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national lead

July 15th, 2013
05:50 PM ET

Analysis: Can you separate race from the Zimmerman case?

The George Zimmerman trial and subsequent not guilty verdict has in many ways presented an opportunity for soul searching in this country on matters of race and racial profiling. There are those who believe race was merely injected into this case, while others insist that race is now and always has been at the very heart of it.

The hoodie Trayvon Martin was wearing the night he was killed has become a symbol for those who believe that African American men can be rendered suspicious not by their actions, but by their appearance.

New York City Tea Party co-founder David Webb argues that the Zimmerman case is not about racial profiling.

"It's fair to say that had [George Zimmerman] seen a white person in a hoodie exhibiting the same behavior, based on what we know about him, he would have acted the same way," said Webb.

After the verdict, "we now have dissatisfaction and we go back to the hew and cry of, 'It's racism,' therefore this becomes the next narrative. And it's the circus beyond the travesty, and the circus that's surrounded this ... incident from 17 months ago until the trial," said Webb.

"You can't separate race from this case," said Washington Post columnist Clinton Yates.

NewYorker.com contributing writer Jelani Cobb agrees, saying Zimmerman had a history of viewing African Americans suspiciously.

Watch their full discussion in the video above.

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