Lolo Jones, the sprinter who angered her bobsled teammates with a Vine video earlier this month, was criticized Thursday night for a tweet about a witness in the George Zimmerman trial.
Rachel Jeantel looked so irritated during the cross-examination that I burned it on DVD and I’m going to sell it as Madea goes to court.
— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) June 27, 2013
Jones heard about it on Twitter, but she wasn’t alone in commenting about Jeantel, a star witness in the trial who found herself the center of discussion for several reasons. The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb writes:
As much as anything else in the saga of race, fear, and firearms that is the death of Trayvon Martin and the murder trial of George Zimmerman, the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, a nineteen-year-old rising high-school senior sometimes described as Martin’s girlfriend, served as a kind of Rorschach test. When you look at the prosecution’s star witness, a young woman, dark-skinned and overweight, her eyes signaling exasperation, what do you see?
Social-media commentary on Jeantel began nearly as soon as she began to testify. Crass assessments of her weight, looks, and intelligence from some white observers competed with a cocktail of vicarious shame, embarrassment, and disdain from some black ones. If the trial has become a referendum on racial attitudes, Jeantel’s testimony served as a reminder that none of us have the moral high ground. Of the abundant ironies that this case has generated, perhaps the most telling are the commonalities that emerged while she was in the courtroom: it brings out the worst in all of us.
Jones, an Olympic hurdler who is trying her luck at bobsledding, irritated her U.S. teammates in early June with a video in which she joked about her $741 paycheck.