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News & Politics News & Politics

Columbia professor defends Trayvon calling Zimmerman a ‘cracker’

Posted by on Jul. 7, 2013 at 10:51 PM
  • 18 Replies



By Katherine Timpf, on Jul 01, 2013

It may have made sense for Trayvon Martin to call George Zimmerman a “cracker” a professor from Columbia University said last Thursday, speaking on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes.”

Professor John McWhorter defended the controversial statement he made on MSNBC last Thursday.

Linguistics Professor John McWhorter appeared on the cable news program to defend Rachel Jeantel, the star prosecution witness in the Zimmerman trial, for her use of Black English.

McWhorter said that Jeantel was “articulate, just in a different kind of English than mainstream English.”

He then defended Martin’s use of the word “cracker” to describe Zimmerman, because, according to McWhorter, “given how the Trayvon Martin case went, there would seem to be some cause for some preliminary racial grievance for the poor boy, to have had somebody chasing after him for a reason he didn’t know.”

“Of course he might refer to the person as a cracker because he’s a human being,” added McWhorter, who is black. “I think we can understand that cracker may have been an appropriate term at the time.”

McWhorter told Campus Reform in an email on Monday that although he has “heard from some whites appalled” at his comments, he stands behind them.

“It's an issue of power, and privacy,” he wrote. “Martin used the word in a conversation with his friend, not on television, and he was speaking as a member of a troubled minority group. CRACKER is a term of self-defense from below; the N-word is a slur from above."

He said that any backlash is the result of people simply not understanding race issues.

“Anybody who pretends to think Trayvon Martin saying CRACKER and Paula Deen saying NIGGER are the same thing is being fake — and also doesn't understand how important and loaded the relationship is between young black men and law enforcement / profiling,” he wrote.

“Although,” he clarified, “I argued last week that we need to ease up on Deen too.”

Columbia University did not respond to requests for comment.

by on Jul. 7, 2013 at 10:51 PM
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Replies (1-10):
joyfree
by Kat on Jul. 7, 2013 at 11:28 PM

Makes sense to me...

JanuaryBaby06
by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 1:15 AM
4 moms liked this

and this is supposed to ease racial tension? things like this only fuel the fire. what is black english? another word for slang or ebonics? english is english, why should the color of your skin dictate which you speak? he doesnt seem to be helping anyones case here.

idunno1234
by Silver Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 11:25 AM
1 mom liked this

Oh for goodness sake....in the whole scheme of things, what does it matter what various idiots, people who are presenting their own individual point of view- think of what a dead boy's possible racist comments?

The kid is dead.  We will probably never know exactly what happened.  Whatever the jury will believe they will believe and its time to move on because one senseless death, only one murder out of all the rest that happened that day is really not worth more than all the other people who died the day.  This case is utterly meaningless to anyone's lives other than the people directly involved, just like all the others out there.  Racism won't magically go away, nothing will improve as a result of this tragedy and life and death goes on.  

I abhor trials that are held in the press.  There's always just a whole lot of assumption and misinformation going on and we will never actually know the true story.  Let the jury do its job.  I feel sorry for them.

4kidz916
by Gold Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 11:29 AM
4 moms liked this

Racial slurs are bad no matter who says them.  If you can excuse one, you have to excuse them all.

tooptimistic
by Bronze Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM
4 moms liked this


I completly agree!!  I don't think there is any reason to have a double standard, or to justify racial slurs for one segment of the population. 

Quoting 4kidz916:

Racial slurs are bad no matter who says them.  If you can excuse one, you have to excuse them all.



Citygirlk
by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 12:19 PM

He also called him a ni&&er. 

 and this guy is all wrong. Trayvon was just describing Zimmerman. It wasn't hateful.

RelaxedMom2-3
by on Jul. 8, 2013 at 2:00 PM
2 moms liked this

 I completely agree. If this were a white and the "n" word was used it would be racism. It's okay for them though? Double standards indeed.....


Quoting 4kidz916:

Racial slurs are bad no matter who says them.  If you can excuse one, you have to excuse them all.


 

VinVanMom
by Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

I call my hubs a crazy cracker and were both white..   : /

joyfree
by Kat on Jul. 8, 2013 at 3:13 PM

I didn't get the idea that the professor implied that Trayvon was being hateful, myself.


Quoting Citygirlk:

He also called him a ni&&er. 

 and this guy is all wrong. Trayvon was just describing Zimmerman. It wasn't hateful.



Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Jul. 8, 2013 at 5:52 PM
2 moms liked this

 

Shock!

No not really.

Quoting joyfree:

Makes sense to me...


 

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