When I heard that George Zimmerman said the word “coon” on the phone recording, in apparent reference to Trayvon Martin, I was immediately suspicious. What person under the age of 60 talks like that? I grew up in a place where racial slurs were common parlance, and had no idea that “coon” was a slur on black folks until I was an adult, and read about it in a book. It’s antiquated. If Zimmerman was inclined to use a racist slur, it would have been something far more current, it seemed to me.
Now CNN has applied an even more sophisticated audio analysis to the recording, and it’s plain that he’s saying not “coon,” but “cold.” Indeed, it was unseasonably cold and wet in Florida that night.
I’ve given up trying to figure out what happened that night, and listening to anybody who says they know. I think it’s positively dangerous to place much confidence in media reporting. Like Alan Dershowitz said the other day, we aren’t going to know anything concrete until the forensics come in.