In Trayvon Martin case, life imitates art

In its initial reports, the Associated Press reported that a black teenager had been fatally shot by a “white neighborhood watch volunteer.” ABC news initially reported that Martin was shot “in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, which is a predominately white neighborhood.”

But George Zimmerman is no Sherman McCoy. For starters, he is not white. After being almost exclusively described as “white” in the media, his father wrote a letter to The Orlando Sentinel describing his son as a “Spanish speaking minority with many black family members and friends.”

Despite the fact that the community is gated, the Retreat at Twin Lakes is far from a bastion of white privilege. According to The Miami Herald, “Census figures report that the neighborhood is actually only 49% white, while it is 23% Hispanic, 20% African American and 5% Asian.” The Orlando real estate site Real Estate Wall lists the neighborhood’s housing prices as ranging from $70,000 to $120,000.

But these inconvenient facts haven’t stopped liberals and the media from continuing to push their narrative of racial strife. The other day, NBC Latino contributor Stephen A. Nuño argued that even when a Hispanic kills a black person, the problem is white racism. He said that Zimmerman’s ethnicity is “inconsequential to the problem we face,” which he described as “a country whose gears are oiled by white privilege.” Yet if whites are so privileged in this country, why do Zimmerman’s family members and lawyers go out of their way to insist he is not white?

Reuters, The New York Times and hundreds of other news outlets now call Zimmerman a “white Hispanic,” a term that they have rarely, if ever, used before. The media would never refer to Barack Obama as a “white African American” or something along those lines. As Robert VerBruggen noted in National Review, “If a plain-vanilla white guy shot Zimmerman, he’d be considered just ‘Hispanic.’”

Call me old-fashioned, but I want a colorblind justice system. If the evidence does eventually show that Zimmerman was not justified in killing Martin, he should be punished to the full extent of the law, regardless of whether he is Hispanic or white. Unfortunately, if the media’s campaign of misinformation continues, it’s hard to see how the truth will ever come out.

Tom Tancredo represented Colorado’s 6th Congressional District from 1999 until 2009. While in Congress, he chaired the bipartisan, 100-plus-member Immigration Reform Caucus. He currently serves as chairman of Team America PAC and The Rocky Mountain Foundation.