President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press room on Friday to speak about the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, making some of the boldest and most open remarks about race of his presidency. You can read the full remarks here.
While the president began by commending the judge in the case as "professional" and the jurors as "properly instructed," he also spoke of the case within the much broader context of race in America.
When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said, This could've been my son. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could've been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African-American community, at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away.
That history, Obama said, is especially salient to black men. "There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store—that includes me," he said. The same goes for African-American men who have heard "locks click on the doors of cars," or seen a woman in an elevator "clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off."
A 2008 Wall Street Journal story, flagged Friday by the reporter Katie Rosman, actually attests to Obama's experience with this type of stereotyping. As Rosman reported, then-state Sen. Barack Obama was mistaken for a waiter at a New York party in 2003.
And those experiences of daily life are a reflection of what the president acknowledged as "a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws—from the death penalty to drug laws. He continued (with our emphasis):
Folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there's no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
The president's comments also looked at the real problems of "poverty and dysfunction" in African-American communities, saying they can "be traced to a very difficult history." As he said, young African-American men are disproportionately "both the victims and perpetrators of violence," and Trayvon was "statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else." But that's no excuse for unequal treatment.
The fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuses given—"Well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent," using that as an excuse to then see sons treated different causes pain.
No matter what Obama says about the black males in American being persecuted and profiled he will have to explain WHY we have millions of very successful African men in our country who are articulate, brilliant and have given a great deal back to our society. Soooo....this comes down to a personal choice.
Here's a fact:
If young black males walk around with their jeans hanging down pass their butts making it virtually impossible to walk; have gang symbols tattoed on their fingers and hands, and act like thugs....then, by golly, society is going to treat them that way.
If a young African American woman dresses like a %#&!*% and talks like one then she will be treated like a %#&!*%.
This is true for ALL ethnicities in our country. If they want to be taken seriously and be respected then act like you are serious about life and you will get the respect.
Obama spewed a bunch of bull today probably because Michelle "piano teeth" Obama told him he had to do it or else.
Having a white African-American president hasn't helped us all get along, has it? All that you say is true, Diane. In Kansas City, there is a place called Country Club Plaza. They have a curfew for teenagers during the summer because of the trouble they've caused there. Most of these teens happen to be black, so there are cries of racism. Places have banned people dressing like you described & once again the cries of racism & discrimination are heard.
"If they want to be taken seriously and be respected then act like you are serious about life and you will get the respect."
How very true.
It's really a shame that these young people don't get a clue. Tattoos on their hands and fingers? Uh, you won't get a good job looking like that....no one will hire you!
All across our country the black community has the same problems....over and over and over year after year after year......meanwhile, the hispanics have taken the jobs and are raising their families.
Diane, what they fail to realize is that this is not racism at all; white people expect that white kids dress appropriately, act appropriately and treat people with respect; and so how can it be racism when that is what we expect of all people whether they are Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Latino, German, Irish, Scottish, British, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buhhdist, Hindu; it makes no different. Common courtesy and basic social interention means that we all dress, act, and involve ourselves with each other in a respectful manner.
So, how could your comments be racist? I don't see that they are one bit racist. It is simply acceptable conduct.
Great article. Too bad that the Obama's can't see this and rather than singlilng out one ethnic group, let American youth know that this is what is expected of all as in that manner there would possibly be the chance of an end to racism in general.
What is equally interesting today is that the racism is more Black to Hispanic, Black to Asian, Black to Latino, etc. and then Hispanic to Asian and Hispanic to Latino; etc.
White kids pretty much stay away from all the gangs and really don't have issues with racism. Yes, there are some isolated areas, but as a rule they ignore it and I think that sports have bridged the gap for Black and White kids. That is why it is so frustrating to hear the people like the Obama's accuse white people in the US of racism; I think they need to look in the mirror and listen to their own hearts, souls and words.
Linda, it's the only card they can use. They've been using it since slavery and it's a learned mental behavior. Yes, even Obama and Michelle use it whenever they can.
I'll stay on my band wagon that being in poverty is a personal choice. Sorry if I offend anyone but the truth is that many in poverty made a choice to learn a trade or go to college to take care of themselves and their families. Look at the immigrants who came over to our country with not a dime to their name and worked in factories in New York and other states. They saved, opened a Mom and Pop business and took care of their families. When one takes a moment to think about that....what they knew they had to do to make a better life....it was a personal choice. It was a choice to live the American dream. The young black community, including those who are third and fourth generations of welfare recipients are a product of "give a man a fish everyday." You teach him that he shouldn't learn HOW to fish to feed himself because he doesn't have to. He knows his monthly meals will be in his mailbox once a month.
Diane, just saw the post on tatoos. Unfortunately, people are hiring kids with tatoos and not just little ones, either. My niece has tatoos on one harm and more than I feel is appropriate for a beautiful young lady. However, she is regional manager for Urban Outfitters (she travels all over Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Alberta, Canada setting up new stores, hiring the personnel including store managers, training them, and then goes back to Boston and Chicago for corporate meetings, etc. She makes a very significant $95,000 a year plus benefits that include a month paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays, a company car, a heafty expense account, etc. It is amazing how many young college students these days have tatoos. I may not like it, I may find it something that I am glad my daughter does not have or wish to have, but you look around and it is amazing how many kids, and from very affluent homes, too, not just low income kids, have them and hold very good jobs.
So, we can't say they don't get jobs and that no one will hire them; apparently the business community is more open minded than I. LOL I will say this, most of them make sure that for formal occasions they can be covered up for the most part. Sometime I will have to show you my niece's wedding picture though; and that was before she got more tatooing. LOL
The one thing I will say, though, is that these college kids are not getting gang-related tatooing and that sets them apart. I doubt that any business would hire someone with that sort of tatoos. Also, a guy I used to date had tatoos and he is a retired detective with the Bellevue WA Police Department and he told me that the majority of the officers have tatoos. Firemen, policemen, VP's of banks and other businesses; lawyers, doctors; you name it they seem to be getting them now days. It is a different world now.
This post was modified from its original form on 19 Jul, 15:27
Diane, I would agree; they are like a broken record. I know that I have never treated any Black person with disrespect even when they have disrespected me and that has happened. So, who, I ask, is the racist?
I have to separate Blacks. There are those that do not wear "slavery" as a badge and they are educated, highly motivated and excellent contributors to society as a whole. So I do not want to label them at all. They have learned a trade or gone to college and regardless of what they do for a living, they are wonderful contributors.
Then there is the larger group, the group you talk about and they are the Welfare recipients that don't desire to take care of themselves. They sit back and, like you say, receive their monthly check. Many abuse drugs or alcohol which amazes me as they can sure find the money for that but can't always feed themselves or their chldren. I agree, there are those that are a major problem and need to be forced to get a job or no more help at all.
What is the saddest is that I hold the parents responsible for this as this is what they teach their kids; they enable the next generation to be the same. I do think that a lot of these kids would turn their lives around if they had the right motivation, the right encouragement and did not have the enabling example of their parents.
Obama on Trayvon: "This Could've Been me 35 Years Ago"
This is incredible! Obama ADMITS he was a little thug in his youth?!
No, David, he will never go there. He is talking about a tall, lanky, black youth who wore a hoodie and was in a neighborhood where there was a great deal of black crime. There was a lot of petty crime in Hawaii when Obama was there but not a great deal of violent crime so he can hardly compare himself to what many of our cities are experiencing with black on black crime.
Obama is just running his mouth trying hard to identify with "something" even when it is wrong to do so. What a colossal loser he is.
Did anyone read or hear where Obama called The Zimmermans? Did me mention one word about their grief? No. Why? Because this racial and very political.
Diane, did a Goggle search and can't find anywhere where Obama called the Zimmerman family. All I can find is where he "called for calm" after the verdict. We will have to keep watching to see what we find about this one.
If I were the Zimmerman family and I took his phone call, as that would be the first "IF", I would ask him why he is bothering as he has already created enough racial tension and put a target on my son's back, so what more harm does he plan for George and the rest of his family?
What a narcissist Obama truly is. If he did this does he think that they will fall all over themselves for joy after the damage he has done and what he has said and further implied about their son? What a colassal narcissist; no, what a true sociopath.
Unfortunately, under Obama, a phone call from him is a waste of his time and the person he is calling. It would be "staged."