For the past week Lauren has been writing about events at the Ohio State University related to Trayvon Martin’s shooting. She’s covered the rallies supporting Trayvon. And she’s covered the hate-filled, racist responses, including the graffiti painted on an OSU building supporting George Zimmerman, the self-appointed captain of the local neighborhood watch who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in late February.
This evening Think Progress confirmed that Zimmerman is now using images of that graffiti on a new website ( www.therealgeorgezimmerman.com). The goal of the website, according to Zimmerman, is to give his supporters the opportunity to donate cash for his living expenses and legal defense. Mr. Zimmerman guarantees he will “personally, maintain accountability of all funds received.” “I reassure you,” he adds. “Every donation is appreciated.”
Just looking at the graffiti you might mistake it as a simple message supporting Zimmerman. But it’s important to remember that this was painted on the Hale Black Cultural Center on the night of the anniversary of the killing of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This wasn’t just some randomly chosen location or time. This graffiti was, without question, racially motivated.
Unlike the people who tagged up the Hale Center, George Zimmerman’s motivation on the evening he shot and killed Trayvon Martin is less clear. And without further information or evidence I’m not going to pass judgement on him. It seems obvious he overreacted. But did he kill Trayvon Martin because he was black? That I just don’t know.
But there are plenty of people out there convinced that George Zimmerman’s actions were racially motivated, and more people seem to be adopting this perspective every day.
George Zimmerman’s choice to use this photo may not have been intentionally racist, but that’s exactly how it will be perceived.
George Zimmerman claims he is not be a racist, and he may be right, but if he keeps making choices like this, he’s quickly going to run out of people who believe him.