George Zimmerman Media Portrayal Accurate? Yes, But Media's Identification As 'White Hispanic' Served Misleading Purpose [REPORT]

George Zimmerman talks to court security investigator Robert Hemmert after the jury leaves the courtroom for more deliberations in Sanford. Reuters

George Zimmerman is at the center of the nation's latest debate over racial profiling. Zimmerman is the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The case gained national attention for its racial elements: a 26-year-old white man murdering an unarmed black boy. Zimmerman was cast a racist by civil rights activists who then called for his immediate arrest and prosecution in Florida. But details about his complicated idenitity have surfaced, which his family and supporters are pointing to as evidence that he did not commit a racially motivated hate crime. 

RELATED:  What is Stand Your Ground Law? 4 Fast Facts About The Florida Law In Question After The Zimmerman Trial Verdict

Zimmerman was born to a Peruvian mother, Gladys, and a white father, Robert. Zimmerman was first believed to be of Jewish descent due to his surname, but we later discovered that he was brought up Catholic and served as an altar boy. While the public sifts through all of the media's inconsistencies, the question remains who exactly is George Zimmerman?

Unfortunately for mainstream media, and extreme demonstrators on either side, this is not a black and white case. There is no check box for George Zimmerman; there is no easy way to categorize the 28-year-old being described as an overzealous "vigilante." This case has caused the entire nation to react, to mourn the life of 17-year-old victim Trayvon Martin and confront the ever-evolving relationship between race and identity in America.

RELATED: Trayvon Martin Protesters Rally Following George Zimmerman's Not Guilty Verdict 

As for Zimmerman's race and ethnicity, CNN, attempted to denote both in one term, "white Hispanic." The term "Hispanic" is commonly misused to designate race, but this is incorrect. Hispanic represents an ethnicity. In the United States the term is used broadly referring to all persons with a cultural relationship to any Spanish-speaking country, regardless of race. As for Zimmerman's race he would be considered white/Caucasian based on the anthropological racial classification first determined in by Carleton S. Coon in 1962.

Therefore, CNN's designation of Zimmerman as "white Hispanic" was not incorrect but certainly served a seemingly misleading purpose. By labeling Zimmerman as "white Hispanic" CNN and other news outlets served a political bias and sensationalized the case for the sole purpose of keeping race as the center of the murder investigation. And while "white Hispanic" is a valid term in which to designate a person from a multi-racial ethnicity, it is not applicable for Zimmerman, because to quote the simple, yet, effective words of Chicago Now writer, Teresa Puente, "to be blunt, Zimmerman's skin tone is the same as mine, a medium brown."

RELATED: Zimmerman Protests: Obama Urges 'Calm Reflection' As Trayvon Martin Protests Ramp Up [VIDEO] 

Zimmerman's father, Robert, described his son as "a Spanish-speaking minority," in a letter delivered to The Orlando Sentinel. "He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever," he wrote. The Zimmerman family worked to emphasize his son's diversity in the hopes of avoiding him being labeled as a racist. However, simply possessing a Hispanic ethnicity does not provide a person with racial bias immunity. Michaela Angela Davis, an African-American writer and activist stated in an interview, "You being a minority doesn't make you immune to racist beliefs."

Therefore while this case has been continually pushed as white vs. black case, the media has refused to acknowledge a history of tension between the Hispanic and black community in the United States. According to the Seattle Times, both communities "have a shared history of tension in neighborhoods, schools, even prisons."  

Zimmerman was acquitted on Saturday of the second-degree murder charges, as the public now attempts to make sense of the Trayvon Martin case that sparked national controversy. 

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Donovan Longo

Donovan Longo, staff reporter, joined the Latin Times team in February 2013 and has quickly become our resident pop culture expert. As a native New Yorker and Fordham University alumni, Donovan has always had her finger on the cultural pulse and is here to get you in the know.  As a follower of Donovan’s writing you will undoubtedly win a game of thrones, survive a zombie apocalypse, fall in love with a vampire and outsmart the CIA.