Lots of opinions voiced about the Zimmerman verdict, some outrage, some head scratching, plenty of talk about American racism against its African-descended population, in which a ‘white Hispanic’ (Zimmerman) shot and killed a black man (Martin) and was found not guilty in the former Confederate state of Florida. Hmm. The story was always framed in US national news media in two tones, white and black. Zimmerman was our white, Martin was our black. But Zimmerman isn’t really “white,” he’s half-Peruvian, identifies as “Hispanic,” and phenotypically isn’t that far from Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales. All of these terms we throw around here, “white Hispanic,” “Hispanic,” “and “Peruvian,” don’t actually get to the core of the matter, which is that George Zimmerman is Amerindian. He is, at least in part, an indigenous person of the Western hemisphere, an “Indian” as Hollywood and Columbus called them. And no American news network would ever describe him as such. How is that possible? Because of American myth making that portrayed aboriginal Americans as a proud, but vanishing race, one that had died out, or was in the process of dying out. It was one of many ways that the original real estate owners of the Americas were outflanked — devastated by wars and disease, many Amerindian people took as partners people of a race other than themselves, Europeans and Africans. Their offspring were no longer considered Indian. They had native heritage – if they could document it and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt – but in many cases they could no longer claim to be something that society had decided no longer existed. Such individuals no longer had the ability to claim land as their own, or to refer to treaties that had been concluded with their ancestors, because that proud race had vanished, and all that were left were some “mixed bloods.”
Like George Zimmerman, who now, somehow, represents white American racism.