Tavis Smiley on Trayvon Martin Case: ‘Color Will Get You Killed’

July 15, 2013 - 12:22 PM

Tavis Smiley

TV and radio host Tavis Smiley (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – In reaction to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, TV and radio host Tavis Smiley said Sunday that “color will get you killed.”

“We never seem to accept the fact that race in this country is real, that color will get you killed,” Smiley said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous.” He added that “somebody can always explain away why this person got off, why this person was not found guilty, and what we have is a bunch of dead black men.”

“As a legal matter, could it have ended differently? Is there a different kind of case the prosecutors could have …” Stephanopolous asked ABC “Nightline” anchor Dan Abrams.

“No, because if you watched that trial every day the way that I did, you do lose the sort of big picture and you get very focused on the little picture,” Abrams said.

“Dan, respectfully, the problem is every time we get to that nexus - and I agree with you, there are two separate issues here - but every time we get to that nexus, we never seem to accept the fact that race in this country is real that color will get you killed,” Smiley said in response to Abrams’ comment.

“And every time we have one of these cases – and I believe in looking at a case by case situation, but here’s the problem: in the aggregate, every time we have this issue, somebody can always explain away why this person got off, why this person was not found guilty, and what we have is a bunch of dead black men,” he added.

Smiley noted earlier in the segment that “in just a matter of weeks,” the nation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”

“In that speech you will recall the one line that we all seem to know…‘I want my children to one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,’” he said.

“George Zimmerman knew nothing of Trayvon Martin’s character. All he saw was his color. Something is wrong in this nation,” he said.

“Fifty years after the March on Washington, while the Voting Rights Act is being gutted, speaking of the Justice Department, what they’ll do about that perhaps, something is wrong when adults can racially profile children. Trayvon Martin was a child racially profiled and gunned down,” Smiley added.