together when it seems so hard to open our minds."

        Are you suggesting it is better to segregate our minds with difference rather than to use critical thinking and reason to draw fashion, mold and pattern to the way we view race in our minds?

        May 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Susan Bodnar

    As the author of this article, I'm glad to read all of these posts, even the intense comments that convey absolute certainties that I don't share. These comments expose the strong opinions people have about race. I'm listening and trying to understand your voices. I have seen what Nikki has noticed. When it comes to the ordinary behaviors of living together, black and white america often – though not always – divide (school lunch rooms, neighborhoods, and even our places of worship.) Those divisions can lead to violent outcomes. The racial issues inherent in Trayvon Martin's death allow us the opportunity to figure out how to hold onto those things that make all of us distinct and then how to also hold onto the values the cohere our human community together. Of course, some of these posts shake with anger. But that is part of the story, right?

    May 24, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  41. SueEllen

    Justice for Zimmerman forget that thug trayvon!

    May 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      A strong sentiment that others have expressed. I wonder how we get to a better place together when it seems so hard to open our minds.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jim

        Would singing Kumbaya make you feel better?

        May 25, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
      • Vom Brunhaus

        Do you celebrate Kawanza?

        May 27, 2012 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Lette

      Justice for for Trayvon and all unarmed children and teenagers who are gunned down for no good reason and in Trayvon's case not even a bad reason was good enough for taking his life! May that justice include some self reflection for all those good christians who celebrate the killing of a young life and support his murderer. Even Zimmerman has the decency to feel apologetic and ashamed for killing AN UNARMED PERSON. NO ONE should be applauding that type of death!!!

      May 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Nikki

    In my opinion most trayvon Martin supporters are not stating its racist b/c of Zimmerman's ethnicity but it sa race issue b/c of the way the police handled it. How many times in the African American community do they see instances where a young black teen is killed,regardless of the ethnicity of the killer and the police don't take action. If you don't come from these communities you would never understand. I didnt undertsand until I was able to travel outside of my " safe suburban" neighborhood and expose myself to other communities in this country. I feel like until you have been truly exposed or immersed in the situation than you will knever know where a person is coming from. SInce the founding of our country there has always been a Black America & White America and I don't know if that will ever change. At the end of the day an unarmed teen was killed by an armed adult whether he's black or white.

    Peace & Many Blesings to you ALL! :)

    May 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • 88up

      Hello Nikki. Your comment seems to be a bit nieve, so I will assume you are a teenager and will go lightly.

      You said "In my opinion most trayvon Martin supporters are not stating its racist b/c of Zimmerman's ethnicity but it sa race issue b/c of the way the police handled it. How many times in the African American community do they see instances where a young black teen is killed,regardless of the ethnicity of the killer and the police don't take action."

      Exacly in what way did the police handle it that turned this into a race issue? I also think that you are implying that the police did not take action in this case, however he was detained and restrained (placed under arrest) and taken to the police station for questioning just after the shooting. Witnesses were questioned and an investigation was underway. So, how is it that you think that action was not taken by the police?

      May 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pompano Jack

      Nikki, go ahead and Google "Savoy Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America" before you completely abandon the idea of personal responsibility (and opportunity) in America. Be a good read for you, and many others.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Dagobert II

    And remember folks, whatever your race, when toked up on marijuana don't go around assaulting people 'cause you're likely to get shot. Let THAT be Treyvon's 'gift'.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pompano Jack

      Sue, shouldn't feel so bad. The Rev. Jesse Jackson once remarked, "There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery - (and) then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." If the leading black civil rights leader in this country feels that way, is not a tad arrogant for her to feel like a complete racist?

      May 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  44. 88up

    Do any of you realize that George Zimmerman was not only one of his neighborhood's watchman's, but also a Law Enforcement Officer trainee, and African-American youth mentor. Or that Mr. Zimmerman was an advocate for minority rights and worked hard to bring justice to the man that beat down a homeless man of color in his community?

    After all the good work the man did for his community and looked forward to doing for his community and all the good he did and looked forward to do for minorities and African-Americans; does it make any sense at all that all of his supporters are white and all of his condemners, accusers and haters are all African-American?

    Just what is this all about for the African-American communtiy? Justice? Really? Hmmmm... Smells like it is payday motivated to me, and that they do not care if they have to sacrifice and slander an innocent on the alter to fulfill their own greed.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Stella

    Right because is isn't talked about enough.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  46. juskishi

    i like how she points out the story of the white guy beating up the homeless black guy yet neglects to mention it was george zimmerman who was putting fliers on car windows and reaching out to get justice for that black guy.

    maybe instead of the media shouting racism for ratings purposes there wouldn't such a racial bias. maybe, if most crime wasn't committed by young black males, people wouldn't associate them as being criminals. maybe if blacks weren't posting their assaults on youtube showing themselves getting a kick out of making someone else suffer we wouldn't have the racial bias. maybe if people like the author would realize racism is a two way street and blacks are just as if not more biased than whites we could move forward. and maybe, just maybe if everyone stopped blaming whites for the problems of black people we could not have a bias.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Juskishi, your wrote: "if most crime wasn't committed by young black males, people wouldn't associate them as being criminals." How do we get to a point that we use markers other than skin color to determine if someone is a threat? Can we train our minds not to see all people who share a skin color as the same?
      You also wrote: "maybe racism is a two way street and blacks are just as if not more biased than whites we could move forward. and maybe, just maybe if everyone stopped blaming whites for the problems of black people we could not have a bias." This is an interesting point. Google Claude Steele on stereotype threat. He suggests that people can become the stereotypes that others see them as being. I think his work may help develop your point.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        "How do we get to a point that we use markers other than skin color to determine if someone is a threat?"

        Interesting request, coming from someone who has tied Zimmerman to racism because he was a "white hispanic."

        Doctor, heal thyself.

        May 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • Vom Brunhaus

        You keep talkin Forward but your goin in Reverse.

        May 27, 2012 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  47. Tesla

    Remember kids! Racism is an opinion of someone that is biased by skin color! And if you act on it, it's a hate crime! Just like crimes against certain religions or mindsets! Just remember, if you attack anyone different from you, it's a hate crime, regardless of reason or intent!

    Many crimes are based on hate, regardless of color (I am now invoking Godwin's Law). Hitler killed a lot of white jews, as well as blacks and gypsies. He killed even more Russians, who were as Aryan as he was. The genocides in Darfur and Rwanda were black on black; just a different tribe. Isn't all of this hate? When a gang member shoots a rival gang member, isn't it because he hates him? When a wife kills a cheating husband, isn't it because, at that moment, she is filled with hatred for him or his actions? These are people who are very, very alike, killing each other over hatred.

    Now, let's take some other cases. If a black man shoots and kills a white man attacking him, is it due to hate, or will to live? What about the reverse? What if one is a woman? Gay? Muslim? From the barest of facts, are any of these cases caused by hatred towards the shot individual?

    "Hate Crime" legislation does not fight racism, it encourages it. As well as affirmative action and any other method that allows personal responsibility to be shirked by select members of the citizenry. And more importantly, if the only way you can survive is to live off that, you are a slave to the whims of someone else's wallet. Remember that, kids.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      very nice post. the only thing you need to be corrected on is if the victim is white, there is no hate crime.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • 88up

        Actually there is... It is just extemely unpopular under this administration (Whereby, If Obama had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin) to report it. This administration has made leaps and bounds in separating our Country and sparking off divisional warfare among its own Citizens. If you look hard enough you can find hate crimes against white people, but the popular opinion for this Nation as current is that it is not politically correct to use hate crimes in that context.

        May 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • juskishi

        88up

        i understand that it happens all the time. i was saying the same thing you are, that it's never applied in the case where the victim is white. a recent assault and mugging of a white man by two young black males claiming they attacked him because they were upset about trayvon and that he was white has a hate crime charge. but that's pretty much the only way is if the attacker flat out admits to it.

        May 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gaffs

        88up, this is my personal opinion not fact, but I believe the media purposely ran with this story reporting it as a white on black crime because it is an election year. They were quick to publish the story hoping to bring the black vote back to Obama this year, and have the as I call them the whites who feel guilty about our unfortunate history to run to the Obama administration side this election year. Note the quote by Obama, “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin.” This is one of the examples I used as to why racism is alive and well. It kind of back fired when they found out he was of Hispanic and African descent. To keep the lie (racism) alive, that is why the term WHITE Hispanic is used so often by the media.

        May 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • 88up

        Thank you both for your comments. I think that it is safe to say as has already been said here; that any real race problems this Country does have would be best worked out by the individuals involved (until it becomes criminal in nature at which point, we let law enforcement do what they are paid to do) without a bunch of hate laws which do more damage than solve any racism and when used tend to be used with exteme bias and without the government sticking their two cents into race relations which are caused by sensationalized media coverage and without the media hyping made-up-as-they-go racial warfare whereby promoting further racial divisional dialogues.

        May 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Jesse

    The real problem is that you media people make it escalate to this level. "Why did the white man attack the black man? Because he was black!!" Well how about we stop with the crap and look at the problem. Certainly we have biases, yet why do you never hear hate crimes about whites? Or hispanics? Media loves to stir the pot and I really don't think it's helping! Yes we have biases, yet everyone does. How about we not just look at black biases and look at the whole picture.

    May 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Jesse, you wrote: "How about we not just look at black biases and look at the whole picture." I agree. Biases come out of contexts, and we need to look at the whole picture to try and understand what is going on in our country.

      May 25, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  49. DARYL

    I just want to comment on two things first there is no evident to this date that shows Zimmerman didn't listen to the 911 dispatcher, and to say otherwise is absurd, second whoever heard of a (white Hispanic), that is not even an option in the US Census! I mean nowhere is that an option, so why is it NOW! For the media can keep it a race issue and get there rating! Shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Susan Bodnar

      Daryl – I'm not sure where the term white hispanic originated but I know it is used elsewhere. With Zimmerman my sense is that everyone wants to be careful to protect the facts and not just incorrectly identify him as white. I think the difficulties with these categories speak to the heart of our country's problem with race. Whatever transpired between Zimmerman and Martin is anyone's guess. Yet, I think what happened between them enacts larger tensions in our society. So, an article like this hopes to get people talking. Maybe we can figure out those tensions. Thanks for posting.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gaffs

        Mrs. Bodinar, you must really think we are either naive or very ignorant by stating, “my sense is that everyone wants to be careful to protect the facts and not just incorrectly identify him as a white.” Since this story came out, there were very little facts if any being thrown around, but the first thing jumped on by the media and our so called leaders was a white person shot a black person and ran with it. So please don’t try to belittle us with such a statement. This story was purposely put out to be a race bait story, even down to the media altering the 911 tape. Who knows, maybe it’s put out on purpose by people like you as a social experiment, are maybe an even more sinister reason is to keep us divided.

        May 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • DARYL

        I appreciate your comment; but isn’t you ethical duty report on the facts not what you heard from someone else. Zimmerman no matter what his color or gender will never be given a fair trial, he will never be able to live in his home or do any of the familiar things that we take for granted every day because of his color. He can be found not guilty and still be demonized because it was a black kid that was killed. We are all Americans or for some they are striving to be Americans so why can’t our race be Americans. Why does the media put such an enfaces on the race, because it brings ratings and money. So take the high road and report on the fact not made up ethnicities and break the mold of journalist distorting the facts to make a point. Let’s have truthful discussions not distorted discussions.

        Thanks for your time.

        May 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tesla

        You're trying to apply logic to your pathos-driven article. You can't. This, like many other articles are meant to provoke an emotional response to an issue. Our world has been being run on the emotional responses of people for a very long time. Politicians, the media, all constantly push for an emotional response because people act irrationally when emotionally provoked. Even worse, after doing so for months, the common though seems to be that saying "let's have a frank and open dialogue about race to try and figure this thing out," will immediately bring people back to a logical state to have such a discussion without screeching insults and hate.

        No. Hate latches on and festers inside of you. People can keep calm on the surface, but it takes a long time for hatred, true hatred, to fade. If this cancerous emotion is poked and prodded by constant exposure to the sort of strong emotional response that the media and politicians spew at us these days, it will settle in permanently. You want to end hate? Stop broadcasting it. You want to make money? Encourage people to violently take sides.

        An ounce of pathos is, unfortunately, worth a pound of logos.

        May 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • taquinas

      "I'm not sure where the term white hispanic originated but I know it is used elsewhere. "

      Well, if you say so, then it must be a legitimate term. Funny, though, I can't remember Barak Obama being refered to as a white-african American.

      The fact is that term was coined by the rabble-rousers when it turned out that Zimmerman, to their chagrin, was half-hispanic. They wanted to keep the word "white" in there.

      After all – it was a racist act!

      May 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jesse

        Amen! This is full of crap. Race issues have been ignited by the media way too much and they are willing to do anything to get their story more publicized.

        May 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • steel

      The term White (Hispanic) is used secrectly by some hispanics that like to consider themselves as white for some personal gain, wheather a job, or to fit in white America. Honestly that is a fact. FYI

      May 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  50. mfowler007

    The cold and controversial truth here is that people in this country are still racially bias. The more we try to subdue our differences, the worse they will get. I’m defiantly not saying we start a race war in our country. I have been too many countries where races/cultures do NOT interact with each other. It’s absolutely triadic. Why does an innocent child from Iran preached that he must hate Jews when he has never met a Jew before. This little story is not too far from fact in our own country. How many of us have sat down with other races and cultures and discussed our problems? If you have (truly have) you will see we have many of the same concerns. Minus our religious choice, we still need to do the same thing, pave the future for the next generation. It is frustrating to hear of the rash of race beatings happening around our great country. I comb the news (from all sources) everyday. I find at least one story of blacks beating whites in “justice for Trayvon”. This is nearly as bad as the shooting of Trayvon. Is this the country we are becoming? Where the mob punishes 100 acts of violence to 1? We will never know what truly happened the night Trayvon was shot. All we have are snapshots in time. The sooner everyone comes to grips with that we are all one race, the human race the sooner we can move along. Rant over.
    Cheers
    -Mitch

    May 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      How is unprovoked attacks from groups of black people against individuals or pairs of white people "almost as bad" as a controversial death in which the evidence points strongly to justifiable homicide/self defense? Just curious.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        Hmmm... Sounds like you truly want to have a "frank and open dialog about race."

        It seems to me that Ms. Bodnar isn't interested in one of those at all.

        She's made up her mind about what racism is, it's effects, and that's all there is too it.

        May 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • old john

      Yep, the first thing we need to do is lose the "African" in African-American, the "Mexican" in Mexican-American, etc and become "Americans"

      May 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Susan Bodnar

    As the writer of this piece, it doesn't surprise me that the comments so far have been stuck on Zimmerman's innocence or guilt, or whether or not Trayvon Martin was a good or bad kid – or as the battle between "thugs" and "boneheads". This type of oppositional thinking reflects the state of our society. Everyone blames and accuses, The schisms between people of different races, genders, cultures and classes thrives in this type of below the radar in-fighting. Why has this happened? What is really going on inside communities of different races? Classes? Cultures? Why so much antipathy between groups? I'm interested.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gaffs

      As the writer of this piece, you are also guilty of the schism you so grandly point out. Why is Zimmerman, according to the media and others, constantly pointing out him as a white Hispanic, when it has clearly been established that he is of black descent also? When no one in the media refers do President Obama as a white black, or white African American! The divide is caused because people like you, the media, government and others (e.g. Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson) make their money off the schism. Without the schism what would the media write about, without using race, class warfare or other divides to sell their stories? How would government officials function without using race, class warfare or other divides to raise your taxes, waste your money and get elected. Last but not lease, how would the Al Sharpton’s and Jessie Jackson’s of the world make their money by shaking down people, using hate to make their money? Your schism exists because there is money to be made off of it. It’s easy to make someone feel less of a person due to their race, class, name calling and etc., because if you divide them, don’t let them think on their own and feed them BS they actually believe; you can use them and have them dance around doing your bidding. Unfortunately I don’t have enough space to get into the issue any deeper.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      As the writer of this piece, can I ask a question? Why do you follow this:
      "Zimmerman led a neighborhood watch association, and repeatedly contacted police authorities about black men,"
      immdiately with this:
      "In addition to this recent crime, other incidents exacerbated tensions between Sanford’s black and white communities.
      In 2010, the white son of a police lieutenant attacked a homeless black man, the violence captured on video.
      Police Chief Brian Tooley resigned over the incident and Bill Lee took over , with a focus on mending tensions between police and the black community,"
      in a fairly blatant attempt to portray both George and his neighborhood as particularly racist?

      I'm sorry, I suppose i'm speculating as to your angle here, but it's a little difficult to see that. Especially since George (who apparently called 911 over black men a lot) was the one who pursued justice for the homeless man, and helped force action to be taken.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        "Especially since George (who apparently called 911 over black men a lot) was the one who pursued justice for the homeless man, and helped force action to be taken."

        Hmmm... It would seem that Ms. Bodnar has unfairly accused Mr. Zimmerman of racism.

        Game set and match.

        May 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Susan Bodnar

        Tesia – I worked very hard on trying to present information without making inferences about who was racist and why. There is no accusation here about Sanford being a racist city, nor have I made that claim about Zimmerman. My point: racism exists. And so does classism ( you can see other posts I have written about that topic). So do other ethnic and cultural biases. The comments on this blog suggest that people feel all kinds of tension. My hope? Let's figure it out together. Let's take a look at everybody's anger and figure out what is really causing it, instead of attributing it to people of other races, or as I say, "costumes". Thank you.

        May 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        Wait a minute – you wrote a story that starts talking about George Zimmerman's actions, talks about racism and perception, but then you are saying that you would not be implying that Zimmerman was a racist.

        You're kidding me.

        The implication was obvious.

        May 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        How many times have we seen this circular logic from those who have locked themselves into ivory towers?

        Tawana Brawley, the Duke "rape" case, and now the Zimmerman-Martin affair – all held out as "proof" of overt racism – and all fell apart after examination.

        And, wouldn't you know it, it's the same crowd behind each media blitz. There is a meme among certain groups that this happens all the times, and gosh darn it, one of these days they'll find an example of it.

        But, hey, even if Zimmerman wasn't a racist, let's have a "dialog".

        I'll start:

        Too often we've been deceived and lied to about the state of race in America. While there are problems, those who claim the greatest concern seem to truly have no interest at all in addressing the real issues. Black on black crime? Fatherless families? The cycle of welfare and the failure of the public schools?

        Don't mention those. Those aren't the problems.

        The problem is "racial profiling."

        Those who claim to want to "talk about the problems" would rather tell stories and fabricate complicated theories that turn out to have no basis in reality.

        You want a "teachable moment"? Let me ask you then – what have YOU learned about the Duke case and Tawana Brawley?

        Have you learned that "racism" is a big industry in the US?

        And, not only that – it's also a sucker's game?

        May 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • 88up

      Susan Bodnar "A frank and open dialogue about race, especially in a society where nonwhite newborns now outnumber white births, benefits all of us, not just people of color."-– With all due respect for you and your freedom of speech under the 1st Amendment to write your article and leave comments thereon... Just how can we have this frank and open dialogue if you delete my comments responding to your questions? I know for a fact that I got straight to the heart of the issue you raised and I stayed well within the confines of the Rules of Conduct set forth in your Terms of Service.

      I believe that you do not want a frank and open dialogue, but just what is self-serving for your biased advocation of the way you view the schisms between people of different races, genders, cultures and classes; and to heck with anyone who views it differenty from yourself [DELETE]. (respectfully submitted without prejudice)

      May 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        Zimmerman lived in a neighborhood that was about 25% African-American, 20% latino and oriental. It wouldn't have been unusual for him to see non-white people on the streets, so it's absurd that he call the police becuas "he saw a black person".

        Zimmerman mentored black children, and was himself a person of color, and espoused community causes that supported the African-American community.

        Ever since this matter started, we've been hearing about "racism".

        But where is it here?

        If the only tool you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.

        "Racism" seems to be a baseless charge, and offensive.

        May 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Susan Bodnar

        88up – As far as I know your comments have not been deleted. I didn't respond to your suggestion about what Trayvon Martin was really drinking because it is an example of the problem. Let's try and focus on trying to understand why there is so much anger between people of different races and even ethnicities. If you shared some thoughts about that that didn't show up, please resend.

        May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • 88up

        Ms. Bodnar, thank you for clarifing that. It must have been someone else at your Company monitoring this blog who deleted my comment; and I apologize for wrongfully accusing you of doing it.

        I basically posted what Gaffs posted, but I think he did a better job of expressing what I was trying to express, so I will just leave it at that.

        May 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        "Anger"? It's not white people that are marching in the streets demanding "justice" in the form of a kangaroo trial for Zimmerman.

        And if Zimmerman is aquitted, do you think that the whites will burn down their neighborhoods and loot the local Wal-Marts?

        The "anger" is being stirred up by a small group of professional rabble-rousers. It's there, but please be honest enough to attribute it to the people who are the angry ones.

        All you have to do is compare what the liberals called the "angry tea party members", predominately older people who would sit in lawn chairs on the towm hall, and clean up with themselves ...to the Occupy crowd and their riots, rapes and distruction in order to see who are the *really* angry people.

        You're promoting a myth.

        It seems to me that your examination of the Martin-Zimmerman case ignores the facts, and you have a distorted view of what typical Americans think.

        May 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gaffs

        I agree, because I have had two comments deleted, one pointed out that things could be perceived as racism when it may not be, and one asking her questions about some of the statements in her article. I guess since my comments weren't racist or perceived as racisit in her eyes, they were deleted.

        May 25, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      Also, your question about why this happens is rather naive. It comes down to basic tribalism. As long as there are 2 people in this world, one will be prejudiced against the other for some reason or other. It doesn't matter if you're black, white, brown, red, yellow, jewish, christian, muslim, buddhist, vodun, atheist, man, woman, or both. You can be functionally identical and be able to find one thing about the other that is different than yourself, and you will judge, and be judged for your own difference. People we socialize with are those that we associate more like aspects with than unlike aspects.

      We still judge them, of course. But we can take a deeper view as we know more traits about them. Our initial view changes as we get to know them. How is that possible if we are judging? Tribalism. If I go to a gaming convention, I have at least one thing in common with almost everyone there (love of gaming). At college, I was able to socialize over classwork and clubs, which offered a social arena involving an interest I have. At first, any relationship is built off of these inconsequential facts. Whether or not you like someone is based on deeper delving afterwards.

      The point of this is that we judge on the very first impressions, and we tend to group by common tendencies. It's just the truth. Until we're able to completely change our physical form on a whim (and that will still be socially complicated), we will always cast first judgement based on the most basic attributes.

      May 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • old john

      The reality is Trayvon Martin was a drug-dealing Miami street punk. Check out his my-space page. It is, however, a sad thing that he was at that social level, something that should have been prevented by his self-serving parents. When your kid has been kicked out of school three times and you do nothing but blame society for his inability to be socially functional you need to recognize that you may be putting him in an early grave. Either at the hands of other street punks or something like happened. Shame, who knows, the kid might have played in the NFL.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • 88up

      The bigger question here is; why does the media and the people of darker color race dealers sensentionalize the death of a darker skinned person at the hands of a lighter skinned person and try to turn it into a racially motivated crime, whereby essentially making this into some sort of white vs. black hate inspired crime?

      Why is it popular to raise up the people of color at the expense of demonizing the white peoples? There is so much crime, especially now since this story has gotten so much attention, whereby people of color are commiting against white folks (justice for Trayvon; they call it) and why isn't that getting equal coverage and equal outrage by the media and white advocacy groups?

      Is it racist if white people campaign against abuses incurred at the hands of people of color and justifiable for people of color to riot when they believe they are victim of some racially motivated crime?

      Do you think there is a reason that people of color have the Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharton's to put on demonstrations and invoke potential riots and that white people do not have those race baiters advocating for their same rights? If whites did have people like that speaking out on their behalfs, don't you think they would be labeled racists and hate mongerers?

      It seems that there is only one race who may play the race card, which is always a one-sided arguement; and when played the whites must remain silent for fear of being labeled racist. It seems it is ok to shake down this Nation and expect to recieve preferencial treatment if you are of color and can turn an incident into a racially charged crime in order to make a payday of it.

      May 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      race was not an issue in this case until obama, al, jesse and the national media said it was. the media showed 5 year old pictures of trayvon to give a false impression of who the victim was. they used a mug shot of zimmerman, 911 calls were edited, and even our president stood in front of the nation, with NO FACTS of what happened and basically tainted the entire country's jury pool. the media has shoved this case down our throats screaming racism the entire way. it has forced people to take sides and try to discuss the facts of the case which by all accounts, supports zimmerman. what is making things worse is the lack of media attention to the case of daniel adkins or matthew owens of the dozens of other hate crimes committed against whites as "justice for trayvon." why don't you go and write an opinion piece on that?

      May 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        And THAT is the discussion we should be having – why was there so much dishonesty pushing the Crump narrative?

        What was the social – or political "need" there? Why did it cause people to see things that just weren't there?

        Only the "conservatives" seem to have seen clearly through this incident from the beginnig – why is that?

        What is it about liberalism that causes them to fabricate these "narratives"? And why do the narratives survive increasing discrediting?

        There is a powerful need for some to blame "racism" for the problems of society.

        Why not address the failure of the schools, the breakdown of the family, and the endless trap of the welfare culture?

        Oh, I forgot – to bring up the idea of "personal responsibility" is what racists do!

        It's mean and hateful! It's "bullying"!

        May 25, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Vom Brunhaus

      If your Interest compels you can join NAACP for their Input and Information.

      May 27, 2012 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  52. south4evr

    Justice for George!!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  53. 88up

    Crump and the media are suppressing more damaging evidence against the baby-faced innocent looking 10 year old they have portrayed as Trayvon Martin.

    Crump and the Media continue to say that Martin had purchased Arizona Iced Tea, but that is a false lie, what he had purchased was Arizona watermelon fruit juice. Crump new he needed to spin this quickly because he knew that people would quickly figure out that Martin was going to be using that WATERMELLON juice to make SIZZURP, and that was going to make his case of portraying a criminally active thug into a sweet little innocent boy, in which to get rich from lawsuit fallout on his death go the way of the dodo.

    Martin bought the Skittles and Arizona watermellon juice (not iced tea) to make a drug filled concoction called Sizzurp. While taking a detour to possibly stalk Mr. Zimmermans neighborhood for a possible robbery and home envasion in order to buy some more weed, he was to be on his way to engage in more deliquent behavior, by seeking to get high on this highly intoxicating drink. This is something he used to brag about drinking on his facebook page. And I say possibly stalk the neighborhood for possible robbery, because Martin did not travel directly to the home he had been staying at after his suspension from school, after purchasing the ingredients to make sizzurp.

    Sizzurp is a intoxicating beverage also known by the names lean, Purple Drank, and liquid codeine. It is commonly abused by southern rappers and wannabe suburban teenagers such as Trayvon. It is a mixture of Promethazine/Codeine cough syrup and sprite or (Arizona) watermellon juice, with a few jolly ranchers and/or skittles thrown in.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • 88down

      keep spewing your hate ....it will work out for you in the future when you are outnumbered

      May 25, 2012 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
      • Tesla

        Good luck. You'll need it.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
      • taquinas

        Funny that the only threats of violence are coming from the race-baiting side.

        Let's have a discussion about THAT!

        May 25, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  54. Bruce B.

    I'm tired of the news media portraying Zimmerman as a crazed lunatic running after Trayvon with intention to kill him. Zimmerman was getting his head bashed in before he fired the shot. I doubt Trayvon was the sweet innocent little boy the media is portraying him to be, and I doubt Zimmerman is the demon the news media is portraying him to be. Yes it's tragic.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • old john

      Well now, according to the politicians, Trayvon was "profiled and hunted down and shot like a rabid dog in the street". Hopefully this type of self-serving, media seeking piece of crap will be voted out in the next election and we can get responsible political figures that do not promote racial violence and that deal quickly and seriously with those that do, such as the Black Panthers. What we need to do is immediately loose the "African" in African-American, the "Mexican" in Mexican-American, etc and become "Americans". The truth is nobody gives a damn what color you are.

      May 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • taquinas

      I guess the real "profiling" was done by those who formed the original negative opinions about Zimmerman, a "narrative" that has been picked apart over the last few week.

      Hey, let's have THAT "discussion about race". Who are the people who have a knee-jerk reaction to ascribing "racism" to describing any interaction between people of different colors?

      What is their motivation? What are their fears? Are they afraid that their carefully constructed social theories are crumbling before their eyes?

      Change is a scary thing!

      May 25, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  55. Fred

    Racism lives on the lips of racists. The public manipulation in this case is extreme both by the media and by the racists that call everyone else racist. Trayvon was a thug and he reacted by escalating an encounter needlessly. He didn't get shot until he was bashing another boneheads head into the ground. And by then Trayvon deserved it.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  56. Jamie Scott

    ""We do know that Martin would still be alive if Zimmerman had followed the police dispatcher’s instructions not to pursue the teenager.""

    NO we don't!! Because everyone is assuming George continued to pursue Trayvon AFTER the operator told him "we don't need you to do that" (follow Trayvon). Why do people assume George continued to "pursue" Trayvon? Because no one thinks that someone that is running AWAY from someone else would go back to the EXACT same place they ran AWAY from that person and seeing that the operator told George it was "NO PROBLEM" for him to have the police call him when they arrived they operator didn't think Trayvon would go back either....So why would George think Trayvon would return or that waiting for the police in the spot he was standing when he was told to stop following Trayvon wasn't a good place to wait for the police if everyone seems to be in agreement that Trayvon wouldn't of gone back?

    Let me guess, you didn't bother looking at a map of the shooting site and compare it with the time line of George's "911" (non emergency) call?...I know you didn't on any CNN sites seeing that they STILL haven't bothered to do a story on the timeline and George's call. But if you did your own research you would see (so would anyone with more than half a brain) that there is NO WAY George continued following Trayvon like the "news" media has been reporting.

    Also if you also listen to "Dee Dee's" statement of what she claims happened that night you would see that she is obviously lying. Now why would "Dee Dee" NOT come forward after hearing her boyfriend was "murdered" and only "come forward" 3 weeks AFTER the shooting and only because Trayvon's parents found out she was the last person to talk to Trayvon and contact her? Was she A) Going to let a murderer get away with killing her boyfriend? OR B) She knew the "murderer' was telling the truth and her boyfriend died because he went back to confront and assault the guy that had been following him but she didn't want to call his parents and tell them the truth?

    May 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • juskishi

      i like what you have to say. too bad the zimmerman haters care more about the race of the victim then the facts of this case.

      i wonder susan, have you written an opinion piece on the racism involved in the murder of daniel adkins? or the near death beating of matthew owens? how about the dozens of attacks on whites by blacks since this all happened???

      May 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Susan Bodnar

        My understanding is that Terry Rawls ( the man who allegedly beat Matthew Owens) has been arrested. The Adkins case, I understand, still remains in limbo. These examples also make the point that there is a great deal of racial tension in our society. I focused on George Zimmerman's shooting of Trayvon Martin because the city of Sanford has struggled with racism for a long time (lots of historical material on this). The death of an unarmed teen is the unhappy product of what transpires when these tensions aren't resolved. It isn't the only example, but I was particularly touched by it because I have teenage children.

        May 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |