Brief thoughts on Zimmerman’s exoneration

I’ve seen several people say that Zimmerman was rightfully acquitted, based on the ambiguity of the evidence and the technical specifications of the law.

This is not an entirely ridiculous position, but it misses the point. An armed adult stalked and shot an unarmed child, the case barely went to trial, and Zimmerman walked.

Don’t get me wrong–a guilty verdict would’ve had problems too. There was no way for this trial to end well, because it functioned as the kind of ritual-theater, not as an earnest attempt to promote justice.

I’m as enthusiastic as anyone about a court-system that presumes innocence and demands proof before conviction. But applauding Zimmerman’s exoneration on this basis while ignoring the racist conditions of both Martin’s death and the American justice system at large is a little like applauding the quality of public services delivered to whites during segregation. What we talk about is as politically important as what we say.

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