July 23rd, 2013
06:23 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Race and Justice in America II

The George Zimmerman verdict is challenging assumptions about race in America.  It started a new national discussion, that we are continuing in our town hall tonight.  We are taking an up close look at the hidden bias that often goes unspoken in our society, and surfaces in unexpected ways.  It's something President Obama addressed in his remarks following the Zimmerman verdict.  It's an issue I discussed with Grammy nominated hip-hop artist Nas; BET's Michaela Angela Davis; David Webb, co-founder of Tea Party 365; New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Charles Blow; and Andre Perry, founding  Dean of Urban Education at Davenport University.

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Filed under: George Zimmerman • Trayvon Martin
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Who really care to understand the struggle the Africa America male, has had to endure from day one, upon arriving here. We, as Africa America’s people have been faces with inequality from the early arrival of the African. We have talk about racism from 1789 until now2013, and still no respect from other ethnic groups; Caucasians, Italian, Spanish and the Jews. Today issue, are still yesterday problems. Our justice system and our government have showed us how biased they are toward us African America’s by their racism action in every aspect of way of life. Racism has gone too far in America for so long, that talking will not solve anything, because the wrong people are at the table.

    July 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  2. Mike Cope

    It seems when we speak of racism the conversation is monopolized by those that are of black ethnicity as if that is the only group of people that are affected. News media seems to focus on just the Zimmerman case under a microscope which skews the real conversation that should be taking place. Racism has and does take place by all no matter what race you happen to be. The presidents comment about it could have been him is a divisive statement. There are a lot of caucasians that dress like other ethnicities wearing hoodies and in the dark of night you can't judge a person's race. The president should have stated it could have been anyone's son, daughter of any race in that situation. Racism is not just acted or performed exclusively by white people. Pointing fingers is not productive in this conversation.

    July 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Donna

    In the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin case, by any reasonable person's definition of stalking vs. standing one's ground, Zimmerman was the stalker and Trayvon Martin was the one "standing his ground", but regrettably the stalker was the one with the gun.

    In considering whether this case had anything to do with race, consider how different it would have been had Trayvon been a white teenager. I firmly believe that all the white people who vehemently deny that this case had nothing to do with race would feel very differently if Trayvon had been white because they would not view a Latino as "white" like them and George would have been found guilty.

    July 23, 2013 at 11:09 pm |

      stalking implies a prior relationship or knowledge of person – this was not the case – he was following him in accordance with the law reporting to the 911 . trayvon had a phone why didn't he call 911 if he was so scared or he had 4 minuets to run home 100 yards ? – i'am 48 ,fat , and smoke and i could have ran that far twice !!!

      July 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Jina

      I agree, Donna. You don't have to know the person in order to stalk them, just a familiarity with the person or situation. Zimmerman stated "they always get away" which establishes familiarity with a situation. He should have never left his vehicle & he should not have confronted Trayvon. There was no suspicious activity going on...period! So over this bickering but I will definitely fight to eliminate Florida's SYG laws so they can match the rest of the country's views of SYG!

      July 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  4. Name*Mike

    Im so disgusted With CNN and One Sided View Of This Case. To Continually Bring Race Into This Story Is Outrageous. Ive Been A Loyal Watcher For Years And They Are Pushing Me away.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  5. Beth

    While I can appreciate the panels discussion, I believe a major point needs to be made. Since the United States became a country, white men have dominated as lawmakers. They make public policy that has focused on "placism" for African Americans while preserving and protecting their way of life. Meaning, every time African Americans experienced a breakthrough like ending Jim Crow laws, white lawmakers would institute another law that restricted equality. Then the Civil Rights movement happened and African Americans made large strides in society. Another hurdle was created called drugs that were brought to black neighborhoods. Liquor stores, check cashing stores selling lottery tickets began popping up in black neighborhoods. These are all subliminal messages to black youth and adults that have a profound effect on the psyche. With the onset on drugs being deposited in black neighborhoods, new laws were made that allowed for mass incarceration of black people. It was all a setup to disenfranchise African Americns. It is my belief that public policy was purposefully made to serve as a form of covert racism that replaces the old slavery and Jim Crow laws that kept black people in their place. So how do we fix it? I suggest setting term limits on Congress so that the "good old boy" culture can begin to crumble and no one becomes complacent as a career Congress member.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  6. Randy Hall

    Great point Mr. Hanson, I have listened for weeks now about this issue and have yet to hear any solutions, also there seems to me from what i have listened to tonight, is there is a big problem with police and race. Stand up and fight the system.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  7. Millicent Callender

    If your people had the history of terrorism and cruelty to another people, I believe you would always have a paranoia taught to all your generations towards those people. In the same way the people oppressed in that way would also teach their generations a "healthy" caution/suspicion and mistrust of those people. So the emotional toll is taken and not even a bi-racial president that identifies as African-American makes a difference. Half the Black people I know worried that the President would be killed by racist. The solutions are complex - a matter of economics, increased race interaction, and some compensation for the unfair advantage given to a "white majority" that may not even be a majority in America ultimately. God help us all.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  8. Grace Kelly

    The ton hall discussion was quite interesting. I am interested in finding out more information about what was being said by the panel. where can I find these studies that are being quoted? please let me know I am quite interested.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  9. Jude Lewis

    As a 60 year old white woman, I applaud these discussions concerning race and justice. We need to talk about this, and talk about this, and talk about this, until it becomes a non-issue. That won't happen in my lifetime, but it has to start somewhere.
    Good job Anderson Cooper!

    July 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  10. Drew fuller

    Until we as a country are a shining example of equal rights, gun control, and true democracy will we ever be what we were and gain what we have lost ( jobs)

    July 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  11. james mcfadden

    Unfortunately, it has become commonplace for women of all races to have children out of wedlock. Until, each racial community comes to grip with this and effectively deals with it in there own terms, it will continue to be a blemish on all of us in this country. The problem basically is, that a woman cannot effectively, in many cases, properly raise a child in society, they way they should. The reason being, the parent themselves are not equiped to parent a child because most of them were not raised in a positive structure. This failure of the family leads kids to gangs, drugs and violence. Change, thats a good question because the system isn't constructed in a way to allow or provide a way to make a difference. You all know what I mean.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  12. zajh in az

    what are the solutions? and Should everyone else pay to bring these people up??
    All talk about the perceived issues

    July 23, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  13. Leyhun

    Hi Anderson,

    It is just annoying that why the public would not think about how the Nicole and Mr. Brown was thought to be killed by OJ Simpson.

    Supposedly O J the killer is black and the killed are whites. So, why doesn't anyone thought of the racial black killed whites versus Zimmerman and not black killed a black in self defense.

    This is not about racial killer.

    This is about doing one's duty and in self defense.

    Why cant anyone understand.

    Zimmerman was just doing his job.
    If he had not done in self defense he himself can be killed by the blows on his head and even Travon did not have a gun!!!

    Just righting the wrong of some media comments from the public.............All of us here in this planet earth do have our own idiosyncrasies on about everything..........in the daily life.....and this is not avoidable and no matter you are white or black or Latino or Asian.

    Just a comments for your thought in the panel.


    July 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Jina

      He wasn't doing a "job". He appointed himself and he made the horrible decision of confronting someone who was innocent of wrongdoing (can't speak on the assault since we don't know who initiated it). He was definitely negligent and deserved at least manslaughter (unless he intentionally provoked Trayvon...then it's murder). Unfortunately, the jury could only deliberate based on evidence and certain legal standards that had to be ignored.

      July 25, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
  14. Donna Butler

    I love the fact that CNN regularly tackles the subject of race, but I am discouraged by the lack of new ideas and the same victim and persecutor mindset that is continually discussed and as a result, perpetuated. It's time to stop clinging to the tragic history of slavery and passing it down to our children. We need progressive thinking that is rooted in the present moment.
    Donna Butler

    July 23, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  15. Craig K

    I can understand how 6 women jurors could acquit Zimmerman. Women are victims of violence and the evidence showed that he was injured while being attacked. The only conclusion is self defense.

    July 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  16. Pavithra

    And have another story When I went to school here, another undergraduate student told me her expereince growing up in England. Her father was a doctor there and when they went to school, other british kids would throw stones at them an call them Pakis. There were not even poor and not from Pakistan. She had darker skin tones compare to British. Her father was well educated. When they moved to USA, she was so happy here, she said America is wonderful country, even if racism exists, it is not as blatant and probably if she studied well, she could be a doctor like her father. I thought the same about America and I loved the country until 9/11. After that I sow discrimination and everything is a road block ! I have seen people moving beyond that and it is all learning process .. But who is teaching to break that glass ceiling at every step is my question..

    July 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  17. Pavithra

    We can not just go on about slavery slavery slavery! Question is : are you being a slave now, do you need to help to free yourself. Legally it is possible.

    July 23, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  18. Pavithra

    Class segregation existed from Biblical times, Moses was a slave son. In India class segregation existed for thousands of years and the working class, Shoodras were called untouchables not allowed to touch the priest / Brahman class and if they did Brahmans had to take a bath. The class division was based on work performed and descendents of each class could not choose another class or work . So if you are street sweeper, for thousands of years your children could only do similar kind of work. If people of different class wore same cloths, they would have looked the same. Looks were not particularly different. These social evils, it takes thousands of years to change, at the grass root levels and at the top policy level. But dwelling only on slavery and discrimination now, after it is considered illegal may not help. We have to work with current issues ! Women in VIrginia could not own property until 1979 and how do you expect women to compete and own property and manage? Where is the knowledge, who is teaching us?? My point is, we have to address one issue at a time! But we need social support, and so we need to address specific current problem .

    July 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
  19. R. Watson

    It's nice you keep up the dialogue concerning Travon Martin. But what about all the CHILDREN dying in Chicago due to gun violence? Why do you never have any meaningful commentary on that?

    July 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  20. Scott Hanson

    I wonder if anyone will point out that we in America have different races. That being said, will this discussion be centered on just one race or will it be about all the different races in America. It would be nice to hear solutions from your guests.

    July 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm |

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