Predicting The Growing Conservative Response To The Trayvon Martin CaseThus far the conservative media has been mostly silent about the Trayvon Martin murder but you can be sure this will soon change. Racial anxiety is a central to conservative ideology, most especially for the Tea Party that encourages their audience’s paranoia of a minority take over by blacks embolden by their black President and by an onslaught of illegal Hispanics. The so called Stand Your Ground Laws were not so much about removing the legal requirement to attempt to flee before using deadly force, as it was about white conservative’s siege mentality and their perceived need to protect America from brown- and black-skinned threat. When the assault of a white student by black students was recorded by a school bus’s security camera, Rush Limbaugh said that in Obama’s America white students would be beat up by black students. This kind of race baiting rarely draws even half sincere condemnation from conservatives that are quick to exploit it in a less openly racist manner.
Zimmerman, who is part Hispanic, may not be the perfect ‘American freedom’ martyr, but for conservatives he’s becoming a symbol of white anxieties about self-defense, especially in gated communities where whites increasingly look to insulate themselves from minorities. From the perspective of many conservatives, Trayvon is either a punk that got what he deserved or at best Zimmerman made an innocent mistake given that ‘we all know’ that most blacks are up to no good.
Since the Trayvon case first received national news coverage, the proportion of white news viewers following the case has dropped to less than half while nearly ¾ of black news viewers are closely following the Trayvon case. This is the change in demographics that conservatives were waiting for. Fox “News” has, as usual, fired the opening salvo by portraying Trayvon as the trouble maker that their viewers ‘know’ black men to be. Soon you will hear jaw-dropping comments from Tea Party members and don’t be surprised to see bills introduced in the house either reaffirming or strengthening Stand Your Ground Laws. A case that includes guns, self-defense, and a minority threat, is just too good for conservatives to pass up. Let the race baiting begin.