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Lois Ahrens: Pernicious racism exists in country

To the editor:

I watched the not-guilty verdict being read and was not surprised. I was and am very angry and saddened but I expected George Zimmerman to walk out the courthouse door. After the verdict was read, I also watched the smiling Florida State Attorney, Angela Corey, appointed by Tea-Party Republican Gov. Rick Scott to prosecute the case against Zimmerman at a news conference. It appeared that she had won the case and she did if you believe she was arguing for her and Scott’s constituency.

Each of us like Corey, the jurors, Zimmerman’s lawyers, the judge (who ruled that the word “profiling” could be used in opening statements but not words “racial profiling”) live and work in a racist country.

In Florida, a 28-year-old man armed with a loaded gun can follow a black youth because he believes all young black men are suspicious and threatening. (One hundred percent of the calls Zimmerman made about suspicious people involved African-Americans.) In our country when an armed man confronts an unarmed black youth and the youth stands his ground, the man with the gun can maintain he feared for his life, murder the youth and a jury will find that fear justified since they share his fear.

In this country, it is not reasonable to expect a different outcome.

All of us, including prosecutors, defense lawyers, juries, judges, reporters, and witnesses live in a country where black people are not and have never been protected by the law. We see this every day when police racially profile black men, where stop and frisk is routine, where policing in African American neighborhoods is militarized like occupied cities in war zones, where arrests, convictions and the sentencing of African Americans leads to packed prisons and jails; not due to the greater criminality of African Americans, but because of a “justice” system that historically and consistently fails to adequately represent them.

The trial of George Zimmerman is a reflection of the country and until the pernicious racism sewn into its fabric is fundamentally changed there will be other George Zimmmerman’s and more Trayvon Martin’s.

Lois Ahrens

Northampton

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