As the jury selection process continues in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood-watch volunteer charged with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman's father Robert has released an e-book on Amazon called Florida v. Zimmerman: Uncovering the Malicious Prosecution of my Son, George. According to the description on Amazon, the book "describes how and why my son, George Zimmerman, has been charged with the crime of murder."
The most striking chapter in the book, titled "Who are the True Racists?" is, according to Judd Legum of ThinkProgress, an "apparent effort to rebut claims that his son’s actions were racially motivated." Which Zimmerman Sr. does by pointing the finger at others and claiming instead that they are the real racists.
Image credit: Central Florida News
The unarmed Martin was shot by Zimmerman in February 2012 as he walked home from a 7-Eleven store in Sanford. In a call to police around 7 p.m. after spotting Martin, Zimmerman said, "There's a real suspicious guy." Just minutes later Martin was shot in the chest. Zimmerman is charged with murder, but his defense argues that he was attacked by Martin and acted in self defense.
In the forward to the book, Zimmerman Sr. argues that he has a story to tell which "every American should be aware of," one that reveals the "wholly unethical opportunists, including those in government, the legal profession, and the media [who] routinely utilize race to incite and agitate hatred and divisiveness for their own rewards." Later in the book he goes on to say that while he "believed generally racism was a thing of the past," following the killing of Martin by his son, he has come to realize the shocking truth that racism is "flourishing at the insistence of some in the African American Community." He also pulls out the classic "George has many African American friends" defense to show that his son is not a racist and that his actions were not motivated by racial stereotypes.
As Legum reveals, in the chapter on the "true racists," Zimmerman Sr. labels the Congressional Black Caucus, an organization representing the black members of the U.S. Congress, a "pathetic, self-serving group of racists… advancing their purely racist agenda." He also claims that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization which seeks equality and the elimination of racial hatred and discrimination, "simply promotes racism and hatred for their own, primarily finical [sic], interests" and that "without prejudice and racial divide, the NAACP would simply cease to exist." Responding to the last claim, David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement cogently points out that "ironically, [it] might be true, but, well, you know, they didn’t start it — they exist to fix it."
Zimmerman Sr. then goes on to list other organizations and people that he believes are racist, including Trayvon Martin’s funeral director, the attorneys for Travyon Martin’s family, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, the National Black United Fund, and the United Negro College Fund. Finally, as if all this shocking truth were not enough, he makes the absurd claim that because of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to investigate whether the killing of Martin violated federal civil rights laws, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) did not have enough resources to prevent the Boston Marathon bombing. Now, according to Zimmerman Sr., "tragically, we have suffered the consequences of Mr. Holder’s politically motivated decisions."
Illustrating the divisive nature of the case, of the 51 reviews of the book so far on Amazon, there is an almost equal number which give it either one star or five stars, with next to nothing in between. They range from the highly critical, with one reviewer saying they wish they could have given it zero stars and that the "book is nothing more than a big conspiracy theory in which he blames everybody accept [sic] the person responsible, his son," to the highly positive, with one reviewer calling the book a "true and telling account of how ignorant most of America is like a bunch of sheep led by the media and the 'scheme team' into believing a bunch of lies spewed by them in their self motivated pursuit of the almighty buck."
Although clearly, and understandably upset at the prospect of his son going to jail, the claims made by Zimmerman Sr., including that organizations such as the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP are the "true racists" and that the FBI investigation into Martin's killing prevented it from stopping the Boston bombing, are simply absurd and distract from the tragic death of Martin.