If the confrontation between Trayvon Martin (black) and George Zimmerman (Latino) in February 2012 had, at its root, a connection to race then, that link was the perverse preoccupation of boys in the hood, with cementing a perceived image of their ‘hetero’ masculinity by means of pounding anyone they allege has a ‘homo’ sexual orientation.
In State of Florida v. George Zimmerman, Rachel Jeantel (black) testified on behalf of the Prosecution. Under oath, the witness would recount she and Trayvon were close friends, who had met in 2nd grade and recently reacquainted after a lengthy separation. Poignantly, she said he never made fun of her size. But Prosecutors didn’t subpoena her to testify because she and the deceased had been friends. Rather, they knew Rachel was on the phone with Trayvon at or around the time of his death and, after prolonged interactions, figured their ‘star’ witness could now bolster the state’s decision to charge 2nd degree murder by lending credence to a theory that Mr. Zimmerman sparked the confrontation resulting in Mr. Martin’s demise.
So, how did authorities know these two were on the phone, in the first place? Well, it wasn’t because, she had told them. In fact, while her unique perspective resulted in testimony on the stand which the state ostensibly intended would paint Martin as an innocent bystander to Zimmerman’s aggressor; it would appear, left alone, Ms. Jeantel was in no hurry to obtain justice for her dead friend.
For example, Jeantel testified she learned at school on Monday, her friend had been shot the night before. Immediately, she checked her phone, confirming she had been speaking with Trayvon around the time George shot him. Nevertheless, she did not contact authorities. She had not contacted them 3 days after that, when Trayvon’s dad (black) called her to point out, she was the last person to speak to his son. One month later, in March, when someone ‘ghost-wrote’ her note to his mom (black), she still hadn’t contacted authorities. That she would fail to contact authorities to reveal from her unique perspective, a narrative which, consistent with her subsequent testimony, would exculpate (the conduct of) her friend in his death begs the question: why?
Ms. Jeantel didn’t speak to police until April 2; in the home of her dead friend’s mother, who sat tearfully at her side throughout the interrogation!
Nor did she attend Trayvon’s funeral. On the contrary; she later admitted to lying about being in the hospital during Martin’s funeral and lying about her age to try to avoid telling her story to Martin’s family and the public. Why did she go out of her way to avoid situations which could provide an opportunity to cast her friend as the ‘innocent’ in his death? She variously explained, “I didn’t want to see the body“; and, she felt guilt.
When asked why she didn’t attend the funeral, Jeantel said, “I felt guilty.”
“You felt guilty about what?” asked prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.
“I found out I was the last person, I was the last person who talked to their son,” she said.
Why such guilt? Listen closely to her testimony.
Among her revelations on the stand, more than a year after that pivotal telephone conversation, were these: Trayvon said, “a man kept watching him,” and “the nigga is still following me now.” And she said, when she asked Trayvon to describe the man following him, Trayvon replied, he was a “creepy ass cracker.” She retorted, “he might be a rapist,” prompting Trayvon to chastize her to “stop playin’ with him like that.” (She would also use the word, “joke” with him.)
She maintained on cross-examination by Defense counsel (white) she thought this was a racial incident. Asked to pinpoint the thing that gave her this impression, she referred to Trayvon’s general description of the man now identified as Zimmerman. Now, Counsel specifically asked, ‘do you mean his statement, he was a “creepy ass cracker”‘? Rachel would have none of this. Indeed; she insisted the word “cracker” had no racial connotation. And she grinned while the lawyer pressed her on the meaning he would have her impute. Because, she was telling the truth.
Urban Dictionary defines the word “ass cracker” is someone who “engages in anal sex,” for example, “That wanker is an ass cracker.” In other words; Martin was only afraid Zimmerman was gay. And Jeantel encouraged his misapprehension.
The Defense attorney, referring to Ms. Jeantel’s ‘ghost-written’ letter to Trayvon’s mom, pointed out, she had omitted the fact Trayvon had referred to Mr. Zimmerman as a creepy ass cracker. Again, consistent with his assertion that, if race was a part of this case then Martin and not Zimmerman had interjected it; he suggested, by using the word “cracker” to describe Zimmerman, Martin was the one who made this about race. And that Rachel had not used this racist term in the letter to Martin’s mother because she – Rachel – did not want his mom to know these things about her son. But Jeantel emphatically rejected the suggestion. Rather, her stated reason for leaving it out was, variously, “I did not think that was important“; and “nobody asked me.”
West pressed her on what he indicated were inconsistencies between the letter and Jeantel’s subsequent depositions and testimony – in particular her recent revelation that Martin told her he was being followed by a ‘creepy-a** cracker.’
He asked her why this was the first time she disclosed that Trayvon had referred to Zimmerman in this way.
She said: ‘Nobody asked me.’
I think that the only reason Ms. Jeantel had failed to acknowledge previously her friend, Trayvon Martin, described George Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker,” especially in front of his mother or father; is they, like her, would know exactly what this means. And that, had she been a more sophisticated witness, we never would have known this tragedy resulted not from a hate crime based on race but on sexual orientation.