, Salem, MA


July 25, 2013

Ambrose: The profiling of George Zimmerman

It’s amazing, a terrible disappointment, really — all the profiling that went on and is still going on of George Zimmerman in the murder case against him.

Zimmerman, according to various political activists, all sorts of commentators, academics and others, had to be guilty of murder because, after all, a black teen was killed and he was white. Or part white. A “white Hispanic,” some reporters called him.

Not only that, of course, but he traipsed around with a gun at night aiming to protect his neighbors. It’s understandable some won’t clap at that, but why would anyone without deep down prejudice suppose his doing it and following someone was proof of second-degree murder in a deadly shooting that followed?

Some of the early misgivings about the criminal justice system were understandable. Given all the unspeakable grievances African-Americans have endured in this country, it is hardly a puzzle many would want more than the initially meager investigation after the shooting of an unarmed black teen.

What’s not understandable is an ipso facto judgment of a racist killing, such journalistic outrages as NBC doctoring a tape to further that view or otherwise reckless journalism that went out of its way to make Zimmerman look bad while playing biased games about what race he was.

Yes, Zimmerman comes from a white father and a Hispanic mother. But President Barack Obama comes from a white mother and a black father, and I bet you never see the day when reporters call him a “white African-American,” least of all in some context where “white” might imply culpability to some. Oh, and by the way, Zimmerman also has black forbears and relatives.

Facts of that kind eventually emerged in some of the press. We did get a big investigation. A trial was conducted. An FBI report has been made public. And if this is what you go by — the facts — Zimmerman is not left looking either racist or guilty.

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