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March 30th, 2012
05:50 PM ET

Trayvon Martin case stirs racial tension

Brooke Baldwin talks to NYU professor Charlton McIlwain about the racially polarizing nature of the Trayvon Martin case. McIlwain tells Brooke that, as with the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson cases, people of different races can feel implicated because of the outrage caused by Trayvon Martin's death, which leads to a greater racial divide.

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  1. Dwayne Foley

    Ms Brooke Baldwin had the right to ask the Congresswoman any guestion she wants but for her to say her intentions were not to blind side the Congresswoman were not truthfully. It seems that Ms Baldwin wanted to shame the Congresswoman because the Congresswoman was speaking up for Treyvon in this horrific crime. Also Ms Bralwin got pie in her face once it came out that the Congresswoman was truthful about being this involved in a case dealing with a white kid being murdered. So what if she didn't remember the little girls name, the proof is out that she was involved. Sometimes, I can't remember what I did a couple of days before. I believe Ms Baldwin believes Treyvon's death is no big deal.

    March 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  2. J. Alexander

    Here’s a question: If a black man had chased and gunned down a white man under all the same circumstances, would the Sanford Police have arrested him? Absolutely!

    I lived near Sanford for 25 years, and the blatant racism makes me sick. Unfortunately, the Sanford Police waited too long to do the right thing, and now they have egg whites on their face.

    I expect more from my country. Step Up, America!

    March 31, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  3. Todd

    Justice is what we are all seeking in this case. What isn't clear and the same for everybody is what defines that justice. So many have jumped to conclusions and demand a sentence without a comprehensive, exhaustive discovery of the facts surrounding the case. This kind of sentiment undermines the judicial process and, in fact, in one way, defines prejudice.
    One of the hallmarks of Martin Luther King's philosophy was that of Loving Your Enemies. King said that a man must discover the element of good in his enemy, and everytime you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.
    It is agreed that if it is found that an instance of murder has taken place, an appropriate measure of justice should be applied. At the same time, and without prejudice, it should also be agreed that if, by means of that same jurisprudence, a reasonable defense is found then we must ask ourselves, where then will the justice be.
    I have heard so much about "If George Zimmerman were black, he would have been arrested and held until trial",which may be true, but at the same time it also begs the question "If Trayvon Martin had been white, would there have been this same outcry?"
    I am upset and it is a real tragedy what happened that night, but for Trayvon and George's sake I refuse to form an opinion until I have all the facts. Then, and only then, will I let my heart rest on the truth.

    March 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  4. Concerned citizen about the racist, polarizing, devisive statements on the network

    For Brooke Baldwin to sit there and talk about Polarization when she was the one few days ago who attacked congresswoman Brown for seeking justice for Trayvon Martin by asking her that racist question makes her a hypocrite and part of the racial divide and devisiveness. She exposed herself as being a racist because she has interview lawmakers of other races who were concerned and did things for people of their own race and she did not ask them whether they are helping people of their own race because those people are of the same race as them. Yet she found it fit to ask the rep. this question. She also is intelligent enough without having to ask the congresswoman that this case was different from other murder cases because Trayvon's civil rights were violated when the sandford police dept. and the state attorney's office decided to allow this black killer to walk and not be arrested and thrown in jail the same night he killed the child and when the state appears to condone this kind of civil rights violation the federal law makers have to step in just as how they did in the sixties and to protect the civil rights of blacks when they are violated by the state. I believe Brooke Baldwin knows this but because she is such a racist she resents the fact that black law makers are seeking justice and trying to uphold the civil rights of this dead child. Like I said she has never questioned a white law maker or white person on whether they would have helped someone if the person was the same race as them. She is a polarizing, racist, devisive person. I disagree with this professor when he said children of other races but I don't expect anything better from this professor because I am sure that he does not want to say anything to make Brooke Baldwin look bad and the Congresswoman look good because he wants to be invited back on her show. Any inteligent person would have known the answer to this question and Brooke Baldwin asked it because she is racist and resentful of Black lawmakers trying to seek justice for this child. I have made two youtube videos expressing my disappointment for CNN to have this devise racist anchorwoman attacking the congresswoman for seeking justice for Trayvon. I hope CNN does not encourage these type of racist devisive employees to use their time on the air to promote their racist cause like FOX. I also believe that they should fire Brook Baldwin for being a racist and asking this racist question in her attempt to make rep. Brown look like a racist for defending the black child just like how they fired Rick Sanchez for accusing them CNN of being racist. I know CNN wants to beat FOX in the ratings but having racist anchor people who use their time on the air in this manner makes them look bad.

    March 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  5. Mr Paul A. Millard

    I have to disagree with the lady detective guest, most law enforcement departments have policies that require people to be placed in handcuffs for officer safety , they can be detained for questioning without arresting someone, now that being said remember the leaked information said the dective wanted to arrest David, but the DA refused to charge him so he was released.

    March 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  6. Tenique

    Uhhh Frederick...Hispanic is not a race. There are white hispanics or black hispanics.

    March 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  7. Garnet

    in The young Martin's case both brother's need the death sentence, he is covering and protecting his brother and he knows that the youth could not attack an adult,and then the brother came on TV coming to cover up and sound very stupid, if his brother was a helpful person why would he be following the youth and when the 911 told him not to follow him why did he still follow the youth,speaking languages fluently have to do with anything, my take on the whole matter is that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth Moses law need to be in place. George came out intently to kill the black kid.
    The family sit down and make up a story over a month before he the brother think he can come up with something he think would cover his track, they have no remorse in what he say, your brother is alive and the kid is dead for no reason, all that the brother talk is crap,nothing of sense
    He killed him cold blooded
    he need the death sentence
    every word is in everyone's vocabulary .
    My son lives in the United States and I would be out of my mind at this time and if my son is dead and i am crying another father would be crying also and if my son is dead someones son would be dead too.
    I am so upset that i wish i could call in to the station and be hard on the air, and i wish there be a call in line i need to make my voice be heard over America justice need to be served justice justice enough is enough equal rights and justice and adult kill a youth justice justice justice i feel like i would loose my mind not justice he need to be dead also and his whole family as they are covering up for him a lesson need to be taught to those racial idiots, who think black people are not equal to them

    April 1, 2012 at 3:29 am |
  8. Garnet

    if the american law upheld the wrong thing that George did it need to change he killed a human and there is a consequence for that he never gave life so he should not take a life, he cut the young BLACK MAN's life short his should be cut short also a lesson to learn

    April 1, 2012 at 3:41 am |
  9. Madinah

    George Zimmerman this big over grown man attacked and murdered this young child, he should be arrested and put in jail for the rest of his life. What about the law for an "adult attack on a minor", in this case a murder of a 17 year old child. Zimmerman had no right to approach Tayvon Martin this was not his child and under no circumstances did he have a right to lay one finger on him, this young man had a right to walk down a public street without fear of his life. The voice on that tape was the cry of a child being attacked and then killed by Zimmerman, any sensible minded person know a full-grown man have strength over a 17 year old boy, but yet he say Travon attacked him, and was on top of him beating him up. Zimmerman you are a liar and the truth is not in you and you are going to pay the price for what you have done, your father and your brother knows you are not truthful but yet instead of wanting justice serve, each is just as guilty as yourself trying to cover the truth of this murder. Zimmerman you cold blooded murder Trayvon Martin, you are a killer that needs to be taken off the streets before you physically harm another innocent person.

    April 1, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  10. Gary

    Don Lemon and a guest were talking about the Trayvon case this afternoon, and commenting that race is the one topic on which many listeners felt that they could not use their own experiences with racism when discussing the issue. I think that this is partly because Don is an articulate, likeable person, and talking about experiencing racism therefor creates a dissonance for the non-black listener. You have become a person to the listeners. If I can think of you as a "what," a black, a gay, a muslim, a jew, a "what"ever, I can hate you. When you become a "who" to me, I can't any more. I'm a white male in my 60's, and was raised with the anti-gay prejudice that was endemic in my childhood. When I was in college, I made friends with a very likeable group of women, and only later realized that they were all dating each other. My prejudices couldn't stand up under application to people who had become PEOPLE to me. I grew up in a multi-racial neighborhood, in a time when we all played together, and went to each other's homes. Racial prejudice was harder to accept, because then I would have to apply it to my friends. I think it is a credit to you that you have become a "who" instead of a "what" to your listeners, and I think that this may be a reason that talking about your own experience of racism creates discomfort in some people.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  11. rose macaskie

    Todd you can love your enemies but the law is not about love, it is all about creating a bit of order. You can feel very sorry for a man who has gone and killed another man, I do, I cant think of much worse than having killed someone though i still drive too fast. I knew a drunk who had caused a car accident that cost lives, this accident was more than likely the cause of his alcholism so people who kill others suffer a lot, but law enforcment is not about loving your neighbors, it is about keeping order and it should be we are sorry you are in this mess but we have to arrest crazy people who take things too far.
    Apart from having to arrest crazy folk who kill bystanders, it should be, "we have to send a message to others that shooting young men who may or may not be up to mischief is not plan". Nor is it alright to kill people who have stolen something or to act in a way that scares young men so that they end up standing up to you if that is what happened. A policeman can explain his attitude if he is hanging around people, the police can say I am a police man and I am hanging around because it seems to me that you are loitering with intent, a none police man is just scary if they hang around.
    You cant just shoot young men who are daftly dreaming in the rain instead of seeking shelter and we know how disperse the young are.
    It seems like one reason you should hold people who get themselves into the pit Zimmerman got himself into, is that maybe if you dont, faced with the awfull repercusions of their terrible deed, they might get someone to break their nose so as to make it seem as if they had a better reason than mere fear that someone might get robbed as a reason for shooting someone dead.
    One of the reasons for public unrest about this case is, especially after seeing the photos of Zimmerman getting to the police station with out a single visilbe scab or scratch mark, you cant clean away a scratch or a hole, only drops of blood, is, are the police lying for him as well as letting him go free, might it be harder for them to lie in their love and forgivness of someone who had gone too far if he had been held in costody. rose macaskie madrid.

    April 2, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  12. rose macaskie

    What the general public should be asked is how brave they are willing to be to safe guard other peoples lives. A soldier has just been killed in Afghanistan because he got run over saving a childs life. Do people think it right for people to get killed for looking menacing or even for being menaicng, a lot of young boys get beaten up by slightly older ones, should they carry guns so that they can kill their attakers?
    Would not they personally end up suffering a lot if they found they had killed someone for being a petty thief, in the case of the boy killed last week. People seem to have got so keen on law enforcing that they have lost all sense of proportion. On the other hand, would not they be better off getting into prison for killing people if those they had killed where the guys in Wall street who had stolen their pensions and gotten them into a situation of debt, something that involves really big sums of money, something more nearly worth killing for, rather than killing a near child petty thief.
    Carrying a gun has a cost, it is easier to become a killer if you carry one. It seems as if a lot of people have not given long and serious enough consideration to how terrible it is to kill others for what is a very small thing compared with a life. They would not approve of the death penalty for stealing a few objects of worth, why do they think shooting petty theives is alright.
    People should think about how much risk they are willing to take. If i am scared of getting killed or raped, I could start killing every man who was walking on th e same side walk as me late at night, in a lonely road and one reason I dont kill a host of people is that I am scared of the repercussions, so i have to bare the nervousness of the fear of being attacked for fear of the reperussions as well as for fear that I kill some one unjustly. What ZImmerman did was tremendously cowardly. rose macaskie madrid.

    April 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  13. Steve

    The interview of Taffee by Soledad O'brien this morning regarding the Martin case was the worst I have ever seen. Anyone with critical analysis skills would recognize leading questions, forced choice presentation and incredible bias, rather than asking questions of Taffee that would facilitate brining out the facts and opinions of the interviewee. It was clearly a disgusting presentation of showmanship by O'Brian. It is not journalism! If CNN wants to do showmanship, then become a member of the WWF. I'm sick of you showmanship. I'm looking for truth!

    April 3, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  14. ronvan

    I think it is time that we all take a deep breath and see if our legal system works, or not! With that said the biggest problem/causation for this whole trajedy lies solely on Zimmerman. HE called 911 of his concern. Then HE disregarded the "lawfull order" from 911 to NOT follow Martin. IF he would have followed this order and let the police do THEIR job this would have never happened!! There are just to many versions and questions that are unanswered right now, and YES, because of this a complete investigation, by outside sources, needs to be done! Personnally I think Zimmerman should have been arrested on the spot! He could have posted bond and that would have eliminated the appearance of some behind the scenes, hanky panky, going on.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  15. DAMEAN KENNEDY

    the system of racism was created out of fear by early europeans soley for the protection of the european geno type...white people are genetic recesive..(look it up!!!) and for that reason they will go to far lengths to protect it..(slavery, segragation, mis education, government housing, etc.)...IF WE DONT GET THE "PROPER" JUSTICE DUE...THEN YOU MIGHT AS WELL SAY ITS OPEN SEASON ON BLACKS!!!...(again)

    concerned 25 year ld BLACK MAN.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  16. William Smith

    Gloria Allred is an idiot and a leftist, liberal attorney. Stand your ground says you can defend yourself. If, in fact, the young man hit him and smashed his head on the ground when he was near his car, then the young man was wrong and was in violation of stand your ground. I just heard Arsinio talk about the young man being extremely close to his home. How did anyone know that? He was following from a good distance. This suggests that the young man actually diverted from his trek home and went after the man that was following him. The young man was wrong, he should have continued on his way home. If he did ths would not have happened. Please, look at all the facts, then make a comment or decision.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  17. William Smith

    Also, the 911 operator is not a police officer in many instances. You do NOT need to follow their advice, suggestion, or directions. They are a resourse which MAY have police training, but they are NOT police.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  18. William Smith

    To ROSE, mischief? Or could he have been a criminal. Zimmerman did not know. He called 911, but NO ONE has to obey 911. They are NOT law enforcement. THey can give direction or suggestions, but you DO NOT have to follow that. After the fact the law will decide on your judgement. If in fact the young man went back after Zimmerman, then HE was the agressor, not Zimmerman. I do carry (in a different state) and have a license to. I have been trained (at my cost, not yours) at great personal and dollar expense. This is to protect me and my family. The police cannot be everywhere at every time. So, personal protection is your own right and responsibility. I travel the world and have come to understand in many countries that police can only clean up the mess. YOU are responsible for YOUR safety, NO ONE ELSE. Get a life and get real, or you may become a victim yourself.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  19. Mrs. B.

    To Kill a human being is wrong and any human with a conscience will pay one way or the other GOD will have the final say and any parent that teaches their children wrong will pay one way or another.It is obvious that this is not the first time George Zimmmerman has been in trouble instead of his father taking the opportunity to teach his son the right way he bails him out not understanding (on second thought he does understand) because of his power his son is not getting the same punishment another persons son would get. George Zimmmerman may never do a day in jail because its obvious his father has money and power but his father is still teaching his son the wrong lesson. Trayvon Martin parents has only asked that Zimmerman be arrested for killing their son and let the courts decide the outcome. They have only asked for what any parent would ask for including Robert Zimmerman. If the two peoples roles were switched there would still be an outcry for an arrest. Even if Trayvon Martin was beating George Zimmerman up I believe once Zimmerman pulled out his gun and told Trayvon Martin to stop that would have ended the fight. He could have held the gun on him til the police came. Man may choose to do the wrong thing in this case or man may choose to do the right thing, but in the end money and power will not have the final judgement GOD will.

    April 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  20. mississippi_here

    On the Police report it addressed Zimmerman as a white male and then this same information was told to the public by the police department. So the way it seems is that the police thought of zimmerman as a white man and decided to cover it up. not only because he was seen as a white male to them but because of his white father and white friends who served in the office.

    April 8, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  21. Jack

    First of all the Racial tensions are caused by bad Reporting and unethical media. The Shooter is brown, yet all the news articles claimed he was white. OF course there is going to be racial tensions when all the mindless idiots watch their dose of mind numbing sensationalist rubage. The Guy was some kind of nut, race has nothing to do with it until the media portrayed it as a white hate crime. Very irresponsible acts of journalism can lead to things such a civil unrest. This is a problem that needs attention, there should be an ethics committee to stop bad and false reporting.

    April 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  22. here

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    June 22, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  23. Hmed

    Thank you Shaeri for a wonderful post. I would add that after Awareness comes Action. I will use mlesyf as example. After 911 I was afraid of our Middle Eastern Community in Florida. Before they were just a group of people that kept to themselves . Or maybe I would say I kept to mlesyf But after 911 I had suspicion and pre judged every one of them. They were all potential terrorists. The absurdity of my fears were reflected back to me when my own Korean daughter was the target of hate emails and remarks because high school students(after 911) mistook her as Middle Eastern. In their ignorance of her as Asian they lumped her into a group along with her girlfriend who was from India who also was a target. Anyone not like white was subject to be pre judged. My daughter and I attended Ramadan and invited Muslim friens to dinner.Friendships grew and fears dispersed. I too had believed that a few bad men represented all Muslims. (not for long but long enough to not like what was happening to me) These were not fears of my parents. These were my created beliefs. As we identify with Awareness our prejudices we can ask ourselves, is this mine or did I learn it from a real experience or my parents messages. Then after awareness we can make an action plan to build a bridge. After the bridge is built the false ideas that we can't see at first become the water below our bridge flowing away. Then love can travel with ease from one person to another and we can see that we are all connected. We are all really one.

    August 28, 2012 at 5:54 am |
  24. personal training Long Island

    Yeah this was a sad case. I hope we can educate our children and move in the right direction from this point. I don't think the racial divide gets bigger i think it is really just exposed. We Must Work Together!

    January 19, 2014 at 7:23 pm |

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