MSNBC's Toure on Zimmerman: 'We Still Live in the Same America That Emmett Till Lived in'
According to MSNBC co-host Toure on Monday, the acquittal of George Zimmerman on Saturday is proof that America in 2013 is just like the one of 1955 where an African American boy was murdered in Mississippi for talking to a white woman: "We still live in the same America that Emmett Till lived in, an America where blacks are often judged to be a threat to order and citizens are able to destroy their bodies." [MP3 audio here.]
The Cycle anchor sneered that the case "is an old dog-eared narrative about the challenge of getting justice in the an American courtroom, especially in the south, or I should say especially in a stand-your-ground state." Toure, who is an avowed 9/11 Truther conspiracy theorist, asserted that such laws "may not have been racist in the original intention, but it functions in practice to justify too many killings of blacks."
(Toure's comments came after an earlier appearance on Today in which he indicted America and connected Zimmerman to Till as examples of "where we understand that black life means a little bit less than white life in America.")
The liberal host then cited a questionable study: "In a stand-your-ground states, whites who kill blacks are 354 percent more likely to be found justified to kill than whites who kill whites."
There's more than a few problems with this point. First off, Zimmerman is Hispanic. So, the comparison falls apart right there. Secondly, the Florida case had nothing to do with stand-your-ground. Zimmeran's case was based on self defense. Thirdly, the graph shown on the Cycle appears in the Daily Mail. It's confusingly worded and with very little data to explain the accompanying claims.
Of course, none of this makes a difference to Toure. 9/11 truthers and conspiracy theorists don't need evidence.
A transcript of the July 15 segment is below:
TOURE: The night Barack Obama was elected, I held my nine-month-old son and I thought, "Wow. You're going to grow up in a new world." The night Trayvon Martin was found guilty in his own killing, I held my now five-year-old son and knew he's got the same, old demons chasing him, because in this verdict, we are reminded, as if we could have forgotten, the lesser worth of black bodies and the inherent criminality ascribed to them by some in this nation and the killability (ph) of black bodies, by which I mean the ease we can be killed with no legal ramifications. Yes, the prosecution sub-bar.
But this is an old dog-eared narrative about the challenge of getting justice in the an American courtroom, especially in the south, or I should say especially in a stand-your- ground state. In a stand-your-ground states, whites who kill blacks are 354 percent more likely to be found justified to kill than whites who kill whites. Extending the privilege of shooting first out of the home and into the public square may not have been racist in the original intention, but it functions in practice to justify too many killings of blacks. And in this verdict, we are reminded of the challenge of getting justice for a black victim from a nearly all white jury. How it been otherwise when the burden of proving Martin's innocence was so high, when his parents had to assert his humanity just to get an arrest. That was back when this case bizarrely became a political football divided neatly among the left-right axis with some on the right positing Zimmerman as the victim and predicting race riots would follow a not-guilty verdict. That was based on the idea that blacks are inherently violent, which is why to some it would sound silly to wonder if some whites would have rioted if he Zimmerman had been found guilty.
I doubt they would have, because there's not a deep lack of efficacy and a long history of painful injustice but who knows? But the right's reflective leap to Zimmerman's side is part of why blacks feel unwelcome on the right and vote predominantly Democratic, just as gun tragedies like this interracial killing as well as the mass of intra-racial killings that plague are community are why blacks support gun control measures at much higher rates than whites do. The way forward, the way to combat this tragedy lies there, in the weeds of gun control and not in the further prosecution of Zimmerman at the federal or civil level. A civil case may heal the family, and they deserve that. But in too many ways, we still live in the same America that Emmett Till lived in, an America where blacks are often judged to be a threat to order and citizens are able to destroy their bodies and be protected by the justice system and the black community is left in pain. And black parents like me are left to teach their sons the lessons my parents taught me about how to survive: Don't run in public if you don't have to. Keep your hands out of your pockets if you're in stores. And if you're confronted by the police, be pliant. Your ability to mollify white people could be the difference between life and death. Doesn't have to be this way. But as this case proved, in America, it still is. Martin, I know you know what I'm talking about.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.