Juror B37 Thinks She's Helping Ease Racial Tension, But She's Making White Noise


There is only one person who stands to walk out of the Zimmerman trial better off than she walked in. That person is Juror B37.

This is a woman who claims that she dislikes the media so much that her only source of news is the Today Show. No newspapers, no radio, no internet news. Nope, only Kathie Lee and Hoda for this discriminating consumer.

This woman distrusts the media so much, that she went on Anderson Cooper's AC360 on Monday night (only the dark outline of her frame was shown), and signed a book deal less than two days after the verdict was announced. (She was dropped by the publisher late Monday night, but if she's shopping the book, there's nothing to say she couldn't find a new one.)

Something here does not add up.

Juror B37 was also under the incorrect assumption that riots were going on in her hometown. If you thought that riots were going on in your town, over a decision that you helped to make — would you trust a news network and a book publisher to keep your identity a secret?  This woman doesn't trust the CNN news reports, but she trusts that no one will flip on a lightswitch in the studio, and show her face to millions of viewers across the country?  Either she's one for risky behavior, or the network offered her a huge payday, or both.

The Martin family and George Zimmerman have nothing to gain by this juror going on television or writing a book, adding fuel to the fire of a controversy that has irreversably changed all of their lives for the worse. The juror mentions that she feels bad for both parties involved in the case, and she chokes up. What she doesn't realize is that she might unintentionally be making things worse for them.

What story does Juror B37 have to tell? "I got called for jury duty, and then assigned to this case, and there were cameras everywhere, and we decided he was not guilty"? That doesn't add anything to the dialogue on race, on violence, or on any of the important issues. It's more white noise that might get her media attention, but contributes nothing to our national dialogue.  She may talk about her fellow jurors, but that also is no more than gossip. Any detail she provides about any of them is a threat to their anonymity, a privilege afforded to them in exchange for doing their civic duty by serving on the jury.

It is tasteless to prolong the media circus, especially without adding anything that helps anyone. It would be even worse if she is personally profiting from the death of a teenager.

My advice to you, Juror B37, is this: Quit the media tour. But since you're probably going to do it anyway, how about this: donate at least some of your payday to helping kids like Trayvon and Rachel Jeantel, make the most of who they can be. Set up a scholarship fund. You watched Rachel testify. You saw her sass back at the attorney, which — while rude at times, as with her "creepy-a** cracker" comment — showed that this girl is not easily intimidated at age 19 on the national stage. Whether you agree with her or not, the girl is tough. You may have seen her interview on CNN, in which she tells Piers Morgan what she thought was "B.S." about the trial, and how she talked to Trayvon about "what we were going to be in life." 

These kids deserved the chance to be everything that they talked about, to be everything that they dreamed of. Instead, one is deceased and the other is dealing with fame that she never sought in the aftermath of losing a dear friend.  Rachel Jeantel doesn't have the luxury of anonymity afforded to Juror B37. We can only hope that Juror B37 will take seriously the national attention now afforded to her, and use it for the greater good rather than personal gain.