New Poll Proves the Zimmerman Trial Has Split Our Nation in Two

Trayvon MarchIf there was any doubt left in your mind about the effect the George Zimmerman trial has had on race relations in America, there won't be after you read this post.

A new poll released today by the Pew Research Center spells it out -- The George Zimmerman trial has deeply divided our nation along color lines. We all knew it was happening based on the number of protests, editorials, blog posts, analyses, Tweets, and Facebook posts on both sides of the issue. Still, it's chilling to see the actual percentages on reaction to the trial based on race.

Check this out:


-49% of whites say they are satisfied with the outcome of the Zimmerman trial, compared to just 5% of blacks.

-60% of whites believe the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves, compared to 13% of blacks.

-Meanwhile, 78% of blacks say the Zimmerman trial raises important issues about race that need to be discussed, compared to just 28% of whites.

I don't know about you, but to me these findings are disturbing. We need to be pulling together as a nation, and I haven't felt more deeply divided since, well, since the presidential election. Man, that got ugly.

Moms on both sides of the issue are making their opinions known online, and discussions in the comments are getting heated.

Kristen Howerton, author of the blog Rage Against the Minivan, breaks down the topic of white privilege in this post. "The only aspect of white privilege that should invoke guilt," she writes, "is if you decide that because you don’t experience racism, that you don’t have to listen or care when other people do." Kristen teaches a graduate level course on diversity, so she knows what she's talking about. This post is worth a read.

On the Huffington Post, concert pianist Jade Simmons has an internal dialogue with her 5-year-old son in the wake of the verdict. "You will be tall and dashing, I can tell," she writes, "but I fear that on a rainy night dressed in a hoodie this will cause you some issues. So how do I shelter you from a fate sealed by ignorant misunderstanding and prejudiced overreaction?" As you can imagine, the comments section is filled with responses.

Meanwhile here on The Stir, conservative blogger Jenny Erickson fired back with a post called George Zimmerman is No Racist and Trayvon Martin is No Martyr. "The media’s capitulation of this story to promote its own agenda is inexcusable," she writes. "Not everything is about race. Sometimes it’s just a very sad story of a life ended too soon." As you can imagine, the commenters went wild.

And if you haven't seen our Moms Matter Google Hangout on race relations in the wake of the Zimmerman trial, I hope you'll check it out. I think it's one of our best.

I believe too many people are getting caught up in the details of  the Zimmerman trial-- Face it, it was an imperfect case. Zimmerman's trial just brought to the surface the fact that a majority of blacks feel discriminated against. Whether whites feel this discrimination is real or not is irrelevant. If a large portion of our population feels discriminated against, we must, as a nation, address it. We must deal with the problem and work to solve it. For me as a white woman, that starts by doing a whole lot of listening. I am listening carefully right now to how my black friends and colleagues feel about this trial. I am listening to their experiences of being a black person in America. No, I can't know firsthand what it's like to be black, but by listening, I can at least gain some understanding of what they've been through, and how they feel about it, and why. This is doubly important because I'm a mom, and my perception is inevitably what I teach my children. And so I will not dismiss the feelings and perceptions of those who feel discriminated against, and it makes me sad when I see others do so.

That's my take. What's yours?


Image via David Shankbone/Flickr

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