How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Quote of the moment: A reader to 'those who are angry' over Trayvon Martin

A popular Q&A post last weekend titled "Where race matters in the Trayvon Martin case, and where it doesn't" that examined the complicated role of race in the shooting death of the 17-year-old Florida boy last month drew a long string of comments, as have related posts.

Among them, one stood out in that the writer, who self-identified as African-American, called on others to be angry about circumstances far beyond the shooting. His/her opinions are strictly that, as the known facts of the shooting - an unarmed teen killed, a shooter who has yet to be arrested - have been plenty to make people around the country angry, with nationwide calls for justice online and protests in several cities. But reader Rav points to more. A relevant excerpt:

If those who are angry be mad that more African-American and Hispanics drop out of school!  Be mad at the deaths which happen in our neighborhoods and the silliness of many to embrace "No Snitching!"  Be mad that we only account for 14% of the nation's population but account for almost half of those in prison.

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Posts of the week: The Trayvon Martin case, how being bilingual makes you smarter, media diversity, generation 1.5 and more

Photo by Reigh LeBlanc/Flickr (Creative Commons)


The tragic shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and how race factored into it has dominated the headlines this week. But there's also been good news (being bilingual can make you smarter!) and an unexpected call for media diversity from, of all places, Los Angeles City Hall. Without further ado, a few of the week's highlights:

Monday

Your brain on a second language: Bilingualism and brain power More evidence that speaking a second language boosts brain power. According to research, the mental focus it takes to switch from communicating in one language to another is a "workout" for the brain that improves cognitive and problem-solving skills, and can even delay the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms.

Tuesday

With shooter's ethnicity, race becomes an even bigger part of the Trayvon Martin story A recent development in the case involving the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old black boy shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, was that the shooter, George Zimmerman, is half Latino. There were some interesting reactions to this online, including from some non-Latino whites who had felt scapegoated.

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Where race matters in the Trayvon Martin case, and where it doesn't

Photo by werthmedia/Flickr (Creative Commons)

At a protest demanding justice for the killing of Trayvon Martin, March 19, 2012

Race has played a major role since the start in the case involving the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old boy who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month in Sanford, Florida. The teenager, who was visiting the community with his father, had been on his way back to a family friend's home after a quick trip to a convenience store; the shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, called police and described Trayvon as "real suspicious" before apparently pursuing him.

Many believe the shooting was triggered by racial profiling, especially after the release of a 911 tape earlier this month. Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense, has yet to be arrested. But the racial discussion has grown broader in the last week, after Zimmerman’s father identified his son as Latino to a Florida newspaper.

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Readers sound off on race and ethnicity in the Trayvon Martin story

Photo by werthmedia/Flickr (Creative Commons)

At a protest demanding justice in the killing of Trayvon Martin, March 19, 2012

The role of race in the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager shot to death in Florida last month, has been a critical part of the story since the beginning. But it became even bigger in recent days, after it became known that the shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, did not fit as neatly into the "white" category as initially reported. Late last week, Zimmerman's father identified his son as Latino to a Florida newspaper.

It doesn't change much in that, as a federal investigation starts, a boy who was merely visiting in the neighborhood with his father is dead, and the adult who shot him claiming self-defense (though a 911 tape suggests otherwise) remains free. But the news of shooter George Zimmerman being half Latino - and his father's suggestion that such, he could not be racist - triggered a curious reaction among some, including non-Latino whites who had felt scapegoated.

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With shooter's ethnicity, race becomes an even bigger part of the Trayvon Martin story

Photo by Miss Stavs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

George Zimmerman, left, and Trayvon Martin, right.

If race is already a major part of the story involving the shooting death of 17-year-year-old Trayvon Martin last month in Florida, it's becoming even bigger. Media reports have increasingly begun to identify the shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, not as "white" as he was originally identified, but as Latino after his father identified him as such to a Florida newspaper.

It doesn't change much in the sense that an unarmed teenager, who was visiting the neighborhood with his dad and had stepped out to a convenience store for snacks, is now dead. But news of the ethnic identity of Zimmerman, who apparently pursued the boy and has yet to be arrested, has set off a curious reaction.

One story related to the ethnic-label switch headlined "Media Labels Hispanic Man White in Shooting of Black Teen," on the late Andrew Breitbart's conservative Brietbart website, has drawn some angry/cynical comments. Here's one, from Dougragan:

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