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Comments about ‘Obama: Trayvon Martin 'could have been me' 35 years ago’

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Published: Friday, July 19 2013 6:18 p.m. MDT

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Vladhagen
Salt Lake City, UT

What do they mean that Zimmerman identifies as Hispanic? He is half Peruvian isn't he? He is Hispanic. That is not just what he identifies as. Does Barrack Obama "identify as black?" He is only half black after all. Or is President Obama black, at least insofar as society is concerned? This whole racial spin on the case is sort of odd, especially where all of the articles state Martin was black (since he was), yet always use the phrase "identifies as Hispanic" when speaking of Zimmerman.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Is barack saying that he was a racist 35 years ago and referred to white people using racist terms?

Because that's what Trayvon did.

Shame on Trayvon, barack, and all others who think racism means whites treating blacks poorly.

Vladhagen
Salt Lake City, UT

I think that Ifel O'f'a-sofa brings up a good point. Are we calling Martin a victim because he was black, or because he was lawlessly shot (which a jury decided to not be the case)? I think that far too many people see Martin as a victim solely because he is BLACK.

SpanishImmersed
Mesa, AZ

If I had a son, he would be like Trayvon...Trayvon could have been me..

Pandering to his constituency to the utmost degree.

Meanwhile, Sir Charles Barkley stated that the jury got it right based on the evidence presented. He blames the media for giving every white racist and black racist a platform to vent their ignorance.

djk
blue springs, MO

obama is fanning the flames of hatred and violence. he used pot as a teen . sadly this is our leader. he needs to stay out of this . if he needs to speak on this then he needs to say 'we are all Americans no matter our linage. pull together and work side by side to build our country not tear it down. please end the protesting and violence . show our young children with unity we are one strong country. teach our youth respect and not racism. pray and ask for guidance'. ya that would be good.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Pres. Obama gave an excellent well-reasoned and thoughtful speech, and was careful to not question the outcome of the trial but to talk about the continuing challenges of racism, noting that there is and has been much progress with each succeeding generation. It was also interesting what he said about govt. vs society's role in combating racism.

While Pres. Obama is bi-racial, society identifies him as being "black" based on his skin color. No doubt he has long worn that label, whether it was his choosing or not. So, of course it is legitimate for Obama to note that he, as a black teenager, could've been Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin's toxicology results showed only trace amounts of THC such that it may have been ingested days earlier and played no role in his behavior.
Trayvon Martin told his friend he went out to buy "Skittles and Arizona" for his father's fiance's son.

peter
Alpine, UT

Now, there's a thought....

Ophelia
Bountiful, UT

Thank you, President Obama, for discussing a controversial issue with calm dignity and wisdom. I agree that we are getting better; we are working towards being a more perfect union. For example, my great, great grandparents had a "hanging tree" in there community. How horrific! We still have a long way to go, but we can't lose sight of the fact that we are getting better as a nation.

I also agree with President Obama's comments about talk. Talking -- or writing for that matter -- doesn't do a lot of good. We tend to talk and gripe to people who are very similar in beliefs. In fact, talk can actually exacerbate prejudice. It's honest soul-searching, self-reflection, and experience with others who are different than we are that helps us overcome prejudice and discrimination.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

He was talking about how black people are viewed with heightened suspicion due to race, the way Zimmermann thought Treyvon was somehow suspicious despite being some guy with convenience store items talking on a phone. That's the comparison he was drawing, but half the comments are busy not paying attention to context.

riverofsun
St.George, Utah

So many of the hateful comments on this board so remind me of my uniformed, bigoted ancestors.
For many reasons those older people from days gone by constantly used racial slurs against Japanese, Jewish, Italians, Mexican, Polish, Russian, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.
America must evolve beyond the racial slurs and hatred of those who don't see themselves as anything but white Americans.
As our thoughtful President stated today, "We are making progress".
Our children and grandchildren are leading the way in compassion and understanding in so many areas.
Hope I will live long enough to look back on this and find that my descendants are in denial that people ever acted in such a distasteful way towards anyone of any race.

KJB1
Eugene, OR

OK, so I'll try this again:

Let's say that a white teenager was killed in an incident like this one. Then let's say that President Bush (or President Romney, as long as we're being hypothetical) said that the victim could have been him as a kid.

Would the people on this board be accusing him of "stoking hatred?" I'm guessing they wouldn't...

VST
Bountiful, UT

From the article: “Despite his emotional comments on the case, the president appeared to signal that the Justice Department was unlikely to file federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.”

Bingo! This is what his 20 minute discussion in the White House Press Room is all about.

Bob K
porland, OR

Very, very SAD that the most liked comments here leave out many facts and twist others
Anyone who is not aware that Black sons are told by their fathers how to avoid being arrested and possibly shot, anyone who does not think that White people often show fear when they see a perfectly respectable Black man ---- educate yourselves, please!
The President's speech was heartfelt and moving, and suggests we solve a lot of issues that we have buried.
I especially invite anyone living in a very White area to educated himself on this, and not make assumptions based on your own experience alone.
If you went on a mission, and knocked on doors, some of the people showed you a little bit of the reaction that many Black people get every day.
........... and they do not have to be perfect to be American citizens

Billy Budd
Saint George, UT

I listened to as well as watched President Obama's comments.

Since I'm not a black male and therefore have no life experience as a black male, I appreciate a black male taking the time to respectfully offer their personal knowledge as to whatever life experiences they have had as well as how those life experiences shape their world view.

TMR
Los Angeles, CA

Mark - you asked a question that I have wondered about numerous times.

It is nice to see a President open up once in a while, especially on a topic of great import. Kudos to President Obama for speaking about his experiences to give us all a little more understanding and empathy for the experiences of black men across America.

wer
South Jordan, UT

Why do responsible news outlets keep quoting this irrelevant president?

Mr. Bean
Pheonix, AZ

@mohrman:
"how does a 'white' person feel when a car comes up to them with a justice for Trayvon language with it."

Good point.

Black people across America who protest and riot because of the jury ruling are setting race relations back fifty years. This is not the way to bring Americans together or to make Americans sympathetic to the Black cause. White America cannot be forced to love and accept all non white races. There has to be a conscious effort to accept each other as brothers.

African Americans should thank their lucky stars they are here, despite all the challenges, and not in their country of origin... as should all Americans.

Counter Intelligence
Salt Lake City, UT

"He was talking about how black people are viewed with heightened suspicion due to race, the way Zimmermann thought Treyvon was somehow suspicious despite being some guy with convenience store items talking on a phone."

never mind that the FBI found no indication that Zimmerman was motivated by race, rather than merely suspicious behavior = indeed Zimmerman dated a black woman and has black relatives and is no more white than Obama is - the assumption that the ONLY reason anyone would be suspicious of an unknown kid in a neighborhood where crime had recently happened is because of his skin color - is Eric Holder/Al Sharpton/NBC/New York Times racialist stereotyping

Obama gave a good talk - then proceeded to prove he is the biggest panderer to racialism of all

Tators
Hyrum, UT

No one here has spoken about why white people often feel uneasy around some black males. There are reasons for everything. Black males are involved in a highly disproportionate percentage of crime in this country. It's a actual fact. And mentioning proven facts doesn't make anyone a racist or a bigot.
This particular fact means that blacks are at least somewhat responsible for some of the fear and distrust they sometimes receive, though not all of it. I don't mention this as an excuse for all such actions by non-blacks. But it nevertheless is a valid factor to at least consider.

LetsDebate
PLEASANT GROVE, UT

From the article:

"And he raised the provocative question of whether Martin himself, if he had been armed and of age, "could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk" and shot Zimmerman if he felt threatened when being followed."

What ridiculous and dangerous logic. So, according to President Obama, a black person is justified in using deadly force on a white person just on the basis of fear of being followed, but a white person is not justified in using deadly force when actually being beaten by a black person. That seems to be the overriding message of all the protesters as well. Black people have different experiences, so anything they do is justified, and any acts of violence upon white people must be submissively taken without putting up a defense.

I think President Obama could have made a very important message by suggesting that people of any race should defend themselves with words, even heated words if necessary, but that escalation to physical violence leads to unpredictable and often tragic results, and Trayvon Martin would likely be alive today if he had followed that advice.

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