Dr. Drew: Don't let Zimmerman case divide us
July 14, 2013 -- Updated 0346 GMT (1146 HKT)
(CNN) -- Many aspects of the George Zimmerman trial have deeply affected me. It was so painful to watch Trayvon Martin's mother and father so visibly upset as they sat in court day after day hearing the details of their son's shooting death on February 26, 2012.
Was Zimmerman paranoid? Was he preoccupied about people coming into his neighborhood? Did he have deep-seated issues that, perhaps, most of us have not yet been made aware? Everyone certainly has strong opinions here, but I do think that both Martin and Zimmerman, in some way, felt threatened.
Now, whether or not you feel that justice was served today, there's no doubt this trial has sparked conversations about many different issues, including race relations and America's kids -- black kids, white kids, your kids -- and how they perceive these things.
And even if you don't believe that race played a role in this situation, understand that it is our own individual perspectives and experiences that have shaped our opinions about this case.
However, it's important to note that whenever the conversation does turn to race, people can become deeply divided -- and they don't have to be. And I say, let us learn from these discussions. I can only hope that they will bring us closer together.
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, is joined by her son Jahvaris Fulton as she speaks to the crowd during a rally in New York City, Saturday, July 20. A jury in Florida acquitted Zimmerman of all charges related to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. View photos of key moments from the trial.
Photos: Reaction to Zimmerman verdict
Many young people have watched this trial -- and they develop racial biases and stereotypes much earlier than you think. If anything, at least we can increase awareness as a result of this case about a very subtle operation of judgment we all have within us.
A few nights ago, I brought up the social psychology principle of the "Fundamental Attribution Error." This is where we observe an individual's behavior and likely overestimate their personality that influences it and underestimate the contribution of the particular circumstance. And I think that's what is at the core of how we're all in this mess. Both Zimmerman and Martin made assessments of one another that may have been excessive based on their behavior that particular night.
Forget the hoodie for a moment. We all need to check how we make snap decisions that may be inaccurate about other people, particularly at times of intense stress. The 911 operator urged Zimmerman not to follow Martin. Remember, you're not always the professional. Something is probably going to go bad -- and in this case, it did.
So again, my hopes are that this story raises our consciousness and does not divide us. We really have to be more reflective and more aware of what we may have not given much thought to until now.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2014 -- Updated 0150 GMT (0950 HKT)
Let's get ready to ... mumble.
January 25, 2014 -- Updated 0135 GMT (0935 HKT)
George Zimmerman, who sold his first painting on eBay for a whopping $100,000, is at it again.
September 29, 2013 -- Updated 1841 GMT (0241 HKT)
George Zimmerman's estranged wife said that while she respects the jury's not guilty verdict in his second-degree murder trial, she now has doubts about his innocence.
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
George Zimmerman's defense team says people should delve into the "substance" of other comments made by a juror who claimed the man who killed Trayvon Martin "got away with murder."
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 1712 GMT (0112 HKT)
A juror in the George Zimmerman trial says she feels the man who killed Trayvon Martin "got away with murder."
July 24, 2013 -- Updated 1952 GMT (0352 HKT)
Four days after he was acquitted of murder, George Zimmerman stepped out of seclusion to help a family.
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
Florida law kept George Zimmerman from being held accountable in last year's shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, the teen's mom said.
July 25, 2013 -- Updated 0210 GMT (1010 HKT)
Vowing to keep fighting for his son Trayvon -- even after Zimmerman was acquitted of murder -- Tracy Martin said that his family wants to turn "negative energy" surrounding their plight "into a positive."
July 20, 2013 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
The nation has a long history of self-defense laws. Almost every state allows some version of the "castle" defense, as in "a man's home is his castle."
July 18, 2013 -- Updated 0443 GMT (1243 HKT)
The woman known as Juror B37 in the George Zimmerman trial released a statement exclusively to CNN pushing for new laws.
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
One of the jurors who acquitted George Zimmerman said she had "no doubt" he feared for his life in the final moments of his struggle with Trayvon Martin.
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
George Zimmerman "didn't do anything unlawful" and was "justified" in shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, according to one of the jurors who acquitted Zimmerman.
July 17, 2013 -- Updated 0504 GMT (1304 HKT)
The friend who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin when his fatal confrontation with Zimmerman said she is upset at his acquittal on murder charges.
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
His trial's over. And now it turns out that George Zimmerman might need the same thing millions of Americans are looking for: a job.
July 15, 2013 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
An employee of the Florida State Attorney's Office who testified that prosecutors withheld evidence from George Zimmerman's defense team has been fired.
July 15, 2013 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
This might sound like a legal conundrum.
July 15, 2013 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
Suspected racism in the justice system, deep-seated, secretive and historic, was the crux of the case for millions, writes Tom Foreman.
March 30, 2012 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
Just like most any other teenager, Trayvon Martin enjoyed listening to music and going to the movies, friends and family said.
July 2, 2013 -- Updated 1938 GMT (0338 HKT)
With a single phrase, Rachel Jeantel, that friend of Trayvon Martin's, may have lit a fuse in the trial of his accused killer.