The jury has given their verdict, and so far there has been a relatively muted reaction. There was some violence in Oakland, where windows were smashed and a few fires lit in the street, but there has been no major rioting so far. And President Obama, no doubt mindful of his hasty words in March ("If I had a son, he's look like Trayvon"), called for calm.
The key question here is, how would the Right and the Left have reacted had the races been reversed in this case?
Had a black neighborhood watchman spotted a suspicious-looking white man, followed him at a discreet distance, and then been attacked by that white man, with the white man getting on top of him, punching him in the face, and pounding his head against the sidewalk, and then had that black man managed to pull out a gun and shoot the white man, I would have had no problem with a not guilty verdict. Especially had the black man ended up with a possibly broken nose, cuts on the back of his head, and grass stains on his pants consistent with that story, and had the eyewitness with the best view of them confirmed that story,
I suspect that most of those on the Right would also have had no problem.
How would the Left have reacted if the races been reversed?
My guess is that their view of the situation would have changed completely. Ignore for the moment the fact that had the races been reversed, you never would have heard of this killing. Let's just say, for argument's sake, that you had heard of it, and that it had gone down exactly as described three paragraphs above. Let's also say -- as the media did -- that the "white guy" is actually white, even though George Zimmerman isn't.
Would Jesse and Al have then sided with the black man, or the white man? (Yes, that was a rhetorical question.)
Would President Obama have initially said of the shooting victim, if I had cousins, they'd look like him? Doubtful.
Would the New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media have focused on the "unjustified" shooting, or the fact that a white man was sitting on top of a black man punching him in the face and knocking his head against the sidewalk in yet another egregious instance of white-on-black violence?
The NY Post just ran an article about how various celebrities have weighed in on the verdict. Russell Simmons, Sean "Diddy" Combs, and Solange Knowle tweeted their support for Trayvon. New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz tweeted, "Thoroughly confused. Zimmerman doesn't last a year before the hood catches up to him," though he later deleted and apologized for the tweet. Beyonce asked for a moment of silence for Trayvon during a concert she gave last night.
The only celebrity quoted in the article who differed was Donald Trump, who wrote, "Zimmerman is no angel, but the lack of evidence and the concept of self-defense, especially in Florida, gave the jury little other choice."
Which of them would have been sounding a different tune had the races been reversed?
Now comes word that the Justice Department is considering bringing a criminal civil rights case against Zimmerman.
Would they be doing that if their potential target was a black man?
If you're interested in justice, the key question you have to ask yourself whenever there is a case like this is, what would happen if the races were reversed?