By Scott Tibbs, May 4, 2012
In his April 26 column, Indiana Daily Student columnist Aidan Crane calls our attention to the alleged undercurrent of "racism" at Indiana University. The evidence for this "racism" is a comment on a public bulletin board that George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Crane wrote in response:
|Iím not particularly interested in debating the facts of the shooting.
I believe that the murder of an unarmed minor by a gun-wielding, self-appointed neighborhood watchman speaks for itself.
I understand Crane is an opinion columnist and not reporter, so I do not expect him to be objective or unbiased. Obviously, opinion columns are opinion. Even so, facts should still matter to a journalist, even when writing an editorial. This is especially true when that columnist writes for a newspaper that is consistently considered one of the best college newspapers in the country. Simply closing your mind to facts that might not fit your world view reflects badly on Crane both as a journalist and as a student.
The fact of the matter is that we don't know what happened the night Martin died. Zimmerman claims that Martin knocked him down with a punch and was slamming his head into the sidewalk, so he shot Martin in self-defense. It has been well-documented that Zimmerman's head was bloody and that he was treated by paramedics at the scene, so his injuries back up his story... but only two people really know what happened on February 26. Now that charges have been filed, a jury will examine the evidence and make a judgment on what happened. Zimmerman may have legitimately acted in self-defense, or he may be a murderer.
But to become hysterical and screech that those who believe Zimmerman's account are "racist" makes the word "racist" meaningless. There is nothing "racist" going on here - people simply have different opinions about what happened that night based on the facts presented publicly. Accusing those who disagree with you of "racism" is intellectually lazy and demonstrates a fear of actually engaging the other person's argument.
Accusations of racism are meant to shut down a discussion, not encourage the exchange of ideas. Emotions are already running high regarding this case, and baseless accusations of "racism" will not help anyone.