The George Zimmerman Trial is coming to a close in Florida. The case has sparked national attention and captivated audiences from coast to coast. Rooted in the question of whether or not George Zimmerman, a media described “white man,” was acting in self-defense in the shooting death of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin or was hunting down the African American teen, the trial has been one of confusion, excitement, and perceived racial implications.

The case was originally a cut and dry issue of self-defense, with the police investigators deciding not to charge Zimmerman with a crime when the shooting first occurred. When national media and political pundits, even the White House and the Justice Department, brought light to the situation, suddenly a crime of defense became one of aggravated and premeditated thought. Though there is no clear evidence to suggest that this crime had anything to do with race, the media has created a firestorm of racial tension by insinuating that it was the young black man victimized and the older white guy the perpetrator, with no real evidence to back this up.

Though many believe that there should be an acquittal or not guilty verdict based solely on the case presented before the jury and judge, not even speaking to the actual guilt or innocence of Zimmerman, the verdict is likely to be a tension filling and contentious one. Suddenly, Zimmerman represents the evil white man and has been given the symbolic label for all that is wrong with race relations. Martin, no matter his own actions and his own mistakes as a young man, has been viewed by many as a weakened kid who was attacked because of his race and his race alone.

Republicans and Democrats alike are divided on this case because its symbolism is much greater than the actual facts of the proceedings. Suddenly, a case of was-it-murder-or-self-defense has turned into a microcosm of racial divides in this country. Time will tell how the verdict plays out and whether justice will be served or not. If anyone should be found guilty, however, it ought to be the media for adding unnecessary fuel to an otherwise right v. wrong court case. Sensationalism carries the day and one need look no further than the Zimmerman trial to see that.