Yet the story has played out in the media as a controversial example of America's continuing love affair with racism. The media's narrative went like this: white man shoots black man after racially profiling him, and racist local officers let him off the hook. That's a lie, but it's become widely accepted in the black community, where 72 percent of blacks polled thought that Zimmerman was definitely or probably guilty (compared with just 32 percent of nonblack Americans), and 73 percent thought he would have been arrested initially if he had shot a white person (compared with 35 percent of nonblack Americans).
Sadly, an incredible number of blacks feel that the system is biased against them: While most white people don't believe that the criminal justice system is racist (49 percent believe it is), a whopping 84 percent of blacks in America believe it is.
And so each case with racial overtones becomes another reminder to blacks that the system is out to get them, particularly when largely white media commentators wrongly paint a case as race-based. This means that anytime the media labels a case race-based, Americans are forced to accept the ugly calculus that acquittal, while proper, may result in riots based on perceived institutional wrongs.