George Zimmerman has been declared "not guilty," but he will never be free. America, too, will likely never be free of the Zimmerman case and those like it—the seemingly endless cycle of televised controversies that act as proxy race wars. I generally can't stand "national debates," particularly those that become Red vs. Blue, FOX News vs. MSNBC battles. For one thing, they are distractions: at the end of the day, the fate of George Zimmerman does not affect our race or civilization—and there are so many things and ideas that actually do. Worse, spectacles like this often give us a delusion of victory: after the verdict, many conservatives shouted "Hallelujah!—we've defeated Liberal Media Bias! In fact, conservatives won nothing—and very few of them have been willing to examine the episode's deeper causes and meanings.
That's not to say that we shouldn't take some comfort and pride in the fact that a jury actually bucked powerful political and media actors and reached a sound decision.
The mainstream media had endlessly repeated a meme: On the night of February 26, 2012, an angry racist gunned down a child, armed only with a bag of Skittles. To hear that and then learn that Zimmerman was released without being charged, many assumed that the police officers investigating the matter were either wildly incompetent or vicious racists.
When one looks behind the hokey "Skittles" narrative, however, the facts that emerge all corroborates Zimmerman's account: Zimmerman was following someone he (rightly) thought might be up to no good; Martin stuck Zimmerman first and began pummeling his head and slamming it against the sidewalk; Zimmerman then drew his weapon and fired. As photos reveal, Zimmerman was badly beaten while Martin's only injuries, besides the gunshot wound, were on his knuckles.
Millions of dollars were thus wasted on a trial that never should have taken place, and never would have taken place were it not for the endless thumping of the media and the interventions of key political actors. Many remember President Obama's expression of sympathy for Trayvon on March 22 of last year—"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon". Days before, Florida's "conservative" Republican governor, Rick Scott, appointed Angela Corey as a "special prosecutor." When Corey held a press conference on April 11, 2012, she announced that she had just gotten off the phone with Trayvon Martin's parents and that she would seek to protect the rights of Florida's "precious victims." One knew immediately where this was going and that little more than a show trial was set to unfold—endless fodder for the cable-news outrage-mongers.
Again, in light of all this, we should take some pleasure in the fact that, ultimately, the jury reached a sensible verdict and the initial police investigators were vindicated.
The deeper meaning of this case, however, is much more disturbing—and, for George Zimmerman the man, almost tragic.
To understand this, it's useful to reexamine many of the hypothetical questions that were raised during the past year and a half. When President Obama opined that, were Martin a "white male teen," "both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different," he was essentially accusing the police officers who didn't arrest Zimmerman and the jury that acquitted him of being racists (the only caveat being the word "might.")
It's more revealing to ask what this trial would mean in people's hearts and minds—and how it could be used propagandistically—if the races were changed or reversed.
What would have happen if Zimmerman were Black? For one thing, no one would know his name. Over a single weekend in June, seven people were killed and 41 shot in Chicago: they were Black victims of Black perpetrators. Though this phenomenon spurred some comment, the people affected remained statistics.
What if Trayvon were White? Again, the world never would have learned his name. In 2010, a little over one White person was killed by a Black every day. This has never become a national controversy.
For this trial to have a broad social meaning, the indispensable factors were Black victimhood and White villainy. We shouldn't forget that the case came to public attention not because of a cherubic "child" victim (Trayvon Martin) but because it was assumed that with a name like Zimmerman, the perpetrator must be White. (Even after Zimmerman's photo was released, and it became clear he was a mixed-race man (whom most would identify as a Hispanic), the media used fabricated monikers like "White Hispanic.")
The narrative comes first, the facts comes later.
When it was alleged, in 2006, that members of the Duke University lacrosse team gang raped a Black stripper, the news reached the Duke faculty (and many in the student body) like the fulfillment of a dream; behind the outrage was a kind of giddiness that their own fantasies of "white privilege," miscegenation, and jock culture were coming true. They had been studying up on this for years! (The fact that in reality White-on-Black rape is exceedingly rare was irrelevant.)
Over the past 30 years, we have been subjected to an unrelenting stream of national race traumas; for months at a time, each one becomes omnipresent: Rodney King, O.J., Duke Lacrosse, The Jenna 6, Tawanee Bradley, Paul Deen, various "hate crime" hoaxes on campus, und so weiter . . .
In all these cases, Black people are allegedly harmed by Whites, framed by racist cops, or treated in a manner that evokes America's racially hierarchal past: a Noose, The "N" Word, a master-slave rape scenario. . .
As these fantasies are retold again and again, the public is instructed that the past is not really past: Whites are still wicked, still guilty, still in need of supervision by the civil-right government and legal complex.
On the other hand, Blacks, and other races, are encouraged to unify around a false idol or martyr (no matter how preposterous his or her story might be). With the Zimmerman case, Barack Obama led the way. Though he is of mixed-race heritage, he symbolically made his choice when he stated that Trayvon "could have been my son"—or, later on, "could have been me"! Both statements amount to the same thing—Through White oppression, we have become a family.
Modern American society is thus based on two totally irreconcilable ideologies: one public and endorsed by all "respectable" voices—the second secret and denied by its practitioners.
The public ideology is the heroic story of American liberalism:
Once upon a time, we are told, there was a nation founded on the unity of all mankind. But it wasn't able to live up to its own lofty ideals because of the remainder of White power. But after the military defeat of the Old South and Nazi Germany, and the political enfranchisement of former slaves, America finally became America.
The secret ideology is that all non-Whites must unify politically—as distinct peoples or in a rainbow coalition—in order to get what's theirs and defeat The Man.
Self-identifying "conservatives" hope that one day the first myth will come true, and that they could just be left alone, dissolving into race-less, capitalist America. "Liberals" criticize "conservatives" not for holding this view but for not recognizing that White power hasn't yet been completely dismantled—more work needs to be done! Both remain oblivious to the one way to break the cycle of guilt is to do exactly what the system says is forbidden and "impossible"—unify the White race spiritually and politically and embrace the necessity of wielding power (as opposed to fleeing from it).
At least George Zimmerman—an Hispanic falsely accused of White racism—has revealed for us the total unworkability of the American system for White people. As a private individual, we know little about Zimmerman, but the details that have surfaced paint a picture of a man who sincerely and genuinely tried to live out the American mythos. He comes from a "racially integrated" household, meaning that his White father married a women of Mestizo-African heritage. And though Zimmerman may have "racially profiled" Trayvon Martin, he was a champion of "race-blind" idealism in his personal life: he worked with a Black business partner and one of his forays into civic activism involved defending the rights of a Black homeless person against the police.
George Zimmerman has no connection with White nationalism, or even White identity as America's historic majority. To the contrary, he was a GOP poster boy who embraced the Americanist creed.
In his personal website, "The Real George Zimmerman" (which has since been taken down), Zimmer included a hyperlink labeled "my race." He linked not to a story about his mother's bona-fide minority status; instead, he quoted Thomas Paine:
The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
Perhaps these are the sentiments of a tragic mulatto? Whatever the case, Zimmerman was uniquely representative of the dream of a post-White, post-Traditional America. If he couldn't escape racial revenge, what hope do we have?