Madeleine Rogin


In America, Race Is More Than a Backdrop

The problem with a "colorblind" approach to the Zimmerman trial is it assumes race is not a determining factor. In America, that's never true.

What happens when the topic of race is not allowed to be introduced in a murder trial where the victim is a black teenage boy? With George Zimmerman's acquittal of the murder of Trayvon Martin, we found out.

As Lizette Alvarez wrote in the New York Timesa week before the jury delivered their verdict, "Race only occasionally punctuated the proceedings. The judge made it clear that statements about race would be sharply limited and the term 'racial profiling' not allowed." By eliminating the possibility that the jury could consider race as a possible motive—or one of many factors that contributed to this murder, the judge did not allow the prosecution to give the jury a complete, honest account of Trayvon's murder.

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