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GZ/TM case: a necessary qualification

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posted on Jul, 16 2013 @ 10:13 PM
The more I've learned about this case in the past days, the more I've come to support the jurors final verdict. Basically, we shouldn't prosecute people on so many "ifs". Speculation should not justify prosecution - and since the evidence was lacking for prosecution, the non-guilty verdict seems justified

HOWEVER, there is a necessary qualification that has to be acknowledged. So many people here have really begun to nauseate me with their ignorance and dismissal of racism against blacks in America. To pretend that the system is completely "fair", that unconscious biases don't influence our thinking (a scientifically proven cognitive fact) or that a history of racism in America doesn't affect police officers judgement of who to suspect and who to ignore, is indefensible. It is immature. It shows a complete ignorance of cognitive sciences (a large reason why laymen aren't very good at coming to rational decisions) - which is to say, that we are being constantly influenced by what psychologists call "primers", and these primers oftentimes reflect facts of a nations historical experience, whether they're understood or not by the people engaging in these behaviors.

So, while the verdict conforms to what we should expect from a justice system, that doesn't mean Trayvon Martin wasn't profiled (regardless of whatever story Zimmerman's laywers created to deflect those accusations), and it certainly doesn't mean African Americans don't have reason to suspect that he was profiled.

Qualifiers are important. They keep us from being overly impassioned and subconsciously affected by personal biases. Only someone who is aware - who honestly questions his own assumptions and sees the issue from a larger perspective is able to speak from this "middle" of the path perspective, and come to qualify his position.

And, of course, there are those political opportunists whose only concern isn't reason but their own partisan agendas: whether that be to demonize the system as viciously prejudicial against blacks, or to treat African Americans as essentially insane - without any basis at all for what they see as unfair system.

The verdict was correct because this is how the law should work, PERIOD. If something cannot be proven beyond a doubt, then that's it. If this had been a white person, and not Trayvon Martin, the verdict would likely have been the same. Conversely, the system is not consciously prejudicial. It's not exactly easy or obvious to clean the closet of our subconscious biases. They cling because we come from a culture which has affected us in this way; the cure, is to become conscious of these prejudices. But I don't think changing how we try a case i.e making assumption after assumption that that MUST have been the reason George Zimmerman approached Trayvon, is fair and justified.

Also, for those who support Trayvon Martin, it should really be acknowledged how "down the wrong path" he really was. I just finished watching a CNN special with Anderson Cooper which, despite its sometimes edifying points, completely and deliberately ignored the thuggery of Trayvon Martins character. It doesn't seem to matter that his character (i.e guns, gang signs, etc) correlated with potentially suspicious behavior. Trayvon was not the poster picture of innocence that he is being made out to be by the media, so in this sense, I find yet another depressing example of power politics. One side is willing to skew the facts to discredit the other side. By doing so, we get no where. We can't improve ourselves or the situation we find ourselves in if we aren't being honest about our motives.
edit on 16-7-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 16 2013 @ 10:55 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

I agree with some of that but I am curious . .. .

When it is time to put gas in your vehicle do you just arbitrarily pick a gas station or do your shop around for prices?

If you shop around it could be easily stated that you are profiling gas stations.

Your context of the word profiling is a bit twisted.

It could very well be said that Trayvon was a suspicious character. After all he was out wondering around in the rain walking next to houses. I myself would call that suspicious activity. If I were a security guard I would follow up on that. That could also be called profiling.

If you think that Zimmerman looking at the color of his skin raised suspicious then you really need to rethink this post.

He actually did not even know what color he was until he was on the phone with the dispatch center and the operator asked. There was a definite hesitation.
edit on 16-7-2013 by ShadellacZumbrum because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 17 2013 @ 12:08 AM
reply to post by ShadellacZumbrum

Your context of the word profiling is a bit twisted.

But then again, he was caught lying a few times. What do you make of that?

As for my use of the word "profile". I find it strange that someone can reply to a thread which emphasizes the prevalence of "profiling" - something which has been scientifically justified through simple statistical comparisons - and something which makes complete sense in light of what cognitive science has revealed about how personal biases can influence what we take notice of - and still insist that Zimmerman didn't profile. In other words, you either overlooked, or misunderstood what I wrote.

I said blacks had reason to suspect that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin. Consider this analogy: not all strange skin lesions are signs of cancer, but some are. Not all African Americans who are pursued ad detained by police are innocent, but some are; and guess what, the ratio is far larger amongst blacks and browns (Latinos) than amongst whites. Why is that? It's not a statistical fluke. The difference is what scientists call "statistically significant". Its too large a difference to ignore. There is either conscious profiling going on, or unconscious profiling going on. In either case, it's a problem we need to become conscious of if its going to stop.

posted on Jul, 17 2013 @ 12:55 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

I actually think I misconstrued it.

That word has been used allot these past few days mostly out of context.

I also agree that we have a long way to evolve before we will see the end of prejudice.

he was caught lying a few times. What do you make of that?

I think it is interesting that it had no bearing on the case. One thing I found surprising was that he had said that he was not familiar with the "Stand Your Ground" Law. Then it turns out that he did in fact go to school to become a lawyer AND did special studies on that law. I watched an interview with his instructor and he said that George was the best in his class.
edit on 17-7-2013 by ShadellacZumbrum because: (no reason given)

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