“This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car. His father has said that Zimmerman is Hispanic, grew up in a multiracial family, and is not racist.
From the way that reads, it seems as though Zimmerman was making an issue out of Martin’s race. But a reading of the full 911 transcript indicates that Zimmerman’s comment about Martin’s race wasn’t made spontaneously. Rather, it was made in response to the dispatcher who was seeking identifying details about Martin:
ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, [begin ellipsis] or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
911 DISPATCHER: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic? [end ellipsis]
ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.
“Not only did Zimmerman not equate Martin’s skin color with his looking suspicious,” writes Riehl, “he didn’t even initiate the comment.”
I’ve stayed quiet on the Martin shooting mostly because I haven’t had a lot to add to the debate. I think a lot of other people who have commented on the case probably should have done the same, rather than trying to project their political narratives onto the case.