Op-Ed: Zimmerman Arrest a Sign of ‘Broken, Racist’ U.S. Justice


How is the latest arrest of George Zimmerman being portrayed abroad? Commentator Michael Jeffries writes in the Guardian that the case is indicative of “a broken criminal punishment system that reflects a society rife with institutional racism and prejudice against people of color.” Zimmerman, acquitted in the shooting of a Florida teenager in a “Stand Your Ground” controversy, was arrested this week for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.

Jeffries, an author and professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, writes, “Indeed, Zimmerman was given the benefit of the doubt by the legal system at every turn, and it began long before the trial started…The presumption of white innocence is interwoven with the perceptions of black and Hispanic criminality and threat.” Jeffries concludes, “Neutrality is a smokescreen for racism and sexism inscribed in law and on our bodies. So we have to talk truthfully about race, gender, and class in courts, legislative halls, schools, and in our homes if we are to move towards justice.”

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