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President Obama speaks out on the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, the George Zimmerman verdict, and what he feels that means for us as a country.

President Obama’s speech was sincere and, in as politically correct a way as possible, he shared his honest thoughts and feelings on the matter. The statements he made cannot be taken lightly.

Law Problems & The Justice System

One of the major points President Obama makes in his speech is that there is a problem with the laws of this country. The President emphasized that these laws are governed on the state level; however, he made sure to give his presidential opinion that laws such as Stand Your Ground do not support peace and security.

The Black Context

President Obama stated,

“I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this through a set of experiences and history that doesn’t go away.” – President Barack Obama

President Obama made sure to emphasize the “context” of the Trayvon Martin tragedy and what that means to Black people. This is significant because society depends on ignorance to support the delusion of post-racism and racial peace in America. By him, as president, stating that the truth as even he knows it, he is forcing the country to be honest.

“There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed while 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 the locks click on doors of cars. That happened 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. And I don’t want to exaggerate this but those sets of experiences informs how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida and its inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.” – President Barack Obama

This is significant because there have been many criticisms from the Black community about President Obama not doing enough for the Black community; however, we have to realize is not the president of Black America. He is the president if The United States of America. That said, his charge is to the entire country. At best he can make moves such as this to weigh in on situations and not allow the country to ignore the issues of racial prejudice and racial disparity. In this regard he is doing more than most Black politicians have done.

Where The Solution is Found

The other significant part of the speech was President Obama’s emphasis that politicians are fairly impotent in making changes that affect racial prejudice. Partly because these incidents often happen on a lesser scale and never make it through local government channels such as law enforcement and state courts.

“There has been talk about whether we should convene a conversation on race. I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces there’s a possibility that people are a little bit more honest.” – President Barack Obama

The Point

Essentially President Obama has come forward to say that we all know there’s a race problem in this country and that problem is systemic (in the legal and justice system). He has made a call to arms for each individual member of this country to take responsibility for these injustices by examining ourselves and being honest with ourselves about our own biases. America’s race problem cannot be fixed through laws and cannot be changed by politicians. It has to be personal. It has to be everyone one person critically examining themselves and holding themselves to higher moral standard. The war is psychological and the revolution takes place in our minds.

I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’,

An Angry Black Man

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Comments
  1. Caleb Gee says:

    This was one of the two greatest moments in his presidency in my opinion. The first being when he took a bold and brave stand for religious tolerance and freedom for the Muslim Community despite all of the personal antipathy many in this nation have for him, especially when you consider that half of right-wingers already accuse Obama of being a “secret Muslim” as it is. Despite that he decided to go on record supporting the Islamic communities’ right to build a house of worship on property they rightfully owned. “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”

    And in the statement on the Zimmerman verdict it was another one of those rare moments when a President decides to throw politically safety to the curve and say what needed to be said, and the sentiments he expressed were ones that only he as the First Black President of America could give voice to on such a national stage. He knew that this wouldn’t necessarily be the politically safe thing for him to do, and I can gaurantee many on his staff would’ve advised him not to say anything. This Administration has tried very hard to stay out of being brought into any kind of discussions on race for obvious reasons (such as when Fox uses it to gin up fear and hatred in their supporters as they did with Shirley Sherrod, Van Jones, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and so many others), but he felt that this was a moment in history he couldn’t let slip by without expressing some sort of solidarity with the Black Community. I think this will be a moment for the history books certainly.

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