Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

September 9, 2013

LYONS: Examining conversations about race

(Continued)

In a word, no.

Me, I’m with Mark Twain: “I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse.”

That said, special pleading by adepts of the Trayvon Martin cult strikes me as willful blindness. For more than a year, nearly every “mainstream” news organization in the United States portrayed young Martin’s death as the racial atrocity of the century — based largely on tendentious and erroneous reporting greatly influenced by the Martin family lawyers.

Looking back, some of it continues to amaze. Bob Somerby recently analyzed an appearance by former prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin in March 2012, as the publicity campaign to make Florida prosecutors charge George Zimmerman with murder neared its crescendo.

Suffice it to say that virtually everything Hostin told CNN viewers about the evidence was shown to be upside-down and backwards at trial. She’d gotten nearly every dispositive fact about the fatal confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin wrong. Not that it altered her opinion or anybody else’s as the trial went on to its inevitable conclusion.

After the verdict, along came the professors and critical race theorists to further confuse matters. On PBS News Hour, Prof. Jelani Cobb (University of Connecticut) alleged that “the fact of the matter is, Mr. Zimmerman had called the police 46 times in the previous six years — only for African-Americans, only for African-American men.”

Sorry, professor, but The Daily Beast catalogued them. The actual number of calls involving black men was seven, two of them Trayvon Martin.

Then came Prof. Patricia Williams (Columbia University Law). Writing in The Nation, Williams objected to the racial “monsterization” of Trayvon Martin — describing how defense lawyer Mark O’Mara “dropped a huge chunk of concrete, bigger and more jagged than a cinder block, in front of the jury box — as though onto Zimmerman — from a great and death-dealing height.”

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