Weeks after his trial, George Zimmerman is still one of the biggest news stories in the country. After his acquittal in the Trayvon Martin murder case, the media kept him in the news by interviewing jurors. Then, Zimmerman reportedly helped rescue a family from an overturned SUV in Sanford.
Back when the shooting itself was still fresh, websites like Colorlines questioned the role of race in the incident. Zimmerman is often portrayed as a racist white man or a racist Hispanic man who stalked and brutally murdered Martin just because he was black. In fact, Zimmerman is half-Peruvian and half-white. So how does race play into this story? Is it possible for Zimmerman to be racist, even though, like many of us, he’s multiracial? The Colorlines story was published in 2012, but the question of race is still important, even after Zimmerman’s trial has ended. How much does it really matter that he’s both Peruvian and white?
It doesn’t. The fact that Zimmerman is multiracial does not mean that he cannot be racist. Because he was acquitted, that means that legally speaking, the act of shooting Martin was not racially based at all. No matter what you believe, though, racism is simpler than we think. Zimmerman is a mix but that doesn’t mean anything. He can still be a racist, a non-racist, or any other category we could put him into. Whether he is racist against black people or not does not change what happened – Trayvon Martin is still dead and Zimmerman had his day in court.
It is far easier to pigeonhole Zimmerman as a white or Hispanic man who has a grudge against black people, but the truth is that we will never know what really happened that night, or why. At the end of the day, Zimmerman’s racial makeup is of no consequence and it may have nothing to do with his motivations. His actions on the night of February 26, 2012 are what truly matter, regardless of whether he is white, black, Hispanic, Asian, or anything else.
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