Posted on June 29, 2013 by btx3
Kind of hard to escape the last few days evisceration of the first prosecution witness in the Trayvon Martin murder case by the media. And the role race has played in that.
Rachel Jeantel can’t read cursive. That’s the main takeaway from the fourth day of the George Zimmerman trial: Jeantel, the heavyset, snappy prosecution witness who was on the phone with her friend Trayvon Martin minutes before he died, cannot read script handwriting. Defense attorney Don West underlined that fact for the benefit of the jury, the general public, and everyone else looking for an excuse to dismiss her testimony.
Given the extent to which Jeantel’s demeanor was covered on television and in news articles, you’d be excused for thinking—as Jezebel’s Callie Beusman put it—that she was the one on trial. Over the past couple of days, Jeantel has recounted that Martin told her he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker” who, it seems, then proceeded to attack him. Pundits, meanwhile, have made snickering observations that have had little to do with the substance of her testimony. They’ve criticized Jeantel’s weight, her attitude, her manner of dress, and her mumbling, inarticulate answers to West’s questions. These observations are generally framed as discussions of her credibility and how she’ll be received by the jury. But they’re also an excuse to point and laugh at a poor, black teenager who comes from an America that we’d rather not acknowledge exists.
The media has consistently treated Jeantel as if she were some sassy alien life-form. TheNew York Daily News story about yesterday’s proceedings focused on Jeantel-as-sideshow, calling the cursive story an “especially cringe-worthy moment,” and noting that, “[a]t one point, the key prosecution witness blurted out, ‘That’s retarded, Sir’ in response to West’s suggestion that Martin attacked Zimmerman.” On Piers Morgan Tonight, Morgan repeated the phrase “creepy-ass cracker” as if it were some inscrutable bit of baby talk. The day before, panelist Jayne Weintraub disdainfully asserted that “it’s really not about this young woman’s … credibility, because her credibility, it’s a wash whatever her testimony is. Yes, she was a difficult witness. She was impossible.”…
Racial and socioeconomic stereotypes play differently in different contexts. The statements and mannerisms that make Jeantel a laughingstock now might have made her a viral video star outside the courtroom. As I was watching Jeantel’s testimony and the subsequent reaction, I couldn’t help thinking about Aisha Harris’ Slate piece from Mayabout the “fairly recent trend of ‘hilarious’ black neighbors, unwitting Internet celebrities whose appeal seems rooted in a ‘colorful’ style that is always immediately recognizable as poor or working-class.” Charles Ramsey, Antoine Dodson, Sweet Brown—these people caught white America’s attention in part because they so blatantly violated normative behavior. If Jeantel would’ve been filmed saying “That’s retarded, sir” to some reporter on the streets outside her house, the Internet might well be singing her praises. Black people are celebrated when they play the fool in the proper setting.
Filed under: The New Jim Crow | Tagged: black English, defense, english, George Zimmerman, language, Prosecutor, Rachel Jeantel, Racism, testimony, Trayvon Martin, trial | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 18, 2012 by btx3
Zimmerman’s record of racial harassment was also release as part of the evidence package yesterday –
Among the evidence in the Trayvon Martin case released by the Florida state prosecutor yesterday was a 15-minute interview with a former work collegue of George Zimmerman. The man, who is not identified by name, says that Zimmerman relentlessly bullied him at work.
Zimmerman, according to the witness, targeted him because he was Middle Eastern. He repeatedly called the man a “fucking moron” and mocked him using the voice of “Achmed the terrorist.” Zimmerman’s stories about the man would involve “bombing,” “I’ll kill your family” and other “jokes” about “Middle Eastern stuff.” According to the man, this went on “for days and days.”
Filed under: Domestic terrorism | Tagged: evidence, George Zimmerman, murder, race, Racism, testimony, Trayvon Martin | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 16, 2011 by btx3
“Reality really hits you hard, Bro!”
After George Lindell got rear-ended by a free-wheeling SUV that ultimately crashed into a telephone poll, he recounted the highway saga for KSAZ-TV–onomatopoeia and all.
Filed under: Nawwwwww! | Tagged: auto accident, comedy, Funny, Interview, Naaaaaaw!, story, testimony, witness | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 5, 2010 by btx3
Naomi has steadfastly denied that she got blood diamonds from Liberian Dictator Charles Taylor for years, despite Mia Farrow’s testimony that indeed Naomi had shown the uncut diamonds to her.
Confronted with the full weight of the court – she confesses –
Filed under: Africa | Tagged: blood diamonds, Charles Taylor, Hague, Liberia, Naomi Campbell, Sierra Leone, testimony, world court | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 28, 2010 by btx3
This spill hurts real people –
Things got emotional in the House today, when Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon broke down during his testimony about the Louisiana oil spill. He began by rattling off a string of disasters that has befallen his state, like Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, and Ike. “It’s not been fun,” he said. Then, as his voice began to shake, he spoke of the impact of the “slow-motion tragedy” on the state’s people. “Our culture is threatened, our coastal economy is threatened, and everything that I know and love is at risk,” he said. Then, choked with emotion and unable to hide his tears, he continued, “Even though this marsh lies along coastal Louisiana, these are America’s wetlands.” Unable to finish, he asked that the rest of his written comments be submitted to the official record. Melancon, a Democrat, is running for David Vitters’ Senate seat this fall, according to Politics Daily.
Filed under: News | Tagged: Charlie Melancon, congress, Congressman, impact of disaster, lousiana, testimony | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 27, 2010 by btx3
This was UGLY! Someone over there at DOJ should be saying the RICO Word…
By Robert Scheer
It was the Perry Mason moment in the unraveling of what was left of Goldman Sachs’ reputation. Only in this case, it involved a grizzled former prosecutor, Sen. Carl Levin, rather than a genial defense attorney. The case was broken and the truth about the depth of Goldman’s corruption revealed in his startling cross-examination of Goldman Chief Financial Officer David Viniar.
The Michigan Democrat, citing the language of the internal e-mails of Goldman traders concerning the deceptive products they were selling, asked: “And when you heard that your own employees in these e-mails are looking at these deals said `God what a shitty deal. God, what a piece of crap,’ when you hear your own employees and read about those e-mails, do you feel anything?”
Viniar’s answer told us all we need to know about the banal but profound immorality of Goldman’s business culture: “I think that’s very unfortunate to have on e-mail.”
A flabbergasted Levin cut in with “On e-mail? How about feeling that way?” and Viniar, apparently moved by jeers of ridicule from the audience, conceded “I think it is very unfortunate for anyone to have said that in any form.” Pressed further by Levin asking, “How about to believe that and sell them?” the CFO finally conceded, “I think that’s unfortunate as well.” To which Levin responded, “That’s what you should have started with.”…
Filed under: American Greed | Tagged: derivatives, emails, Goldman Sachs, RICO, senate hearing, Senator Levin, testimony | 2 Comments »