Jamie Foxx is playing Electro in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2. So how odd is it that somewhere out in space and time we have an alternate reality where Electro is real, he’s a black guy and he is ultimately killed by the vigilante known as Spider-Man. And then, Alternate Reality Jamie Foxx wears an ‘Electro’ shirt to the Alternate Universe BET Awards to show support — and this is keybefore the trial is over.

I say this because the George Zimmerman trial is underway and Mr. Foxx decided last week that it would be a good time to show support for the deceased young man, Trayvon Martin, before all the evidence has been presented in a court of law:

Actor Jamie Foxx made a silent but powerful fashion statement at Sunday’s BET Awards, where he opted out of the usual red-carpet finery in favor of a T-shirt bearing the image of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen whose shooting death last year sparked intense national debate over gun control and racial profiling. …

Foxx’s fashion statement arrived as the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who claims to have shot Martin in self-defense, enters its second week. …

[H]e was moved to get involved with the case after a tearful encounter with the late teen’s mother at the NAACP Image Awards, and by the work of actor and activist Harry Belafonte.

Jamie Foxx Trayvon

I feel sorry for Trayvon Martin’s mom; no mother wants to lose her son. I feel sorry for George Zimmerman’s family; no one wants to see a loved one hauled off to prison — especially if they believe said loved one killed a man in self defense. However, tears of a family member do not alter the events that unfolded on the night of the incident in their favor.  The justice system exists to strip out the emotion, stick to the facts and then put it in the hands of an unbiased jury. It doesn’t always work that way, but in an imperfect world it’s the best we have.

Faith in the justice system can deteriorate for any number of reasons. One way is for people with large megaphones to try cases in the court of public opinion and then hold them up (like a BET Award) as some sort of ultimate litmus test for race relations in the United States.

Guys of the Jamie Foxx mold initially said that George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin. If the defense’s key witness (Trayvon’s then-girlfriend) is to be believed, current evidence reveals the exact opposite — Martin told her he was being followed by a “creepy ass cracker.”(Zimmerman is multi-racial with Peruvian heritage.) Now they’re back tracking, sort of like Spike Lee when he tried tweeting George Zimmerman’s address to 250,000 followers, only to find out that he sent online goons on a mission to harass an innocent elderly couple.

The news stations that have allotted wall-to-wall coverage of this trial (they could barely bring themselves to turn their attention to a military coup in Egypt), are using George Zimmerman’s fate to racially incite America’s lowest common denominator — white and black. Individuals like Jamie Foxx then exacerbate the problem. Peruse through any number of Twitter feeds on the trial or the comments section of your favorite news website, and the dumbest among us are threatening riots or hurling racial epithets at one another. They play racial tit-for-tat and in the end everyone involved walks away angry.

What would the world look like if Hollywood actors spent more time talking about the ties that bind us as the human race and less about artificial divisions constructed around pigmentation? It would probably be a much better place. On opening night of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, while I sit in a diverse audience collectively enjoying the moment, I’m sure my mind will meander back to this topic and think “What If?” I encourage you to do the same.

Related: An unhealthy nation covers Trayvon Martin’s death

Related: Spike Lee ‘deeply’ apologizes … in 140 characters

Classic Electro
This is a sad Alternate Reality Electro. He doesn’t get his face on an Alternate Reality Jamie Foxx shirt at an Alternate Reality BET Awards ceremony because he’s the wrong color.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

34 comments

  1. Already people are calling for his head on social media if he winds up being acquitted. Some say we’ll see Rodney King-like riots.

    1. Yeah, like I said, the dumbest among us will do their thing. I always thought that was weird: “We’re angry! Let’s … destroy our neighborhood!” So some Korean grocery store owner in New York City gets looted because a Peruvian guy in Florida is found not guilty of manslaughter? Real smart there, guys.

    2. Me, too. I’ve never understood that whole “let’s riot and loot and kill if we don’t get our way” mentality.

    3. Glad to see it is not just me. As an African American I find it even more heinous that there is a belief that I should simply be on board with all of this demagoguery because I happen to be black. It is as if other African Americans feel I should be in unison with their cacophony, as opposed to having my own opinion, or worse, holding back my opinion until the facts come in.Interesting that this unity-despite-intellect ideology seems to be prevalent in all xenophobic cultures, in which it is more important that we all agree on who to hate and who to blame than what to do to make it better.We are 13% of the population, have less than 9% of the wealth, yet seem to be keeping up more than our fair share of the discord that plagues our nation. We weep over the unfairness that we endure in the name of racism, then practice advanced bigotry on everyone who is not black. We lament over the lack of equal opportunity, yet when presented with it, excuse our inability to take advantage of it as disenfranchisement . We demand jobs, and then never call on a single want ad, having predisposed ourselves of the idea that all employers are prejudiced against us, and therefore, jobs are pointless to pursue.When do WE start taking responsibility for the circumstances of our own lives? When to WE begin to take ownership of our current circumstances. Freedom is a condition, not a state of being. Freedom never arrives alone, if comes with it’s twin siblings accountability and responsibility. Without accountability, it is socialism. Without responsibility, it is communism. Without either, you have anarchy, not freedom. Less opinions, my fine Nubian Princes and Princesses more facts.Here’s an idea, why don’t WE take ownership of our OWN communities and make the changes within ourselves that would assist us in avoiding these obvious conflicts. Instead of treating every other race as an obstacle in our equality, why not view them as companions on the same journey?Or would that make too much sense, forcing us to accept responsibility for our own failures as parents, citizens and Americans? Once we can take ownership for that which we have done poorly, we can take full credit for everything we have done well.

    4. I’m not sure if you’re on a public speaking circuit, Ainun, but if not please get on one pronto. This reply was the intellectual equivalent of multiple roundhouses to the face.

  2. The statement doesn’t matter and certainly cannot affect the outcome. The jury is sequestered.

    I catch bits of the news walking in and out of the breakroom, and let me tell you, I can’t wrap my head around how some wannabe cop / neighborhood watch Rambo ended up *shooting* some unarmed kid walking back from the convenience store. Treyvon wasn’t a zombie. He wasn’t out doing gansta shit. Zimmerman started it and finished it. And I’m aghast that because this kid might have puffed a joint or called Zimmerman a “cracker” somehow makes it okay he be shot and killed.

    “Zimmerman” isn’t a Peruvian name so to call him “Peruvian” isn’t exactly accurate.

    Zimmerman deserves his day in court but it’s also a free country. Foxx can wear and say and support what he likes.

    1. When did I say it was “okay” he got shot? Don’t distort my words. Also, the whole point of the piece isn’t about Jamie Foxx’s “statement” affecting the jury; it’s about him sending the wrong statement to the lowest common denominator (i.e., idiots who would riot if the jury has a reasonable doubt about the case the prosecution has made). And yes, whether you like it or not there is plenty of doubt.

      How about you pick a street and let me bash your head against the concrete a few times? My guess is you’ll magically be able to “wrap” your head around how Zimmerman could have ended up shooting Trayvon.

      If Zimmerman wanted to kill this kid with this gun, why would he start a fist fight? Do you honestly think Zimmerman threw the first punch?

      Have you ever had your nose broken by a (sucker) punch, Lightbringer? I have. I actually saw stars and was incredibly disoriented afterward. I suggest you take a look at the picture of Zimmerman’s nose moments after he punched Trayvon’s fist with his face. Again, it might clear up a few things for you.

      Side note: If you want to have an honest discussion on this case, I can do that. If you want to start making Trayvon out to be a little angel and Mr. Zimmerman to be a “Rambo” wannabe, then I will gladly challenge such assertions. We can start with the tweets of Mr. ‘NO_LIMIT_NIGGA’

    2. That wasn’t directed at you and I apologize if you took offense. The CNN talking heads jabber on and on when I refill my canteen are going on and on how the defense is planning to play up Martin’s extracurricular activities as a defense against an armed neighborhood watch person essentially confronting, then shooting him… aka “defending himself.”

      Sorry, Jamie Foxx shouldn’t have to worry about the lowest common denominator when choosing his wardrobe, even if that includes wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with teenager shot dead in the street. That logic is dangerously akin to blaming “violent” video games because some loons shoot up a school after playing Call of Duty. I don’t get the disconnect.

      I’m not suggesting Zimmerman starting a fistfight. Martin likely did. If some neighborhood watch cop wannabe was following you around while you were lawfully walking down the street, would you get in his face? Who knows what words were said? The case seems simple based on fact alone–and let’s strip away race completely, because ultimately, it is ridiculous and probably doesn’t count as much as the news makes out.

      Teen walking down street.
      Armed neighborhood watch guy confronts kid
      Fisticuffs ensues
      Kid gets shot
      Kid dies

      A rational person who is not looking for trouble does not confront somebody lawfully walking down the damn street. It’s called Neighborhood WATCH for a reason. Not “neighborhood armed response team.” If Zimmerman was an officer of the law, the scenario plays differently. However, he was not. He had zero authority on that street. He had balls because he was armed. A smarter person would have just called the cops. But then again, “records show Zimmerman, 28, called the cops 46 times between January 2011 and Feb. 26” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

      http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-19/news/os-trayvon-martin-shooting-george-zimmerman-911-20120319_1_neighborhood-county-sheriff-s-office-crime-watch

      Had he approached me, I would have told him to piss off. Had he got in my face, I would have likely walked off, but who knows. In my younger days, I might have popped him too. Then I’d be dead in the street.

      And yes, I’ve been suckerpunched. More than once. I’ve also punched first so my karma bank is probably about even. But a fat lip and a broken nose doesn’t exactly paint a picture of who started it and why, just who received damaged.

      In an honest discussion, Martin being a wannabe thug has nothing to do with this given that he was not thuggin’ at the time of his murder. Just walking down the street after buying candy and a soft drink at the store. However, Zimmerman’s zeal for his puffed up neighborhood watch role paints a not-so-pretty picture because he was engaged in that exact behavior at the time of the incident in question.

    3. If you don’t get how the words and actions of celebrities, politicians and respected figures within popular culture can spur people to action, then I really can’t help you.

      I’m glad that whether it’s Paula Deen or George Zimmerman, the Court of Lightbringer has already played judge, jury and executioner.

      Do you and your family live in a community with a history of burglaries or attempted burglaries? You’ll have to forgive me if I empathize with Zimmerman (and his fellow community watch volunteers), who must deal with “No Limit Niggas” (the wannabes and the real deals of all shapes, sizes and colors). And you’ll have to forgive me if I’m agitated at the media, which treats Trayvon like he was just some innocent little kid, when the fact remains that he wouldn’t even have been in the neighborhood had he not been suspended for ten days and sent to spent time with his father. I’d tell you what, exactly, he was suspended for but the last I saw the records were sealed. What a shame.

    4. Then please explain to me, and like you would to a small child, how Foxx’s wordless tee would somehow be responsible for a future looting of a Korean-owned store in NYC.

      My last place and car were burgled. Other neighbors too. Junkie lived nearby in a place his judge (!) mom bought. So, yes. I always called the cops. Never confronted anyone with a gun. Junkie ended up doing time for drugs and possession of stolen property. System worked.

      And Martin? Read the 911 call transcript:
      http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

      – Dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Martin
      – Treyvon ran away
      – Cops dispatched

      Neighborhood watch job complete, Zimmerman should have called it a night after talking to the police. Nope, a teen died as a result of his neighborhood watch. Was Zimmerman protecting his castle? No. Was he defending another person? No. He followed a kid walking down the street, disobeyed the dispatcher telling him not to, and then later confronted the teen who had previously run away from him. How are you suprised Martin attacked someone who was essentially stalking him? Seriously, thats your argument? Who gives a rat fart if Martin was suspended, smoked weed, was a wannabe tough guy, and said dumb things? What kid doesn’t do at least three out of four of those in high school?

      Judge, jury, and executioner? Resorting to hyperbole? I thought we moved past that. Ignore the media. Ignore the race card many people are tossing around. Do you think Zimmerman is guilty? Why?

    5. Let’s see:

      1. I never said Foxx’s t-shirt would be “responsible” for riots. As in the past, you either willingly ignore or refuse to accept that celebrities have influence over people (more so with the dumbest among us and the young). I’m not sure how you can argue with that. I suggest re-reading my post on Spike Lee tweeting out what he thought was George Zimmerman’s address, only to find out that it was an elderly couple who had nothing to do with him. They then had the pleasure of having Skittles packets mailed to them with “Taste the Rainbow” written on the letter as some sort of bizarre threat.

      I wish I could see the reaction of the world, including yourself, had a celebrity went up on stage with a picture of George Zimmerman with a broken nose.

      2. The system worked for you. I’m glad. I’m not sure why it would suddenly not be working if the jury saw reasonable doubt in the state’s case against Mr. Zimmerman … considering there is plenty of reasonable doubt.

      3. I know plenty of kids who didn’t smoke weed who weren’t “tough guys” in the vein of Trayvon, if his Twitter feed is an accurate portrayal of who he was up until that point in his life.

      4. I don’t know if Zimmerman is “guilty.” Guilty of what? Murder 2?

      An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:

      a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, and is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent, and is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.

      I would say there is plenty of reasonable doubt. You? You apparently think that Zimmerman hunted this guy down in cold blood in “Rambo” fashion and deserves to go to prison. You also seem to have an endless list of excuses for a high school kid punching a man in the face. I can honestly say that if I was walking through a neighborhood late at night and an adult asked me what the heck I was doing I would not punch him in the face. I think I initiated one fight in my life, and that’s after a kid made fun of me for two years and I warned him on the last day of school that I’d punch him in the face. Other that that, it takes quite a bit for me to put my hands on someone.

      I have covered this case very fairly. Read my initial thoughts on Trayvon in the piece ‘An unhealthy nation covers Trayvon Martin.’

      Here’s what a good friend of mine said of you last night via Gmail:

      Anyways, I’m not trying to be funny or insulting, but Lightbringer’s seemingly not budging mindset on this is exactly the mindset of the lowest common denominator rioters among us … that’s why they riot, because there is NO WAY Treyvon was at all culpable in this, and surely the system will bail out the (Peruvian) white guy with the gun. … and that’s how Korean shopkeepers and innocent people of all races get property destroyed and get beat up.

      Game. Set. Match.

      Correction. Wrong metaphor. Case closed.

    6. The 911 dispatcher did not order Z not to follow Martin. Check the transcript again. The WaPo recently had a “5 Myths” of this case in its pages and this was one of the myths. A emergency responder rep said they are not allowed to “give orders,” only make recommendations.

    7. It’s pretty much indisputable that this would never have happened had Zimmerman not followed Martin. OK, great. But Z was a neighborhood watch dude, so he was basically doing his job. If Martin had [simply] asked Z “Why are you following me?” there most probably also would have been an entirely different outcome too. Terrific.

      IMO, the state overreacted and brought 2nd degree murder charges. This all seems at best to be a case of some degree of manslaughter.

      And Lightbringer: Glad to see you’re such an expert on name etymology. I suppose if Z’s last name was “Jackson” or “Jefferson” would could rightly assume that he was a “black Hispanic”?? My ex-wife’s family name looks and sounds German, but both sides of her family have been in Costa Rica for generations. Maybe we ought to just ditch the “Hispanic” label from her ethnicity altogether, eh?

    8. Thanks for the comment, Hube. I definitely agree that Zimmerman could have handled this better. What gets me is just how hard the media tried to turn this into some sort of racial thing from the get-go. Zimmerman was “white-hispanic” (I never heard that term used on the news before this case) … NBC was doctoring audio to make it racial, outlets refused to show any picture of Trayvon except him as a smiling little 12 year old, etc.

      Years ago a guy confronted a friend of mine looking for a fight over a girl. My friend said that there was no way that the aggressor was going to leave without a punch being thrown, so my friend threw the first punch to get an advantage. The other guy pulled a knife and stabbed him during the ensuing wrestling match once it went to the ground. My friend almost died and went to the hospital for a long period of time. At the end of the day it was legally my friend’s fault because he threw the first punch — again, even though the other man sought him out specifically looking for a fight. I’m not saying that Zimmerman wanted a fight (or Trayvon dead). I’m just saying that legally, if Trayvon threw the first punch and then jumped on Zimmerman to beat him down (MMA-style, according to the witness who was closest to the fight), then it will be hard to convict the man.

      That’s a discussion worth having. We can debate that. What I can’t debate is when guys like Lighbringer grossly distort (emphasis on ‘gross’) what I’m saying into “it’s okay” Trayvon died.

    9. I’m no expert on the heritage of names, since much of the US are mutts. A Hernandez could be caucasian and a McAdams could be hispanic. Who knows and who cares? But Doug calling Zimmerman “Peruvian guy in Florida” was a stretch. If you disagree, maybe your ex is German. Unless there is a limit on how many generations pass before your lineage is diluted enough to stop adding a prefix to American.

    10. I concentrated on the Peruvian aspect specifically because it was the media that initially described him as “white” or in other cases “white hispanic” so they could create their little racial drama. We wouldn’t have around-the-clock coverage of this trial if we couldn’t make it racial — right NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS? I watched Al Sharpton today devote his entire show to George Zimmerman. Sadly, no mention of the thousands of black-on-black murders committed every year. I wonder why… Why talk about the elephant in the room when there’s a neighborhood watch guy from Florida who can be used to validate all our weird delusions on race in 2013 America?

    11. No mention? Search Google News for “Chicago murders” and be proven wrong. 69 different news sources as of right now. I read about the murder rate there weekly. 200 and counting.

    12. Indeed. The stats are very clear. So I’m not sure why I never see the extremely disproportionate number in black-on-black deaths compared to all other categories talked about on the news. How many murders of innocent black men were committed by white racists in the last decade, and how many were committed by black men? There is a cultural meltdown in the inner city communities, but no one wants to talk about it. That’s what happens when the nuclear family is destroyed… Sad.

      “The Reverend” Al won’t talk about these things on his show because, as I said, it’s much easier to get his audience riled up about George Zimmerman. Better to leave it on page D7 of The Chicago Tribune Metro Section.

    13. the problem is we don’t know if that is what happened or not. and Douglas the dispatcher said, “We don’t want you to do that, Police are on the way now.” but as i said, he wouldn’t have been followed if he had my complexion or lighter.

    14. You do not know that. That is pure conjecture. It is your opinion that he would not follow someone with lighter skin — and it would not fly in a court of law.

      Regardless, it is irrelevant to the case. When you boil it down, it all depends on who threw the first punch and whether or not George Zimmerman feared for his life at any point during the fight. Legally, that is what the jury must determine.

    1. Garfield needs to keep his effing mouth shut. i’m all for gay rights, i support gay marriage 100%. but they have created gay superheroes. no need to make spider-man gay

  3. Douglas we disagree here and here is why. Zimmerman was Neighborhood Watch, he had the gun on him the whole time. He called him a nigger to the dispatcher, as he was following him. He also was told by the dispatcher not to follow the kid. He took it upon himself to go ahead and disregard what 911 told him. He followed this kid, and he murdered him. He wanted to be a cop, he took a crimincal justice course and was fully aware of the stand your ground law. he targeted this kid because he was black, i dont care what a 17 year old boy called a grown man. he is 17 talking to his friend on a the phone. Neighborhood watch is not supposed to use excessive force nor bare arms as it stays in their training manual on USAonWatch.org. Zimmerman racially profile him from the jump Trayvon Martin was a scared 17 year old kid being followed by a grown man. and btw Zimmerman was never arrested or put in jail for this issue. if Trayvon had been hispanic or white Zimmerman wouldn’t have followed him. and if he did follow him and this did occur. Zimmerman would have arrested and charged right away for murder. he also claims he didn’t know what street he was on. the area he was in, he had lived there for 4 years and it was only three streets. An innocent man takes the stand in their own defense. he opted not at the advice of council, an innocent man still takes the stand. he’s guilty of murder and trying to disguise it as self defense is just disgusting.

    1. Kyle, I must correct you. As was demonstrated in court, he did not say ‘nigger.’ He said: “Fucking punks. These assholes. They always get away.” We can argue whether or not that’s appropriate, but it is worlds away from a racial slur.

      You’ll also notice that I never said that Zimmerman was innocent. I said that there was “reasonable doubt.” And there is. Whereas you make all sorts of assumptions about what was going on in Mr. Zimmerman’s head in terms of race, I do not. All I do know is that if Trayvon threw the first punch and a fight ensued — and during the course of getting his head bashed in Zimmerman feared for his life and used his weapon in self-defense — he must not be convicted of the charges the state brought against him.

      Regardless, let’s say you’re right. Let’s say he did profile Trayvon for the sake of argument. If his housing complex had a rash of robberies committed by young black male suspects, would not a rational human being do the same thing? Likewise, if his housing complex had a rash of robberies committed by asian suspects, would it not make sense to profile asians?

      The bottom line is this: Nobody knows what happened during that confrontation for sure except Trayvon and Zimmerman — and Trayvon is dead. You don’t know what happened, and neither do I. That’s what the jury has been charged with figuring out. And in my assessment there is plenty of reasonable doubt, based on eye-witness testimony and forensics.

    2. Doug, you’re wasting your time. Kyle seems like a likable enough guy; however, as you pointed out, SOOOO many people (like Kyle) have gotten basic facts WRONG, and the conjecture is just plain foolish. How can anyone say Z wouldn’t have followed someone who was white or Hispanic? Z is Hispanic himself, for cripe’s sake.

      *Sigh* This is already a debacle. Meanwhile, black on black crime continues at a monstrous pace, black on white crimes get little to no coverage, and the story of a young black male who rescued a young girl from a child predator gets precious little coverage. The media has done us all in. Well, a LOT of us, that is.

    3. I vacillate at times on whether or not it’s worth it. I’m not going to lie, Hube. However, sometimes when I can correct someone (e.g., Zimmerman actually said “Fucking punks…” as was shown in court), I think the disconnect with what the person originally was led to believe and undeniable reality might be enough to shake them awake. It might make them think about media bias, etc.

      Like you said, Kyle seems like a nice guy. As long as someone is cordial with me I’ll give it the old college try.

  4. Oh, I know, Doug. It was a metaphorical statement, I guess. That’s what blogs are for, after all — discussion, even if it’s pointless. 🙂

    1. I’d rather not admit it, but I’ve even learned a lot from guys like Lizard19. Granted, the vast majority of those lessons were unintended on his part and about human nature in general (as opposed to the topic at hand), but I still learned something. 🙂

      It will be interesting to see how this trial plays out.

    2. And while I overlooked this quote when I initially read this, Doug, but this:

      “What would the world look like if Hollywood actors spent more time talking about the ties that bind us as the human race and less about artificial divisions constructed around pigmentation? It would probably be a much better place.”

      … is right on the money, my friend. I feel the exact same way. Focusing on artificial divisions like skin color is what serves to keep people divided, and Hollywood actors like Foxx only serve to keep racial divisions alive by making their idiotic comments/statements. I’ve always been colorblind and generally treat everyone the same. I view people as people. We need to focus on our similarities as opposed to our differences.

    3. I was just talking to the guy I rent a room from: He’s black, and his wife is white. My wife is Asian and I’m wife. My sister’s husband is Asian and she’s white. So … on a long enough timeline race simply isn’t going to matter. The U.S. truly is a melting pot, so I’m not sure why people continuously harp on race. It’s stupid. It’s pointless. Look to the future more often instead of solely focusing on the past. I think certain people refuse to look ahead because it’s easier to just find excuses for their failures by latching onto the sins of the past.

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