That’s a good question, Rachel. And thank you for providing part of the answer.
We have a pretty good idea of what would’ve happened if Trayvon had been white, and had been shot by an Hispanic who claimed self-defense.
For one thing, the media would’ve told the truth about George Zimmerman’s ethnic background. They would have portrayed Zimmerman as an innocent Hispanic who was jumped by a young Southern redneck looking for trouble. The nation’s “ugly debate” about creating a “path to citizenship” for immigrants would’ve been invoked as a key factor in white Trayvon’s “obvious hatred” toward Hispanics.
We would also have heard the truth about Trayvon’s troubled past. The media would’ve stressed how this young man had been suspended from school twice, once for vandalism, and again for being caught with stolen jewelry and burglary tools. His marijuana use would’ve been cited as further evidence of his delinquency.
Then we’d hear about the hypocrisy of Southern culture, which presents an ideal of tight-knit families, though Trayvon’s parents had divorced when he was only four. We would have heard a great deal of condemnation of Trayvon’s mother for having kicked the boy out because he was impossible to discipline. And, over and over, the talking heads would have reminded us that white Trayvon was not a resident of Sanford, but only visiting the home of his father’s current girl friend.
You know how unstable Southern families are.
But one fact the media would’ve hammered over and over was white Trayvon’s “homophobia,” yet another affliction brought about by his Southern upbringing. In her interview with Piers Morgan, Jeantel revealed Trayvon’s simmering hatred of homosexuals, a hatred he projected onto George Zimmerman:
“People need to understand, he didn’t want that creepy ass cracka going to his father or girlfriend’s house to go get — mind you, his little brother is there. Mind you I told you, I told Trayvon, [Zimmerman] might have been a rapist.”
Only a raving homophobe would see Zimmerman — who was not only the son of a Peruvian immigrant, but an aspiring officer of the law — as someone who might rape him or his little brother. Typical Southern bias.
But oddly, the things that black Trayvon said and did are interpreted very differently if our imaginary white Trayvon had said and done the same things. Interesting, eh?