In the George Zimmerman trial, star witness Rachel Jeantel has been subject to perhaps more scrutiny than victim Trayvon Martin’s accused killer in the hours of testimony — most of it demeaning and highly repetitive — over the course of the past two days.
The social media stoning of Rachel Jeantel is likely just a snapshot of discussions going on nationwide at this point, and it shows that to a degree, the defense has been successful in painting the 19-year-old high school senior with a very effective stereotypical brush.
Throughout the hours of questioning Jeantel became visibly annoyed with defense attorneys as they twisted her answers and repeated back her previous statements, making sure to feign confusion at her dialectical choices and stumble over the vernacular common to her age group and social strata.
The message was quite clear, that Rachel Jeantel (and by extension Trayvon Martin) is all the things you suspect, as evidenced by the fact she “talks black” and felt fear and shame after learning her rather prominent place in the developing murder trial.
Global Grind, an early and frequent to cover news source in the Martin case, ran a piece titled “What White People Don’t Understand About Rachel Jeantel,” in which the writer underscores the subtle tones of the questions asked and reaction to her reluctant testimony — and what it really said, if you were listening carefully:
“But if the lawyers, and especially the jurors, were really listening, they would see that although she comes off aggressive, Rachel was consistent. Yes, the defense proved she had lied in the past, but she didn’t deny it. On the contrary. She was very honest about it, and even led us to sympathize with her reasoning for it – she did not want to see Trayvon’s body, she did not want to face Trayvon’s mother and she wanted to wipe her hands of the situation because of the emotion and trauma. She was the last person Trayvon spoke to and she wanted everyone to understand what that means. This is in no way easy for her.”
Jeantel’s frustration showed today during one tense and oft-referenced moment in the Zimmerman trial, but the exchange again proves — if you were really listening — that regardless of how she sounds to your ears, the Miami woman is not stupid.
A lawyer asks Jeantel if perhaps Martin planned to secretly attack the man from whom he had been running, and the girl expertly knocks down this theory and responds that the assertion is “real retarded,” with “sir” tacked on at the end:
That’s real retarded, sir. That’s real retarded to do that, sir. Why on earth– Trayvon did not know [Zimmerman].
Rachel Jeantel did have some vocal supporters (including rapper Ghostface Killa) but mostly incurred scorn on social media. What were your thoughts on her outburst?