The Zimmerman Verdict Shows Black Men Still Carry the Burden of White Racial Panic

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 15 2013 8:34 AM

Opening Act: Obsequious to Panic

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Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin, cries as he listens to the description of his son's death during the George Zimmerman trial on June 24, 2013, in Sanford, Fla.

Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

The Zimmerman verdict has produced a bumper crop of strong, compelling writing and reporting. Cord Jefferson:

If you’re a black man and you don’t remain vigilant of and obsequious to white people’s panic in your presence—if you, say, punch a man who accosts you during dinner with your girlfriend and screams “Nigger!” in your face, or if you, say, punch a man who is following you without cause in the dark with a handgun at his side—then you must be prepared to be arrested, be beaten, be shot through the heart and lung and die on the way home to watch a basketball game with your family. And after you are dead, other blacks should be prepared for people to say you are a vicious thug who deserved it. You smoked weed, for instance, and got in some fights at school (like I did)—obviously you had it coming. You were a ticking time bomb, and sooner or later someone was going to have to put you down.

There's more from Ta-Nehisi Coates, and even Joe Scarborough sheds his "both sides are responsible" mask to make a rough point about Republicans.

I remained confused by a political party that desperately tries to expand its minority outreach by considering the granting of citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants while refusing to even give the benefit of the doubt to a young black man gunned down for no good reason in a suburban Florida neighborhood. I just don’t get it.
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Ruby Cramer has a fun report from the NYC mayoral campaign trail, profiling Huma Abedin's role in the Weiner comeback. I can't remember the last time I heard about a candidate who wasn't named Weiner.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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