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Trayvonís Friend Rachel Jeantel Prompts National Debate About Black Youth Culture
The Atlanta Black Star ^ | June 28, 2013 | Nick Chiles

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 Zimmerman’s 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 prosecution’s 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 Latina—views Jeantel’s 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 Jeantel’s 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 jury’s 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. They’re 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 don’t 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 Jeantel’s inability to understand English and her lack of intelligence — she said she couldn’t 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 couldn’t have imagined ever encountering, who by and large stuck true to her testimony and true to her beliefs.”

The defense tried to damage Jeantel’s 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 wasn’t ‘creepy-ass cracker’ in prior interviews?” West asked.

“Nobody asked me,” replied Jeantel.

The letter, in which Martin’s name is spelled incorrectly, gives her blow-by-blow account of what happened, which she said was intended for Trayvon’s 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 wouldn’t follow him. Then he said the man didn’t 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 Martin’s phone headset fall and then Martin say “Get off!”—after which the phone went dead.

West asked Jeantel why she did not tell Martin’s 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 don’t 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 didn’t want you to know about it?” answered West.

“That’s real retarded, sir,” Jeantel said. “When you don’t know the person, why risk it? Trayvon didn’t know him.”


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: asscracker; florida; racheljeantel; trayvon; trayvonstroops; zimmerman
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To: ken5050

Yikes, don’t do that!!!
I was in a teaching cert class and the subject was Ebonics. I took exception to the teaching of it and was promptly dubbed a racist by one of my darker class mates. My white prof blamed both of us for not being nice though I found out later from others that this student had been trouble earlier.
I called BS...I emailed this “racist” accusation to the Dean, all my profs and the head of the University...Pat Robertson...as this was at Regent U. The dean called me to say I hadn’t followed “proper procedures”. BS....


81 posted on 06/29/2013 6:02:06 AM PDT by matginzac
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To: PapaBear3625

I agree.


82 posted on 06/29/2013 6:02:35 AM PDT by sport
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To: Mastador1
And wake up she is has probably already living off your taxes for years while tweeting on her Obama phone!

You're heartless! If they cut off her EBT card now, she could starve to death in a couple of years.

83 posted on 06/29/2013 6:03:25 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: laplata
It sure isn’t for hickies.

That thing would add an entirely new dimension for kids who want to go 'necking'.


84 posted on 06/29/2013 6:03:36 AM PDT by Iron Munro (Rubio's New Book: From Nobody To Senator, To Conservative savior, Then Back To Nobody")
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To: binreadin
There would be nothing racist about a literacy test

It would have a "disparate impact" on minorities and therefore is RACIST! And I say, so what.

In addition to being able to read a voter must not receive checks from the government unless that check in for services rendered. Otherwise they'll vote for more checks.

85 posted on 06/29/2013 6:05:00 AM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto
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To: binreadin

That is absurd. 75% of university students voted for Obama as well and even higher if they went to an Ivy League school. Should they as well go through a literacy test? This is a young woman immersed in a ghetto culture. She is the real deal. If anything she was sincere. Whether she lied and fabricated testimony is another issue. Her lack of “sophistication” makes her a credible witness because her description of events have always been consistent. If anything putting her on the stand reinforced the argument that our citizens are ignorant and uneducated, Exactly what the elites want. White college aged liberals get their news and information from Jon Stewart and the likes. Blacks IMHO do not even get that. it’s whitey this and cracker that all over BET. Our culture is dying a slow death and reversing this will require a hurculian effort.


86 posted on 06/29/2013 6:09:03 AM PDT by bubman
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To: matginzac
Lemme axe dis.... Does she get a pass for the “retard” comment because of her race, too?

I wuz gonna axe dat too. Fo' shizzle ma nizzle.

(Hat tip to Urban Dictionary).

87 posted on 06/29/2013 6:10:11 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
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?

There's a really good chance that all six jurors are aware of the Paula Deen controversy and while they may not agree with her use of the "N" word or the resulting social punishment, they are most likely to agree that if Deen is a racist for using the "N" word, then so is the Skittle Boy for using the "C" and "N" word.

88 posted on 06/29/2013 6:14:32 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Smokin' Joe
nor place the blame for that lack of achievement squarely where it belongs: on the lowered expectations of their communities, foisted by the media and their own people, upon their own people, leading to massive social decay.

We see comments like the above with some frequency here on Free Republic, and I agree. However...I am always surprised that our nation's system of socialist-entitlement and compulsory schooling is overlooked as a MAJOR reason for society's collapse.

Nearly all the current teachers in our nation's institutional schools ( government and private) were trained by MARXISTS!!!!! That will have consequences in the voting booth and for cultural stability!

And....Since the very beginning of compulsory socialist-entitlement schooling ( mid-1800 to early 1900) progressives have controlled teacher training and curriculum development.

Children who attend secular schools **WILL** learn to think and reason in a godlessly secular manner. They must just to cooperate in the classroom. And...They risk learning that any voting mob powerful enough to give them tuition-free schooling is powerful enough to give them lots of free stuff. One to three generations of this and we get Wilson and Franklin as presidents. Another 80 years and we have a full blown Marxist in the White House.

( Yeah! I am shouting and jumping up and down and having a fit. I am exasperated that so few people see the damage that compulsory socialist-entitment schooling has done to our nation and society.)

89 posted on 06/29/2013 6:15:44 AM PDT by wintertime (Yuri Besmenov was a prophet.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

— she said she couldn’t read a letter she had a friend write to the Martin family because it was written in cursive —


At first, she wrote the letter. Now, someone else wrote it for her. So just out of curiosity, who wrote the letter? Was it someone involved with the DA’s office?


90 posted on 06/29/2013 6:21:45 AM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (Why do you need a fire extinguisher when you can call the fire department?)
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To: Rides_A_Red_Horse

A friend or family friend apparently (IIRC from the addled testimony)


91 posted on 06/29/2013 6:24:02 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: suthener
This woman is not an exception; she is the rule.

Yes, and they are the future.

However, who is to blame for this underclass, which by the way includes many whites. First grade teachers, both black and white. Decades ago, first grade teachers abandoned their all-important function as the transmitters of our culture and civilization and began turning out illiterates by the hundreds of thousands.

The illiterate and resentful underclass is the result of their neglect and malpractice.

92 posted on 06/29/2013 6:25:13 AM PDT by Liberty Wins
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Comment #93 Removed by Moderator

To: nikos1121

Don’t post if you are clueless about the details of this case. Your post is an embarrassment.


94 posted on 06/29/2013 6:29:34 AM PDT by Doc Savage ("I've shot people I like a lot more,...for a lot less!" Raylan Givins)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"a toothless slang word black teens use to describe white people"

I'm not offended by the term 'cracker', but really? A presumably black writer can say that a clearly racist word is 'toothless' on what grounds? The day we finally admit that people of all skin tones are capable of racism is the day we finally make real progress in race relations, and not a moment before.

95 posted on 06/29/2013 6:30:20 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Unreconstructed heterosexual.)
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To: Liberty Wins

But don’t you see this is exactly the type of mental deficient the Democrats want to create and have been doing so since the 1950’s when they took over the educational system. I taught in Detroit in all black high schools for three years in the seventies. Nothing has changed or improved. She was there then, she’s here now. No/Low information voters and illegals will keep the communists in power forever.


96 posted on 06/29/2013 6:32:57 AM PDT by Doc Savage ("I've shot people I like a lot more,...for a lot less!" Raylan Givins)
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To: Doc Savage
But don’t you see this is exactly the type of mental deficient the Democrats want to create and have been doing so since the 1950’s . .

It started long before that, with socialist John Dewey, the so-called "father" of modern education.

97 posted on 06/29/2013 6:40:56 AM PDT by Liberty Wins
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The best thing for Conservatives to do on this is just cite that great Bill Cosby essay (the one that’s real and been verified) on Black youth culture. No need for anything else, Cosby nails it, and avoids any sort of “you’re racist” rebuttal.


98 posted on 06/29/2013 6:42:56 AM PDT by tanknetter
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To: nikos1121

“I’d say from what I’ve read that Zimmerman followed Martin and could very well have instigated the conflict and that it’s Martin who fought in self defense”

Yes, Zimmerman either followed him, or tried to. That is legal.

There is no indication Zimmerman started a physical confrontation with someone 6 inches taller than him. Nothing in the phone calls to 911 suggests Zimmerman wanted a fight, and nothing in his demeanor afterward would. Most people trying to start a fight don’t ask for the cops to come watch it.

Martin suffered no physical injuries. It therefor becomes hard to argue he was attacked first. But even if Zimmerman started the confrontation, Zimmerman would still have the right under Florida law to use deadly force IF he became convinced Martin was going to kill him, or cause him serious injury.

Miss Ebonic’s testimony was that Martin reached his home. All Martin had to do was...go in. Or he could have gone back and called Zimmerman names. He could have shoved Zimmerman. But once he started pounding Zimmerman’s face and smacking him into concrete - note the injuries to Zimmerman - then Zimmerman could reasonably fear serious harm or death & use deadly force to prevent it. There is nothing mild about having your head pounded into concrete...


99 posted on 06/29/2013 6:52:59 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberals are like locusts...)
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To: bubman

“75% of university students voted for Obama as well and even higher if they went to an Ivy League school. Should they as well go through a literacy test? This is a young woman immersed in a ghetto culture. She is the real deal. If anything she was sincere. Whether she lied and fabricated testimony is another issue. Her lack of “sophistication” makes her a credible witness because her description of events have always been consistent.”

Someone who cannot read probably cannot form intelligent ideas about the issues. The exceptions to that rule are so rare as to be statistically meaningless.

She was not the real deal. She admitted to repeatedly lying under oath. How credible is testimony given under oath by someone who admits it does not bother her to lie under oath?

My guess is that she told St Martin to go back and teach that cracka a lesson. I do NOT believe “cracker” is a term of endearment by blacks towards whites. I do not think Miss Ebonics believes cracker is a neutral term. I think the ‘don’t you diss me’ attitude she displayed on the stand was shared by St Martin, and that night it killed him.


100 posted on 06/29/2013 7:02:21 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (Liberals are like locusts...)
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