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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Social Justice vs. Sex: Why writing about Jodi Arias is still golden.

It's a sad commentary when our imagined lives get ahead of reality. But I think that is why social justice will not get the same media ratings as sex and the George Zimmerman trial will be less discussed than the Jodi Arias trial.

If you lived through the salacious sex in the Jodi Arias trial, even that became numbing. But everyone can relate to sex. Stories about fatal attraction are the stuff of novels and movies and on some visceral level we understand them.

The much more important, and larger social issue of race that will be part of the George Zimmerman trial, is less compelling.  It is relevant to us all, but not on a personal level.  Many people have experienced prejudice based on religion, sexuality and even appearance, but those traits are not as obvious, and black and white, as race. Are numbers part of the story? The 2011 US Census Bureau statistics state that only 13.1 % of the population is black and  16.7 % Hispanic. The potential jury so far is approximately 20% black and 1% Hispanic, not a jury of George Zimmerman's peers.

I don't think Nancy Grace and even Ryan Smith, the black HLN Evening Express reporter, are outraged enough, yet.  Race is a complex issue especially when tied to a self-defense strategy that may be based on racial stereotyping.  That, and it's hard to compete with the Lifetime movie "Jodi Arias:  Dirty Little Secret" that airs June 22.

The Jodi Arias name will be front and center for a while yet and distract from the George Zimmerman trial.  A status conference is scheduled June 22.  Attorneys on both sides have scheduling conflicts with the pending July 18, date. Attorneys for Jodi Arias want to delay retrial on the penalty phase until January, 2014, so they can gather witnesses to "testify on her behalf."  The question is will we tire of Jodi Arias before the her new trial starts and give the issues in the George Zimmerman trial our attention?

I think that will happen only if social media makes race sexy. Imagine that!

Article first published as Social Justice vs. Sex: Why Blogging About Jodi Arias is Still Golden on Technorati.

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