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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 07:39 AM

The sadness of Rachel Jeantel's testimony

I found myself thinking a lot about this young woman's testimony (so far, she continues today) and how much the subtext tells us. There are many layers to this onion and the more I peel back the more I feel like crying:

1. She is/was afraid to come forward and is now afraid to testify. Her friend was shot but she seems so afraid to get involved in anyway with seeing justice done. Her identity was protected until yesterday and she will now be a target for all the free floating racial hatred in this country. She seems to know this all too well.

2. It certainly seems like she can't read well enough to protect herself from perjury charges. She was asked to read a transcript of her deposition and it seems apparent that she was faking it. This makes it very easy to claim that she is changing her story from the depo to the stand. Beyond the courtroom, how does a person with very limited reading skills make it in a world which is increasingly complicated and mined with EULAs, disclaimers, warnings, balloon mortgages, etc. But today, I expect Knock Knock to use her inability to read against her to discredit her and impeach her testimony.

3. Her testimony on the events and the words and phrases that she says were used are racially charged. Zim focused on TM's race, the dispatchers ask every caller "white, black or hispanic?" and TM shifts from describing Zim as "creepy ass cracker is staring at me" to the N word.

4. The SCOTUS ruled one day prior to her testimony that key parts of the voting rights act can be struck down now because "things have changed" since 1965, and their disconnect from the reality of courtrooms, the voting process and local governments across this country may be the saddest of all.

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Response to KurtNYC (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 08:04 AM

1. "creepy-ass cracker" not crazy ass cracker....

Trayvon Martin told the last person he ever spoke to by phone that a "creepy-ass cracker" was watching him, Rachel Jeantel testified in the Florida trial of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman accused of second-degree murder.


http://abcnews.go.com/US/trayvon-martin-creepy-ass-cracker-final-moments/story?id=19490796#.Ucwow53D9jp

Travon was creeped out. This goes to his state of mind and it's an important issue for the jury to hear.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 08:08 AM

2. Changed it.

And her immediate impression was that Zim was "a rapist" to which TM responds "don't play."

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Response to Little Star (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 09:48 AM

7. If she was embelishing her conversation with Trayvon to make it more jury friendly.....

....she wouldn't have testified to that. I'm convinced of it. She wouldn't risk throwing in a potentially inflammatory term unless she was actually interested in truthfully testifying to what she heard.

And I believe that's what she's doing.

She's not polished, but that doesn't mean she's not telling the truth.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:04 AM

8. I just hope the people on the jury have either heard young people speak


...or are smart enough to know that language can change and has changed for her generation. They use "nigga" to mean "man" or "dude" or even "my peeps". They say things an older generation believes to be racist, and yet they have no animosity towards the person they are labeling; it's just a description to them. "Cracker" isn't racist when TM says it, it's actually no different than the dispatcher wanting to know "black, white, or hispanic?".

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Response to Schema Thing (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:17 AM

9. "Cracker" isn't even always a derogatory term, although it is often used as such.

There is a old Florida culture about "crackers" being 19th century cattle ranchers, who got their name by cracking their whips while herding cattle. There's cracker cuisine and cracker architecture, and cracker culture was popularized by "Yearling" author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. There's nothing intrinsically racist about "crackers" in that sense.

Granted, "cracker" can also have a somewhat negative connation as a term that blacks might use against whites they deem racist, and that's quite possible Trayvon meant to describe Zimmerman in that context. Even so, I don't see that necessarily as a negative for the case, as it showed Trayvon appeared naturally suspicious of Zimmerman.

And in no way is either "cracker" or "n___a" as derogatory or inflammatory as "n_____r."

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:28 AM

12. didn't know that; interesting bit o' history

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Response to KurtNYC (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 08:15 AM

3. if the jury picks up on her fears and

especially if the prosecutor comes as frightening and humiliating her to the jury, it could work in her favor. The jury may be more sympathetic to her.

It's more important for her to come across as honest than educated or brave. If she were too "smooth" or too perfectly articulate in her testimony, it could be less believable.

Also, does the Prosecution have a chance to repair any damage by re-questioning after the cross?


The way you have put it certainly does sound sad...

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 08:36 AM

5. I am hoping that some of those jurors are mothers of....

teens who are/were late bloomers when it comes to maturity.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:27 AM

11. +1 "It's more important for her to come across as honest than educated or brave."

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Response to KurtNYC (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 08:30 AM

4. Agree, but to start with - how horrible to be on the end of that phone call

I hope she gets the emotional support she will need, regardless of the outcome of this trial.

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Response to KurtNYC (Original post)


Response to Name removed (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:24 AM

10. I was almost hoping she would just come out and say "I don't read well"

or something to that effect but I can only imagine the pressure of being in the middle of this with half the country watching. She is 19 and will start 12th grade in the fall.

The defense got her to say "creepy ass cracker" four times in the space of 60 seconds so they certainly are jumping on that but to me it just makes her testimony seem 100% honest. TM was the one being stalked so I don't find it surprising that he uses generally derogatory terms to describe Zim and it is an environment where race is the first thing people notice about a stranger. It is not TM who volunteered to drive around the neighborhood and call 911 every time he sees a person of a different skin color. Using a racial slur and running away from that person is VERY different from using a slur and chasing that person (with a gun no less).

It also seems like both TM and the young lady knew immediately in their gut that something was very wrong. She immediately thinks that Zim is "a rapist" to which TM responds, perhaps nervously, "don't play."

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Response to KurtNYC (Reply #10)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:37 AM

13. I think she can't read cursive, re: the handwritten letter.

Miz t. said that was said by the witness.
I missed it.

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Response to KurtNYC (Original post)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:57 AM

14. Please rectify your comment

"It certainly seems like she can't read well enough to protect herself from perjury charges. She was asked to read a transcript of her deposition and it seems apparent that she was faking it. "


Rachel was asked to read her letter to Trayvon's mother that was written for her by her friend. Her friend wrote it in cursive. It was clearly stated by Rachel that she couldn't read CURSIVE.... this doesn't mean she can't read well. Most schools stopped teaching cursive for kids in her age group. My own grandson can't read cursive for the same reason.

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Response to sunnystarr (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 27, 2013, 11:10 AM

15. I was referring to yesterday (Wednesday) when Knock knock asked her to read

5 lines of the transcript of her deposition.

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