Creepy-Ass Crackers, Race and Bias in the Zimmerman Trial


Yesterday, one of the defense lawyers in the Zimmerman trial said that shooting victim Trayvon Martin injected race into his fatal encounter with George Zimmerman by referring to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker” while on the phone with his friend, Rachel Jeantel. The attorney tried to get Jeantel to own up to the term being a racial slur, whereas she said it was just slang.

We can put some of this down to different group perceptions of the word “cracker,” and I may be in a somewhat unique position to crackersplain at least one aspect of it. In Florida, the word “cracker” did and does have benign connotations among some groups: It means the people who lived in Florida during its frontier era (think the family from “The Yearling”) and their descendants, of which I am one.

Does the use of the word “cracker” in that sense have a racial component? Sure — it means white people, but it also means a certain subset of white people, i.e., Florida natives who have a rural, Southern culture distinct from that of the Northern-born white folks who started arriving in the state in great numbers after the blessed invention of air-conditioning.

Would you like to see evidence that “cracker” isn’t universally considered a slur down here? Okay, here’s the banner for the website of the permanent frontier Florida exhibit at the Florida State Fairgrounds — a place every school child within 150 miles of the fairgrounds visits on a field trip at some point:


And here is another example, Florida Cracker beer from a local microbrew:


WHITE Ale – geddit? Tasty stuff, too!

Now, none of this is to say that there aren’t people who are offended by the term and people who use it as a pejorative. As I’ve mentioned before, my Internet nym, back when I started a blog with zero readers, came from a teasing nickname my (upstate New York-born) husband gave me because of my downhome cooking, but if I had it to do over again, I’d choose something less freighted.

I think about changing it occasionally and may at some point, although it would be a logistical nightmare. (Any suggestions? Can’t use my real name because of my J-O-B…)

I’ve had people tell me they find my internet nym offensive (butt-hurty white men in every single case, if I recall correctly, for what it’s worth), and you know what? I believe them. People do have different understandings of what it means, and I think perceptions of the word’s meaning are generational as well as regional.

There was a kerfluffle about the word “cracker” when Bill Clinton was campaigning for Barack Obama in Florida back in 2008. Clinton invoked our last great cracker governor, Lawton Chiles, in an interview with Larry King:

“You know, they think that because of who I am and where my politic[al] base has traditionally been, they may want me to go sort of hustle up what Lawton Chiles used to call the ‘cracker vote’ there.”

Much as Zimmerman’s defense team leapt on the term to prove racial bias, the wingnuts at the Weekly Standard jumped all over Clinton’s offhand remark:

Is Clinton intentionally trying to stir up racial resentment by saying that “they” (presumably the Obama campaign) want him to “hustle up … the ‘cracker vote'”? According to a search in Nexis, Clinton has never publicly used the phrase “cracker vote” before now. Lawton Chiles did use the word “cracker” in a non-pejorative manner, once during a campaign event with Clinton in 1996 according to a Hearst newspapers story:

“I know this fella from Arkansas,” boasted Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles as he introduced Bill Clinton to a Democratic fund-raising reception in this GOP stronghold. “And I can tell you he knows how to speak cracker.”

There’s been a lot of paranoid speculation in this election that certain people are trying to play the race card. Clinton’s usage is the latest evidence that it’s the Democrats who are the race-obsessed party in this cycle.

Uh-huh. Something similar is at work in the Zimmerman trial too, and much hinges on how the jury, almost all middle-aged white women (like me), perceives Martin’s friend Jeantel’s testimony, motives and credibility. Their interpretations will likely be filtered through perceptions that are informed by regional, generational and racial factors.

This is pure speculation on my part, but I suspect that in the context of Zimmerman’s pursuit of Martin, both Martin and Jeantel used the word “cracker” in a different sense than Lawton Chiles, Bill Clinton and I used it in other contexts: I think they meant it as a slang term for a white person, but not an entirely benign one.

I suspect their use of it meant something along the lines of “a white person who suspects me of being up to no good because I am black.” In that sense, I believe their use of it was accurate, if not benign, when applied to Zimmerman.

It’s possible they meant it as a completely neutral slang term for a white person, but the perceptions of that word seem to have shifted in the younger generation, even for white kids who are native Floridians. My teenager says she perceives “cracker” as a pejorative in most contexts, though she understands it is not nearly as loaded a term as the “n” word.

But back to the jury and their perceptions: we’ll see how it shakes out, but I doubt the defense will get much traction out of “creepy-ass cracker.” What concerns me, as a person who thinks Zimmerman should do serious time for pursuing an unarmed kid who was minding his own business and subsequently killing him, is how the jury will perceive Jeantel’s testimony and demeanor.

George Zimmerman Trial Continues

I watched a bit of her testimony this week, and I think it will hurt the state’s case — maybe a lot. How Jeantel’s testimony was received is a controversial topic. Many assholes predictably used it as an opportunity to demonstrate that they’re racist shitheads. Others are saying that anyone who is at all critical of how Jeantel handled herself either doesn’t “get” her and/or must be speaking from a place of white privilege.

Well, that’s possible; we all have biases, and it can be tough to see past them. I get that Jeantel is a very young woman who is caught up in an extremely traumatic incident and that there are cultural factors at play in how she communicates. As the mother of a teenager myself, I also get that kids communicate with each other in ways that adults frown upon and that a scared teen who suddenly found herself caught up in a sensational case and squarely in the media’s harsh glare might mislead people and come off as defensive under aggressive cross-examination.

You can make credible arguments to explain that Jeantel’s actions were understandable at every point, and I wouldn’t necessarily say you’re wrong. But I also wouldn’t count on the jury trying to see where she’s coming from and feeling sympathetic toward her. And that could be disastrous for the state’s case. What do you think?

326 replies
  1. 1
    TR says:

    The minor league baseball team in Atlanta was called the Atlanta Crackers for ages.

  2. 2

    I have a question, what is the origin of the word cracker? My friend from Georgia, uses it to describe his mom’s family from Georgia. Do you have to be southern to be a cracker. As for the case, I have not been following it. Too depressing.

  3. 3
    West of the Rockies says:

    As a Native American/European white person, I can’t say that the term strikes me as anything but silly. I’ve never been called a cracker, but maybe the term is just not terribly popular in northern California where I live. Of course, when uttered, it may well be intended to inflict some sort of racial insult. As such, I’d not use it myself and think that in the perfect world of the United Federation of Planets (under Starfleet Command), it would be great if it disappeared (along with all the other offending racial terms).

    Well, I’m sure that will prove very insightful in this conversation…. :(

  4. 4
    West of the Rockies says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’m not following the case either, SCat… It strikes me as yet another sad case that for whatever reason (the intersection of race, evolving gun law, youth/maturity) is being regarded as a bellwether in our country. Having spent 13 years in law enforcement, I’ve seen similar cases (minus the so-called stand-your-ground aspect). The intersection of testosterone, the male ego, and firearms strikes again.

  5. 5
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Zimmerman was going to walk anyway. Remind me the next time I pick a fight and lose said fight, that it’s perfectly legal for me to bust a cap in the victor’s crown, because I feared for my life after losing a fight that I instigated. Especially if the victor is armed with candy and soft drinks.

  6. 6
    merl says:

    I used to read your blog all of the time.

  7. 7
    Redshirt says:

    Am I unusual, as an American, that I have little idea about my past? And that I don’t care? I am an American, also, a citizen of the world. I don’t care about your Irish/English/German/Whatever heritage. Your American, I’m American, we have the same rights and the same ability to make a new life for ourselves here in the Melting Pot.

    I kinda get pissed off when I see European bumper stickers on American’s cars. Great, you’ve got Finnish heritage! Big whoop!

  8. 8
    JoyfulA says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of a Florida cracker. I’ve heard of Georgia crackers, which is a slur meaning the same as the slurs Georgia clayeaters and trailer trash.

    And I haven’t heard of Georgia crackers in quite a few decades.

  9. 9

    Zimmy’s lawyer is already dancing in the end zone for “beating stupidity”. The #dadkilled it tag is just insane.

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I was always under the impression that the term applied to the farmers and livestock herders of the scrubby inland areas of Florida and Georgia, and that it referred to a subset of white southerners. It always seemed a very place-specific word for me as opposed to the far more generic “redneck”.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    Zimmerman was going to walk anyway.

    I sincerely doubt this will happen.

  12. 12
    DocSardonic says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Let me see if I can help with the origin of the word cracker as a term for Floridians…..Back in the old days when Florida was a free range agrarian state before the invention of air conditioning and the pestillence called tourists(just kidding folks come on down)we herded cattle…lots of cattle. But Florida in those days was choked with palmettos, pine woods, swamps and hammocks, so the method found most effective to move cattle was with horses, dogs and bullwhips(before the blessed invention of the dirt bike). SO the term cracker comes from the sound of cracks of the whips trying to drive a few cows at a time out of the woods. Also too the term cowboy originated in Florida as well.

  13. 13
    Zifnab says:

    I don’t know about White Privilege, but from what I’ve seen and heard Jeantel was a god damn horrible witness for the prosecution. Contradictory statements, a poor eye for details, and a bad attitude will make her incredibly easy for the jury to dismiss as credible.

    That said, with such a slow over-the-plate pitch to the defense, I really do have to wonder what the hell the end-game here is in trying to play the “White people are victims!” race card. The question at hand is whether Martin attacked Zimmerman. Is burrowing into the etymology of the word “cracker” really helping Zimmerman’s case? I guess it might help establish some kind of credibility to the “angry black man” persona Zimmerman’s lawyers would love to saddle Martin with. But the fact that we’re having the discussion at all makes the Zimmerman legal team pick of the taint of racism in the process. :-p

  14. 14
    gene108 says:

    Why didn’t the state coach the hell up out of this witness to make sure she could hold up under cross-examination?

    Or is that something only private defense attorneys can do do to witnesses?

    Anyway, the basic premise of this case is going to come down to how scary does the middle aged almost all white women jury find black people. If they think blacks are scary, Zimmerman walks. If they aren’t scared of every black person they meet, there’s a chance the state might win. If they really like black people and have black friends, Zimmerman’s screwed.

  15. 15
    Mart says:

    I never knew the proud history of the Cracker. As an old northerner my impression of what cracker means has always been a white bigot from the south. So from my perspective, I thought the kids used it in the right context. In front of a Jury of Florida women, expect they are insulted by the blahs using the term.

    And keep the nym. Pretty cool once you know where it comes from.

  16. 16

    @beltane: OK that’s what I thought, that it was region specific and not particularly complimentary.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I’m a middle aged (6 months older than John) white male who grew up in west Texas, and had not heard the word cracker used as a slang for a white person until recently.

  18. 18

    @schrodinger’s cat: My understanding is it referred to ‘cracking a joke’ – telling tall tales, shit like that. And referred to the very early settlers in the south, that it’s a term as old as this country is. ‘Cracker barrel’ comes from the same meaning to sit around the barrel in a general store and shoot the shit. It’d only refer to white people because everyone else in the south at that time was either a slave or being genocided.

  19. 19
    beltane says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: One could say that a cracker is like a lowland hillbilly. That said, my husband is a big fat white guy and he is very free with his use of the term redneck to describe anybody in a pickup truck whose driving habits irritate him in any way. Bonus points if they have a NASCAR sticker on the truck, which he claims is a tell-tale sign of a slow, timid driver.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gene108: Witnesses can be well prepared, but still not do well.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    Speaking of, we were driving from Athens to Nashville today and we stopped at that god-awful fireworks place right after Lake Nickijack. Place has really gone down hill since I last stopped. Some dumb cracker broad was standing in the fucking doorway with the door cracked smoking a cigarette! She obviously worked there and it was just too hot for her to walk her dumb cracker ass somewhere to deal with he nasty fucking habit. Cracker.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Redshirt says:

    @beltane: LOL. I’ve come to the exact same conclusion: anyone with a NASCAR sticker on their car is a terrible driver.

    Wonder why.

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    I can’t watch the trial. I can’t get past the “he’s running” from Zimmerman on the tape.
    I know it isn’t determinative legally as far as Zimmerman’s defense, but for me if you’re following a kid who is running away and then you end up shooting the kid who was running away from you, you’re at fault.

  25. 25
    aimai says:

    I have avoided seeing anything about the trial and so I can’t speak to the witnesses’s testimony or demeanour, but I can say that the vast pool of media-watching-Americans are continually astounded by how stupid sounding Americans, and especially teenage Americans, actually are. The shock and horror expressed at seeing an actual, real, live, ordinary person badly express herself on the stand is, of course, racialized and racist because she’s black and because she is testifying in this trial. But if it were a white on white murder trial and they dragged in some fat, uneducated, gum chewing, slang talking white girl she would have come in for a lot of the same abuse.

    I’m not saying this to excuse the racism of the commenters–I’m saying this because the exact same thing happened during Katrina when images of overweight black people were suddenly appearing on TV and you got the jawdroppingly funny juxtaposition of air brushed, skinny, made for TV commentary about how shockingly out of shape black america was right next to scenes of fat old white people on their hooverounds supporting Bush.

    Its like white people never looked out their fucking windows before and noticed that white people are fat, white people have fat stupid teenagers, white teenagers are incomprehensible.

  26. 26
    PeakVT says:

    For me cracker always meant deep-south, flatlands redneck, as opposed to hillbilly rednecks from the hills and mountains. I have no idea why that took hold in my mind.

    Anyway, I’ve always thought Zimmerman would be acquitted. From the description of the most recent witness’s testimony, that seems even more likely. I hope to be wrong.

    ETA: For the record, I think Zimmerman is guilty of murder.

  27. 27
    MomSense says:

    It angers me that the basic fact of this case is that Zimmerman was told by the police to stop and to wait for the police to get to the scene.

    He took it upon himself to play cop and to pursue someone and then kill that person. It is outrageous. All this focus by the defense and the media on what Rachel or Trayvon may have said is just distraction.

    If Zimmerman was really so concerned he should have done what he was told to do–stay in his car and wait for the police.

    If I were being followed by a man at night and he approached me you can bet that I would have tried to fight back. Zimmerman is the aggressor in this situation.

  28. 28
    Ted & Hellen says:

    I suspect their use of it meant something along the lines of “a white person who suspects me of being up to no good because I am black.

    This may be the first clearly identified instance of “Crackersplaining.”

    I think it’s impressive, Betty, how you were able to read Trayvon and Rachel’s minds and parse their exact thoughts on this. Wow.

  29. 29
    beltane says:

    @Redshirt: The “Fear This” stickers on cars driving 5 mph under the speed limit always used to crack me up. It could be that these are people driving with suspended licences for their 3rd DUIs and they just don’t want to risk getting pulled over.

  30. 30
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @gene108: No matter how much you get coached, you might still get visibly pissed off when you feel like you’re being challenged and you feel like you’ve already been pretty damn clear. That’s the vibe I got from the clips I saw. She knows she shouldn’t say “I already explained all this to you, are you just stupid?” but she’s wrestling with keeping her frustration from seeping out.

  31. 31
    Rosalita says:

    I’ve had people tell me they find my internet nym offensive (butt-hurty white men in every single case, if I recall correctly, for what it’s worth),

    Fuck them, I’ve had with butt-hurty white men this week. It’s a clever nym and you should keep it.

    Re the cracker term, I heard it when I moved to Florida from CT and it was simply to describe original Florida families/settlers. I can see where they would have some pride in that considering the influx of northerners you referred to. My dad always called his family Swamp Yankees and considering they came to CT in the 1600s I’d say he was right. And I’m proud of it.

  32. 32
    Ted & Hellen says:

    I look forward to a thoughtful discussion of what, exactly “wet grass” sounds like.

    Does wet grass sound differently on a sunny when compared to the sound it makes on a cloudy day?

    Is it wetter sounding at night than during the day?

  33. 33
    EconWatcher says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yes, you can coach witnesses, but in the end they can either handle themselves or they can’t. And it’s simply the case that witnesses with less education and sophistication are at a disadvantage. Even mediocre trial lawyers do learn some tricks from experience that can make a witness look bad.

  34. 34
    aimai says:

    @👽 Martin: Well, in Irish “the crack” refers to joking and story telling. “Not all its cracked up to be” means “not as good as they are saying.”

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @👽 Martin: Dead honky?

  36. 36
    Jen says:

    I don’t doubt this Rachel girl is telling the truth, and I understand English isn’t her first language (which is her parents’ fault since she was born in Miami) but damn was she an AWFUL witness.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    FlipYrWhig says:

    There’s a different between “cracker” and “redneck”? I thought choosing “cracker” over “redneck” just happened to have the benefit of sounding a bit like the n-word, so you can say it with some extra snap.

  39. 39
    Redshirt says:

    “Cracker” is one of my favorite bands ever. Perhaps the favorite. David Lowry is my muse.

  40. 40
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @gene108: Sometimes coaching takes, sometimes it doesn’t. Been there, done that. In a case of this magnitude, you can damned sure bet that state found the time for witness prep (surely), but not all witnesses prep well.

  41. 41
    Trollhattan says:

    I’ve long been aware of “cracker’s” Florida roots, which made the “Betty Cracker” nym instantly hilarious (okay, that and the damn casserole picture). I’ve probably been called cracker but it’s just not anything that can stick, since I’ve never lived east of Iowa.

    I don’t know how Zimmerman walks given his statement to the police but, again, I’ve never lived east of Iowa so what the hell do I know?

  42. 42
    Kay says:


    I don’t like that either. I don’t like what seems to be some assumption that Zimmerman has some authority or right to chase people, any person. My immediate reaction would be “why are you bothering this person at all?”

  43. 43

    @Redshirt: You see this re: Pandora and Cracker/Lowry? A million plays on Pandora = $16.89 for the songwriter.

    Also, I liked Camper Van Beethoven.

  44. 44
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @aimai: ohhhh, that makes a lot of sense. Never understood “cracked up to be” before. Thanks!

  45. 45
    Ted & Hellen says:


    Do the prosecution and defense teams, as well as the judge, know that you were present during the incident in question here?

    You should probably let them know…

  46. 46
    bill d says:


    Not Uncle Kracker?

  47. 47
    Redshirt says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Camper is the other option for my favorite band. I go with Cracker only because they have more of a library.

    How does anyone make money off Pandora?

  48. 48
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Kay: That totally sums up both my attitude and the reason I’m not watching. Plus my mood is pretty low anyway, so that wouldn’t help.

  49. 49
    Rosalita says:

    @John Cole: LOL! Peckerwood always makes me laugh. How young do they look? Damn

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I have had a well-prepared witness go into a deposition and say exactly the opposite of what he told my firm time and time again. Opposing counsel just looked at me afterwards and said, “it’s happened to me too.”

  51. 51
  52. 52
  53. 53
    Amir Khalid says:

    Do you really need to change your nym? I always understood that it was a reference both to Betty Crocker and to the not-so-friendly nickname for white people. Maybe it’s because I’m not white, but I’ve never found it offensive. Knowing you were white, I figured you had a right to apply the term to yourself and knew when it was okay to use it.

  54. 54
    Kay says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    I can’t get to Part Two.
    From Martin’s perspective it must have been completely bizarre, because it’s not a cop, Martin really doesn’t have to submit to Zimmerman, nor would he imagine he had to. Why would he think that? It’s just random crazy person, following him.

  55. 55
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Redshirt: Levon once said that The Band considered calling itself The Crackers, and when the first record was released with the artists listed as just “the band,” it was “to the great relief of the folks up at Capitol Tqwer in LA.”

  56. 56
    lamh35 says:

    As someone who is neither middle age or white, I really am interested in what someone like you think, Betty. since I don’t really have any middle age white women that I feel comfortable asking this too (i.e. the only middle age white women I regularly come in contact with are at work and as you can imagine, be one of the few AA in my department, I tend to refrain from political or racial commentary) I’m very interested in what some of the other middle ages white women here at BJ think.

    I admit to an personal racial bias in regards to Miss Jeantal’s demearnor and communication. She literally reminds me of a number of teenage and young adult cousins of mine. But seeing as how the jury is primarily made up of middle age white women, I realize that the perception might be different. What I can tell you is that in my circle of friends, they were dissatified by bits Miss Jeantal’s testimony, but they were MORE bothered by the attitude and demeanor of the defense attorney. I understand that the defense is not in this to be nice and fuzzy with the prosecuting witness, but still it was his demeanor that was discussed more.

    After reading your assessment though, I’m def more convinced than ever that Zimmerman will get off and I gotta tell ya, truly despair on what will happen when/if he does.

  57. 57
    pat says:

    So Trayvon describes the creepy white guy following him as a “cracker” so therefore he deserved to be shot.

    If this is enough for the jury to acquit Zimmerman….. Sigh.

    OT, just came from Thinkprogress where they report that a circuit court (7, I think) has upheld Hobby Lobby in their refusal to pay for birth control for their employees. When did judges stop being judges and start being just stupid hacks?

  58. 58
    Amir Khalid says:

    @John Cole:
    Alas, I can’t see that clip from outside the USA.

  59. 59
    EconWatcher says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    There is no terror like putting your client on the stand when you’re defending a criminal case. Unlike most other witnesses, it’s make or break: if the jurors think he’s a liar, you’re done. All your great work punching holes in the stories of other witnesses and creating your reasonable doubt can go up in smoke in an instant.

    And it doesn’t matter how long you prepped him. He’s all alone up there.

    It’s why you most often try to keep your client off the stand, unless you absolutely have to have his testimony.

    I don’t do that work any more. Kinda miss it, but I’ll probably live longer without the stress….

  60. 60
    Dolly Llama says:

    My understanding is the same as Beltane’s, that a cracker is a lowland hillbilly. (Burt Reynolds referred to the hillbillies in Deliverance as “crackers,” but I always thought of that as a flaw in the movie.) As for how they got that name, I always had the same understanding as Doc Sardonic, that it came from whip-cracks. Yes, it’s a derogatory term.

    What the fuck bearing Trayvon Martin’s use of the term should have on the Zimmerman trial is just beyond me. If Trayvon Martin called him a creepy-ass cracker and every other unspeakably foul thing in the world, what fucking difference should that make on what Zimmerman did? I’ve heard of “fighting words” as a common-law concept, but I don’t think the concept of “shooting words” exists.

  61. 61
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Amir Khalid: I probably won’t — it would be a giant pain in the butt, and you’ve exactly described my rationale for using what I know some people find an offensive term. But if I had it to do over again, I’d probably pick something else, if only because it requires occasional crackersplaining.

  62. 62
    ChrisNYC says:

    Fantastic post Betty.

  63. 63
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Gotta love it when the shit stain whisperer (T & H) shows up.

  64. 64

    @Redshirt: The music industry is fucked.
    I need to go back and revisit some of the deep tracks in Cracker’s catalog. Thanks for the reminder.

  65. 65
    lamh35 says:

    @Kay: I’m not really watching the trial either Kay.

    I’m more like following friends, family, twitter and the like. I just can’t do it. Can’t look at the smirk of the defense and the agony of the Martin family. I never understood how people can do it

  66. 66
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Kay: Both of you have the same reaction I do and I have found I just don’t know how I am going to continue to follow this trial. It is really depressing to read/hear commentary on it. This post is the first thing I have read all day that does not have a majority of comments making racebaiting remarks about this witness and attacking black-on-white “racism” all in the same sentence.

  67. 67
    MoZeu says:

    I think the evidence against Zimmerman is pretty strong and that other things being equal, the jury would not acquit him. But I agree that Jeantel’s testimony is not going to help put Zimmerman in jail, and that is unfortunate. I don’t know if the prosecutor’s office did everything it could have to prepare her for testifying. She didn’t appear to be too engaged during direct examination either. Maybe they did everything they could, but I suspect that they failed to find the right someone to spend a significant amount of time to earn her trust and to help her build a sense of confidence that she would be able to pull off a “courtroom personality”. I’m pretty sure that, age and cultural factors notwithstanding, the girl wants to see Zimmerman do time and would do whatever she could to try to make that happen. So either she just lacked any basic ability to pull off her testimony, or the prosecution didn’t understand that there was a real need to coach her deeply for the purpose of giving her the confidence that she COULD contribute to putting Zimmerman away. More than anything else, her demeanor suggested to me a girl who never believed for a second that her testimony would be taken seriously or would matter. Maybe there was no way around that, but my guess is that the prosecuting attorneys did not do all they could have.

  68. 68
    West of the Rockies says:

    @lamh35: I hope Zimmerman DOES go down (or UP the river, if you prefer).

    Along the lines of this post, I know that “poor white trash” is now regarded as a fairly toxic term to avoid. (I’ve been told it implies that it is a rarity or exception for a white person to behave in a poor or trashy manner.) I avoid it.

    I guess it’s absolutely possible for a 35-year-old guy with a mullet and a “wife-beater” tee-shirt who drives a pick-up truck with a “If it flies it dies” bumpersticker to be a prince of a guy. But if you know such a character is, indeed, a turd, what do we call him?

    I guess “turd” somes it up. His ethnicity doesn’t ultimately matter.

  69. 69
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @EconWatcher: I hear you. There are days when I miss the excitement of trials, and other days when I’m totally delighted that I’m only dealing with diagnosed psych cases and their families putting my advocacy skills to good use in the nonprofit world.

  70. 70
    Redshirt says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Do you know “Dr. Bernice” off their first album? Or the hidden song “Eurotrash Girl” off their second?

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dolly Llama:

    What the fuck bearing Trayvon Martin’s use of the term should have on the Zimmerman trial is just beyond me. If Trayvon Martin called him a creepy-ass cracker and every other unspeakably foul thing in the world, what fucking difference should that make on what Zimmerman did? I’ve heard of “fighting words” as a common-law concept, but I don’t think the concept of “shooting words” exists.

    Pure speculation here, but they could be looking to push the murder option off the table by implying provocation. This could drop things to manslaughter. But again, pure speculation.

  72. 72
    burnspbesq says:

    During the one year I lived in the rural south (Lexington, VA–I spent freshman year at Washington & Lee), some friends of mine found out the hard way that “cracker” is generally thought of by crackers as distinctly pejorative, especially when spoken in a distinct Lawnguyland accent and accompanied by “who won the war?.”

  73. 73
    Trollhattan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Or to frame it in Wingnutspeake: “Trayvon’s the Real Racist!”

    Spoilin’ for a fight, armed with candy and a sugary canned drink and a cellphone.

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    Yesterday, one of the defense lawyers in the Zimmerman trial said that shooting victim Trayvon Martin injected race into his fatal encounter with George Zimmerman by referring to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker” while on the phone with his friend, Rachel Jeantel. The attorney tried to get Jeantel to own up to the term being a racial slur, whereas she said it was just slang.

    Who gives a shit, or in lawyerspeak, objection, relevance? If the situation had been reversed and Zimmerman had referred to Martin as a “creepy-ass n/gg/r,” would that then have given Martin the right to shoot him? Zimmerman’s current fans would be the first ones to say otherwise.

  75. 75
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Zimmerman is a “creepy-ass cracker”. One who constantly refers to blacks as “niggers”, and then shoots them as soon as he sees a chance to get away with it. I fail to see the problem.

    ETA: the “not guilty” verdict is inevitable (sealed in stone after Jeantel’s testimony yesterday, which could not have been more tuned to aggravate a white jury if they’d tried to deliberately do so) and that surely is a problem, but this trial isn’t going to hinge on which ethnic slurs were used by whom.

  76. 76

    @Redshirt: Definitely know Eurotrash girl. Catchy chorus on that one. Will check out Dr. Bernice. Not familiar.
    You ever catch any of the Cracker Van Beethoven (recentish) shows? I always wanted to go but couldn’t make it work.

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: Going to a bar in Atlanta and saying, “Hey, this place looks old; did Sherman stop here for matches?” can have interesting results.

  78. 78
    beltane says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Martin was apparently expected to refer to Zimmerman as “a fine upstanding gentleman who is entitled to exercise his 2nd amendment rights in whatever way his Lordship sees fit.”

  79. 79
    jacy says:

    I grew up in the West (Colorado/Wyoming to be specific). I now live in the South (New Orleans for the past dozen years). Growing up I always understood “cracker” to mean “Southern white bigot,” i.e., you had to be all three of those things to be a cracker. Upon moving to the South, it has seemed to me that “cracker” has been adopted by some white people so that they have an equivalent to “nigger,” in order to let them more easily say, “Blacks are just as racist as whites” or “Your side does it too.”

    Nice to have a little actual history on the word and not just what I gleaned from TV or my white liberal parents during the Civil Rights era.

  80. 80
    Trollhattan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Keyboard cleanup, aisle me!

    Speaking of the Wawah of Noathen Uhggreshun, anybody else following LTC Robert Bateman’s Gettysburg series over at Pierce’s place? He teaches history at the Point and is really very good. Highly recommended, whether you’re a history buff or not. He’s posting in real time minus 150 years.;1

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Kudos to the Juictariat for their conscientious ignoring of the racist shitstain.

  82. 82
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    About like going into a Waffle House in Charlotte wearing a Duke sweatshirt and carrying the Sunday New York Times. Especially bad if it’s going to be Duke and Maryland playing for the ACC Tournament championship later in the day.

  83. 83
    Punchy says:

    Wow, there’s petty, and then there’s GOP petty.

    This is becoming ridiculous.

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Trayvon Martin injected race into his fatal encounter with George Zimmerman by referring to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker” while on the phone with his friend, Rachel Jeantel walking through the neighborhood while black after sundown


  85. 85


    The minor league baseball team in Atlanta was called the Atlanta Crackers for ages.

    Even more bizarrely, they had a Negro League team that was called the Black Crackers.

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    So is this whole “cracker” sideshow just supposed to suggest that Zimmerman wasn’t making it a racial thing, Martin was? But, even so, how would that possibly matter? Is it supposed to show that Martin was fighting Zimmerman in a display of something like a one-man race riot, which is why Zimmerman was so scared he had to shoot him? I don’t get how it has any impact on anything, or how it’s _supposed to_ have any impact on anything.

  87. 87
    Kay says:


    “It is difficult for us to remember another occasion when major sports league took public sides in such a highly polarized public debate,

    They simply refuse to admit it’s law. It’s pretty remarkable.

  88. 88
    Origuy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m reminded of this classic story from USENET days. It may even be true.

  89. 89
    lamh35 says:

    Also, can I please just say that all the comments about Miss Jeantal’s being uneducated really pisses me off. It’s an assumption based on her testimony I understand that, but it’s also, IMHO, an assumption based on her race and appearance. She is a teenager. I have a little cousin who is as sharp as a tack, but when you speak to her, she’s a typical teenager, and she unfortunately reverts to teen speak whenever confronted, but she is, as I said, sharp as a tack!

    I’m officially calling it the “Precious” effect, and it’s one of the 1 millionth reasons why I hate that film so much. People see a large, dark young Black female and all of a sudden, who doesn’t speak as articulately as they would like or assume is the norm, and all of a sudden, they assume that she’s uneducated. From my understanding, English is not the first language of her family and Miss Jeantal it’s actually Creole, so she speaks English, Creole and I believe another language. Her affectation are common in alot of teens her age actually. Doesn’t make her uneducated.

    Also, much was made about her not being able to read cursive writing, but there was an article in WashPo that cursive writing is actually disappearing from alot of public schools . So even that doesn’t mean she is uneducated, it just probably means she never learned to write in cursive.

    I know, I know, maybe it’s just excuses, but it just sticks in my craw

  90. 90
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    “Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of this bill, it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” wrote Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).

    Exqueeze me, Yertl, but the “persistent unpopularity” of the bill exists only inside the bubble of Faux fucktards, like yourself.

  91. 91
    Woodrowfan says:

    i just figured they were called crackers because they were white.

  92. 92
    Pogonip says:

    I thought she was a horrible witness, and she was followed by a prosecution (!) witness who described Martin (I paraphrase) as beating hell out of Zimmerman. Is the prosecution trying to lose the case? If so, why would they do so?

  93. 93
    KS in MA says:

    Betty, I think you have one of the best nyms in the universe. It always puts a smile on my face!

  94. 94
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: This is the part I don’t get. He (Zimmerman) followed the kid, who had done nothing, after he (Zimmerman) had called 911 and they told him not to. This is not in dispute, right? So how can anyone argue that the kid did the provoking, no matter what happened afterwards? Why do his earlier stupid decisions not count?

  95. 95
    Eric U. says:

    I heard that thing about cracker bringing race into the conversation and I was just stumped how I would answer such a thing. It’s wingnut logic at its finest.

    I always thought “cracker” was pretty much synonymous with “redneck,” but since I grew up surrounded by rednecks, “cracker” has more of a sophisticated sound to it. Now that, “you might be a redneck” has been played out, maybe they should move on to “you might be a cracker”

  96. 96
    Ruckus says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    My thoughts as well.

    ETA. Except that I am white and have lived/traveled in the south and have heard the term used a lot. It seemed not to be a term of endearment.

  97. 97
    Betty Cracker says:

    @lamh35: One hopeful factor about the jury (at least for those of us who think Zimmerman deserves jail time) is that almost all of them are mothers. I have a teenage daughter who is practically a genius, but if you piss her off or embarrass her, she often turns into a mumbling, incoherent mess.

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Anna in PDX:

    So how can anyone argue that the kid did the provoking, no matter what happened afterwards?

    Because the kid was black.

    No, seriously, that’s what it is. Trayvon Martin had no right to walk around the neighborhood where his father lives because of the color of his skin.

  99. 99
    Yatsuno says:

    @Kay: They will deny your reality and submit their own. That’s what Turdblossom told them to do and they’re stickin’ to it.

  100. 100
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Also, can I please just say that all the comments about Miss Jeantal’s being uneducated really pisses me off.

    @lamh35: I don’t think she’s uneducated. I don’t think anyone here has made that assertion. She either couldn’t be coached adequately or couldn’t maintain her composure in the face of a defense attorney who was clearly baiting her.

    Sadly, there’s no excuses or reasons in court. It’s fucked up but that’s how it is. She did not come off well, she especially didn’t come off well to middle-aged whites (who are the group who will decide this case) and that’s just how it is.

  101. 101
    hitchhiker says:


    More than anything else, her demeanor suggested to me a girl who never believed for a second that her testimony would be taken seriously or would matter.

    That’s what I saw. Also heard strange echoes from To Kill A Mockingbird, where Atticus Finch is questioning Mayella. Same kind of suspicious, inarticulate hostility from the witness, but IMO that defense attorney should have watched that scene before he went up there to try to make her look stupid. He aroused a lot of disgust, and not nearly all of it was aimed at her.

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    That final argument in “A Time to Kill” comes to mind, where you just have to envision Samuel L.’s little black girl as your little white girl, same circumstances, and then react to that.

    Suddenly, perceptions change.

  103. 103
    dmbeaster says:

    As a trial lawyer, my experience has been that witnesses like Jeantel tend to be uncoachable.

    I dont think she was as much of a problem for the prosecution as some others do. The point of her testimony was simple — Martin said he felt he was being stalked. That is corroborated by the 911 evidence concerning Zimmerman’s behavior and motive. She is also an audible witness to the initiation of the altercation, basically that Martin was trying to flee when the phone went dead. Her testimony does not add much to that, but helps to add to the idea that it was Zimmerman who initiated the fight.

    If she was the key to the case, then the state would have trouble. But they have other evidence from white people of a similar character. I expect her to fit into this overall pattern of evidence, and is not an outlier. I dont think she would convince many people standing alone because she does not fit the mold of what we expect in a courtroom. But the simpler parts of her story, they held up and other testimony proves the same point.

    I think the overall impact of her testimony depends entirely on whether the jurors have any understanding of who and what she is, and I would expect that most people dont get her drift. So her testimony is a minor boost for the prosecution at best. I do think her raw candor in a weird way both helps and hurts, and what she admitted to being untruthful about made sense (understated age to be a minor thinking she would get less hassled; lied about going to the memorial out of embarrassment in not going; omitted the more colorful parts of Martin’s comments in relating them to his mother and lawyer). It is her combativeness and uneducated tone that is more off-putting.

    Her “retarded” comment was a win for the prosecution.

    People who think she was a big negative? I suspect they have a bias against blacks to begin with, and favor Zimmerman anyway. And if you have people like that on the jury, the case is problematic, period.

  104. 104

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Zimmerman is a “creepy-ass cracker”.

    No, he isn’t. He may be creepy-ass, but he’s Hispanic on his mother’s side, which disqualifies him as a Cracker. Creepy-ass honkey would probably fly, though.

  105. 105
    IowaOldLady says:

    The other day, someone on this site said it took the election of Barack Obama to show them they’d been naively optimistic about the amount of racism in this country. It was like the election of a black man made a significant part of the country lose its mind to such an extent that they no longer bothered to hide the ugliness. That rang true to me, and this trial has much the same effect.

    I like to think this is an explosion from people who know they’re losing, but it’s sometimes too much to look at, and you have to go do something else to save your sanity.

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anna in PDX: The defense is working with what they have. If you don’t have a lot, you do the best with what you have. FWIW I see the fact pattern the way you do, but the defense needs to create an alternate story that takes the undisputed facts and casts them in a different light. Ultimately, it comes down to story telling – who tells the story that the jury decides to believe.

  107. 107
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @burnspbesq: Sounds like fun.

  108. 108
    Redshift says:

    @Kay: They refuse to admit that Obama is a legitimate president, so it’s pretty much par for the course.

  109. 109
    Dee Loralei says:

    @lamh35: I’m a middle-aged white southern woman with an adult son, I thought Rachel came off ok. I had a lot of empathy for her when the defense was ribbing her and baiting her. I could tell she hated being there and she really hated how he belittled her. I don’t think it was nearly as bad for the prosecution as folks are saying. But as in all things, YMMV. Also, I only watched a few excerpts from Lawrence O’D’s show. I couldn’t watch the entire trial because if would just make me sad and angry all over again.

    But yea, the defense was all sorts of condescending to her.

  110. 110
    Tone in DC says:

    I didn’t see the young woman’s testimony. No surprise, that… I didn’t watch any of the “Trials of the Century”, going back to before OJ Simpson.

    I don’t care if she came off as defensive, impatient or otherwise less than optimal. Doesn’t change the facts, not in the least.

    Zimmerman shot an unarmed kid. After trailing that kid for blocks. After being told by the police to cease and desist. That’s murder, in my book. In some places, that’s manslaughter. The last few days of this trial is just the defense attorney bullshitting everyone.

  111. 111
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @burnspbesq: You had a tendency to self harm in your younger days, clearly.

  112. 112
    ruemara says:

    @lamh35: Black people are always dumb. Unless they are unbelievably exceptional. And even then, it was probably thanks to magical white people. (Bill Ayers) And if they’re fat, not close to the western standard of beauty black, then it is even more impossible for them to be smart. And if they are smart, then it couldn’t be in anything important.

    Some days, I wonder why experience hasn’t left me really bitter.

  113. 113
    DCLaw1 says:

    Much worse for the prosecution’a case was today’s testimony from the neighbor who saw most of the “tussle” firsthand. He testified (and never contradicted himself in past statements) that the one who wore clothes more like Zimmerman was underneath the other the entire time, with Martin raining blows on him in a mounted “MMA-style” position. That’s going to diminish the odds of conviction much more than any reaction to Jeantel.

  114. 114
    Groucho48 says:

    Zimmerman brought race into the incident by acting exactly like a creepy ass cracker. He followed a black kid because different black kids did some minor burglary.

    I heard sections of Jeantal’s testimony. I thought she did pretty well and the defense attorney screwed himself by spending so much time with her that people could get a fairly decent idea about her…that she was authentic and testifying as truthfully as she could. She had valid, though very shy teenager-ish reasons for the lies she did tell…she didn’t want to go to the funeral because she didn’t want to see the body, but, she didn’t want to hurt the Martin’s feelings by not being there, so, she said she was in the hospital. She lied about her age because she didn’t want people making fun of her for still being in high school at 19.

    And, despite the best efforts of the defense attorney, she never changed from her story…Martin was afraid of the guy following him and tried to run and hide. When that didnd’t work, he approached Zimmerman and asked him why he was following him.

    How believable is that? Well, Zimmerman’s story…or one of the many versions of it…said he got out of his vehicle just to check an address for the cops and, as he was returning to the vehicle, M jumped out of the bushes, sucker punched him in the back of the head, punched him in the face a couple dozen times, then pounded his head on the sidewalk another dozen times or so while simultaneously trying to smother him with a hand over his mouth/nose.

    In testimony from one of the witnesses yesterday, it was shown that Z had to have walked right past the front of an apartment with the address clearly visible, thanks to the light right next to it. The witness goes on to testify that, while she and her husband were watching TV in the back of the house, they heard a brief conversation. Voice 1 said something, Voice 2 said something, Voice 1 said something, then, there was the sound of a struggle. Neither she nor her husband could make out what was said or who was saying it. The struggle went on for a few seconds and she said it seemed as though they were rolling around and coming closer to her house. By this time, she was calling 911. Someone was yelping or calling for help but she couldn’t say who. She and her husband moved out of the living room because they were afraid the fight would end up in their house and the husband was looking in the kitchen for some kind of weapon/protection before he went outside. She also heard her neighbor…she recognized his voice…saying something. In the middle of her 911 call, there was a shot. She and her husband ran upstairs for safety.

    In other words, a neutral witness corroborates Jeantel’s version and contradicts Zimmerman’s version.

    A medical officer has just testified that Z’s injuries were minor and just needed a bit of cleaning up. Nothing close to life-threatening was going on.

  115. 115
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @lamh35: My comments about witnesses had nothing to do with education and were not meant to imply anything of the kind. Coachability as a witness had little to do with education or intelligence.

  116. 116
    nancy says:

    @gene108: Strikes me that maternal instinct will play some role here, and Zimmerman certainly doesn’t bring mine to the fore.

  117. 117
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @lamh35: It’s not excuse, and hear, hear.

  118. 118
    Yatsuno says:

    @Mnemosyne: Careful. Yer gonna give Special Timmeh the vapours.

    (My phone has Imperial spellings. This rulz.)

  119. 119
    Steeplejack says:


    (I am late to the thread and have read down only this far in the comments, but I will throw in here.)

    I was always under the impression that the term applied to the farmers and livestock herders of the scrubby inland areas of Florida and Georgia, and that it referred to a subset of white southerners.

    I agree with this, and it comports with the (pretty good) Wikipedia entry. (Some of Wikipedia’s language and etymology entries are a little sketchy.)

    There are a lot of similar terms that have disappeared. Not always derogatory, but available as such when intended. One I remember from northern Tennessee, where my family is from, is tiehack, which derived from the work crews that swept through the region in the late 1800s and chopped down the forests to make crossties for the railroads. I remember as a child hearing my grandmother (born about 1890) say that somebody was “just a no-good tiehack from the Land Between the Lakes” (local area considered more backward than elsewhere and thus available to be looked down upon). I had no idea what it meant, but I knew it was bad.

    Somewhat similar is coon-ass, a Louisiana term used for (and by) Cajuns. Often used in a derogatory way—or was back in the day—but also used as a proud self-identifier. Maybe one of those words that they get to call themselves but outsiders don’t get to use so freely.

    In modern times cracker has become more of a general pejorative term for “ignorant white person,” especially among young people. Cf. Chris Rock’s “cracker-ass cracker” standup routine. I have no problem imagining Martin and Jeantel using using the word in this sense.

    P.S. And, Betty, your nym is great! Never change. Look at who’s upset by it and be reassured.

  120. 120
    dance around in your bones says:

    Oh Betty, keep your name. Here’s what JGC had to say about the naming of Balloon Juice back in the day:

    I really had no idea the website would turn into what it has, but I am so glad it has turned out this way. One thing is for sure, had I known it would turn out this way, I would have chosen a different name. Balloon Juice just means hot air, but it always sounds obscene when you say it to someone new. Additionally, a lot of people shorten the name to BJ, which has its own unfortunate colloquial meaning.

    Here’s the link from 2009.

    P.S. I love the name Balloon Juice :)

    I have never felt bad about being called a gringa in Spanish or a farangi in Persian because I was -a gringa or a foreigner – so what. Those were both common terms in the countries I was traveling in and not used in a pejorative manner.

    Embrace your crackertude!

  121. 121
    lamh35 says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: @Omnes Omnibus:

    I wasn’t very clear and I’m sorry about that. I was NOT trying to assert that people hear were calling Ms Jeantal uneducated, but I have been seeing it alot elsewhere on twitter, facebook and the like.

    Sorry about that

  122. 122
    Plantsmantx says:

    I think that if the jurors are so unserious about the responsibility they’ve been charged with that they can’t look past the how she looks, how she sounds, and how her “attitude” strikes them to what’s important, then they’re probably predisposed to acquit Zimmerman anyway. It’s no excuse. They don’t get a pass.

  123. 123

    Yesterday, one of the defense lawyers in the Zimmerman trial said that shooting victim Trayvon Martin injected race into his fatal encounter with George Zimmerman by referring to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker” while on the phone with his friend, Rachel Jeantel. The attorney tried to get Jeantel to own up to the term being a racial slur, whereas she said it was just slang.

    Well, maybe we should ask Treyvon what he meant when he said that…

    Oh, wait…

    Your client killed him.

  124. 124
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Some of these same people refused to admit that Clinton was the legitimate President. The fact that Obama has a melanin surplus just adds to the illegitimacy of his being a Democrat…the White House is SUPPOSED to belong to the party of Reagan. Those 12 years of GOP occupancy of the White House created this notion that any Democrat is an usurper of the executive branch. It’s funny that the Dems didn’t seem to have this attitude about Eisenhower taking over after 20 solid years of Democratic control of the White House.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @lamh35: No problem. There is a lot of stupid floating around regarding this trial.

  126. 126
    Eric U. says:

    @Roger Moore: I don’t see how white bigots can adopt Zimmerman at all. His skin is distinctly swarthy. The only thing classically “white” about Zimmerman is his name. Of course, if the white bigots are going to drop the “white” part and just go with bigots, they could have a large and racially diverse group. But I don’t think that would work for them for some reason.

  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    Actually I think it is a very important point. Peoples perceptions of others worth as well as their own is a huge problem. It may be the root of many problems we as humans suffer from. After all what is a bigot? A person who thinks less of others for some reason, different color, different religion, different sex, different whatever. They don’t view others as being as good or proper or human as they are. You pointed out earlier that you don’t talk politics because you are one of a very few AA people where you work. I doubt it is because you don’t feel comfortable with your views and opinions but you know that a lot of people where you work may be very uncomfortable with your views and opinions. I think just out of shear numbers you are probably correct.
    My opinion is that peoples expectations are generally different than reality but many humans don’t every consider that, their expectations are firm no matter what evidence they see.

  128. 128
    quannlace says:

    Zimmerman is a “creepy-ass cracker”

    Creepy, cause despite being told NOT to get out of his car, he deliberately started shadowing Trayvon.

  129. 129
    MikeJ says:

    @Eric U.:

    I don’t see how white bigots can adopt Zimmerman at all.

    He shot a black kid. That goes a long way with bigots.

  130. 130
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    If cracker is so offensive why is The Cracker Barrel full of white people?

  131. 131
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: Truth in advertising, of course.

  132. 132

    @Eric U.:
    In a fight between a brown and a blah, or between a gun toting asshole and a random teenager, you know which side the wingnuts are going to take.

  133. 133
    RaflW says:

    I suppose that because I watched a lot of 70s sit-coms (Jeffersons, Sanford and Sons, Good Times, Chico and the Man) Cracker seems about as hurtful as Honkey.

    As in, not hurtful at all, for me. This is not to negate the hurt others may feel, but we whities are the privileged class in this culture. A few slings hurled our way, waaaaah.

    That low income and disempowered white people may feel a real sting from cracker is likely. We need to recognize that class resentment and class-based oppression is real and not unlinked from racial bias and discrimination.

    My disorganized thoughts on the matter….

  134. 134
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Vapor lock can be a good thing some times. This would be one of those.

  135. 135
    lamh35 says:


    You pointed out earlier that you don’t talk politics because you are one of a very few AA people where you work. I doubt it is because you don’t feel comfortable with your views and opinions but you know that a lot of people where you work may be very uncomfortable with your views and opinions. I think just out of shear numbers you are probably correct.

    This is exactly right. As the oldest among many sisters and cousins, I have the classic big sister mentality, meaning, I am not shy about speaking my mind when asked, but being the oldest of such a large group, I also know to pick my battles. It’s why I have always been a good employee and so far (knock on wood) I have had no former employers who didn’t see me as a team player. When I am asked my opinion I’m not afraid to give it, but I do pick and choose.

    In the past I have been the sole AA in my lab or the youngest and most educated (I worked at a place where were other AA, but they were support staff and not technologist), so of course I get alot of question directed my way whenever ever ethnicity was discussed and they needed another “perspective”…lol.

  136. 136
    ChrisNYC says:

    @dmbeaster: I think the candor does nothing but help.

    Didn’t see the clips but it struck me when I read the piece in the paper. Works in so many ways, some of them unconscious. Credibility boosting in the way that admitting an understandable and small untruth can be. Also, a reminder to the jury that she is really really young and is in a terribly difficult spot. (I testified in a nothing civil case when I was 25 and I was impeached. (!) I was basically not prepped but man is it hard, particularly if you have never spoken in a courtroom before. I was on the stand for maybe 30 minutes and my head was spinning.)

    And, going from that, in some ways she’s a proxy for Trayvon. He was her friend and he was similarly really really young. Puts a face on his youth, on his being in a life or death situation that was put ON him from outside, in a way that reciting his age or even having his mom talk about him would never be able to do. She made mistakes in her testimony. TM may have made mistakes in how he reacted to the situation he was thrust into but you know, she is and he was a kid. GZ is the adult and that’s an important dynamic.

  137. 137
    beltane says:

    @RaflW: When my son was a toddler he named his blankie “Whitey”. Every time I’d hear something about the Whitey Tape it would bring back memories of that smelly old rag.

  138. 138
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    That low income and disempowered white people may feel a real sting from cracker is likely. We need to recognize that class resentment and class-based oppression is real and not unlinked from racial bias and discrimination.

    The real sting is that they’re being equated with the other despised class, when they’re supposed to be a bit better (as they’ve been told by their actual oppressors) than THEM. Some of them sometimes break out of the trap and realize they have more in common with the other despised group than they do with the 1%…but as has been pointed out before, while they might be living under an overpass, at least they’ve got a sparrow to roast that The Other does not have.

  139. 139
    Xenos says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yes. It is hard to tell how this jury will react, though. First they need to have some basic connection with the witness, to appreciate her as a kid just like their own daughters at age 19. I wish I were more optimistic about that. I have not lived in Northern Florida since 1997, but I doubt it has improved much from what I remember.

  140. 140
    Cassidy says:

    That beer is amazing. It’s one of my top 5.

  141. 141
    Chris says:

    @Eric U.:

    I don’t see how white bigots can adopt Zimmerman at all.

    This is just my impression, but I think it didn’t start out that way. From what I saw, the original reaction to the Martin shooting wasn’t “white hero shoots black street thug, FUCK YEAH!” so much as “oh, another dead black guy, who gives a shit.” It seemed to me that the cops let him go not because they saw Zimmerman as “one of us” so much as they didn’t want the hassle of prosecuting the death of an unperson. (Minority-on-white crime causes outrage, but minority-on-minority crime just provokes a yawn and some variation of “what do you expect, they’re all animals.”)

    It’s only later, after liberals raised a stink about this indifference, after the whole thing had turned into a national news story, (and after liberals used it to attack the legitimacy of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law), that Zimmerman became a hero of the right. All the attention and liberal outrage made him an honorary White Conservative Hero despite his less than purely white status.

  142. 142
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Yatsuno: I thought that came from Mythbusters: “I reject your reality and substitute my own”.

  143. 143
    NickT says:

    @Eric U.:

    Bigots adopted Zimmermann the moment he killed a young black man.

  144. 144
    Yatsuno says:

    @Cassidy: I’m still adjusting to the concept of cracker beer here. I think my folks left South Carolina a wee bit too soon.

  145. 145
    Ruckus says:

    Something else may be going on here as well. Some people just are not good public speakers. They really can not get up in front of a group of people and talk, coherently or not. I used to suffer from this when I was young but I got over it. Many never do. They are just terrified of speaking in public. And a courtroom in a very public trial, yeah that’s not going to be easy unless a person lies with every breath so they are used to no one or every one trusting/believing them or they are used to speaking in public.

  146. 146
    Dolly Llama says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?: The only thing I remember from WAY back in the day, when Showtime broadcast the Robert Guillaume-starring Broadway-musical version of Purlie back in the 1980s was the juncture where the good-natured-but-kind-of-stupid Charlie Cotchipee played “The Barrels of War”:

    If the barrels of war
    Were the barrels of peace,
    Dissenters would all be backers,
    The barrels of war,
    Would be barrels of peace,
    If the barrels were filled with crackers.

    And Idella wisely counsels him “That ain’t it, honey.”

  147. 147
    aimai says:

    @Dolly Llama: I too don’t even understand how what Martin may have said to a third party on the phone has any bearing on the case. Zimmerman didn’t know he’d said it and even if he did Zimmerman still wasn’t entitled to shoot him. He wasn’t entitled to stalk him. The guy had some jmajor, major fantasy that he was some kind of junior auxilliary LEO but he wasn’t and even if he had been there are rules for this kind of shit which he disobeyed by ignoring the dispatcher’s orders.

  148. 148
    aimai says:

    @Xenos: People will surprise you. I just sat on a jury in a drug case and the old, tall, rock ribbed looking white guy who looked like a total “hang ’em high” type actually wanted to acquit right away because “its only drug dealing.”

  149. 149
    feebog says:

    I’m with dmbeaster on this. Many people, including some on this thread are assuming she is the “critical” or “key” witness for the prosecution and her lackluster performance means its all over. I’m not a trial attorney, but I have spent over 40 years advocating and now hearing administrative cases in a number of venues. I have prepped several thousand witnesses over the course of more than 40 years. You can never know exactly how witness testimony is going to be received by the decider(s) of fact. She got the essential facts on the record, that is what is important. In closing the Prosecution can emphasize those facts and tell the jury what they heard on cross examination is irrelevant.

    The key witness in this trial will be George Zimmerman. Yes, he does not have to testify, but I think the defense will have no choice. And I think any fairly competent advocate will completely destroy his credibility.

  150. 150
    NickT says:


    Do you think it will make a difference that the jury is made up of women?

  151. 151
    Dolly Llama says:

    Can somebody get my last comment out of moderation? I was quoting a Broadway musical, for fuck’s sake.

  152. 152
    Violet says:

    Haven’t paid any attention to the trial, but wondering if she cried? A teenage girl who cries on the stand because her friend was shot and killed is a lot more sympathetic than an angry or petulant teenager. A crying teenage girl would remind the women on the jury of their own daughters a lot more.

  153. 153
    ChrisNYC says:

    @aimai: Two cents. I think the cracker thing is basically a concession. They know that the jury may believe/the evidence is strong that GZ looked at TM as a potential criminal because he was black. Pretty hard to make self defense if defendant both pursued the victim and was motivated to do that by the victim’s race. So, my guess, the defense says, cast the narrative as both people looking through a racial lens. Cast that night, whatever happened on the ground, as having “racial overtones.” Make the story not about GZ’s bias but about the terrible sad situation where we can’t all just get along and this one exploded.

  154. 154
    aimai says:

    @lamh35: I apologize if I am one of the people who called the witness, who I did not see testify, uneducated. My point was really that normal people, especially teenagers, don’t testify like Americans think normal people testify because normal people aren’t shown on TV very often but fake trial scenes are.

    I had to testify in a divorce proceeding a few years ago. It was an terrible experience for me because the cross examining lawyer was just brutal to me: condescending, hostile, belittling and constantly interrupting. I don’t think it was easy for the witness in this case to present herself and her story in a coherent way because its the job of the defense attorney to try to discredit her and her story in any way he can–and its very, very, easy for the attorney to do so given the unrealistic expectations the viewers have about what testimony is going to look like and what it represents.

    On your point about handwriting–it is absolutely true that “kids these days” don’t learn script and my highly educated white teenagers can’t read it at all. But it will continually come as a surprise to people who don’t have teenagers because they simply can’t imagine how “keyboarding” and computers have changed the way handwriting is taught and entirely ended the years of script training children used to be given. My mother can’t believe it and so she forgets, in between being reminded, that kids these days don’t learn script. Hell, my youngest daughter can’t read a clock face that isn’t digital.

  155. 155
    Emma says:

    @lamh35: Thank you. I had to leave the thread earlier because I was going to go full-bore bitch on some of the comments.

    Also, it’s Florida, people. She could have had eight PhDs and been able to speak like Winston Churchill and she would still be black.

  156. 156
    Elizabelle says:

    @John Cole:

    Surprised SNL could say “nigger” at any time.

    Great clip.

  157. 157
    Beth says:

    @ranchandsyrup: That is really cruel. Twitter is turning us into a country of 14 year old mean girls.

  158. 158
    gelfling545 says:

    @pat: And if we may shoot people for possibly having racial animus (not saying Mr. Martin did, just if they could even prove he did) how does that let anybody shoot him? Wouldn’t he have been then justified if he actually had attacked Zimmerman because Zimmerman holds racial animus too ? I can’t imagine where they think they’re going with this. I’m not southern but I AM an old white woman & my first requirement in forming an opinion would be that the attorneys’ arguments make some sense.

  159. 159
    Dolly Llama says:

    @Dolly Llama: Nevermind. The link on that is badly fucked up anyway. I take it y’all can’t link to the Google Books thing?

  160. 160
    Kay says:


    I hope the “kid” thing comes in loud and clear. I have a 19 year old who would do all of the things Martin did. He would joke with a friend about being followed, then when he realized it wasn’t ending and getting weird or unmanageable he would run. It seems very YOUNG to me,
    all of his actions.

  161. 161

    @Beth: Spot on Beth. The future will be ruled by master-trolls.
    I know it was West’s daughter that instagrammed it but West should tell his family to STFU during the trial. If they win, they can end zone dance.

  162. 162
    The Other Chuck says:

    @gelfling545: Rebuttal: black

  163. 163
    Violet says:

    @ranchandsyrup: There seems to be some question as to whether it was really West’s daughter who Instagrammed it. Link.

  164. 164
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I see an awful lot of naive people aren’t familiar with the “he needed killin'” defense. That’s all that’s going on here, and the judge shouldn’t allow it.

    Keep in mind that your idea of justifiable homicide may be quite different from this cracker jury’s.

  165. 165
    dmbeaster says:


    The defense is less complicated than that. He is the jury instruction (at the end of 3.6(f):

    If in your consideration of the issue of self-defense you have a reasonable doubt on the question of whether the defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you should find the defendant not guilty. However, if from the evidence you are convinced that the defendant was not justified in the use of deadly force, you should find [him] [her] guilty if all the elements of the charge have been proved.

    emphasis added

    All that they have to do is muddy the water about who was the aggressor, or even if Zimmerman was being creepy, did Martin then escalate it so that deadly force in response was appropriate. And all that they have to do is create reasonable doubt about it.

    Zimmerman had the right to bring a pre-trial motion for the judge to decide this — a free shot on the question since he still had the full defense at trial if the judge disagreed. But he didnt go for it for reasons only his defense lawyers can explain. My best guess is that they feared their motion being denied because the defense is sketchy, and they certainly did not want that bad pretrial publicity.

    Zimmerman may walk because the reasonable doubt standard is always tough, and exactly what happened during the altercation is murky. The real question is how will the women jurors feel about an armed self-styled vigilante stalking a black kid cause he profiled him as an ‘effing’ punk, and whether or not the predictable altercation can be self-defense when it escalates to violence.

  166. 166

    @Violet: thanks for the linky. I suppose I didn’t take this with the appropriate sized boulder of salt–being on the innertubes and all.

  167. 167
    Trollhattan says:

    Don’t know if this testimony has been discussed, so in case not….

    A former Twin Lakes resident testified on Thursday that she heard the scuffle behind her home and heard someone yelling “help”.

    Speaking through a translator, Colombian-born Selma Mora testified that the person who was on top during the scuffle was the one who survived the fight, and that he got up and walked away after the gunshot was heard.

    The person on top was wearing a garment in “some sort of a pattern between blacks and reds”, she said, which were the colours of a jacket Zimmerman was wearing that night.

    So far, three former residents have testified for the prosecution that they saw someone who appeared to be Zimmerman on top during the incident, which took place by a walkway between units.

    The prosecution highlighted the fact that none of them heard a crude death threat that Zimmerman says Martin made moments before he shot him, even though several were close enough to hear the struggle.

    Seems to me this helps the prosecution.

  168. 168
    MikeJ says:


    Surprised SNL could say “nigger” at any time.

    I once saw Blazing Saddles on some third rate wanna be cable network and they bleeped every instance of the word nigger.

  169. 169
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Bobby Thomson: in case that wasn’t clear, it’s not the same thing as self defense.

  170. 170
    Dr. Omed says:

    In my family’s neck of the woods (Northern Louisiana, East Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma), to call someone a cracker is to imply that person is poor, white, southern, rural, possibly lightly educated, or from that background, with attitudes, mores, and accent typical of it. A hick. Many in my family qualify for that descriptor. Not necessarily insulting, depends on context. If I want to be insulting, I call them a peckerwood. A mouthbreathin’ peckerwood. That’s what I’d call Zimmerman.

  171. 171
    Steeplejack says:

    @Dolly Llama:

    I think you can. But sometimes the problem is that the hyperlink address itself contains a FYWP forbidden word.

  172. 172
    dmbeaster says:


    Some people just are not good public speakers.

    This is so true, but those people then get treated unfairly in court. Its just a sad affect of our trial system, which is part theater whether we like it or not, And most people understand courtrooms from TV shows, so the theater aspect of it is doubly emphasized.

  173. 173
    Trollhattan says:

    Weirdest Blazing Saddles edit I’ve seen was changing “Baby, I’m not from Jamaica” to “Havana.” WTF?

  174. 174
    dmbeaster says:


    It’s only later, after liberals raised a stink about this indifference, after the whole thing had turned into a national news story, (and after liberals used it to attack the legitimacy of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law), that Zimmerman became a hero of the right.

    Cleek’s rule explains it all.

  175. 175
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @MikeJ: Sure it wasn’t just a church bell instead of a “bleep”?

  176. 176
    pinacacci says:

    Just to support the benign- nay, proud- meaning of “cracker” in Florida, although I’m sure someone already has, given that I shamefully didn’t read the preceding 165 comments:

    Locally we have (in business over 20 years) and we also have “Cracker Day” at fairgrounds throughout the state. An attorney arguing in Florida that “cracker” is a pejorative must be, like many Florida residents, originally from Ohio or Pennsylvania.

  177. 177
    JR in WV says:

    @Dolly Llama:

    Not only that, but how could things Martin said to someone else on the phone have anything to do with Zimmerman’s actions at all? Zimmerman didn’t hear those words, fighting words or not.

    Martin wasn’t chasing someone, he was being pursued by a nut case with a gun. I think that qualifies one to say rude things about the nut case with a gun, what say you all?

  178. 178
    geg6 says:

    I can’t even bear to pay attention to this trial and the little I’ve read or heard about cements that decision as a wise one. The whole thought of how this will go down just enrages me. I have zero faith that justice will be done in this matter, especially given where this trial is taking place.

    Going out for BBQ and beer. And trying not to think about that poor dead child’s last moments on earth.

  179. 179
    Trollhattan says:

    O/T 9th Circuit Appeals Court has lifted the stay on overturning Prop 8. You are now free to gay-marry around the state.

    That didn’t take long.

  180. 180
    MikeJ says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: No, that’s in the original. They didn’t actually use a beep sound, just an audio cut.

    Unrelated, Seattle Super Storm is starting on Syfy. IMDB summary:

    NASA scientist Tom Reynolds thought everything would be fine when he moved to Seattle to be with his fiancé, Navy Lieutenant Emma Peterson. But when his gearhead son Wyatt can’t stop fighting with her green-minded daughter Chloe, they realize that this new family may not make it. And things aren’t just stormy on the home front; when an unidentified object is shot down by the military and crashes into Puget Sound, it sets off a series of strange weather phenomena: earthquakes, tornados, lightning storms… and they’re spreading. Now, this new family must find a way to work together to save the city, and each other, before it’s too late.

  181. 181
    Violet says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Buzzfeed also has a timeline of West’s ties and the tie in the pic doesn’t match the tie for the Wed and Thur, but the one worn during opening statements.

    The local station covering the story has a Twitter feed. They seem to think it was West’s daughter who tweeted it.

    Local 10 Zimmerman ‏@WPLGZimmerman 8m

    Zimmerman defense spokesman Shawn Vincent gave a statement about parenting and love to explain instagram picture. Story shortly.

  182. 182

    @Elizabelle: Yeah, safe-harbor means the decency rules go away after 10PM. SNL always started at 11:30.

    A lot of the censorship on TV isn’t actually required. Cable can say whatever they want – they’re not broadcasters. But the negative response from viewers is what deters them. But I remember when I was a kid in NY (around the time of that skit) that one of the channels at night would show nudity after 11PM.

  183. 183
    Steeplejack says:

    Just remembered that Roy Blount Jr. taught us that “Crackro-American” is a perfectly good and respectable term. I think we all can agree on that.

  184. 184
    StringOnAStick says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Bingo, Mr. Wig. I spent 3 days as an expert witness back when I was a geologist; it was the hardest I have ever worked. Until you’ve been in a witness stand, you have no frickin’ idea how hard it is to be a witness and not succumb to your deep desire to tell the hostile attorney to pound sand, hard. To have to do that at age 19 and about your murdered friend is a lot to deal with and perform to everyone’s satisfaction.

  185. 185
    Steeplejack says:


    No, that’s in the original. They didn’t actually use a beep sound, just an audio cut.

    I think he was snarkin’ you. I was tempted to do the same.

  186. 186
    pokeyblow says:

    Zimmerman looks like a John Wayne Gacy fan, and Trayvon didn’t want to end up buried in a crawl space (or under a mobile home, the Florida version).

  187. 187
    David says:

    @IAMH35: As a middle-aged (53) white guy who grew up in Florida and has a 19-year old daughter, I was interested to read your remarks, because to me she came across as a pretty typical teenager. A little defensive, perhaps, but who wouldn’t be? I thought the defense attorney came across as a douchebag badgering a young woman who isn’t guilty of anything and isn’t on trial. And let’s face it, Zimmerman was creepy (maybe not a cracker). Reading all these comments, though, makes me worried that my perceptions aren’t the norm.

  188. 188
    Trollhattan says:


    Doubly hard would be describing said sand, technically. e.g., Is it silty sand or sandy silt? Well-sorted? etc.

    Honestly, other than showing up for jury duty every few years I want nuttin’ to do with a courtroom.

  189. 189
    JR in WV says:


    Kay, I find it unbelievable (except that nothing the Rs do is surprising anymore!) that members of the Senate can think it appropriate for the Executive branch of our government to reach out to mass media to help explain complex new legal insurance requirements – after the legal program has been passed into law, signed into effect by the President, and passed upon as legal by a Republican-influenced Supreme Court.

    How can Mitch lower himself to participate in this clown show!? Oh, yes, he’s a right wing-nut, never mind!

  190. 190

    @Violet: thx again for the links. I let my poutrage eclipse my diligence. Bad habit online.

  191. 191

    So, previously by my count 43M people were in same-sex marriage states. Now that CA can start issuing licenses, that increases by 38M. Not bad. 1/3 of the country is covered.

  192. 192
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Can I suggest “Betty Honky Motherfwcker”?

  193. 193
    Yatsuno says:

    @👽 Martin: There is, from what I understand, a big scramble now in Oregon to get their constitutional amendment overturned. Having the two states they get the most compared to have full marriage rights isn’t helping any.

  194. 194

    I’m trying to figure out the math equation where saying “creepy-ass cracker” should free Paula Deen from criticism.

  195. 195
    Violet says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Sure, no problem. The whole thing seemed a bit fishy to me, so I googled it. The West representative’s statement is out now. The news org that posted the story must have rushed it–tons of typos. But you can get the gist of it.

    West confirmed that he took the photograph with his phone.

    West “was doing something he does almost every day, an old tradition with his daughters,” said Vincent. “They went out for ice cream. Don had no idea that she’d post it on Instagram.”,

    Vincent said West did not know anything about the comment. The photo was taken Monday after his opening statement’s knock, knock joke. He posted it later during the week.

    “The girls like to make fun of their dad frequently,” Vincent said.

    Here’s the jaw-droppingly ironic bit (not sure they see the irony):

    Vincent added the defense team understands the context of the comments with what’s happened in court this week are grossly insensitive.

    West’s statement: “As a parent, we’re not always proud of things our children do, but we love them anyway, and then we move on.

    Kids will be kids. Unless they’re Trayvon Martin and then it’s his fault for walking around after dark, wearing a hoodie and carrying a bag of Skittles.

  196. 196
    Scout211 says:

    OT: 9th circuit lifted the stay. Same sex marriages are now legal in CA.

    Woo Hoo!

  197. 197
    Yatsuno says:


    Unless they’re Trayvon Martin and then it’s his fault for walking around after dark, wearing a hoodie and a bag of Skittles.

    And were West’s kids in hoodies? Huh? See the difference libtard? He was totes dressed like a thug gangsta wanna-be.

    (Can’t even continue like this without getting seriously ill.)

  198. 198
    Kay says:

    @JR in WV:

    “Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of this bill

    It’s a law, not a bill. They can’t make it through 5 paragraphs without lying.

    I’m curious to see how the organized educational efforts are going. There’s a “ground” effort in nine states. They had an event in Toledo last Saturday but I was busy and couldn’t go. I’m just wondering how people are reacting, what they’re asking, if they’re incredibly hostile, etc. :)

    When I went to the small business event last year there were a vocal group of Tea Partiers, one of whom I’m pretty sure was lying about having 100 employees, BTW (my friend Ann wouldn’t let me interrogate this individual further, so we’ll never know) but the other small business people were not insanely angry or anything.

  199. 199
    Short Bus Bully says:

    I MUCH prefer the tern “peckerwood” if you’re going to insult some white folks. “Cracker” is all right too.

    It’s not a nice word, Zimmerman is not a nice guy, and I fail to see how it is important IN ANY FUCKING WAY to this murder trial. Someone calls you a cracker and you can shoot them?

  200. 200
    Violet says:

    @Yatsuno: I know. It’s just awful. And defense attorney West’s daughter DID use the hashtag #dadkilledit. Just jaw-dropping. Seriously, did dad not have a conversation with his daughters about what to do/not to do on social media during this very high profile trial? Are they seriously that stupid?

  201. 201
    NickT says:


    The capacity of the young and immature for deeply offensive and foolish actions, especially when hopped up on sugar, is a never-ending source of horror and amazement.

  202. 202
    burnspbesq says:


    Is that the Florida model jury instruction? Because it seems to me to be severely fucked up. Self-defense is an affirmative defense, isn’t it? That instruction seems to put the burden on the prosecution to prove a negative beyond a reasonable doubt.

  203. 203
    Sly says:

    @Dolly Llama:

    What the fuck bearing Trayvon Martin’s use of the term should have on the Zimmerman trial is just beyond me.

    Make the victim look bad. It’s been the core of Zimmerman’s defense, and not one solely articulated by his lawyer, since day one.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Pure speculation here, but they could be looking to push the murder option off the table by implying provocation. This could drop things to manslaughter. But again, pure speculation.

    Provocation would only apply if Zimmerman heard it – the “creepy-ass cracker” line was Martin’s description to Jenteal – and even if he did it would be the most tenuous legal defense in an extremely long time; this kind of argument, a “heat of the moment” defense, could theoretically get someone charged with Murder in the First Degree (premeditated) a reduction to Murder in the Second Degree (non-premeditated), but not Murder Two to Manslaughter, as the latter deals with accidental homicide. And no one is arguing that Zimmerman accidentally discharged his weapon.

  204. 204
    Violet says:

    @NickT: How old is his daughter Molly? Neither of the two women pictured look all that young to me. If she was 12 or something I might excuse it more–dumb kid. But if she’s an older teenager, say 17, or an adult–18 or older–then there is just no excuse.

  205. 205

    @Violet: This is good news for John McCain Zimmerman’s ineffective counsel argument if he loses.

  206. 206
    Comrade Mary says:


    Do you know “Dr. Bernice” off their first album?



  207. 207
    Violet says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Yeah. Maybe they did it on purpose? Create a better climate for an ineffective counsel argument? That would be pretty sly, if so.

  208. 208
    MikeJ says:


    But if she’s an older teenager, say 17, or an adult–18 or older–then there is just no excuse.

    In my experience 17 year olds are much dumber than 12 year olds.

  209. 209
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Steeplejack: I luv me some snark.

  210. 210
    Violet says:

    @MikeJ: Sure, but they’re also more accountable legally.

  211. 211

    @Violet: FALSE FLAG!?
    I’m more leaning toward West being incompetent based on how he’s trying the case so far but you never know when the trial is also serving as a proxy war.

  212. 212
    NickT says:


    In my experience, teenagers are much more prone to say or do offensive things at a level a 12 year old wouldn’t even begin to approach. I think what she did was appalling on several levels, but I’d be more inclined to blame her father who was the “responsible parent” in this case and appears to have skipped a number of steps in her social and moral education.

  213. 213
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Trollhattan: Clever Mr. Trollhattan, clever. You must have some familiarity with the earth upon which we tread, or at least the science thereof.

    During my witness experience, the opposing attorney (it was a water law case) escalated the badgering to the point that the judge dished up a righteous tongue-lashing. Pretty much the high point of the whole experience for me. I’m also fairly certain that this sort of behavior earns you negative points with the judge, and that DOES matter, and WILL matter in this case.

    Also: Betty, please, please don’t change your nym! I laughed the first time I read it, and then there was all this funny writing associated with it (I still snicker about the Cuban tree frogs and the trashcan – loved the art work). There aren’t many nyms that are not only funny, but also geographically descriptive.

  214. 214


    Self-defense is an affirmative defense, isn’t it? That instruction seems to put the burden on the prosecution to prove a negative beyond a reasonable doubt.

    My impression is that Stand Your Ground reverses the normal standard of proof. The defendant only has to assert that he was afraid for his life, and it’s up to the prosecution to prove that such a fear was unreasonable. I expect that defendants will quickly decide that even if the initial fears were unreasonable, once a gun was drawn they suddenly became reasonable because of the threat of the victim taking the gun and shooting the owner.

  215. 215


    In my experience 17 year olds are much dumber than 12 year olds.

    Yeah. I’m not sure dumber is quite the word there. As a parent of a 12 and 15 year old, I’d say that we give teenagers proportionately MUCH more independence relative to their judgement. In short, they have much more rope by which to hang themselves, often before they have the experience to use that rope.

    I’ll cite 5 dead teenagers in my city as adequate proof of this.

  216. 216
    NickT says:

    @👽 Martin:

    What’s more, teenagers have managed to develop a somewhat wider palette of stupid choices and dumb things to say than your average 12 year old. The survival of the human race is sometimes a matter of amazement to me, when I consider that we have to pass through the teenage stage.

  217. 217
    Yatsuno says:

    @Sly: Well if Martin hadn’t been thugging through Zimmerman’s white neighbourhood then he wouldn’t have needed to fire his weapon now would he?

    (This wingnut impersonatin’ is bad for my psyche.)

  218. 218
    NickT says:


    Needs more foam and a mention of Benghazi.

  219. 219

    And parents of teenagers: show them the photo on this page of what happens when driving fast meets a tree.

    Everyone was ejected from the vehicle. Everyone died. The mother of the two girls killed found out when she called the PD because she noticed the GPS on her daughters’ cell phones showed that they were there. They were in the morgue.

  220. 220
    Yatsuno says:

    @NickT: If I ever get truly adept at wingnut impersonation, shoot me.

  221. 221
    NickT says:


    I am afraid I can’t do that unless we arrange to meet in Florida and you arm yourself with Skittles and soda.

  222. 222
    Chris says:


    Make the victim look bad. It’s been the core of Zimmerman’s defense, and not one solely articulated by his lawyer, since day one.


    On that side of the aisle, there are no good actions or bad actions, just good people and bad people. If Trayvon Martin was bad, then he deserved to die. Full stop.

  223. 223
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    The weddings have started here in CA.

  224. 224
    Poopyman says:

    @Violet: That was rhetorical, right? ‘Cause we have the facts at hand.

  225. 225
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Dolly Llama:

    That story has completely change my idea of ‘who’ Betty Cracker is. Now I’m picturing a whip-cracking dominatrix with two tough-looking boxers sitting next to her, one on each side.

    I previously thought she was a really funny saltine.

  226. 226
  227. 227
    dance around in your bones says:

    I don’t care if Trayvon Martin called Zimmerman an ofay peckerwood honkyass redneck cracker white trash honky honky DEAD honky yo mama! yo grandmama! – it still shouldn’t have ended up with Trayvon dead as a doornail and Zimmerman humping his little scratches on the back of his haid during the trial (Lil scratches on the head bleed inordinately).. Somebody died, and it wasn’t Zimmerman. He had the choice to continue his pursuit or break it off. Plus, he wasn’t even qualified to do what he thought he was qualified to do – despite being told by the cops “You don’t need to do that” (i.e. follow the guy).

    I get really aggravated watching this trial; which means I probably shouldn’t watch it at all. This whole case makes me sick.

  228. 228
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    once a gun was drawn they suddenly became reasonable because of the threat of the victim taking the gun and shooting the owner.

    This is the sort of legalistic gymnastics that gets you on the Olympic Team.

  229. 229

    That was prompt. I guess they want to get started before the inevitable nuisance suits from Prop 8 dead-enders.

  230. 230


    As someone so rightly posted on twitter a little while ago “look if the races had been reversed Zimmerman would already be on death row by now, lets just get this fucking straight”. Ditto.

  231. 231
    Egypt Steve says:

    I remember a “Miami Vice” episode where a white investigator from Internal Affairs who is trying to nail Crockett refers to him as “you cracker cop.”

  232. 232
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Have the forced divorces from your heterosexual spouse and forced remarriage to some person of the same sex you’ve never met happened yet? Because I’m sure that James Dobson or Pat Robertson assured me that was going to happen next.

  233. 233
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Yatsuno: Sandy Stier and Kris Perry got married in San Francisco City Hall.

  234. 234
    Yatsuno says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I hope so. I got a list.

  235. 235

    @👽 Martin:

    I have to say that I hate this time of year when parents buy their precious princes and princesses fast vehicles to celebrate graduation, it is a nightmare trying to get to work and the papers are filled with stories of wrecks.

  236. 236
    NickT says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Down our way the streets are filled with people and their new batrachian/simian/canine/feline/murine spouses. I am impressed to see them making their way through the earthquakes, meteor strikes and plagues as if nothing was happening.

  237. 237
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    George Takei is already taken. Sorry.

  238. 238
    dmbeaster says:

    @burnspbesq: It is the instruction – straight from the Florida Supreme Court web site. And that is the burden under settled Florida law.

  239. 239
    Burnspbesq says:

    YGBFKM. The god-damn Tenth Circuit gave fucking Hobby Lobby its preliminary injunction.

  240. 240
    Redshirt says:

    @Comrade Mary: She’s not a lady doctor at all.

  241. 241

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I think this is exactly the kind of thinking that normally prevents a self-defense plea if the defendant created the violence they’re defending themselves from.

  242. 242
    Burnspbesq says:


    Who wrote it? Kafka?

  243. 243


    I got a list.

    He’s got a little list.
    He’s got a little list!

    Care to share?

  244. 244
    LAC says:

    I think you are over reading her testimony and its impact. I don’t think the defense drawing attention to the word “cracker” is really going to cancel out Zimmerman”s actions.

  245. 245
    AxelFoley says:


    After reading your assessment though, I’m def more convinced than ever that Zimmerman will get off and I gotta tell ya, truly despair on what will happen when/if he does.

    Sanford, FL better HOPE Zimmerman is found guilty and either does life or a loooooong ass sentence, because the I can just about guarantee you that place will make the LA riots look like a picnic.

  246. 246


    Who wrote it? Kafka?

    ALEC, or one of their stooges.

  247. 247
    burnspbesq says:


    OK, I over-reacted based on a poorly written news story.

    The Tenth Circuit held that Hobby Lobby had established probable success on the merits and irreparable harm. It remanded to the District Court for consideration of whether the other requirements for the issuance of a preliminary injunction had been met.

    I stand by my original YGFKM.

  248. 248
    Redshirt says:

    @Roger Moore: KAFKA would be a great name for a Think Tank.

    The KAFKA Institute.

  249. 249
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    I would have thought that prior to a killing, in a description of the killer as a “creepy-ass cracker”, the most significant part of the phrase would be “creepy-ass” rather than “cracker”.

  250. 250

    @Viva BrisVegas:
    How long have you been living in the USA? Race trumps just about anything else.

  251. 251
    ChrisNYC says:

    @dmbeaster: Right, they have to create reasonable doubt. But it’s not creative of reasonable doubt to tell a story where TM was fleeing, avoiding a confrontation and then BAM became the aggressor. They need a state of mind hook. We know what the story on GZ’s state of mind will be. So, TM’s state of mind was similar, defense attorney says. “TM was not just fleeing, he was mad at this cracker, just like GZ was mad at the ‘punks.'” And thus, racial overtones that exploded.

  252. 252
    Violet says:

    @NickT: I’m not sure how old she is. She could be an adult. Which would only make it worse.

  253. 253
    Baud says:


    What are you, some crazy-ass cracker?

  254. 254
    mouse tolliver says:

    @Pogonip: If they didn’t call those witnesses, but the defense dd, it would look really bad. I think their ultimate narrative will be that nobody saw the fight from beginning to end. Different people came in at different stages of the fight.

    That one guy, Good, didn’t come off that great IMO. He embellished his story to make it sound more dramatic and favorable to Zimmerman, but admitted he didn’t actually see anyone land any blows. And he didn’t hear any blows connecting either.

  255. 255
    Yatsuno says:

    @Roger Moore: There might be a Dodger on it. That’s maybe your hint.

  256. 256
    NickT says:


    Is the KAFKA Institute the one that mandates that we must wake up to discover that we have been gay-married to a giant bug?

  257. 257
    rikyrah says:

    She stood her ground and didn’t get shook.

    Trayvon was a teenaged boy who figured out that some random White dude was stalking him.

    In what place in America should Trayvon be comfortable about that?

    Trayvon was stalked..


    and murdered

    for the crime of Walking While Black.

    Zimmerman didn’t know him.

    They hadn’t had a previous ‘ beef’.

    He went after this child because he was a Black male..

    and the thought that the jury might not get the angst of the teenager who will be haunted to her grave for being the last one to talk to this young man…

    Can you tell I’m out of fucks to give?

  258. 258


    Can you tell I’m out of fucks to give?

    So this is not on your gift list?

  259. 259

    @rikyrah: What you said, twice, with sprinkles. How anyone does not see this is beyond me.

  260. 260
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Live wedding on Rachel’s show.

  261. 261
    Redshirt says:

    @NickT: It naturally follows. Once man can marry man, woman can marry woman, then well, man can marry giant bug, right?

    Please pay 3.4 million dollars now please for this insight.

  262. 262
    Redshirt says:

    @efgoldman: All the front pagers are planning a surprise party. I’m not sure for whom, though.

  263. 263
    mouse tolliver says:

    @Trollhattan: I only saw snippets of the testimony of the testimony that favored the prosection. But MSNBC ran a long segment showing Good’s testimony. Does anyone know if Good saw the end of the fight? I missed that part.

  264. 264
    NickT says:


    I’d be delighted to deposit the dollars to your account, along with the $250million that I inherited from my deceased Nigerian financial minister husband. Just hand over your account details and credit card numbers and we’ll be good to go.

  265. 265
    Redshirt says:

    @NickT: Sounds good. However, I only deal in bullion. Gold is the ONLY thing that has real value today.

  266. 266

    @efgoldman: All the FPers are busy off getting ghey married.

  267. 267
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Sly: Off the top of my head, I am pretty sure that provocation without a cooling off period is one of the hallmarks of the traditional divide between murder and manslaughter. I agree that Zimmerman would have had to have heard it for it to count. I would also say that I cannot see how the term cracker would constitute adequate provocation, but I don’t really think the defense team has a particularly strong hand here – even with the stupid reversal of the self-defense burden.

  268. 268
    mai naem says:

    I never never get into these trials so I’m embarrassed to even ask these questions. . I just happened like an idiot to listen to the M.Smerconish show and he was talking about it. The guy who was on the stand said the dark clothing person was on top and the light/red clothing person was on the bottom. Just wondering was Martin wearing light stuff under the hoodie and if he was pounding Zimmerman so hard in the face wouldn’t Zimmerman have had teeth knocked out, black eyes, multiple bruises etc. I don’t remember seeing that in the pics. Also, if Martin was beating the crap out of him, how did he manage to get the gun out and shoot Martin? Zimmerman comes across a douchebag wanna be cop who acts like cops act in the movies.

  269. 269
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mai naem:

    Also, if Martin was beating the crap out of him, how did he manage to get the gun out and shoot Martin?

    That is a question that the people who show up and squawk about “mounting MMA style” never seem to answer.

  270. 270
    cokane says:

    I think it’s a racial term when used in this context, probably even a prejudiced term. Your post was good explaining how it’s slipped into the lexicon in Florida. But who cares?

    1. They’re teenagers
    2. They’re not on trial
    3. Not illegal to be prejudiced anyways

  271. 271
    Herve says:

    I am white (pale, pinkish hue, really), and from the south, originally.
    Trayvon meant “creepy-ass cracker” in the perjorative sense. And George Zimmerman was – and remains – a “creepy-ass cracker” in the utmost perjorative sense. Period. Sick, shameless f*ck…

  272. 272
    John O says:

    If someone was beating the crap out of me, and I had a gun, I would be able to dig it out.

    I think this is true of most people.

    OT, but seriously, WTF is this? You have to love the GOP’s willingness to pull together as a country after taking one on the chin.

  273. 273
    Redshirt says:

    Take odds: When the next thread goes up, it will be followed by 2 others within an hour.

    Takers? Bettors? Get some action!

  274. 274
    mouse tolliver says:

    @mai naem: The prosecution will get into all that later. There are many many things wong with Zimmerman’s story. Obvious contradictions. Esquire has an article that points out some of the holes that came up during his statement to the police. (No link, Im on a tablet) One issue they bring up is how was Zimmerman able to scream if he was being smothered?

    I would add, how are we able to hear him calling for help so clearly if he’s being punched in the face repeatedly. Today they talked to the physician assistant who examned Zimmerman the following day. He only went in to get a work clearance. Refused to go to the hospital. He did have two black eyes, a swollen nose, and a couple of scrapes on the back of his head. Scrapes, not bruises. His head was pounded repeatedly into the sidewalk? A sidewalk that didn’t have any blood on it.

    But these are pretty minor for someone who supposedly nearly beaten to death MMA “ground and pound-“style. Though I would say his injuries are consistent with someone who got knocked down during a shoving match by someone who was trying to wrestle a gun away.

  275. 275
    MattR says:

    @John O: As one of the commenters at TPM pointed out, it is especially ballsy coming a couple months after the NRA was the primary sponsor of a NASCAR event.

  276. 276
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mouse tolliver: And, as someone (dmbeaster?) mentioned above, the defense will have no choice but to put Zimmerman on the stand. Each contradiction will be examined in detail.

  277. 277
    mouse tolliver says:

    @John O: Of course, if your gun was already drawn when you approached the person who beat the crap out of you, you wouldn’t need to dig it out.

  278. 278
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mouse tolliver: Of course, if the gun is already drawn, how likely is it that someone is going to beat the shit out of you? I don’t buy the “MMA style” story at all.

  279. 279
    mouse tolliver says:

    According to Zimmerman’s camp, Trayvon attacked when he saw the gun. How could he see the gun if it was holstered under Zimmermans jacker? X-ray vision? Zimmerman had to lift his jacket to show the cop he had a gun.

  280. 280
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Threads like this are jaw dropping.

    Fuckers make up stories out of selective bits and pieces of what you’ve picked up thru our unreliable media, and just KNOW how it all went down, who said what, who punched who, how everyone felt at the time, ad nauseum.

    My beef all along with the BJ take on this trial, is that the majority here just can’t stand to wait and hear out all the evidence presented in the trial and make a decision at the conclusion as to what they think. Somehow you magically just know right now, already how it all happened at that Zimmerman is a cold blooded killer. And somehow, accidentally I’m sure, your preconceptions just happen to align with your own world view and prejudices.

    Cole has been disgusting on this too, as he riles up the no-nothings with smart ass red meat, Lynch Zimmerman Now posts.

    The BJ commentariat is in its heart, no different than the white mofos who lynched innocent blacks in the south back in the day.


    But carry on.

  281. 281
    jl says:

    Let me ask you a question. It seems from the content of your article that you think the only ones who need to be less biased and understanding are the people who may be wrongly interpreting Rachel J. Why don’t you point out that maybe Rachel and Trayvon are also ignorant about white people and white culture? Bias goes both ways. “Not getting it” goes both ways. Just because a “young person” uses terms that his parents’ generation “don’t get” or that someone from another culture “doesn’t get” doesn’t mean that the one using the term also just “doesn’t get it.” The fact that such a term exists seems to indicate that Trayvon and Rachel, (out of laziness or fear?), just want to put people who are not like them into general categories, and come up with some insulting moniker to pigeonhole them. Adding “creepy-ass” doesn’t help either. I spent 14 years in China and was called “lao wai” countless times. It means “old foreigner.” Harmless you say? It sends the clear message that “You are not like us and you will never be like us.” Great for building bridges of cross-cultural understanding and helping us become color-blind, right?

  282. 282
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: If the gun is drawn, and someone tries – or looks/acts like s/he might try – to beat the shit out of you, someone will get shot. Especially with the kind of mindset Zimmerman seems to have displayed.

  283. 283
    Redshirt says:

    “Jaw dropping”. “Revolting”.

  284. 284
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    or looks/acts like s/he might try

    This is what I suspect to be the case.

  285. 285
    Anne Laurie says:

    I heard the same story as Aimai — to Gaelic-Americans, “a good craic [pronouced ‘crack’, more or less]” was an upbeat storytelling & bs session. Using that word separated the low-rent indentured-servant Southern whites from the high-class English remittance men & their descendents, so calling someone a “cracker” was considered quite insulting by Northeastern Irish-Americans in the 1960s/70s.

    Incidentally, Betty, when I was growing up in NYC, the blood insult for our upstate neighbors was “appleknocker” — as in, “Effin appleknockers up in Albany, bitchin about ‘welfare queens’ while helping themselves to our tax money with both hands!”

  286. 286
    Gwangung says:

    You have a gun, you let s done close enough to get close to you, you’re stupid and are likely to lie like hell to cover up that stupidity.

    There’s no way a competent gun owner would allow Martin to get close enough to lay a ouch, let along administer a beating.

  287. 287
    patrick II says:

    A white person who hates Obama might very well call the President, a Harvard educated man, a n***** because he is black. A black person who hates Romney wouldn’t call Mitt Romney, also Harvard educated, a cracker or redneck or hillbilly because those, although containing a racial component, are primarily about being dumb and uneducated. Romney would be called something like a white elitist m***********, or something (I’m not really that up on the vernacular).

  288. 288
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    You are one jive-ass, honky-tonk, corn-pone, pig-ignorant cracker.

  289. 289
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @patrick II: They might call Bill Clinton of Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale Law a cracker though.

  290. 290
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @lamh35: I’m a white lady a little above middle age, and I have watched a fair amount of the trial (I’m home, my air conditioning is broken, and I’m trying to move as little as possible to stay as cool as possible). My initial reaction to Ms. Jeantel was that she might not be coming off too well, but I have to say she won me over with her explanation of why she lied about not attending the wake. I can see where if a person hadn’t had a lot of contact with teens or young adults, her affect might come across negatively. But she just seemed completely real to me at that moment. Even if I discount those things that might not have come up before (the sound of wet grass against the bluetooth, “Get off! Get off!), there is enough there to tell a story that is pretty damning for Zimmerman.

    I’ve worked with young people of color, so “Creepy-ass cracker” just sounds like descriptive slang to me, especially since he described him later as “Shit! N*&&*# following me.” Creepy-ass was the important descriptor. Cracker in this phrase seems to mean bad (white) guy, and n*&&*# in this usage seems to just mean bad guy.

    Frankly, the defense attorney also seems creepy-ass to me. And clueless. And old (and believe me, I’m considerably older than he is). Like, he had no idea what a three-way was in the context of phone calls or texts, and seemed surprised that there were “thousands” of texts exchanged. Considering that English is Ms. Jeantel’s third language, after French Creole and Spanish, I thought she was pretty articulate. But that’s just me. I have no idea how these particular middle-aged white ladies are interpreting what they are hearing.

  291. 291
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @burnspbesq: General Counsel for genuine crackers has asked if I’ll be local on this, as has her counterpart for pigs. Would you please amend your defamatory comment # 290?

    I haven’t gotten any additional requests, so I’m going with Bill Clinton’s got no issues with being called a cracker.

  292. 292
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Corn-pone might want in as well.

  293. 293
    Groucho48 says:

    @mouse tolliver:

    My understanding is that he was in his house to call 911 when he heard the gun shot.

    As for folks wondering about the gun, he was wearing it in a holster that is worn inside the pants. So, I don’t think it could be seen even if Zimmerman wasn’t wearing a jacket. Not to mention, I’d think it would be nearly impossible to pull out a gun that was holstered inside your pants when someone was straddling you and banging your head against the pavement. My guess is that they were rolling over and over and, if Z didn’t already have his gun out…which is quite possible…he pulled it out one of the times he was on top. Instead of, say, getting up and running away, if he was in such fear for his life.

  294. 294
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: When I was a kid, I got into one fight. I don’t remember what it was about, or who the opponent was.

    What I remember is where it happened (school back lot) and how it ended. I said “uncle” when the other kid was kneeling on top of me, with his knees on my elbows. I could not use either hand. Even if I had a gun, it would have been no use.

    To me, the defense argument requires me to believe, simultaneously, that Trayvon is a skilled enough hand to hand fighter to be capable of killing an armed man with his bare hands AND that Trayvon doesn’t know as much about street fighting as the eight year old kid who kicked my ass back in 1979.

  295. 295
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Groucho48: This is exactly what I tried to say, but you said it much better.

  296. 296
    patrick II says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I may be wrong, but I think Bill would be o.k. with that. He likes to do that “aw shucks, I’m just a country boy” routine pretty often.

  297. 297
  298. 298
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Violet: Yes, she cried when she said she lied to Trayvon’s mother about being in the hospital for his wake because she felt guilty about not showing respect, then said she didn’t go because she didn’t want to see the body. And as I said before, that’s when she won me over. :-)

  299. 299
    Lyrebird says:

    @Comrade Dread: This.

    In a much milder case, I remember some campus cop tasering a college student who’d refused to show his ID. Tried to excuse the overuse of force by mentioning the kid had a smart mouth (to the cop’s face, I think, not just confiding in a friend on the phone). I wondered, how did a person who would not be able to handle monitoring a middle-school cafeteria get this job and a Taser?

    So many aspects of the Zimmerman trial make me want to cry or scream, but this overwrought weighing of each of Trayvon’s words for bias is one of them. If teenagers deserve to die for muttering unflattering things in private to their friends while scooting away from threatening grownups, …I just don’t know what to say.

    —middle-aged white woman who’s been a substitute teacher

  300. 300
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Ted & Hellen: who cares?

  301. 301
    Kay (not the front-pager) says:

    @Roger Moore: Stand-your-ground can be used to short-circuit prosecution prior to a trial, but by waiving the pretrial motion, he waived his right to use the stand-your-ground defense. At least, that’s how it has been explained to me, but IANAL.

  302. 302
    Joel says:

    @jl: if Martin had killed Zimmerman, then we have this discussion. Otherwise, you’re just a dipshit troll.

  303. 303
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl: Who shot whom?

  304. 304
    cokane says:

    @Ted & Hellen: much of the salient evidence has been on the record for about a year now.

    There’s definitely a huge amount of arrogance among some posters on these boards, but, read that article then go watch the video some day for yourself. Zimmerman’s story is at the very least manslaughter, even giving him an extraordinary benefit of the doubt.

  305. 305
    kate says:

    @👽 Martin: Yep . in the song Jimmy CrackCorn and I don”t care, they are referring to telling tales..running your mouth. One explaination:

  306. 306
    Ted & Hellen says:


    You are one jive-ass, honky-tonk, corn-pone, pig-ignorant cracker.


  307. 307
    jc says:

    Sadly, we haven’t come very far. This reminds me of Richard Prior. And “Hair” — “President of the United States of Love”

  308. 308
    Xenos says:

    @StringOnAStick: This is a tough issue in trial practice. You ought to protect your witness when she is on the stand, but letting the opposing counsel make an ass of himself is a great way to show the other side does not have shit. The judges understand this. When you are confident that you are going to win you can let the other side act out a bit. When I have done this, though, I have made sure my witness can control themselves, are mature, and are not about to go off the reservation.

    Not sure what the best call would be in this case. Was there a redirect to rescue her testimony?

  309. 309
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Ted & Hellen:
    You seem to have made up your mind that George Zimmerman is innocent — not merely not guilty, but actually innocent. You were just like this on Jerry Sandusky, and you were wrong then. Now then: given what’s already known and not in dispute in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, e.g. in the Esquire blog post pointed out to you by cokane, it seems unlikely that Zimmerman can craft a plausible narrative to cast reasonable doubt on his guilt.

    By the way, no one here has suggested Zimmerman is a “cold-blooded killer”. The Balloon Juice consensus (again, based on information not in dispute) is that he followed and confronted Martin against police advice; in the resulting scuffle, he shot Martin dead with a gun that, as a neighbourhood watch volunteer and not a policeman, he shouldn’t have been carrying.

  310. 310
    Pogonip says:

    @jl: @mouse tolliver: Thanks!

    I think if I were a trial lawyer I would rehearse my witnesses up, down, and sideways to make sure their demeanor was acceptable to the cable news Experts.

  311. 311
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @Hunter Gathers:
    ” … it’s perfectly legal for me to bust a cap in the victor’s crown, because I feared for my life after losing a fight that I instigated. Especially if the victor is armed with candy and soft drinks AND EXTRA MELANIN“.


  312. 312
    The Pale Scot says:

    After having moved to Florida, I understand the term to mean those white people most likely to be afflicted with PDSS (Post Deceased Syndrome Sufferer)

  313. 313
    D58826 says:

    @Groucho48: In their opening statement the state said they would prove Zimmerman had his gun out and a round in the chamber. I’m waiting to hear that piece of evidence, since it certainly undercuts self defense.

    Just as an aside, if I was planning on doing something as stupid as Zimmerman did that night, I would certainly have my gun out. No way I would confront some ‘criminal’ and try to beat him to the draw. Might work for Mat Dillon but not in real life.

  314. 314
    AdamK says:

    As a long-time creepy-ass cracker, I’d have to say that it’s an apt description of Zimmerman.

  315. 315
    AHH onna Droid says:

    @burnspbesq: Yankee is no insult on the NEC, but it is surely pejorative when a Florida Cracker says it. /duh dept

    Privelege matters. Blacks called me cracker and I had to smother my laughter (to be perfectly fair, this was followed by an impassioned and completely gratuitous apology by a younger person). A cracker called me a yankee and it really burned. As an Irish Catholic both terms are technically inaccurate.

  316. 316
    JR in WV says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Well, the thread is long, and dead, but when you talk about the gun being pulled the dynamic changed…

    In the concealed carry permit class I took some time back, the law enforcement officer who taught the class (you didn’t think I would take a NRA course did you?) said that you usually don’t show that you have a weapon until you have decided that you must use it to save your (or someone’s) life.

    Otherwise you are “brandishing a weapon” which is a crime.

  317. 317
    D58826 says:

    Heck I have enough trouble getting my cell phone out of the holster on my belt before it goes to voice mail w/o some one beating on me

  318. 318
    The Pale Scot says:

    @AHH onna Droid:”As an Irish Catholic both terms are technically inaccurate.”

    I was never able to explain to my co-worker who kept trying to rib me by calling me a saltine etc. that from my NE Irish viewpoint we had the same enemy, he called them crackers, I called them prods. The film of Ian Paisley standing next to Catholics marching for civil rights calling them the modern equivalent of terrorists is interchangeable with all those “concerned” white citizens saying the same thing about MLK and the marchers.

    Irrational Calvinists using law and society to maintain exclusive privileges.

  319. 319
    Butch Tenaka says:

    No white person (okay…”cracker”) can say the “N” word, no way, no how. But our friends of the African American persuasion can say it, along with any and all of the derogatory epithets used to describe US. See, we’d never quite understand them, EVER. But somehow, though having never been white, they understand ALL ABOUT us. Such a double standard. Such hypocrisy. And by the way…where’s that “post racial” society we were promised if Obama got elected? We’ve never been MORE divided. Paula Deen is supposed to go out and hang herself for something she said 28 years ago, while black rappers can say the most filthy, vile, racist, sexist things imaginable and nobody seems to care. At least not enough to shame them in the national media.

  320. 320
    ruviana says:

    @dance around in your bones: I’m soooo late to this dead thread but I wanted to note that Gringo/a is really regional and context dependent. When I did fieldwork in rural Mexico “gringo/a” just meant “white person” or in some cases, even “person not from around here” which amusingly meant that people from Mexico City were gringos. More rural and less educated people even used the term as a catchall for anything foreign, e.g., “Do you speak gringo?” (Yes, as everything non-Spanish [and non-indigenous languages] counted as Gringo). Elsewhere and at different times “gringo/a” can be hostile and pejorative.

  321. 321
    dance around in your bones says:


    Ok, so this is REALLY late to the thread, but for the most part being called a Gringa was just descriptive, unless it was preceded by ‘pinche’.

  322. 322
    kevin says:

    @kevin: It’s a shame the way it has evolved to allow all the monkeys to run the zoo… A race war is brewing, and I can’t wait until it happens. Everyone is out of control, especially black people. They think they own the world, and frankly they are getting away with it. Riots are already being planned if Zimmerman is found innocent, and you wonder why we move away, cross streets, and want nothing to do with them? They bring it on themselves with their attitude, talk, body language, and lack of respect for anyone. I don’t mean well educated black people, I mean the scum of the earth, you find everyday walking in front of traffic as slow as possible, throwing trash in the streets, stealing, car jacking, (and yes they do do it more than anyone) that old argument that they are just oppressed is as full of shit as a baby’s diaper. This is why white America is against gun laws, then the nasty ones would be the only armed people, we need to keep safe from the slime. Use the verb “Be” correctly once in a while, use proper grammar, stop leeching off society. The day is coming where the white people will have had enough of this black thing and we go to war!! I for one look forward to it, maybe my neighborhoods won’t go to shit, my property values will hold up, and I won’t be afraid for my daughters just to walk the streets.. You ruin everything you touch, you scare everyone, and you smell funny. Go back to the mother land, and let us try to save this country you have ruined!!! sad sad day in this country when we allowed you to have any say in the way we run things!!

  323. 323
    Floyd Flamingo says:


    His father’s neighborhood? Where did you get that information? He was walking around a 49% white gated community with a history of violence and break-ins that his father did not live in. The kid was suspended from school for the third time that calendar year, and was supposed to be with his father. His father left him at the father’s girlfriend’s townhouse in this community and went out on the town with his girlfriend. The kid attacked Zimmerman and the 911 call confirms Zimmerman’s account of screaming help over and over to passers-by that did not offer any before the struggle for the gun and resulting shot that took the kid’s life.

    This case has been tried in the media from the very start. Zimmerman should walk, but a fair trial will be tough.

    The fact that you try to soften the word “cracker” is almost as ridiculous as it being brought up in trial in the first place. I’m from Pittsburgh, and calling me a “cracker” isn’t going to illicit a friendly response.

  324. 324
    Jebediah says:


    Excellent parody of a retarded racist! Too bad you dropped it into an dead thread – now you won’t get proper credit for such great work.

  325. 325
    Sondra says:

    Yes there are still Florida Crackers and some of them are still cowboys. Most people here in Florida know that there have been and always will be Crackers: sometime it is used as a perjorative, but others times it is just descriptive.
    Here is just one of many good articles…

    Cracker country endures, and visitors to Florida do not have to venture far from its freeways to view Cracker cattle and ponies of Spanish ancestry grazing amid surroundings that are cherished today because so much else that Remington found wild and strange has been lost


    Proud to be ‘Crackers’
    Remington was referring here to the much-maligned white Southerners called Crackers, who inherited this country from Spanish settlers and from the Seminole and other Florida Indians. The label Cracker, which originally meant “boaster” or “braggart,” may have been applied to them because of the cracking of their whips as they herded cattle or the cracking of corn that produced grits and other down-home fare they favored. In any case, the word came to define them. More than a few people in Florida and neighboring Georgia, where many of Florida’s first Anglo-American settlers emigrated from, now gladly call themselves Crackers and scoff at the notion purveyed by Yankees like Remington that Crackers are somehow morally deficient or lacking in spirit.

    Politically, Crackers reached new heights of respectability when Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976. He and other Georgians serving in his administration shattered the shopworn stereotype of Crackers as backward and bigoted and helped make the label fashionable and almost flattering. But the word can still register as an insult and “should be used with care,” advises Floridian Dana Ste. Clair in his book Cracker. “Abraham Lincoln once made a statement to the effect that no matter how much you respect the common man, never call him common to his face, and I imagine the same thing applies to Crackers in some areas.”— S.H.

  326. 326

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