Glenn Beck, too, wanted to know where the media outrage was. "Where is Al Sharpton?" he asked Wednesday. His co-host, Pat Gray, said of Obama, "Did he come and say, ‘If I had an illegitimate love child with a white woman, he would look like Lane?" On his Fox News show Wednesday night, Bill O'Reilly asked why the "civil rights industry" hadn't spoken out about the shooting.
The search for the White Trayvon culminated the brother of George Zimmerman explaining that the real problem is not racism but black violence. On Thursday night, when David Webb, guest hosting on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, invited Robert Zimmerman to discuss a "glaring double standard" shown by Obama in not speaking out in the Lane case. "I see the double standard there," Robert Zimmerman said. Obama doesn't have to mention every case with a "racial inflection," he noted generously, and it's not fair to just look at the race of the shooter to call the crime racist. But looking at what is reportedly one of the accused's Twitter accounts, Zimmerman said, it's clear he "hates white people." Further, "if you read between the lines there, that's a black young person saying that they are not happy with the [Zimmerman] verdict and that they are directing violence, hostility, towards people who are white, very specifically."
Webb responded that the Lane case is about something bigger:
You know bothers me about this is, this really about a thug lifestyle. And it's not always black on white. It's something deeper than that. We have the references to white people, knocking them out. We have gang-style initiation events. And when you look at this for what it is, the real danger is that it's hijacked for another agenda rather than dealing with the correct problem.
The implication is that racism is the incorrect problem and that black violence is the correct problem, the one that really needs addressing. "In your brother's case, it was false narrative that it was a race issue that was pushed that was supported by the race profiteers out there," Webb said. Meanwhile, "there are no civil rights leaders leading a charge on what's happening to our young children today." But that's exactly what George Zimmerman, accused racist, was working on, his brother said. Obama called for "mentoring African-American youth," Zimmerman said, and, "that happens to be what my brother was doing... You have to go into the hood, which is quite literally what George did."
Those who thought the actions of Zimmerman and the police were racist say the case shows how racial prejudice puts the lives of innocent black men at risk. Black men have to be extra careful —not to put their hands in their pockets when talking to police, not to wear a hoodie while walking at night — because white people are irrationally scared of them and might shoot them. And the prejudice that black men are inherently more violent means that while Zimmerman had a right to defend himself, Martin didn't.
The white Trayvons don't challenge that argument. Those pointing to the white Trayvons do not claim that black racism against violence-prone whites puts white men at risk. They make the case that white people are right to fear blacks because blacks are prone to random acts of violence — and this prejudice is exactly what those who think Trayvon Martin died because of his skin color have been talking about.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.