Posted on July 18, 2013

‘Think Logically and Not Racially’: Facebook Message from NAACP Chapter President about the Zimmerman Trial Brings Calls for His Resignation

David Martosko, Daily Mail (London), July 18, 2013

The president of the NAACP’s chapter in Norfolk, Virginia is under fire and facing calls for his resignation, following a message on his Facebook wall that’s out of sync with the his national organization’s messaging about the Trayvon Martin case.

Tristan Breaux angered his organization’s members by writing on Friday that ‘[a]s I look at this George Zimmerman case … I wonder why is it that we are always willing to say someone who clearly had a shaky past, was the victim.’

‘Are we blinded about why Trayvon was at his dad’s house in the first place, and why he wasn’t at home at the time he was shot? Please think logically and not racially…’

Breaux, 25, wrote those words the day before a jury agreed with George Zimmerman’s self-defense claim and found him not guilty of murder and manslaughter in the case of Martin’s death.

Local African-American officials are calling for Breaux’s head.

Norfolk City Councilman Paul Riddick told WAVY-TV10 that ‘the national [NAACP] office should come into this. ‘It would be an effort to silence this fellow. I don’t know how recall process works, but I think they should recall him.’

‘He obviously does not have the maturity when to speak and when not to speak.’

‘My initial reaction, Riddick added, ‘was that it wasn’t true, that somebody had gone on his Facebook and had planted this.’

Former Norfolk NAACP president Bob Rawls was more measured in his comments to WAVY-TV10, but still suggested Breaux should be muzzled..

‘I think this should be tried in the courtroom and not on social media,’ said Rawls.

‘If he had been talking to another person or two or three people and voiced his personal opinion that’s different. When you put it on social media so somebody in Florida, California, Oregon or New York is reading this, that is wrong.’

Rawls told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper that Breaux should resign.

To the old guard of civil rights leaders in Norfolk and other urban areas in Virginia’s tidewater region, Breaux was initially a breath of fresh air.

‘I am part of the generation which did not sit in the back of the bus,’ he told reporters when he took office in January. ‘We did not attend segregated schools or march for civil rights. … My generation is more inclusive in our view toward race; at the same time realizing we have a lot of work to do to resolve problems related to it.’

But he also drew a stark line in the sand, claiming that his generation of black leaders will ultimately plant their flag in the civil rights movement, in much the same way as today’s older activists did generations ago when they were younger.

‘When you think of the fight in the early civil rights era, you think of John Lewis, Julian Bond, and Barbara Jordan,’ he told the Virginian-Pilot shortly after his election.

‘I am sure that they sometimes got nervous and doubted opinions and statements that they made. However, they pressed forward and continued to fight, even when they may have been fighting all alone.’

The national NAACP did not respond to questions about Breaux’s future.