Critical Race Theory and the Trayvon Martin Case

Critical Race Theory and the Trayvon Martin Case

The Trayvon Martin case shows, once again, the effect of Derrick Bell’s radical Critical Race Theory on President Barack Obama and his administration.

Critical Race Theory holds that the law itself is characterized by white supremacy–an idea Obama invoked by insisting that Americans “examine the laws” that supposedly led to Martin’s death. And Bell often promoted his theory with fictional projections about race–just as racial fiction is driving Obama’s response to the case.

Consider the following quote, from Tuesday, March 27 (video below):

I’m not here just for George. I’m here for my kids. I’m here for every other young black man. I understand why everybody is upset. If I didn’t know George, I’d be upset, too. If I didn’t know what I know, I’d be just as outraged. But once this is all over, we still have to address the problem that has brought us to this point in the first place, and that’s the fear that we have of each other, the fear that we have of young black men…We’ve got a black president, and yet we continue to stereotype young black men. I get that. We’ve got to continue this conversation after this is over, because it goes beyond Trayvon and George…This particular incident, this confrontation between Trayvon and George, had nothing to do with race. But because of our racial history, because of Sanford’s racial history, that’s why we’re at where we are now…I’ve got an 18-year-old son. My heart goes out to the Martins. I am a black man. Like my friend George, I’m just trying to do the right thing.

Those were the tearful words of Joe Oliver, who has been defending his good friend Zimmerman in the midst of the media frenzy over Martin’s terrible death. Oliver is pleading with the public to consider, patiently, the facts of this particular case, without letting them be overwhelmed by broader–and valid–issues about race. 

He is resisting a version of the Martin case told by the mainstream media, the organized left, and the Obama administration that is filled with fantasy and driven by Critical Race Theory’s assumptions about the law. 

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that George Zimmerman is guilty of a crime for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. Let’s further stipulate that young black men are routinely profiled and suspected of crimes, even when completely innocent.

Even with those assumptions in place, it is clear that important elements of the story are being invented, or obscured–the first being that Zimmerman is a “white Hispanic.” 

That fabrication–“the police department hasn’t arrested Zimmerman because he is white and [Martin] was black”–allowed the media to set up the story as a racial morality play, a white-versus-black tale that defined the villain and the hero in trite, familiar terms. 

Then President Barack Obama waded in, playing up the racial drama (“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”). He suggested that beyond the “specifics of the incident,” we ought to do some “soul-searching” and “examine the laws and the context for what happened,” as if Martin had been killed by the legal system. That further fueled debate over “stand your ground” laws–which happen to protect black defendants as well.

As evidence mounted that the incident “had nothing to do with race,” as Oliver says, the left and its media outlets worked overtime to paint Zimmerman as a racist. MSNBC, for one, used selective editing to reinforce the meme, quoting Zimmerman as having told a 911 dispatcher: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good…he looks black.” The ellipsis hid the fact that it was the dispatcher who had asked Zimmerman about Martin’s race.

As the hysteria grew, Democrats, media commentators, and left-wing celebrities began advocating vigilante justice against Zimmerman–suggesting that he be locked up “for his own safety,” or tweeting what they thought was his home address. The irony that innocent black men were once victimized by similar methods in the not-too-distant past never occurred to the enraged perpetrators of this attempt at new media mob rule.

This was Andrew Breitbart’s “Democrat-media complex” at work–coordinating a false meme about race, ignoring available facts, and making up fake evidence to reinforce a political agenda that relies on division and fear. In the process, the media, the left, and the Obama administration not only made Zimmerman’s life–and other lives–miserable, but also denied Martin any real hope of justice by poisoning the potential jury pool. 

Obama–the center of the crisis, and to some extent its intended beneficiary–once warned us about “jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.” That was when the accused was Nidal Hasan, an avowed Islamic terrorist. Obama’s caution in that case was intended to obscure the faith of the killer. 

In contrast, Obama’s response in the Martin case has reinforced media distortions about race, and Critical Race Theory’s distortions about the law itself.

Joe Oliver’s emotional words remind us that facts matter, that individuals matter, and that truth matters–and that these must take priority even over the very real racial issues with which our country struggles. 

To speculate that Zimmerman is guilty based on the available facts is one thing; to convict him based on his supposed race, and on Martin’s, is the classic definition of “prejudice.”

And Obama, the media, and the left are promoting it.


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