Deborah Orr, writing in the Guardian, on the other side of the Big Pond, sees what Americans are unwilling to see.
The death of Trayvon Martin was rooted in bigotry, as was the exoneration of his stalker.
It was a contemporary version of a phrase I heard often in my youth:
It was only a n****r.
So an unarmed kid dies as he walks while black from the store to his father’s house, and the jury was all “Zimmerman was such a nice well-intentioned boy and, after all, it was only a n*****r.”
Only protest from the public ensured that Zimmerman was tried for killing Martin at all. Only protest from the public has ensured that this killing has been seen through the prism of race. Yet to an outsider, it is obvious that Martin died because he was black, and that Zimmerman walked free after killing him for the same reason.
Even though equal civil rights for black Americans are still so new, their achievement still so clear in living memory, the US just can’t see what the rest of the world sees – that inequality so entrenched in the history of a state doesn’t disappear in matter of decades; on the contrary, the baleful fruits of generations of inequality can be used to justify the very prejudice that promoted the inequality in the first place.
If your eyes are open, you know I’m right.