We must dismantle the fraternity of racism and build an altar of love and justice, writes the pastor of Obama’s former church.
NBC can’t unring this bell. After airing an edited segment of George Zimmerman’s 911 call from the night the Florida neighborhood watch captain shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the network apologized Saturday. The edited version of the call, which made it appear that Zimmerman identified Martin as black before being prompted by the emergency dispatcher, was “a mistake and not a deliberate act to misrepresent the phone call,” NBC News president Steve Capus said Saturday. According to an internal NBC probe, a producer made the editing call.
A new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll finds that whites and blacks have very different views on Trayvon Martin and the progress being made by African-Americans under Barack Obama.
A new Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll finds that America is facing a deepening level of racial division and polarization.
Members of the New York City Council wear "hoodie" sweatshirts as they stand together on the steps of City Hall in New York, March 28, 2012 during a news conference and action to call for justice in the February 26 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. (Mike Segar / Reuters)
Majorities of both whites (72%) and blacks (89%) believe the country is divided by race, the poll finds. But twice as many blacks (40%) as whites (20%) say it is very divided. And just 19 percent of whites say that racism is a big problem in America, vs. 60 percent of blacks.
Meanwhile, the killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin has further polarized America along racial lines, the Newsweek/Daily Beast Poll finds. In the survey, whites are divided over whether they think Martin’s death was racially motivated. Thirty-five percent of whites say Martin’s death was racially motivated, while 30 percent say Zimmerman acted in self-defense and 35 percent are not sure. African-Americans, however, are convinced it was racially motivated (80% vs. 2%).
Whites also are divided on the question of whether Martin was targeted because he was a young black man–41 percent say yes, while 34 percent say no and 21 percent are not sure. Blacks are convinced he was targeted because he was a young black man (85% vs. 4%).
There also is a significant split over President Obama’s handling of the Trayvon Martin controversy—with a majority (52%) of whites saying they disapprove of the way he has handled the shooting while only 38 percent approve.
Blacks say the opposite—with near unanimous (87% vs. 5%) approval for the president’s handling of the shooting.
Nearly four years after the election of the nation’s first African-American president, majorities of both whites and African Americans surveyed say that race relations in the country have either stayed the same or gotten worse. Sixty-three percent of whites and 58 percent of African-Americans say race relations have either stayed the same or worsened—while only 28 percent of whites and 38 percent of African-Americans say they have gotten better.
Prepared for “race riot” in Trayvon Martin case.
A group of Detroit-based neo-Nazis has taken to patrolling the streets of Sanford, Fla., where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in late February. A representative for the group said they are not there to incite violence but to show solidarity with the white community in case of a race riot. They noted that the $10,000 bounty put on George Zimmerman by the New Black Panther Party is evidence that there could be racial violence. Zimmerman has yet to be arrested or charged in the killing, but public outcry for his arrest has spread across the country.
52 percent of whites said race made no difference.
A new poll conducted by USA Today/Gallup shows a huge divide between blacks and whites in their views about the Trayvon Martin shooting. Among blacks, 73 percent believe George Zimmerman, the alleged shooter who killed Martin on Feb. 26, would have been arrested if Martin was white, while only 33 percent of whites agreed. When asked whether race made a difference in the case, 52 percent of whites said no.
We’re obsessed with genealogy because our roots have tangled, and mingled.
People like purity. They also enjoy using easy identity categories, especially if they can be differentiated from each other. But from what we now know of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, he is a sum of hodgepodge parts: Jewish, Catholic, white, and Peruvian. No wonder the press had trouble deciding whether to identify him as “white,” "Hispanic,” or “a white Hispanic.”
From what we now know of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Stanford, Florida, he is a sum of hodgepodge parts: Jewish, Catholic, white, and Peruvian. (Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast)
That accumulation of identities is already a sine qua non when speaking of Hispanics, like Zimmerman. Most Latinos are a mix. That’s why the term mestizaje is ubiquitous in Latin America: it not only denotes those who had Spanish as well as indigenous parents, but describes a complex process of racial commingling.
Hispanics aren’t a race but a multiracial minority group, much like Zimmerman is a multi-background individual. To be Hispanic—a very modern construct, and a self-identified one—a person must have been in the United States for an extended period of time, and have roots in a Spanish-speaking country (which is why Brazilians are not Hispanics). When asked to identify by race, and after being alerted that “Hispanic” is not a racial term, a majority of respondents to a survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity, said they were white. That is, the Latinos interviewed preferred to be counted as whites, and not as blacks—in part an expression of the racism within our community, where many see black as the second, and worse, option. Plus, the survey also established that statistically, the number of Latinos marrying outside the Hispanic community is on the rise, and that such crossover isn’t seen negatively within it.
But according to the Pew survey, 51 percent of Latinos prefer to describe themselves by their country of origin. The terms Hispanic and Latino, the report notes, are “unique to the U.S. … not widely used elsewhere.” And, the survey shows, most Hispanics identify themselves as Mexicans, Cubans, Dominicans, and so on.
It’s important to look at these findings through a historical lens. The popular idea of Hispanics as a single, homogenized group began in the early 1970s, and was formalized in 1976, when Congress passed a law mandating the Census collect information on Hispanics (Latino was added as a synonym on the Census in 2000).
In 1980, Americans were asked for the first time not only to identify by race, but also by ethnicity: Hispanic, or Not Hispanic—14.6 million people identified as Hispanic, and everything changed in the decade that followed: by acknowledging the common link, Hispanics found economic power and a political agenda. Still, Cubans were mostly white, anti-Castro refugees living in the Northeast and Florida, whereas Mexicans were mestizo and working class, living in the Southwest and with a less defined ideology. This division generated much tension.
Before shooting Trayvon Martin.
George Zimmerman has reportedly told his lawyers that he whispered “punks,” not a racial slur, before he shot and killed Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. Earlier reports from audio of the 911 call had some claiming that Zimmerman used a racial slur, but forensic audio experts agreed that the word was “punks.” CNN independently reviewed the high-quality audiotapes, but could not reach a consensus on the word or phrase Zimmerman used.
City Manager Norton N. Bonaparte, Jr. tries to account for Sanford’s long, ugly history.
It could happen anywhere.
Norton N. Bonaparte, Jr., the first African-American city manager of Sanford, Florida, is a man stuck between a rock and a hard place as he tries to defend the town where Trayvon Martin was gunned down while maintaining his credibility with local residents of color and the national media.
Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte Jr. looks on during a press conference about the Trayvon Martin controversy at city hall in Sanford, Florida on March 27, 2012. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)
Bonaparte has managed to come off as honest—at least as honest as the manager of a city attempting to dodge a huge civil lawsuit can be—about Sanford’s racial history, and the ugly relationship over the years between the police and the city’s residents of color.
In his first press conference after the killing (on March 22) Bonaparte stated “This is a difficult time for this community, and a very difficult time for out nation … what the city of Sanford wants more than anything else for the Travon Martin family is justice.”
The quandary Norton Bonaparte finds himself in, however, is how to square the historic, allopatric mistreatment of minorities at the hands of police, with his seemingly sincere efforts to allow a through and professional investigation of the Sanford department go forth—an investigation that might prove damning in terms of how the police have long operated in this small Florida city.
In Sanford, it’s an original sin, going back to the town’s founder and namesake, Henry Shelton Sanford.
The Daily Beast’s Michael Daly describes Sanford as “a failed orange grower turned lobbyist who, in the 19th century, abetted a Belgian king’s bloody colonial adventure in the Congo that left millions of Africans dead,” and “an ardent proponent of sending black Americans to Africa.”
Full transcript reveals dispatcher asked Zimmerman about race.
NBC issued an official apology for running an edited version of George Zimmerman's 911 call, blaming the change on “an error made in the production process that we deeply regret.” The version of the call NBC ran had Zimmerman saying: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” In fact, Zimmerman said: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” The dispatcher then asked, “OK, and this guy—is he black, white, or Hispanic?”
Michael Daly recalls the dark story about the city where Trayvon Martin was killed.
The Florida town where Trayvon Martin met his death bears the name of its founder, a failed orange grower turned lobbyist who, in the 19th century, abetted a Belgian king’s bloody colonial adventure in the Congo that left millions of Africans dead.
Henry Sanford was also an ardent proponent of sending black Americans to Africa.
“The ground to draw the gathering electricity from the black cloud spreading over the southern states,” he termed it.
The Congo, Sanford said, would encourage “the enterprise and ambition of our colored people in more congenial fields than politics.”
Despite such sentiments, the city still proudly bears his name. Sanford, the city, honors Sanford, the man, by maintaining a library and museum in his memory, commemorating a racist who came to Florida as the sole heir of a hugely successful brass-tacks manufacturer in Connecticut.
Henry Sanford’s own business efforts were a series of failures that included the orange groves he planted in a 23-square-mile tract on the shore of Lake Monroe, purchased in 1870 for 30 cents an acre. He established the town of Sanford there with the hope that it would become “the Gate City of South Florida.”
Mathew Brady / Library of Congress
But Sanford proved to be no better an orange grower in Florida than he had been a cotton grower in South Carolina, a sugar grower in Louisiana, a shipbuilder in Maine, a mine investor in Nevada, a railroad speculator in Minnesota, or a real-estate developer in the Midwest.
Enhanced images show bump or mark on head.
The conflicting reports of what happened the night George Zimmmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin continue to pick up their respective evidence. The latest piece of the puzzle is enhanced surveillance footage of the police station where Zimmerman was taken afterward, which now appears to show a possible gash or injury on the back of his head. The footage was originally touted as showing the opposite. Both the video footage and the audio of Zimmerman’s 911 call have been intensely debated, and both sides have claimed them as evidence for their account of the shooting.
If he is charged in shooting.
George Zimmerman says he is ready to turn himself in if he is charged in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a decision authorities say will come “soon.” The special prosecutor in the case, reviewing whether Zimmerman truly acted in self-defense when he shot the unarmed Martin, said she will decide shortly whether or not to file charges. Zimmerman’s lawyer said his client will not run from the law, and that they are already preparing for a trial.
Two unarmed black youths. Two deaths. But former police chief Bill Bratton thinks the similarities may end there.
Is another Trayvon Martin case brewing in Pasadena, Calif.?
There are troubling similarities between the shooting death of Kendrec McDade, a 19-year-old college student who was killed in the Southern California city on March 24, and that of Martin, a 17-year-old high-school kid who died a month earlier in Sanford, Fla. Both were African-American and both were unarmed. The shooters in each case were nonblack (Caucasian in McDade’s case and Hispanic in Martin’s). In the aftermath of the deaths, members of the public, especially civil-rights activists, are alarmed and angry.
But Bill Bratton, the former top cop of neighboring Los Angeles and, before that, of New York City, says significant differences between the two incidents—especially the proactive response of Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez to community concerns—have thus far prevented the sort of boiling outrage that has characterized the Florida case.
“It is a very big local story, and whether it has any legs on the national level is up to the media and responsible community leaders,” Bratton told me about the Pasadena situation. “So far, Trayvon Martin is sucking up all the oxygen.”
In contrast to “an almost total lack of visibility” by Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee in the two weeks following the Martin shooting, Bratton praised Chief Sanchez’s attempts to engage the public and field tough questions about McDade’s death, most recently at an encouragingly calm community meeting on Saturday. “It’s an advantage to get out in front of it,” Bratton said, “and show that the police department is not trying to hide anything.”
Amid widespread outrage over his mishandling of the public-relations component, Lee was forced to step aside from the Sanford police department.
The underlying facts of the two incidents, while murky, are dissimilar in important aspects: Martin, who was walking home through a gated community after buying candy and iced tea, was shot by a self-appointed civilian crime-stopper who disregarded a police dispatcher’s directive not to pursue the teenager. The shooter, George Zimmerman, has yet to be charged with any crime. Bratton, however, doesn’t necessarily fault Chief Lee for not arresting Zimmerman immediately, noting that he apparently was relying on legal advice from the local prosecutor.
Focuses on civil-rights issues.
A “parallel investigation” into the Trayvon Martin case being conducted by the FBI is examining whether or not the shooting was racially motivated. A special prosecutor for the state of Florida is also currently looking into Martin’s case, as is the Justice Department. A law enforcement official told reporters that the record of 911 calls made by shooter George Zimmerman may provide critical evidence of a pattern of racial profiling in the months leading up to Martin’s shooting. Craig Sonner, Zimmerman’s lawyer, has adamantly denied that his client’s actions were motivated by race.
Reconstruction of the night yields poignant details.
The cries for help heard in the background of a 911 call from the night of Trayvon Martin’s shooting are not George Zimmerman’s, experts said Sunday. The experts said that the tests would be admissible in court, and that similar tests had recently been allowed into evidence in a murder trial. Screams and a single handgun report are heard in the recording. It's unclear whehter the screams are from Trayvon Martin. Meanwhile, a second ambulance, possibly for Zimmerman, was cancelled on the night of the shooting. As details from the shooting continue to come to light, a New York Times reconstruction of the night gives nuance to the events leading up to Martin and Zimmerman's fatal encounter.
Neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman said he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed.
The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has a whole new set of problems after the court found out he lied at his bond hearing, writes Mansfield Frazier.
George Zimmerman took the stand during his bond hearing Friday, issuing a statement to the Martin family. ‘I’m sorry for the loss of your son,’ he told the court before answering a series of questions about the case.
Chaz Guest captures the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He talks about honoring Martin's legacy.
Conservatives are using the teenager’s tweets, hoodie, and school suspension to blame him for his own death—and to show that racism was not a factor, says Michelle Goldberg.
George Zimmerman, the man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, aspired to enter law enforcement.