First time since 2008, President Obama today spoke in a big way about race in an unscheduled White House briefing this morning, discussing ramifications—both the personal and the political—of the Trayvon Martin verdict.
Weeks ago he said, “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”….Today he was even more direct, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
“There are very few African-American men I this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”
While he did not explicitly criticize the verdict, he did talk from his unique perspective wondering what should be done “to bolster African American Boys, to let them know that their country cares about them is willing to invest in them.”
He pondered not just whether the verdict—or entire incident– might have been different “top to bottom” if the race of the participants was different, but what if Trayvon Martin had a gun and shot the man who had been following him in a car? Which seems as if it would have been acceptable under ‘stand your ground’ laws of Florida. If the outcome there “is even ambiguous” then this is a conversation more than worth having.
“As difficult as this episode has been,” he said. “Things are getting better.” And while his advisors are examining what, if anything, should be done at a federal level, one of the main things he is suggesting is conversations around the water cooler….
It is “easier for people to be honest in work places and churches and families” and with each other that with political conversation about race that tends to be “stilted and politicized.”
So that’s what this is….bikini waxing as water cooler…
Doesn’t get any more honest….or exposed…than that.