Skip to comments.Trayvonís Friend Rachel Jeantel Prompts National Debate About Black Youth Culture
Posted on 06/28/2013 11:41:07 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Jeantel and attorney West
After Rachel Jeantel left the witness stand following another six hours of grueling cross-examination by George Zimmermans lawyers, she immediately prompted a national debate about the language and attitudes of black youth culture and whether her testimony had helped or hurt the defendant.
Jeantel was billed as the prosecutions star witness because she was the last person to talk on the phone to Trayvon Martin right before he was killed by a gunshot from Zimmerman. Her testimony is crucial because she reported that Zimmerman aggressively followed 17-year-old through the subdivision until he had no choice but to confront Zimmerman.
But that key fact in her testimony has been somewhat lost in the raucous debate about the language used by the 19-year-old Jeantel, her disrespectful attitude toward the defense, her inarticulateness and seeming lack of intelligence.
It is a fascinating instance of black youth culture, with its language and attitudes, splashed across a national stage as it collides with the protocol of the criminal justice system.
The key question will be how the jury five white women and one Latinaviews Jeantels believability after her two days of testimony. Will they be influenced by her language and attitude to view her as not very likable, and then make the jump that she is not to be trusted and believed?
Will they see Martin as an unsavory and less sympathetic character because he referred to Zimmerman as a creepy-ass cracker, according to Jeantels testimony, and also a nigga?
Will they understand that the word cracker that Jeantel attributed to Martin is less a malicious slur draped in his ill will toward Zimmerman than a toothless slang word black teens use to describe white people just as they use the word nigga to describe everybody, including each other?
While many observers in the white and black communities are lambasting Jeantel for her lack of intelligence, more savvy trial-watchers will focus on the fact that she never wavered in her contention that Zimmerman was following Martin, which is the most important aspect of her testimony.
High-profile defense attorney Billy Martin told host Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC that despite all the noise about her language, the jury is going to look at facts that make her believable, key facts. The key word she was consistent on is, this creepy guy is following me. And the key elements here are not some of the slurs that may have been used. They may be offensive and the jury may not want to hear them, but on the key elements, was he following him, and did Trayvon Martin have a choice, I think the jurys going to be convinced that Zimmerman, based on her testimony, was in fact following him and Trayvon Martin had no choice but to try to run, and he could not.
Attorney Martin said that when he was a prosecutor in Washington, D.C., a lot of nasty and offensive language would have to be repeated aloud in court during trials, particularly involving homicides.
This is not unusual in a homicide case to have vulgar language and activity that people find uncomfortable, he said. I think a juror and juries look right through that and look at what are we really trying to determine. Theyre not trying to see if one was a good person or a bad person. There are facts here. And these facts will show who was the aggressor, who had the ability to flee and who had the gun I dont think these slurs are going to make a difference.
In fact, former federal prosecutor Kendall Coffey said the tactic by defense attorney Don West to try to emphasize Jeantels inability to understand English and her lack of intelligence she said she couldnt read a letter she had a friend write to the Martin family because it was written in cursive might ultimately backfire.
There were a couple of points where the defense was starting to be a little patronizing, Coffey said. That always backfires. I like the way she stood her ground on that. You saw throughout some of the questioning how she would correct some of the defense lawyers, not rudely but simply standing up for herself. So whether the jury found her sympathetic or not, I think there had to be sort of a grudging respect for this very young woman who was dealing with a situation she couldnt have imagined ever encountering, who by and large stuck true to her testimony and true to her beliefs.
The defense tried to damage Jeantels credibility by showing how her story changed over the past year, particularly how her testimony differed from the description she gave in the letter her friend wrote for her.
Why wasnt creepy-ass cracker in prior interviews? West asked.
Nobody asked me, replied Jeantel.
The letter, in which Martins name is spelled incorrectly, gives her blow-by-blow account of what happened, which she said was intended for Trayvons parents, not for public consumption.
He started walking then noticed someone was following him, read the letter. Then he decided to find a shortcut cause the man wouldnt follow him. Then he said the man didnt follow him again. Then he looked back and saw the man again. The man started getting closer. Then Trevon turned around and said Why are you following me!! Then I heard him fall. Then the phone hung up. I called back and got no response. In my mind I thought it was just a fight. Then I found out this tragic story. Thank you.
In her testimony, she described Martin calling Zimmerman a creepy-ass cracker, and said she warned him to walk away, saying it might be a rapist.
After Martin told her he was going to try to lose him and get to the home, the man who was following him reappeared, prompting the confrontation.
Jeantel has consistently said she heard Martin ask Zimmerman why he was following him. But in an earlier account, she said Zimmerman replied, What are you talking about? But on the stand she said Zimmerman replied, What are you doing around here?
Jeantel testified she heard Martins phone headset fall and then Martin say Get off!after which the phone went dead.
West asked Jeantel why she did not tell Martins family or their lawyer, Benjamin Crump, that the teen yelled Get off! Jeantel said, because Crump is not law enforcement.
West at one point tried to imply that Martin could have started a fight with Zimmerman but decided not to tell Jeantel about it.
Of course, you dont know if he (Martin) was telling the truth or not, West said to Jeantel.
Why he need to lie about that sir? replied Jeantel.
Maybe if he decided to assault George Zimmerman, he didnt want you to know about it? answered West.
Thats real retarded, sir, Jeantel said. When you dont know the person, why risk it? Trayvon didnt know him.
Yes. Just look at her picture and watch 10 minutes of her ‘testimony’ on the stand.
Under different circumstances, one could envision her standing atop a Burger King counter throwing a hissy-fit because they didn’t put ketchup on her burger.
How does this ‘citizen’ support herself? Does she live with her mother? Is she in school? Does she have a job? Does she get a ‘check?’
According to her, she lied to Martin’s mother about her age (19 vs 16). Why is that? Because she didn’t want get into some adult/minor thing? Or, is she living with her momma and momma purports she is 16 for some other reason?
Does her momma work? Is her momma on public assistance? Does she claim dependents?
Yeah, these are all pretty biased sounding questions and may likely be construed as ‘racist’ in some people’s eyes, but the very LACK of any supporting information at all about what this woman does, how she supports herself, what her current existence/subsistence is other than she is/was “Trayvon’s Girlfriend - now only Friend” tells me there is information out there about her the media and the political apparatchiks don’t want us to know about her.
They're gender flexing alright. Genuflecting, too.
I just hope that crazy assed crackers lean something from all of this.
I’m for a taxes paid test. If you don’t own land or net pay on Federal Income Taxes, you don’t vote.
Any of those jurors live in Geneva, Chuluota, Oviedo, areas south of downtown Sanford....they will think RJ is a lying idiot. The first two are rural towns...with some old Florida Crackers
Even if she had been present at the scene, the value of this contention would be colored by her demonstrated dishonesty. Since she wasn't present at the scene, rational jurors should treat it as fiction.
Oviedo isn’t. A lot of UCF faculty and staff.
It also would be colored by her race. As it is now.
“We need to bring back the literacy test before we let these people vote”
Or print the ballots in cursive.
There was a thread back when this event all happened that involved a map. All the key points, where Z was, where he parked his truck, where TM came from and where he was living, and where the eyewitnesses were located.
That thread and the evidence laid out cemented for me that Zimmerman is innocent. Yes, he’s a guy watching out for his community, and there have been burglaries. Yes, he was armed. That is all prudent.
If Trayvon had continued to where he was staying, he’d still be alive. Instead, he doubled back to confront Z and was in the process of beating him to death, or so he thought. When Zimmerman’s weapon was exposed due to the beating and thrashing he was taking from Trayvon, Trayvon tried to grab the gun, but Zimmerman got it and fired.
My conclusion: Zimmerman was acting quite appropriately, including calling 911 to keep law enforcement updated. It was Trayvon’s actions that were “creepy” and thug-like. Trayvon caused the confrontation, actually started it by attacking Zimmerman.
Imagine how this would have played out had Trayvon simply had a civil conversation with Zimmerman. Zimmerman could have asked him who what and where, and Trayvon could have explained rationally that he was staying there, just down the block.
The only real problem Mr. Zimmerman has is that he’s already been tried and convicted by the media. If he wins, he loses. If he loses he loses. NBC should be sued out of existence for their part in ruining Zimmerman’s life.
AThank you for this. IF this goes further, it would be the most compelling defense for Z. But let me ask you something.
Do we know anything about Z? I mean we the judge has surpressed the prior conduct of M which paints him clearly as a racist thug, but how about Z? Was he a rational person? Was he quick on the trigger before? Any prior felonies? How many times did he call 911?
"Culture", as in petri dish.
“She knows no better because she, and millions like her, do not know the difference between right and wrong and good and bad. Discernment is foreign to them.”
Interesting she said in testimony she goes to church.
re: “ Instead, he doubled back to confront Z. . .”
This is the key right there. According to Zimmerman’s testimony, he lost sight of Trayvon and was heading back to his vehicle, when Trayvon suddenly appears and confronts him about why he is following him.
Did Jeantel’s testimony contradict this? I thought I read that she said that Trayvon told her he was going to confront Zimmerman?
I just realized that no one has as yet mentioned “Eubonics”
She said "creepy ass-cracker" which is not racial.
In Feral Urban Youth (FUY) speak "creepy" means pervert and "ass-cracker" refers to homosexual sodomy.
That usage also explains her implication that St. Travon might get raped, and his response to "stop playing him."
So exactly what would be wrong with Zimmerman following Martin? Zimmerman was "Neighborhood watch" doing his job. He sees one of the same type of youths who have been robbing homes in his neighborhood. So he follows that youth to see what he is up to, perhaps to see if he does suspicious things like peering in windows and checking out the area. You and I have seen people out on walks in our neighborhoods. We can usually discern whether or not they are just walking or they are "casing the area". I have seen young black guys (who may look like Martin) who I don't recognize as one of our homeowners kids, and I might be curious as to what they are doing. Watching (following), I can soon get a feel if they are up to no good or there for a purpose, like innocently selling magazines for instance.
Of course Zimmerman needed to "follow" Martin, and not jump to any conclusion, but watch to try to discern what he was doing there. If Zimmerman had asked Martin what he was doing there....... should that in itself been an intimidating "confrontation" to Martin. If he was innocent, could he just have replied that he was passing trough on his way home or even just a mumble something like "minding my own business" said politely might have been enough. However jumping on Zimmerman and slamming his head on the pavement and punching his face clearly indicates the fact that Martin is a hoodlum.
When did "neighborhood watching" become "conflict instigation"...... it happens when the hoodlums see themselves as too tough to allow the man to actually watch them.