Dan Liljenquist: Silver lining would be discourse on race relations

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  • Hunam Layton, UT
    July 22, 2013 7:01 a.m.

    I guess as a white man who has never had a truly racist thought in my life, I find it exasperating when our commander in chief tells us we are still a racist nation.

    I've been to other countries, many supposedly enlightened and European, where the people are rampantly racist to the point of it being embarrassing to talk with them. I know a few people about the age of 80 who are terrified they'll be raped by someone with a different skin color, but honestly, I don't see it in the young people at all.

    I think if you spend your life looking for insult you'll find it--regardless of the reason you feel insulted. Race, religion, sexual orientation, education level, your weight, favorite sport's team, hair color, you name it, if you're sensitive about it, you will find a reason to be offended.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    July 19, 2013 1:33 p.m.


    I was living in Southern California at the time of the O.J. Simpson murder case. I followed it on TV and radio thoughout the day, knew the case inside and out, feeling I understood it better than some of the numbskull police detectives. After the trial, I read several books about it. Bottom line, from the forensic evidence and everything else, I know Simpson murdered those two people better than if I had been watching him do it in person. That for me was when I lost a lot of faith in the justice system. I learned two important things. First, defense lawyers are usually more experienced and better in the courtroom than district attorneys are. Two, you can usually buy the justice you need.

    Also, I agree with you that people will now be less likely to get involved or even call 911, especially on a black person, lest they be called racist profilers. I think this case will have some bad ramifications for America in the future.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    July 19, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    Eric S

    When Zimmerman testified on Hannitys FOX News show, he said that Trayvon was walking in a suspicious manner. Different from a straight steady walk home out in the open. Now you probably don't believe that, but since it was the only eyewitness testimony available, it was one of many reasons any fair juror would have had to declare not guilty due to reasonable doubt. By the way, if former Governer of New Mexico and Clinton cabinet member Bill Richardson had had a son, he would probably look rather like George Zimmerman. So what's the point that Obama was trying to make? Another stupid statement by a stupid man.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 19, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    If a possible silver lining from this tragedy is a discourse on race relations... then the possible dark outcome from this tragedy is race riots.

    I'm for the discourse, not the riots. I don't know what purpose the riots really serve. Seems like they cause more resentment, anger, and division... not less.

  • Remery El Centro, CA
    July 19, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    One sided discussions don't work. I was raised to judge people by who they were rather than skin color. But what I have witnessed are allegations of any confrontation between a Caucasian and someone of another race as racially motivated. I am becoming sick and tired of it. The NAACP is racist by its very name and promotes Racism and Hate. The Zimmerman Trial Persecutor was Indicted July 2nd by a Criminal Grand Jury for falsifying the Affidavit to obtain the arrest warrant for Zimmerman. Whether guilty or innocent, the evidence needed to convict him never existed from the beginning. So what is there to discuss? If you don't agree , you are racist. May I remind everyone Race was interjected into The shooting by Trayvon's family, friends and supporters. If you are looking for evidence of Racism, it is right in front of you

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 19, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    There Is No (Net) Silver Lining

    Many people including myself have lost a measure of confidence in the legal system as a result of the Zimmerman case. Defending ones self is not only a fundamental right, it is supposedly legally protected. Initially the law was followed and authorities declined to prosecute the case. Then for political reasons Mr. Zimmerman was forced to undergo an expensive and time consuming show trial, where he was forced for months to either be in Jail or wear an ankle monitor and feel that he was at risk of going to prison for the rest of his life.

    People who have so shoot others to defend themself or to protect others are supposed to call 911 after the shooting and report what happened to proper authorities. There will be people who would have called 911 and reported what happened who now won't. Some will simply leave the scene and disappear instead. Dealing with the legal system is now seen as too unpredictable and the cost for doing the right thing as too high.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    July 19, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    To be clear: President Obama did not say that if he had a teenage son that he would hope he would be like Trayvon. What he said was that if he had a son, he would probably look rather like Trayvon. Big difference.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    July 19, 2013 5:16 a.m.

    A calm, dispassionate analysis of crime statistics by race will show that black-on-white crime is far, far higher than the reverse. If you want an honest discourse on race relations, start with that fact.

    It won't happen.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    July 18, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    "In a recent survey of young black males, 25% said that they had been hassled by law enforcement without cause."

    Just curious, did they survey young males of other races?

    And did they control other parameters?

    The statistic is meaningless in a discussion of racism, without comparisons of other races and without parameters being equal.

    After hearing the Martin Father's press releases today, it is very clear that what they need is to have empathy, for the loss of their son, from the US community. I don't think any amount of protesting, either peaceful or violent, will fill that need. Nor would a wrongful conviction of Zimmerman fill that need. The protests are meant to provide undo power to certain activist groups, not help the Martin family, nor to address real racial issues.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    July 18, 2013 5:49 p.m.

    I find it hard to believe that the black community has made Trayvon Martin their poster child. Even the President says that if he had a son he would want him to be like Trayvon Martin. Our discussion, if we have one, must be honest.You cannot define racism away so that it exists only in the white mind. Trayvon Martin epitomizes what is wrong in the black community - not what is right. I am not justifying Zimmerman's actions but I do justify the jurors. There is so much hatred for police and white people in general that it is impossible to say what is true. Lets have an open and frank discussion by all means. Just look at all of the disrespect that is manifested everywhere you go.

  • The Sensible Middle Bountiful, UT
    July 18, 2013 5:35 p.m.

    Why do I keep reading that Trayvon Martin had skittles, does that somehow make a difference? If Adolf Hitler liked apple pie for example with that somehow rescue his reputation?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2013 5:14 p.m.

    "Even Hispanic Democrats, married to beautiful Native American Republicans, living in Tooele County [for the irony-impaired -- that's me]"

    Somehow I managed to walk into that one even with the odds heavily in my favor that my assumption was correct based on local demographics...

    "White male protestants have are at much higher risk."

    This is kind of amusing because I'm insisting that your demographic is worse off when it comes to facing bigoted persecution and you're insisting that it's my demographic that is worse off when it comes to facing bigoted persecution.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    July 18, 2013 4:29 p.m.

    To say that 'actual race problems' are negligible is simply untrue. In a recent survey of young black males, 25% said that they had been hassled by law enforcement without cause.

    This month.

    I can't see that the Zimmerman case is about anything except race. Zimmerman followed this kid because he was 'acting suspiciously.' Well, what was he doing? There's no evidence that he was doing anything except walking home. But he was black and he wore a hoodie. So does that make him suspicious?

    As it happens, there are many young teenage guys in my neighborhood. Great kids all. I sat on my porch and watched 'em yesterday, walking down the street. One was talking to himself. Another stopped suddenly, then took off in another direction. Two of them were walking together trying to shove each other off the sidewalk. They were, in short, being kids.

    Betcha anything that was all Trayvon was doing.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 18, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    Re: "Have you ever thought to actually ask a minority . . . ?"

    Have you? If not, you're now actually engaged with a member of a recognized minority -- me.

    I didn't say there is no race blather problem. There is.

    But actual race problems are negligible.

    If you're a Black man, living in America -- even where Trayvon died -- who doesn't pursue and assault others, including neighborhood watch volunteers, your chances of suffering or dying from actions motivated by racial animus are vanishingly small.

    Even Hispanic Democrats, married to beautiful Native American Republicans, living in Tooele County [for the irony-impaired -- that's me], the odds of suffering racial or ethnic discrimination are infinitesimal.

    That hasn't always been true -- I was paddled in school for speaking Spanish. Teachers suspected we were discussing them. We were.

    But today? White male protestants have are at much higher risk.

    And, white America's chances of being verbally assaulted, reviled, and blamed for any of a number of things it had absolutely no hand in, by one or another captain of an obsolete victimization industry?


  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 18, 2013 2:51 p.m.

    If this resulted in a discourse on race relations... that would be a good thing.

    I think the kind of discussion we are having here is "good". Snarky at times. But we are talking about it. Talking past each other sometimes, but at least some people may learn something from the discussion.

    IMO the protests are mostly non-productive. Especially the ones that have resulted in random violence on innocent bystanders. Especially when that violent outburst is caused by the color of the innocent bystanders skin.

    I think it would help if the President (who was supposed to be able to bring us together on race relations) would say something. As far as I can tell he has said almost nothing and done almost nothing to help race relations in his whole two terms as President. I don't know what better opportunity he's waiting for to actually his ability to help America heal than this.

    btw... Protesters need to realize there could be backlash from their protests. They could actually make race relations worse, and increase the divide.

    It would be tragic if the racial-divide in America actually worsened after electing Obama.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    "Truth is, today's race problem is negligible."

    Have you ever thought to actually ask a minority what there is that concerns them about race relations? Or read or listen to something, find a Melissa Harris-Perry show from this past weekend, I don't know, just try and figure out where the heck their views that there are still problems is based on.

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 18, 2013 10:14 a.m.


    Somehow, I don't see the armed communities in LA and Chicago (as pointed out by Chris B) or in Mogadishu, for example, as polite societies. Armed societies are not necessarily more polite, but they are undoubtedly more deadly.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    LDS lib

    "Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that entire African American community should also be following the advise of the NRA and the pro-gun 2nd amendment supporters"

    If you look at some cities like LA and Chicago, that's already happened.

    They are ahead of you

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 18, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Re: "Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that entire African American community should also be following the advise of the NRA and the pro-gun 2nd amendment supporters?"

    Couldn't hurt.

    An armed society is a polite society.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 18, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    Imagine for a moment...

    A young BLACK man with juice and skittles from 7-11,
    wearing a hoodie,
    being harassed and relentlessly followed, by a bigger man,
    and HE'S the one with a gun?

    George Zimmerman never would have been on trial.

    Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that entire African American community should also be following the advise of the NRA and the pro-gun 2nd amendment supporters?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    I was disgusted to learn that Treyvon used a racist phrase in describing Zimmerman to his friend while on the phone with her.

    This racism has no part in our country.

    Shame on Treyvon.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    July 18, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    The reason we can't have a dialog on race in this country is because we can't have an honest dialog on the topic. For example, in 1960 there was a higher percentage of two-parent black homes than two-parent white homes. What happened to destroy the black family by the end of the century? There is a political faction in this country that does not want that question answered honestly.

    If a black man like Bill Cosby, with no political agenda to grind, wants to discuss solutions to the social problems faced by blacks, it doesn't create a dialog. It creates an outcry, a furor, a spewing forth of hateful comments from those who cannot tolerate opinions other than their own. How can a dialog exist in that environment.

    If someone observes there are more blacks in the criminal justice system because they commit more crimes, nobody wants to evaluate whether the evidence supports that theory. Instead, they want to immediately crucify the messenger as racist. How can a dialog happen in that environment?

    To have a dialog, you have to be willing to listen to and consider opinions that differ from your own.

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 18, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    My biggest problem with this case is the sloppy work done by the police force. Much has been said about the presence of THC in Martin's body, indicating that he had smoked marijuana some time before. But there was no investigation of Zimmerman's condition at all. Had he been consuming illegal drugs or had he been drinking alcohol?

    We also know that Zimmerman had issues. He was arrested at age 20 for shoving a police officer who was questioning if one of his companions was old enough to purchase a drink. He also had some history of domestic abuse - his ex-fiancee had a restraining order placed on him in 2005, alleging domestic violence.

    Why is a person with this record permitted to carry a gun? Isn't that just asking for trouble?

    I can't say the jury made the wrong decision. They found Zimmerman not guilty, which is not the same as innocent. This simply means that the prosecution failed to prove its case. We'll never know for certain who initiated the physical confrontation that led to Martin's death. It is sad for everyone involved.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 18, 2013 7:54 a.m.

    Leave the issues in the country it comes from. We are Americans Not in Ireland or England, Africa or Mexico or in any place. We are in America. Respect this place it's an honor and a privilege to be hear. Act like it.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 18, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    Race hustlers like Al Sharpton,Jesse Jackson and others see "racism" where it doesn't exist, except in their own minds!

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 18, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    Re: "If there is a silver lining, perhaps this is it — that we might renew a civil discourse . . . ."

    I don't know what you've been watching, Dan, but there's no civil discourse. No silver lining.

    This tragedy has been hijacked by the victimization industry [including their wholly-owned subsidiary, the news media], whose leaders are seeing what has been a lucrative, influential political gig going on the wane.

    Truth is, today's race problem is negligible. And that scares those who've made a good living and been given influence WAY out of proportion to any validity their positions may once have had, over WAY too many years.

    So, they're disingenuously stirring the pot, hoping to further divide us as a Nation, cynically influence a few sophomoric malcontents, and re-energize a guilt-ridden liberal base, all to regain political power they've correctly lost, because there's no real need for them anymore.

    Trayvon/Zimmerman was never about race. Using it as a springboard to discussions of race relations is buying into the victimization industry's cynical lies.