Oprah: 'It's Ridiculous to Look at Zimmerman Case and Not Think Race Was Involved'

Ten days after claiming the premeditated lynching of Emmett Till almost 60 years ago was the same thing as George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin in what jurors determined was self-defense, Oprah Winfrey Thursday continued to inject racism into this issue.

Appearing on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Winfrey said, "It's ridiculous to look at that case and not to think that race was involved" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: I spoke at length to Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey about the film and about race in America, particularly after the Trayvon Martin case. Here's part of that interview.


COOPER: You talked about this coming at an important time. Certainly there has been, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case, a discussion about race in this country. That -- it's interesting. I saw a Gallup poll recently that the majority of African-Americans say this is a discussion which needs to be had. A majority of whites say too much is being made of this discussion.

OPRAH WINFREY: I know, I know.

COOPER: How do you -- what do you...

WINFREY: That's why I love the film, in light of this discussion, is because it brings context to the discussion. When you look at the film, beginning with that lynching scene and ending with, you know, walking into Obama's office, look at what has happened in the span of one man's lifetime, in our country.

FORREST WHITAKER: This movie reminds us that the circular motion of things is trying to work themselves out, is still going on, as in Emmett Till. And now we're looking at Trayvon. We're looking at Oscar Grant, looking at all these situations and recognizing that we have to move ourselves forward in order for us to achieve our potential or what we said we're going to do.

WINFREY: And the truth of the matter is, Emmett Till became a symbol for those times, as Trayvon Martin has become a symbol for this time. I mean, there are multiple Trayvon Martins whose names never make the newspapers or the headlines. The circumstances surrounding that allowed it to be, but there were multiple Emmett Tills. There were multiple lynchings. There were multiple, you know, young black boys...


WINFREY: ... whose names are not remembered and often not even reported.

COOPER: It's interesting to me, though, how people from different backgrounds see this. I talked to a juror on the Trayvon Martin case, who clearly did not understand or did not feel linked to Trayvon Martin; felt connected to George Zimmerman in a way but not to Trayvon Martin. And I wonder if she felt race was not part of this case at all. I'm just wondering...

WINFREY: People feel that it's race, because they don't call it race. That's not what they call it. They don't say, oh -- because you know what I found, too? A lot of people, if think they're not using the "N" word themselves, they actually physically are not using the "N" word themselves, and do not have, harbor ill will towards black people, that it's not racist. But, you know, to me it's ridiculous to look at that case and not to think that race was involved.


Maybe Oprah should read what McClatchy reported on July 12:

After interviewing nearly three dozen people in the George Zimmerman murder case, the FBI found no evidence that racial bias was a motivating factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, records released Thursday show.

Even the lead detective in the case, Sanford Det. Chris Serino, told agents that he thought Zimmerman profiled Trayvon because of his attire and the circumstances — but not his race. [...]

Federal agents interviewed Zimmerman’s neighbors and co-workers, but none said Zimmerman had expressed racial animus at any time prior to the Feb. 26 shooting of Martin, a black teen, in a confrontation at a Sanford housing complex. As Sanford police investigated the circumstances of Martin’s death, the FBI opened a parallel probe to determine if Martin’s civil rights had been violated.

Several co-workers said they had never seen Zimmerman display any prejudice or racial bias. [...]

In all, the FBI interviewed 35 people about Zimmerman, from current and former co-workers to neighbors and an ex-girlfriend. [...]

The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI stepped in about a month after the killing, as protesters nationwide criticized the investigation. The original probe was conducted by police in Sanford, the central Florida community where Zimmerman lives and Trayvon was visiting while suspended from school.

Beyond this, it was widely reported outside the race-baiting press that Zimmerman: opened an insurance office with a black friend; took a black girl to his senior prom; has black relatives; tutored and mentored black children in his neighborhood, and; launched a campaign to help a black homeless man that had been beaten by a white kid.

Yet despite this, and despite the FBI finding no evidence of any racial bias in Zimmerman whatsoever, folks like Winfrey are still going on national television claiming, "It's ridiculous to look at that case and not to think that race was involved."

No, what's ridiculous is people making claims that are just not supported by what investigators found.

What's also ridiculous was Cooper letting her get away with this and not bringing up what the FBI discovered.

Would that have been too much like journalism for him?


Race Issues Racism CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Video Anderson Cooper Forrest Whitaker George Zimmerman Oprah Winfrey Trayvon Martin
Noel Sheppard's picture

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