By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
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By Kyle Swenson
The world won't end in 2012. Why? Because LeBron James still has more NBA championships to win, Barack Obama has another four years to cement his place in history, and Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, has yet to face justice.
Over the past 12 months, the events surrounding these three African-Americans have shown that the racial divide in the United States remains as wide as the Grand Canyon despite some signs of progress.
Obama restored our reputation around the world and killed Osama bin Laden, the world's number one terrorist. During his first four years, the president saved the auto industry, reformed Wall Street, regulated the credit card industry, put a Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court, ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and passed public health care.
But when Republican strategist Karl Rove can raise $300 million from closet Klansmen billionaires such as Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers to attack the nation's first African-American president, something is very wrong.
Just as important as Obama's victory was James's return to glory one year after the predominantly white national sports media vilified James because he refused to stay on the plantation. Because of James, players no longer have to remain loyal to the hometown team that drafted them. After losing the 2011 NBA Finals, he came back stronger than ever. James ended the year by being named league and NBA Finals MVP, winning his first NBA championship, and garnering a gold medal at the London Olympics.
But Trayvon Martin's brutal slaying proves African-Americans are still treated like second-class citizens. Initially believing Zimmerman's claim that he fatally shot Martin in self-defense, the Sanford Police Department did not want to criminally charge him. It took weeks of national pressure to force Gov. Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor, who ultimately charged him.
Still, Zimmerman has become a cult hero among gun nuts and black haters. The 28-year-old killer has raised $140,000 for his defense and is now offering people his autograph to collect more cash. It's unbelievable.
I hope Zimmerman will be found guilty in 2013. That would be progress.