Slate Article Ties Trayvon Martin Shooting to General Lack of Empathy For Blacks

Ever since George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin in February 2012, the liberal media have done their best to make the story about racism. Jason Silverstein of Slate.com continued that pattern Thursday with a 1200-word article that delved into psychoanalysis to try and explain the fateful shooting.

Silverstein cobbled together a number of studies to advance the theory of the “racial empathy gap.” The idea is that white people don’t feel the pain of other races as much as they empathize with other white people. One key study cited in the article found that white people feel more empathy when they see white skin pierced than black skin. Another study found that people generally assume that black people feel less pain than white people.

What does this have to do with the Zimmerman case? Not much. Zimmerman and Martin were only mentioned in the opening paragraph, but that prominent placement indicates that Silverstein was trying to tie them into his larger point about the “racial empathy gap.” Here is that opening paragraph in its entirety:
 

"George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin because he perceived him as dangerous. The defense argues he was, the prosecution argues he wasn’t. No one, of course, argues that Zimmerman approached Martin with kindness, or stopped to consider the boy as anything other than suspicious, an outsider. Ultimately Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. A lack of empathy can produce national tragedies. But it also drives quieter, more routine forms of discrimination."
 

There’s no direct mention of race in that passage, but the implication is clear when you read the rest of the article. Silverstein believes Zimmerman felt no empathy for Martin because Martin was black. But keep in mind that Zimmerman, as a Hispanic, is also a minority. Most of the studies that Silverstein cited dealt only with white participants. So Zimmerman’s connection to the racial empathy gap is highly questionable.

Slate shouldn’t be using the Zimmerman trial to accuse all Americans of a lack of empathy for blacks. Nobody likes to be made to feel guilty, especially for crimes that they did not commit. Keep the trial about Zimmerman and Martin and stick to the facts and evidence as they are presented in a court of law.

Read the entire Slate article here.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.