Columbia professor: “Cracker may have been an appropriate term” for Trayvon Martin to call George Zimmerman

Trayvon Martin Wearing a HoodieIt made sense for Trayvon Martin to call George Zimmerman a “cracker,” according to Columbia University professor John McWhorter.

McWhorter, a professor of linguistics and a contributing editor to The New Republic, was a guest on MSNBC‘s ‘All In with Chris Hayes‘ on Thursday night, where he expounded on the Zimmerman murder trial. McWhorter proclaimed it somehow acceptable that Trayvon Martin had supposedly called Zimmerman a “cracker.”

“Of course he might refer to the person as a cracker because he’s a human being,” McWhorter said, explaining that Martin might have felt threatened by Zimmerman following him.

“I think we can understand that cracker may have been an appropriate term at the time,” he added.

McWhorter spent much of his time on the show defending Rachel Jeantel’s testimony from a linguistic perspective, defending her from the criticism she has been receiving as a result of her dialect. Host Chris Hayes and McWhorter said those in the courtroom were “willfully” trying to misunderstand Jeantel’s patterns of speech — in order to draw out a “racial grievance.”

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