Appallingly Ridiculous: Law & Order to Air Episode Mixing Trayvon Martin Killing and Paula Deen Scandal

martin-deenThere’s lame, there’s bad, there’s stupid and then there’s completely ridiculous—this goes beyond even that.  I don’t think there are words to describe just how pathetic this idea is.  And no, this isn’t satire.  This is a real episode of Law & Order: SVU the show’s creators are planning to air.

They’re taking elements from the Trayvon Martin killing and mixing them with issues from the Paula Deen racism scandal.

But no, it’s not about a bigoted older white woman who stalks, provokes then kills a young black teen on his way home from a convenience store.

It’s about a famous white female chef who thought she was being stalked by a rapist (a black male), who then ends up turning around and shooting the man—who turns out to be a black teenager.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.  Law & Order: SVU is planning an episode where a white woman is stalked by a black man she feels might be a rapist.  She then shoots the male, who then turns out to be an innocent black teenager.

Because that’s an exact mix of both situations, right?

The episode’s creators claim that this show will bring up the controversial issues such as “stop and frisk” and “racial profiling.”  But I’m sorry, that’s not how I see it.

First, Trayvon Martin didn’t stalk anyone—that was the white guy.  So the show’s already painting the African American character as someone who could have been acting suspicious.

Now I’m sorry, but someone walking alone down a street is slightly different than a random male seemingly stalking a female.  Plus this scenario leads people to think that Martin (before his killing) was acting suspiciously.  And unless you considering being black in a hoodie “suspicious,” he did absolutely nothing wrong.  Well, until he was provoked by the white male who was actually stalking him.

In both the Paula Deen racism scandal and the George Zimmerman trial, it was the white individual who acted nefariously, not the African American.

Yet in this episode it’s the white female who’ll be given a possible “cause” for killing an innocent person.

African Americans didn’t provoke Paula Deen to call them racially derogatory names (she did that on her own accord) and Zimmerman was the one who stalked and provoked Trayvon Martin, not the other way around.

And while this episode might bring up the topic of irrational feelings of fear based on racial profiling, I still see many people sympathizing with the white female character who thought she might have a rapist stalking her.

Because this seems to be set up to clearly paint the African American victim as someone who could have possibly been suspicious.

Then the other element I find extremely offensive is the fact that they bring rape into the situation.  In neither circumstance was rape even an issue.  Simply bringing that element into the story completely changes the entire situation, and for what?  Shock value and ratings, that’s it.

I know women who often have to walk to their cars alone, or on the streets by themselves, and are very skeptical of any male who’s alone that seems to be creepily stalking them.

It also seems to suggest that racism might be acceptable if a violent act is committed by a particular race.  After all, what if the character this white female shoots was trying to rape her, wouldn’t that justify her racial profiling?

I mean, should she have waited to be raped before taking action?  Isn’t that what this episode might suggest?  I can see quite a few people viewing the circumstance that way.

But I feel this episode won’t do anything to shed light on either circumstance.  Instead it will feed into ignorant stereotypes.  It’s the innocent white woman versus the suspicious looking African American male.

The only “controversy” was her fear that he might have been a rapist.  Which seems to imply (at least to me) that just before the Trayvon Martin killing, Zimmerman was justified for seeing Martin as suspicious.

Which is absolutely absurd.  Martin was minding his own business and Zimmerman instigated the confrontation.  Paul Deen, willingly, harbors (or harbored, if you believe her now) ignorant feelings of racism towards African Americans.

Nowhere in either situation is an African American guilty of giving either Zimmerman or Deen reason to act with prejudice.

And don’t even give me that “Martin attacked Zimmerman, therefore he wasn’t completely innocent.”  That might be true, but that happened after Zimmerman profiled, stalked, then provoked Martin.  Had Zimmerman not done that, Martin would still be alive today and we wouldn’t have ever heard of either of them.

This episode is a pathetic attempt to snag ratings, and from the looks of it will paint the white female (while not innocently) as the character that may have been justified in her actions — while showing the African American male as someone who might have been acting suspiciously.

Because they could have easily made an episode where a white male stalked and killed a black teenager by accident and still brought up the issue of racial profiling—you know, just like what actually happened.

But no.

Instead they’ve decided to make the high-profile chef white, the suspicious character black and they’re saying “that’s ok” because in the end it’s going to bring up the ignorance about racial profiling and bigotry.

However, in the end, this episode seems set to simply do one thing—continue to feed negative racial stereotypes which represent the driving force behind racism.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • antiprocal

    … You realize Zimmerman isn’t white, right? I hope you aren’t that ignorant. So no, it wasn’t the ‘white’ people who were acting nefariously.

    • September Waites

      Actually Zimmerman is white. He’s a mixed-race hispanic, Spanish background is European, which makes him white. There is no native american in him, no black/african, or anything brown. He’s white!

      • Spaniard808

        No you ignorant woman. That’s why there is Hispanic under the race and ethnicity block. You don’t call Mexicans, spaniards, Portuguese, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans white. They’re not white.

      • September Waites

        Actually take a class, the ancestry shows they are unless mixed with native american or african descent. If we’re being technical. Point blank, Zimmerman wasn’t black and that’s the main difference.

      • Spaniard808

        I would know, I’m Spanish. They were settled by Iberians, and gaelics yes. But that was long long ago. The spaniards of today are mixed with various ethnically backgrounds, thus the pigment of our skin. And were not just “white”.And actually Zimmerman was mixed with Peruvian. So you need to take a class because Peruvians are mixed with Indian blood…hmmm, that’s not white. Just saying. The three true races are Mongoloid, negroid, and caucasoid. Doesn’t mean, you’re white. Is that technical enough for you?

      • September Waites

        I never read anything about peruvian blood in him so I’ll have to take your word on that. But as I said, the main point is that he isn’t black. And yes that is true about the 3 true races so now you have been technical enough for me. Thanks!

      • Mark Strange

        Black people are not the only people that suffer from discrimination. Pretty much anyone who is poor is discriminated against whites included. If your not christian your discriminated against. If your not straight your discriminated against. If your female your discriminated against. If your male but don’t follow a role that is traditionally masculine your discriminated against.

      • Steve

        Actually, there’s only ONE race – Human. Several different shades of the human race. And if Zimmerman hadn’t been identified as “Hispanic”, most people would have considered his skin color to be white. What I find interesting as well is that most Spaniards I’ve known have considered themselves Caucasian. But thanks for playing anyway!

  • hamilton

    Not to mention that zimmerman was attacked and had his head bashed on the concrete. If the person that wrote this had actually watched the trial he/she wouldn;t have sounded so ignorant. Funny how the people that know the least about the topics seem to be the loudest.

    • September Waites

      He did supposedly get his head “bashed in,” but that was after he was advised by police to leave the boy alone, who was not a threat. He ignored what they said and decided to be a “superhero” and harm an innocent boy. I think you should get your facts right to avoid sounding ignorant.

      • Copernicus Darwin

        No, he was not advised by the *police* to leave Martin alone. He said he was getting out of his car and the 911 operator, who is not a police officer in any way, said they don’t need him to do that. He was never told not to do it. Listen to the 911 call if you need proof. Please learn the facts before you comment on something instead of just what people have told you.But I guess if the pictures of his broken nose and bloodied head, along with the doctors testimony that he had bruising on both temples and the neighbor who saw Martin sitting on him beating him with a “ground and pound” MMA style isn’e enough for you I don’t know what would be.

      • September Waites

        I did listen to the tape, and police officer or 911 operator, doesn’t matter. The guy said, as you stated, we don’t need to you do that. I believe, as well as many others do as well, that’s advising Zimmerman not to follow him. I do know the facts and I know that if he had let the police do their job this wouldn’t even be a conversation. He didn’t need to stalk him, Trayvon wasn’t armed. The beating he received was a result of him following a kid in the night that probably felt threatened by a stalker trying to prove he was saving the neighborhood, and from what, a bag of skittles?

      • Mark Strange

        There isn’t proof that Zimmerman followed trayvon to hurt him. As far as we know He followed him to make sure the police could catch what he preserved as a suspicious character. That was his story and in this country a man is innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you listen to the call, Trayvon started for the car before taking off. Zimmerman was afraid of something in the guys pocket. Which could have been mistaken as a gun, but that was never said. It’s very likely that Zimmerman thought that he had to follow the guy to make sure his neighborhood stayed safe. It was dark and raining, skittles and a drink wasn’t a factor because Zimmerman likely didn’t know about them.

      • September Waites

        Obviously he didn’t know about the skittles or the drink, but I think the point that people are trying to make when they say he was wrong is that he had no reason to follow Trayvon. What prompted him, the hoodie or that he was black? It was definitely one of those since he clearly didn’t know what was in his hands or pockets.

      • Mark Strange

        I want to make sure you know I’m not some stubborn conservative with his fingers in his ears. I’m liberal, I don’t like the lax gun laws and I do not like the way the stand your ground laws are written. What I believe is that George Zimmerman is guilty of poor judgment which lead to an unnecessary death. If he was drunk and he had hit him with a car it might have been called involuntary manslaughter, but does being stupid count? I don’t know, an emotional part of me says he deserves to be put away. The idiot got himself in a situation where he felt the need to kill a teenager. Nothing about that is a victory. But being dumb is not a crime and I am no longer convinced he murdered Trayvon in cold blood and I am not at all convinced it was racially motivated.

        Have you listen to the uncut 911 call when he was describing Trayvon? He didn’t mention Trayvon’s skin color until the dispatcher asked, which is good evidence that skin color was not on the forefront of his mind. He described him as a young guy acting suspicious. Something about his actions made George think Trayvon was on drugs. He told the dispatcher he was walking slowly looking at houses and into people yards. I’ve done this myself while walking, not meaning anything by it, but I understand how that might look especially at night in the rain. It’s is his job to look out for people acting oddly, to protect the neighborhood. George was on edge especially given that the neighborhood had break-in’s prior to the event. Trayvon stopped and looked at him, his hands in his pockets. Then he started walking towards Georges car his hands still in his pockets. George sounded legitimately worried about it. He never said the words, but it was apparent that he thought Trayvon might have had a weapon. Then Trayvon took off in the night and martin got out of his car and started following him. Giving the dispatcher moment by moment update on which direction Trayvon was going. His motivation it seems was to keep the police informed. This is when the dispatcher told him not to go after the guy. This is the part where Trayvon disappears and the dispatcher asks him his address. George doesn’t want to tell him out loud afraid the suspect might hear and follow him home, so instead he tells the dispatcher to have the police call when they got there and that’s when the call ends. This is the part where the confrontation takes place. Martin attacks Zimmerman and Zimmerman shoots him. We don’t know if George said anything to antagonize martins actions, but I can understand how someone might feel if they were followed in the night by a total stranger. Innocent until proven guilty as far as I am concerned goes both ways.

      • September Waites

        I had the feeling that you took the same position that I do on a lot of these issues, nice to have confirmation. I just get really passionate about the Trayvon thing because there was an incident really close to me of the same matter that happened about a year ago. So if my passion shows in the post it comes from there, it’s not an attack.

      • Mark Strange

        Understandable. This thing has been on my mind a lot too. I don’t see it as an attack (at least from you), I just wanted to present an alternative look from a middle ground, which is where I find myself most often. Most conservatives want to paint Trayvon as a criminal that deserved it, and most liberals what to paint him as a harmless little kid. Both stories are wrong, blatantly so. When I first heard the case I thought Trayvon was tiny ten year old. I had that image stuck in my head for a long time, mostly because the media kind of painted that picture for me. Even after I learned his age, I pictured him as a scrawny little teenager and Zimmerman as this a big beefy Neo-Nazi thug. Then I see pictures of both of them in real life perspective and Zimmerman is this little cubby timid nothing and Trayvon is a fairly good sized adult with apparent martial arts training behind him. That bothered me, because I want the truth from my news, not propaganda.

        This new picture didn’t make him innocent, a weak nothing can be empowered by a gun, but it certainly put a spark of doubt on my original impression. My impression of Zimmerman has a similar story. Most conservatives want to paint him as a Chuck Norris superhero cleaning the streets of crime. And Most liberals want to paint him as a white anti-black hitler wannabe with a rambo complex who stalks harmless children at night and shoots them in cold blood. Naturally I believed the liberal side of things, because I find them more credible most of the time. But as it turns out, both stories are false, blatantly so. It upsets me because I like the liberal media. I’m partial to them because I agree with most things they talk about. But this case as gone so far off track its not even funny and they don’t seem apologetic about it. They talk about it like it so obviously a hate crime, sighting the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd as examples. It pisses me off because it’s clearly not so obvious and saying so dishonors both James and Matthew and all those that were murdered by hate. It makes us look silly and crazy, like the boy who cried wolf.

      • September Waites

        Your viewpoint is amazing! I wish I knew more people who thought like you! You’re so impartial even with your own opinions. I don’t know how old you are but you speak with so much wisdom and charisma it’s mind-blowing. I love it!

        But for the subject at hand, I absolutely think you’re correct that the media has made the two men pawns for their own viewpoints rather than reporting the truth, which does take away their credibility. Which is sad because like you said, I feel like the liberal media usually reports a large amount more truth than the conservative fox news.

        P.S. I was ok with your novel, there were a lot of very valid points in it 🙂

      • Mark Strange

        Thank you, I’m 26 btw. Not very old, but I feel much older at times. Still a kid at heart though. 😀

    • ayungclas

      Actually his head was beaten by a bag of Skittles and Zimmerman had Skittle fragments in his hair.

    • Daniel Lewis

      When I was 17, If some strange man kept following me, I would have told him where he could go. If he kept following me, I would have proceeded to beat his ass as well.

      • Mark Strange

        Agreed. It’s likely that Zimmerman saw Travon as suspicious character, that he felt the need to see where he went so he could tell the police, and to make sure he didn’t break into a home. And Trayvon saw Zimmerman as a weird stalker that kept following him even after he disappeared from view. innocent until proven guilty in my opinion should go both ways. I think this is a tragic story of miscommunication.

  • September Waites

    Let’s be serious, there would be controversy with this episode whether the victim was white, black or yellow. The only reason there is such an issue with the current standpoint is due to the media inflation of the Zimmerman case and Paula Deen’s scandal as a celebrity.

    I think it will make people talk, and if that is truly the goal of the writers I have a feeling the mission will be accomplished once the episode airs. It’s going to have negative and positive aspects no matter what, but will it make people examine the way they view others, absolutely!

    I understand the viewpoint of Allen Clifton 100%, being an African-American myself, but I try very hard to not be a victim of society and I think complaining about this episode, which is not detrimental to our health, does just that. I don’t in any way agree with the message and I want to be clear on that. However, people may think this is a passive stance to say it’s just television, but it is! I watch “Dexter” weekly, does that mean I’m going to become a vigilante serial killer? I don’t think so! The media is supposed to provoke discussion and mental stimulation, and I can’t help but believe, if the usual number of “Law and Order” viewers tune in, that’s exactly what will happen. I have learned to choose my battles, and this television show is not substantial in making change. I don’t want to live in a world where people are afraid to talk about things, because if we’re being honest I am severely lacking when it comes to a filter and I have no intention to alter that trait of myself.

    I truly believe that getting rid of episodes like this would be encouraging of covering up what you have to say.

    • Mark Strange

      Wither or not agree with you on all aspects,thank you for your reasonable point of view, Its sorely lacking in this world.

      • September Waites

        Thank you! It’s good to know that people who may not see eye to eye can still appreciate a each other’s viewpoint.

  • Ryan Simpson

    We’re talking about a show that also shows rape, murder, etc…it reflects society and does not make judgement of right or wrong. Like art, it imitates life. It also may be one of the only ways that uneducated people who do not read or watch the news get a mild education. It’s one of the few intelligent shows on television. Let it be. And I suspect some person will comment below that will tell me about art not reflecting life or make some comment about reading, writing or education. Save your breath. I made this comment knowing that you would respond and I had no plans to read the responses. Have a great day. (Also, if it is that big of a deal, maybe you shouldn’t watch TV or read the web. Just saying. These things don’t invade your home; you choose to watch and/or download them.)

    • Nahmna

      It’s not about ignoring things, like you ignoring comments on your post, or someone ignoring a TV show they don’t like. It’s about caring for your society and not wanting to see other people influenced by negative ideas can affect innocent people. People that you may even love. If it involves potential bigotry, violence, or degradation, then there’s a reason to be concerned about it. Ignoring it would be ignorant and unfortunate.

  • gypsy witch

    Racist much???

  • Mark Strange

    Zimmerman was and is White/Hispanic not just White (not every racist is a white guy) and though he was stupid enough to disregard the dispatchers he was clearly following a guy he thought looked suspicious. Told the dispatcher the guy looked like he was on drugs and was suspiciously looking at houses, wither or not his suspicions were correct isn’t an issue because it was his job as a night watch to look after the neighborhood (a multicultural neighborhood by the way, which Zimmerman was good friends with many of his neighbors, including the African American families that lived there) and report what he sees. There had been break ins in the neighborhood prior to the event and so naturally Zimmerman was on the look out for suspicious looking people. He didn’t even tell the dispatcher what color the guy was, until the dispatch asked. I’m not saying travon is guilty, nor am I saying Zimmerman is completely innocent. He should have gotten back in his car and stayed there till the police arrived, but there is absolutely no evidence this was racially motivated. It’s all here say and bias BS. I think the closer truth is that both parties were scared that night, Travon saw Zimmerman as a stalker and Zimmerman saw Travon as a potential killer and thief. I whole hearty believe that Zimmerman motivation was to protect his neighborhood.

    • Mary McLaughlin

      Not racially motivated , Zimmerman was being attacked at the time and he drew his gun to get the attacker to stop, and get off him. Sorry it happened the way it did with Trayvon being mortally wounded , but had he not accosted Zimmerman as he did , he would be alive today.
      Law and Order will give a variation of media lies for the same reason .

      • Mark Strange

        I’m not sure if you were just agreeing with me or if you misunderstood my post, I do not believe it was racially motivated. There is no evidence of it, in fact there is evidence in the opposite direction. Zimmerman seems to be a good guy who helps people out of all ethic backgrounds. He is, or was, democrat. He’s a liberal guy apparently. Jumped to help people out of a wreck. His fault was and is not being very smart, and that’s not really a crime. I bought into the liberal BS for a long time, then I did my own research and found it all to be completely made up for the most part. That’s crap I expect from republicans, not fellow liberals. Makes me mad.

      • Mark Strange

        And then he punches his father-in-law and pulls a gun on his wife? Man, I really don’t know any more.

  • Josh Kirschner

    Stopped reading after Zimmerman was labeled as a white guy.

  • Ben Mitchell

    I lump your article in with the episode of Law & Order. Both are beyond stupid.

  • jonathan

    Wow…. This was the most retarded and un informed article I’ve ever read from you. The “white” guy wasn’t white. He was Hispanic. Very clearly Hispanic also. It sounds just about like every other Law and Order SVU episode I’ve seen. In fact, nearly identical to one of the top of my head I saw years ago. Old white women thought she was being stalked by a spanish kid and she shot him. He was innocent. So because similarities were brought up by SVU creators it’s all of a sudden some taboo subject to write a television show about when you’ve been writing these kind of shows for decades? Though I have to admit I stopped reading your article half way through because of it’s oozing ignorance. So I might be commenting out of place.

  • Jim Olson

    Well, I think your take is appallingly rediculous. Law and order is fiction. Fiction.

  • MarkTemporis

    They have to bring in rape as an issue. SVU is the rape squad, and it’s the only Law and Order show still running. So it’s all rape, all the time.

  • Copernicus Darwin

    Stalking someone and following them are two different things. You do realize that there had been 7 break-ins in that neighborhood the previous few months, right? And that black males had been arrested for the break-ins? And that Martin took off running, like someone scared of being caught doing something, once he saw he was being watched? If I’m on neighborhood watch that’s what I’m going to do. Follow someone who looks like the people who have committed several crimes in the area then run away when they see I’m watching them.

  • Charmlessblur

    Law & Order makes FICTIONAL stories with elements of real cases all of the time…all the spin offs and the original. There have been an incredibly large amount of these types of episodes. This is not news worthy. Sorry to burst your bubble. There’s been PLENTY of rough episodes, especially on SVU. Furthermore, SVU has NEVER been what I would call racist, sexist or anything of the sort. That spinoff is particularly sensitive because of the ugly nature of things…it reflects society, and society is ugly.

  • louis

    I love Allen Clifton and his articles. However, I think writing about this was a waste of time. Who gives a shit about a law and order episode? not me. They have to incorporate some sort of sex crime to fulfill the SVU part. 9/10 times its rape. almost every episode is about rape, so that part doesn’t surprise me. what really shocks me is that with everything going on, one of my favorite writers chose this to write about…….

  • Daniel Lewis

    Zimmerman, the piece of crap that he is, didn’t get away with it because he was white– which he is not. He got away with it because his family has money. True, he killed Martin due to race, but the reason the Jewish-Venezuelan Zimmerman walked away from it is because he has MONEY.

  • raggedcompany

    It’s a cheap ratings grab, nothing more.