What did race have to do with the George Zimmerman case in America? George Zimmerman, a half-white, half-Latino man who gets a bloody nose and a few scratches on his head, shoots dead Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, 17-year-old black boy, calls it self-defence and is found “not guilty” of both murder and manslaughter by a nearly all-white court. How could that possibly be racist? I mean, it is not like Zimmerman used the N-word. It was a fair trial! Besides, the president is black!
Right now when people see him they see a cute, well-dressed little boy with a winning smile and engaging personality, his blackness is a matter of minimal significance. Unfortunately, I know at some point that will change. At some point – I’m not sure at what age – people will look at him and the first thing they’ll see will be his color and everything else about him – his smile, his openness, his intelligence, his desire to engage – will be filtered by their view about his color, whether they find his very existence menacing and they will act accordingly. This fact is not new to me, it’s something I’ve thought about ever since his birth but the events of this weekend have elevated that occasional thought into a real worry.
It’s Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. While the ailing anti-Apartheid hero remains hospitalized in South Africa, the subject of his legacy — and how exactly to portray it on film — has been up for discussion.