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Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s Killer, Not Jewish

News reports routinely identify him as ‘Latino’ or ‘Hispanic’

Marc Tracy
March 21, 2012

I’ve heard the question asked enough and seen it asked enough over Facebook and what-not that it seems worth answering: no, George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, near Orlando, late last month, is apparently not Jewish. The case has become a national sensation because Martin was an unarmed 17-year-old who posed no threat while at the same Zimmerman has yet to be charged with a crime, ostensibly because he is protected by the concealed-weapon and “stand your ground” self-defense laws on Florida’s books; there is much indication that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, was unduly fearful of and aggressive toward Martin because of Martin’s race. For much more on the case, I recommend this Mother Jones primer and John McWhorter’s take.

So, no, contra the nutcases and despite having a father named Robert Zimmerman, Zimmerman appears not to be Jewish: he is uniformly identified as “Hispanic” or “Latino.”

Speaking of Robert Zimmerman, there is an eerie resonance between the names (and more) “George Zimmerman” and “William Zanzinger.”

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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