Geraldo Rivera visited Fox & Friends this morning where he once again demonstrated his version of promoting race relations, this time by continuing to blame Trayvon Martin for his own death, saying, "You dress like a thug, people are going to treat you like a thug." Rivera also again suggested that President Obama’s pandering to the black community brought about the wrongful prosecution of George Zimmerman – once again presented as the real victim in this tragedy.
Rivera first dismissed the feelings of those who are horrified that a man who shot and killed an unarmed teenager had just beat the rap: “This case was just one of those things.”
Then Rivera again suggested that the whole tragedy was really Trayvon Martin’s fault – at the same time making racial innuendoes that President Obama was the other culprit.
This was bold-faced race politics. The president gave the signal. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton two men I hold in very high regard. But when they stirred things up, they did it in a way that I think was way over the top. …You dress like a thug, people are going to treat you like a thug. That’s true, I stand by that even in my own family. …That’s the reality. You don’t send your kids into the rainy night and then have them walk in back alleys in troubled neighborhoods and expect that a good result.
Well, Geraldo, you don't go around blaming the dead, unarmed teen shooting victim for his own death and expect a good result, either. That is, unless your idea of a good result are props from the higher ups at Fox News.
Meanwhile, co-host Tucker Carlson used the moment to take some racial swipes at Jackson and Sharpton: "They are hustlers and pimps who make a living off inflaming racial tensions… The only reason they are allowed to do this is because we in the press enable them by calling them civil rights leaders."
Yeah, that’s enhancing race relations just the way Rivera claims to want to promote.
Video below via Media Matters.
Have a good day and maybe we will discourse again. I am signing off on this topic.
By the way, I caught your mistake and my assumption was that you did not mean Zimmerman you meant Martin. I hope you will forgive me for my blunders in grammar and run on sentences. Sometimes I just get tearing along on some of these blogs and forget to edit.
Also, I want to tell you that you have been a delightful conversationalist. You have given me much to consider.
I’m not really sure where you’re going with the idea of the “surreptitious” Northerners or the idea that people don’t talk to each other based on a “PC” notion of conversation. I’ve had plenty of such discussions and we didn’t mince words about what was “PC”. Oprah’s comment about remembering that we’ve come a long way since the lynching of Emmett Till wasn’t about the concept of “PC”. She was talking about the progress of civil rights and equality in this country.
I appreciate your acknowledgment that your attack on Trayvon Martin’s character was a comment you could not make. I agree with you that you could glean a “hint” of someone’s character from looking at a case – but you need to be careful that you’re not just looking at a few details that confirm assumptions you may have.
You’ve jumped to a conclusion that I somehow called George Zimmerman a “low level racist”. I did no such thing. I said that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin as a criminal when he saw him, which was why he called the police. His defense attorneys conceded this when they made a presentation in court about the young black men who have been caught burglarizing houses in that neighborhood. As you stated, if Zimmerman was on the lookout for burglars in his neighborhood, and these were the people he was expecting to find up to no good, a young black male wearing a hoodie would fall directly into his suspect list. That doesn’t make him a “low level racist”. It makes him a guy who’s making the wrong assumptions and then acting on them. And yes, had it been a white teenager walking down the sidewalk in the rain, I don’t know that Zimmerman would have jumped to the conclusion that this was a criminal.
Frankly, I don’t believe that Zimmerman had justification to call the police when he did. He was acting on his own belief that Martin was a burglar. But Martin wasn’t a burglar and he had every right to be walking down that street to go home to watch the rest of the All Star game.
Keep in mind that there was actually an exchange of sorts before Zimmerman even left his vehicle. Martin realized that Zimmerman was staring at him from partway down the block. So Martin walked a little closer and approached the vehicle to get a better look. He and Zimmerman made eye contact. Martin was clearly frightened, as he ran away and tried to get away from Zimmerman. Zimmerman, for his part, never said anything to Martin at this time, like “Hi, how are you, I’m with the neighborhood watch here. Are you visiting someone?” Instead, he just stared Martin down, and when Martin bolted, he assumed that meant Martin was a criminal rather than a creeped-out teenager. And even after Zimmerman was told by the dispatcher not to follow Martin, he continued to do so. This led directly to a verbal confrontation with Martin where Zimmerman again did not identify himself as Neighborhood Watch, opting instead to just angrily demand to know what Martin was doing there.
I wouldn’t say that Zimmerman was lying when he called the dispatcher. I’d say that he made a woefully wrong assumption and then acted on it. As for the truthfulness of Zimmerman’s statements about the confrontation, I’d say that his story is extremely hard to believe. He says that Martin jumped out of bushes that don’t exist. He says that Martin attacked him, when the neighbors heard an argument first. He says that in the fight, Martin was doing things that were physically impossible, such has holding his hand over Zimmerman’s nose and mouth and reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, which Martin couldn’t have seen. Zimmerman says his head was repeatedly being smashed into the sidewalk, when such a predicament would have left him unable to do anything, much less pull a gun from a back holster and shoot someone. Does this all make Zimmerman a liar who deliberately shot a teenager? No, it makes him a guy who provoked an avoidable confrontation and ended it by shooting the other guy. And when confronted with the reality of having done that, he told a story that would justify his actions. I think Zimmerman believes the stories he told – in his mind, he’s justified in pulling that trigger. The problem is that the facts don’t support Zimmerman’s opinion. Even right wing people have acknowledged to me that Zimmerman was not in danger of his life by any means and that he initiated a situation that led directly to him being in the position he was in when he pulled the trigger. Doesn’t mean that Zimmerman didn’t THINK he was in danger, but it does mean that there was no reason for him to be in that situation in the first place. And by the way, that Florida manslaughter definition, discusses the idea that Zimmerman chose to take an action which then resulted in the death of another person. That’s exactly what happened here.
There’s nothing wrong with Zimmerman or anyone else volunteering for Neighborhood Watch, particularly given the burglaries that plagued that neighborhood. The difference comes when the Watch volunteer takes it upon themselves to chase and stalk someone and then initiates a confrontation that goes badly for everyone. There’s a huge difference between sitting in your car keeping an eye on the neighborhood and acting like a uniformed cop chasing down a perp. But I think you know that.
I’m not sure where all this labeling about “liberals” and “character” is coming from. Having listened to many hours of both right wing and left wing radio, I can honestly say that no one political faction has any monopoly on discussions of “character” and “consequence”. Just listen to Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” on any weekday, and you’ll get a strong dose of her beliefs about the lack of character being evidenced by many politicians and personalities. (And I note that she’s just as tough on Democrats as she is on GOP politicians – her 30 minute attack interview with Bill Clinton on Election Day 2000 is a classic for Clinton-haters on both sides of the aisle.)
Your jaywalker analogy assumes once again that Trayvon Martin was somehow breaking the law, or doing something dangerous that had consequences. As far as I know, walking down the sidewalk is NOT a crime, and it should have NO consequences at all.
You’ve also convoluted the details about Trayvon Martin’s suspensions. Let’s be very clear about them: He was first suspended for “tardiness and truancy” – basically for cutting class. He was next suspended for graffiti. When he was being searched for the graffiti marker, the school police officer found he had a bag containing some jewelry items and a screwdriver. But here’s the catch – nobody has ever reported that jewelry stolen and nobody has claimed it. To this date, I don’t know if anyone knows whose jewelry it was or where it came from. Martin said he was holding it for someone else, and based on the rest of his history, I’m inclined to believe that. Doesn’t make Martin an “angel” – it means he was frankly dumb enough to hold something he shouldn’t have. Martin’s final suspension was for having a marijuana pipe and a baggie that had some pot residue in it. What do we get from all this? That Martin was not a model student and he was clearly having some trouble. Based on the few texts and tweets we have of his, we know that his mother had sent him to live with his father, which is why he was in Zimmerman’s community in the first place. Now, you assume from all this that Zimmerman automatically had bad character, had never worked hard and wasn’t humble. To which I would answer that I have known several people who weren’t model students in school at one time or another. In some cases, I know people who were literally thrown out of one high school and forced to finish at a different school. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have any character or that they never worked hard. It means that they made some stupid mistakes at one point and then had to make up for them. In a couple of those cases, those people turned out to be of very good character, as their subsequent history as husbands and fathers has shown me. Not everyone who gets suspended from school is automatically a “thug”.
You say that you don’t think that Trayvon Martin deserved what happened to him, but in the next breath you say “if a person is doing bad things on regular basis it would not be surprising to see bad things happen to them.” Meaning that you believe Trayvon Martin’s “bad behavior” thus resulted in Zimmerman stalking and killing him. Or more simply, he got what was coming to him. Just as you noted with your jaywalker analogy – if you jaywalk and get run over, then you brought that on yourself. Except that the assumption underlying your statements is that you believe Martin to have been of bad character, and you believe he was doing “bad things”. The facts don’t show that. The facts show that Trayvon Martin was a student who’d gotten himself in enough trouble as it was, but who was simply walking home from the store and committing no crime at the time he was profiled, followed, confronted and killed. Had Trayvon Martin been breaking into people’s cars as we saw with Christopher Cervini, or shooting at a family member as we saw with Marissa Alexander, then your argument might have held water. But he was doing none of those things. He was walking down the sidewalk, coming home from the store. What was coming to him wasn’t a confrontation and a shooting, but instead the second half of the All Star Game and then hopefully for him a better effort at school.