The court of public opinion certainly had a field day with Trayvon Martin’s friend Rachel Jeantel as she took the stand in George Zimmerman’s trial this week.
Social media commentary on Jeantel took a turn for the worst as soon as she took the stand to recount Martin’s cast moments. The Twitterverse was swift in criticizing the 19-year-old high school senior for everything from her looks to her weight and her speech—aka her “Black-cent” as some have dubbed it.
“I would be pissed if my daughter/son talked & behaved this way while testifying,” tweeted one user, while another added: “That fat black girl testifying in the Trayvon Martin case belongs on a plantation somewhere picking cotton.”
But wait, is Jeantel or Zimmerman on trial?
Over at ESSENCEDebates, a conversation with our readers about Jeantel was thoroughly captivating as some argued that she deserved the scrutiny because of the way she spoke. “”She can’t read or speak correct English and SHE has an attitude?,” wrote one reader. Others, like blogger Tangela Erkhoff, came to Jeantel’s defense. “I’m just a little sick of people, including other Black people, attempting to define who this young lady is. ASK HER,” she wrote.
What we do know about Rachel Jeantel is that she is a young woman dealing with the death of a dear friend. Whether she speaks the Queen’s English or not should not be what’s most important. Would she have been more acceptable to us if she looked a different way, and spoke “proper” English? Share you thoughts and comments with us below.
Be sure to follow @ESSENCEDebates on Twiiter for our lunchtime debates on the day’s hot topics.