Six Million Trayvons: the Zimmerman mindset – By Judd Legum

Six Million Trayvons: How the George Zimmerman Mindset has Rigged the Justice System Against Young Black Men

By Judd Legum

 George Zimmerman killed one boy, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Although a Florida jury found Zimmerman not guilty, his attitude — that a young black male is an object suspicion and contempt — not only cost Martin his life but has infected the entire United States criminal justice system.

Law Professor Michelle Alexander makes the point powerfully:

It is the Zimmerman mindset that must be found guilty – far more than the man himself. It is a mindset that views black men and boys as nothing but a threat, good for nothing, up to no good no matter who they are or what they are doing. It is the Zimmerman mindset that has birthed a penal system unprecedented in world history, and relegated millions to a permanent undercaste.   

The statistics back up Alexander’s point. Minorities, especially the six million young black men in America, get much worse outcomes from the criminal justice system for the same conduct:

1. A black male born in 2001 has a 32% chance of spending some portion of his life in prison. A white male born the same year has just a 6% chance. [Sentencing Project]

2. In major American cities, as many as 80% of young African-American men have criminal records. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]

3. African-Americans who use drugs are more than four times as likely to be incarcerated than whites who use drugs. African Americans constitute 14% of the population and 14% of monthly drug users. But African-Americans respresent 34% of those arrested for a drug offense and 53% of those sentenced to prison for a drug offense. [American Bar Association]

4. In seven states, African Americans constitute 80% or more of all drug offenders sent to prison. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]

5. Black students are three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. One in five black boys recieve an out-of-school suspension. Education Secretary Arne Duncan who commissioned the study, said “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.” [New York Times]

6. Black youth who are referred to juvenile court are much more likely to be detained, referred to adult court or end up in adult prison than their white counterparts. Blacks represented 28% of juvenile arrests, 30% of referrals to juvenile court, 37% of the detained population, 35% of youth judicially waived to criminal court and 58% of youth admitted to state adult prison. [National Council on Crime And Deliquency]

7. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. [Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow]

In 2004, the Amerian Bar Association created a commission which produced recommendation to address “racial and ethnic bias in the criminal justice system.” Thus far, their recommendations have been largely ignored in much of the country.

This article was published at NationofChange at: All rights are reserved.

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  • de castro  On 07/17/2013 at 12:27 pm

    Interesting but not surprising…
    When prejudice is endemic in society racism re-incarnates….

    The statistics above are not only convincing they should be embarrassing
    to every living american….the stars and stripes should now be flown at half mast in shame…..disgrace ! Obama s actions will be his legacy….
    The Latinos gave him a second chance now let’s see if he
    demonstrates the leadership Americans want/need today…..
    The eyes of the world are focused on how this injustice
    is addressed….or more Americans will be incarserated for
    every demenour needlessly…..
    In UK even in most of euro mister Zimmerman would be either
    locked away or sentenced to “community service” in the area
    of his crime against humanity….carrying a weapon and using it.
    In old England the village stock was used …where rotten eggs and tommattoes
    were the weapons used….it worked then but is now upgraded !
    Community service…

    America s dilemma Obamas as well is to change the laws on the right to bear arms…if I carry a gun I would be expected to use it …and I will…for the same reason I will not carry one…..wake up AMERICA wake up OBAMA
    sometimes the most unpopular decisions are the right ones.

    Kamptan social media is changing our planet forever optimistic!

  • Thinker  On 07/17/2013 at 2:39 pm

    This has nothing to do with Obama and what he can do about it. The most extreme cases of clear discrimination will be scrutinised more carefully, like that of the lady who got twenty years for just firing a warning shot when she thought her ex-husband was going to be violent. Awareness and the fight for Justice is just the beginning. But some of the problem must be solved by Blacks themselves. That is the part that not too many want to hear, because it involves more action at the community level.

  • de castro  On 07/17/2013 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks my brother
    Sometimes I think the problem in USA is its size and its diversity.
    Described as the north / south divide.
    Similar to the with in euro UK etcetc
    We are however in agreement that the problem is at the “community” level…
    However laws are not made locally but interpretation of the laws can
    become distorted locally….52 states with different laws and law enforcement
    is a quagmire that the legal system cannot accommadate / administer
    without arbitrary arguments…..Laws are made/changed in UK by act of parliament and it is upheld/enforced nationally….by law enforcement agencies….

    Sorry will continue later but feel free to respond in the mean timer…


  • kr0636  On 07/17/2013 at 5:00 pm

    Jury stacked in favor of Zimmerman
    The defense engaged the most sophisticated jury consultants to determine the selection of jurors. Jury consultants have elevated their skills to a high level of precision. The selected six members of the jury therefore had these characteristics; five were white middle class women, one was half white; they were all advocates of the “stand your ground” law; they were all proponents of the “right to bear and carry arms”. All of these characteristics were favourable to Zimmerman’s defense. The defense was aware of these prejudices and did a fine job of enlisting them in the ensuing jury deliberations. In addition to this jury stacking, there is the question as to whether a person of average intelligence is equipped to objectively evaluate the legal technicalities and manipulations of skillful attorneys. Research has shown that even a college-educated person is vulnerable to the manipulations of skillful attorneys. In this regard, it would seem that the time has come to have a hard look at the jury system as it currently obtains. The recent interview by one of the jurors attest to this bias in the jury; she consistently refers to Zimmerman as “George” and minced no words in derogating Trayvon Martin. The prosecution must bear most of the blame for this travesty of justice. They stand idly by while the jury selection process was manipulated by the defense. The question is “where do we go from here”. We have a black president. He received a mere handful of the white electorate, but with the coalition of minorities was able to prevail. Let us look at the scream for help. There was a fight; Zimmerman was loosing, he pulled out his gun; Trayvon staring down the barrel of the gun, screamed for help; Zimmerman pulled the trigger and shot Trayvon through the heart. The scream and the gunfire were almost instantaneous. Anyone facing a loaded gun would scream. The question of who screamed was therefore nothing but a red herring by the defense. Race it seems will always be a contentious aspect of life in America for the unforeseeable future.
    Cephas Keith Reyes, PhD.

    • Thinker  On 07/17/2013 at 6:21 pm

      One Black was rejected because he is an avid viewer of FOX News. Obama could not have won if he had received a mere handful of the white electorate. Ridiculous. Other than that you are quite right.

  • de castro  On 07/17/2013 at 5:58 pm

    Obama is the ultimate power of the land and the buck must stop
    with him….unlike UK an act of parliament changes the law
    not the prime minister …. MP s have to vote with a majority in favour
    before it is enacted. Not sure of the american system but guess
    congress must approve before it can become law….or whether the
    president has the final say !
    Sorry I am not a lawyer so cannot comment further on the legal
    aspect of the discussion.The prime minister cannot go to war
    without the approval of parliament….an example of power and
    who is the ultimate “Caesar” power in the land.
    George w certainly demonstrated this power over IRAQ….with the
    help of his lap dog Tony Blair…without UN s approval….
    Today we have SYRIA ……
    My personal view is that power must be returned to local government
    where laws are enacted/enforced locally but parliament London Westminster
    has the final say on national laws…David Cameron is in favour and can
    hopefully get national agreement on the issue.
    What I find difficult to understand is a murder committed in one state
    is punishable by execution ….yet in another it is not.
    Murder in Texas yet in another state its life behind bars….
    may add at Taxpayers expense….a legal form of hyprocacy/economically influenced….cheaper to kill than to keep !

    My spin entirely

  • Thinker  On 07/17/2013 at 6:18 pm

    The buck does NOT stop with Obama. States make their own laws. All the Federal government can do is ensure that Federal Civil Rights Laws are not broken. Your European examples are just confusing the issue.

  • de castro  On 07/17/2013 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you for your input which says it all…..
    Jury selection is the issue…..commonsense must prevail here…..
    Jury service is in question here….surely if 12 or 13 members of the
    jury cannot reach a unanimous decision on guilt the judge can
    suspend them and have a retrial….the supreme court the highest
    authority has the power to do so.
    Let’s see how this one plays out….


  • de castro  On 07/17/2013 at 6:43 pm

    Once again thanks for that info on how the law works in USA
    Can there be a re-trial or not ! confused….
    Does the judge have the power to call for a re-trial !

    Does the president have the power to instruct the judge…


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