President Obama Makes Surprise, Personal Remarks on Trayvon Case and Racism in America

July 19, 2013 |

President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room Friday afternoon to make a statement on the aftermath of the verdict in the George Zimmerman case.

Obama spoke in a highly personal tone — reflecting on comments he made last year in which he said that Trayvon Martin could have been his son.

“Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could’ve been me, 35 years ago,” Obama said.

Obama also touched on his own experiences with racial profiling growing up.

“There are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of being followed in a department store — that includes me,” Obama said.

Obama said that he and his staff are “bouncing around ideas” about how to move forward on issues of racial profiling. He called for a review of so-called “stand your ground” laws, a position backed by Attorney General Eric Holder.

“If Trayvon Martin was of age and he was armed, could he have ‘stood his ground’ on that sidewalk?” Obama said.

He added: “If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”

As far as a “national conversation on race” — for which some politicians have called in the wake of the verdict — Obama said that in his experience, it hasn’t been “very productive.”

He closed his statement by saying that that he didn’t want the nation to “lose sight” of the fact that there has been racial progress in America.

“It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society or that racism has been eliminated,” Obama said.

Category: World

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