When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have 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.
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. There are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often. […]
The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case. […]
We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor Black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. […] 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 or that context is being denied.
President Barack Obama, in a surprise appearance at today’s White House press briefing, delivering remarks without notes.
(Please note, this is not a partisan post or blog; I’m not taking any position on the President’s words, which I heard only minutes ago and haven’t even fully processed; this is that rare occasion where I’m just passing along something I find newsworthy without editorializing.)
President Obama made four major suggestions in his remarks, beyond the protests and vigils, in the aftermath of this tragedy:
imma put this on my blog and sit on it. i’ve been mad at him and still am and still will be but this is interesting considering the convos we’ve been having recently
If a survivor of domestic violence uses a gun to warn an attacker, not kill him, and that survivor now faces a prison term of twenty years, then what purpose does Stand Your Ground serve?