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Tag Archives: Trayvon Martin

Obama Misses His Moment on Race

I got this note the other day from one of our readers, a woman who is named Dr. Love, in response to President Obama’s remarks on Trayvon Martin.

I am an average weight white girl who happens to wear a 34 – M cup bra and is covered with tattoo’s. And guess what Mr. President I get followed in stores too and believe me I know what it is like for people to get nervous when I get on the elevator with them. And just so the brothers don’t feel singled out, I too know what it’s like to have people lock their car doors at intersections when I’m waiting  to cross.

But I’ll raise you one, I know what it’s like to experience prejudice from your race but also my own race and every other race. And for anyone who wants to pull the race card on me, I married a Hispanic the 1st time and a Black man the 2nd.

The next time anyone feels like an outcast and that everyone is treating  you like a red-headed stepchild I strongly suggest you ride an L.A. bus and watch a paraplegic in a wheelchair get on holding up the bus when everyone’s in a rush.

I would rather be a handicapped homeless minority in the U.S. than a factory worker in China! Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream” was full of respect for the constitution, the authorities of the land, this country and God. His example is the only way his dream can manifest.

Now, why do I share this with you?

Because she makes the point that Obama’s remarks on Martin were self-pitying and divisive, and self-pity and division are not what race relations require today.

Instead of leading on race, Obama joined in with the same old grievance crowd led by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, finding a racial issue and proof of racism where there is none.

Obama had a chance to bring people together by saying not every issue that involves a black and white person has to do with race. He had a chance to be a new kind of black leader, suggesting African Americans need to look within themselves and their own culture instead worrying about every slight from whites.

I have no doubt that there is still racism in this country. But it’s not what’s holding black people down. The sound of car doors locking is not what’s barring African Americans entry into the middle and upper classes.

The greatest tragedy in this nation’s cultural history is its persecution of African Americans. It’s greatest triumph is the progress it has made since the 1950s in diminishing racism.

This nation just elected for the second time an African American. He’s liberal, but conservatives in the 2012 primaries backed Herman Cain, a black businessman, with a passion they showed for no one else, until he was forced to leave the race.

The second greatest tragedy in the nation’s cultural history is the failure of African Americans since the 1960s to make enough economic progress and be integrated fully with whites.

I believe with all my heart that what continues to keep races apart is not lingering racism, but economic policies that foster dependency in the black community and abet the total meltdown of the black family. Race hucksters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton perpetuate a way of thinking that seeks to blame whites for the problems African Americans have instead of fostering a climate of self reliance that is needed in the community

A few black leaders – Bill Cosby, for example – have bucked the trend and sought to administer the tough love that says, you must do this on your own. Sure, white oppression played a big role in creating the culture of dependency. But white altruism in the form of government handouts is not going to solve the problem.

Obama had a chance to say, really, who the Hell cares about Zimmerman when black teenagers in the inner cities are slaughtering each other?

He won’t abandon his government handout creed, but he could at least have avoided the self-absorbed victimization pose that passes for civil rights these days.

Black people have reason for resentment. History gave them that. But there are enough black leaders expressing such sentiments. And I never got anywhere in life lingering on resentment.

Obama could have been a civil rights leader of the 21st century, using his own success as an example of how to break the bonds of anger, accusation, and dependence that can hold people back. He could have said, ignore the sound of locks, because that’s not what’s closing doors. But he didn’t.

Instead, he goes with the Sharpton flow and celebrates Trayvon Martin as a modern civil rights hero, even though the evidence suggests Martin nearly beat a man to death in a savage attack far disproportionate to whatever provocation existed. If you want to know how pathetic the current civil rights movement is compared to the black heroes of the 1960s, well, there you go.

We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
We shall overcome someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We shall overcome someday.

We’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand,
We’ll walk hand in hand someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We’ll walk hand in hand someday.

We are not afraid, we are not afraid,
We are not afraid today;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We are not afraid today.

Black people shall overcome. But they shall need a new set of leaders who are honest enough to express to them why they haven’t. I had once thought that, whatever his politics, Barack Obama was one of these. No more.

Obama Signals Civil Rights Charges Unlikely

Largely lost amid the hoopla surrounding Obama’s seminar Friday on race was a small suggestion contained within the remarks that signaled a second prosecution of George Zimmerman on federal civil rights charges is unlikely:

I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here.  Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code.  And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

That’s good. There are hunches – and dare I say hopes – but no specific evidence I’m aware of that this was a hate crime. A sizable FBI investigation last year suggested race was in fact not a factor in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

So Holder and Obama, much to their chagrin I’m sure, may be forced to leave this alone, and weather the wrath of Al Sharpton.

Obama: “Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me”

President Obama today doubled down on his statement last year that Trayvon Martin could have been his son, revising his remarks with the update, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.

Obama spoke today about the Trayvon Martin case during an unscheduled appearance in the White House briefing room before the daily briefing by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Carney suggested afterward that Obama decided to take the stage after reporters from Latino TV stations earlier this week failed as expected to ask about Martin, saying Obama had prepared a similar statement for them.

Once again, as he did in a written statement issued Sunday, Obama injected race into a situation in which the sole surviving antagonist – George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Martin – says there was no element of race. Skating right by Zimmerman’s claims, Obama called for “soul searching:”

And then, finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching . . . at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?  Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character?  That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

Obama said he accepted the jury’s verdict but, through his clear sympathy for Martin, obviously completely rejects the principle underlying it – that Zimmerman acted in self defense. Zimmerman said he had stopped following Martin at the time he was attacked and claims it was Martin who then came and found him, and then attacked unprovoked.

First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation . . . You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.

Incredible. The president is stepping into the case not only add racist motives that haven’t been proven but to throw doubt on a man who was declared innocent under the law Obama is tasked with upholding.

Obama offered only  a mild caution against violence, and that merely in passing:

If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family.  But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.

Instead, he said it was understandable that African Americans – including himself – interpret the case along racial lines because of injustices and stereotyping past and present.

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when 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 the doors of cars.  That happens to me — at least before I was a senator . . . The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws.  And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

Might not the first black president tell African Americans to try to look at the case dispassionately rather than suggest that whites should accept their reaction? Would that not do more, given the incredible progress the country has made with respect to race, to unite the country under his leadership?

Obama was obviously trying to make some kind of profound summing up of the Martin case. What he did instead was continue to polarize the issue and suggest that blacks have good reason to be angry.

Here’s the full video of Obama’s remarks:

Obama Meeting With Black Sorority Sisters

As the White House continues to try to placate allies in the black community outraged over the George Zimmerman verdict, President Barack Obama is meeting Tuesday with members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at the White House, according to Politico.

That’s a good thing. The more he does stuff like this, the more it seems maybe he’s trying to show he’s doing as much as he can to lead a “national dialogue on race” – which apparently we’re supposed to have now – without having to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

From the Politico article.

White House spokesman Kevin Lewis said the Oval Office meeting will mark the 100th anniversary of the African-Amercan sorority and the 51st anniversary of its convention. He will meet with members including the sorority’s president, Cynthia Butler-McIntyre.

Given the national dialogue on race since the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case — and Attorney General Eric Holder’s Monday comments to the group about the case — it wouldn’t be unexpected for the conversation to veer in that direction.

No, it wouldn’t really be unexpected, would it? In fact, that’s the point.

There was much talk at the White House briefing today about The Dialogue. It occurs to me, the White House already has a natural choice to lead this National Dialogue on Race, a scholar in the field and a supreme intellectual overall who last year weighed in with this distinguished analysis:

What Obama Can Learn from a Legal Intern

Have a look in the video below at this poised and principled young woman, Channa Lloyd.

A law student working as an intern in the firm representing George Zimmerman, she had the challenge of being part of the Zimmerman defense team – and also being African American. It appears she had the option not to work the case, but she took it anyway.

Why? I assume because she is trying to learn her profession and is committed to the sacrosanct American principle that everyone accused of a crime deserves a defense.

Before joining the team, she wanted to know one thing: Was Zimmerman a racist? Not because she didn’t think he deserved a defense if he was – she’s met plenty of racists before, and knows they’re an unfortunate part of society too – but because she felt she could not adequately defend him if she knew he hated black people. Satisfied he was not a racist, she joined the defense, knowing full well the repercussions she could face.

From whom? Well, from people like President Obama, who don’t understand that their role in society – and its obligations to other people – is more important than their own self-indulgent thinking.

Obama is president of all of us, not just black people and liberals. What’s more, he runs the supposedly independent federal system of Justice.

But Obama has expressed his clear bias in this case, starting with imagining that Trayvon Martin is his son and continuing through Sunday’s statement in which he suggests Martin is a hero, while not even mentioning Zimmerman. Even though he has no idea what happened and a jury couldn’t rule out that Zimmerman was savagely attacked by Martin and killed him in self-defense.

And so Obama either indulged his own feelings, failed to resist the emotions of others demanding Zimmerman’s head – or both.

Obama could learn something by watching this Ms. Lloyd, who put duty to her profession and the principles that underly our system of justice first, instead of herself. She did the hard thing, not the easy thing, and will no doubt incur lots of nastiness.

Obama did the easy thing. Maybe he can give her words some thought Saturday on the golf course.

Stage Set for Second Zimmerman Prosecution

The White House and Attorney General Eric Holder are pretending that the judgment on whether to file federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman will be left to the honest, non-political career men and women at the Department of Justice. But both President Obama and Holder have already signaled very clearly to the professionals what they want.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 2.47.15 PMObama “has no position to express,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted today. Yet Obama has already expressed a position, issuing a statement Sunday that unambiguously demonstrated he thinks the crime was racially motivated.

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy . . .  for America,” Obama said, adding, “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.”

A tragedy for America? How is it a tragedy for America if there isn’t some larger issue involved? And what’s the larger issue? Irresponsible community policing? No, it’s clearly race.

Widen the circle of compassion? Compassion for whom – purchasers of Skittles? No, Obama is talking about what he sees as white intolerance for African Americans.

Message to Eric: This was a race crime. Are you listening?

Yes, Eric was listening, though I’m sure he hardly had to be prompted.

“We are determined to meet division and confusion with understanding and compassion – and also with truth,” Holder said during remarks Monday on the case. “We are resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too common incidents.”

Uhh, not hard to discern that Holder thinks Mr. Zimmerman harbored “underlying attitudes” and mistakenly believed in “stereotypes.”

Holder termed Martin’s death “tragic” and “unnecessary.” Well, it’s certainly tragic. But it’s only unnecessary if you believe either Martin shouldn’t have attacked Zimmerman or Zimmerman should have ignored racist instincts and left Martin alone.

Guess which one, professional, career prosecutors at the Justice Department, your boss Holder believes?

“And we will never stop working to ensure that – in every case, in every circumstance, and in every community – justice must be done,” Holder pronounced.

That is, in this case.

Let’s face it, the nation’s first black president and its first black attorney general are under immense pressure from the African American community and its leaders – as well as many, many others – to launch a civil rights case.

It would take enormous courage and dedication to principle for Obama and Holder to resist such pressure. Which is bad news for Zimmerman. Not that they even seem to want to resist.

Sorry Zimmerman. You’re left with Racial Politics for $800, and the answer is . . . Double Jeopardy!

That’s the direction in which this game appears headed.

Obama Issues Pro-Trayvon Martin Statement

After waiting some 17 hours since the jury issued its verdict, President Obama issued a written statement Sunday afternoon saying “a jury has spoken” but suggesting justice has not been done.

As anger seethes among those who reject the jury’s unanimous verdict that George Zimmerman did not murder Trayvon Martin or commit manslaughter, the president only indirectly called for protestors to refrain from violence.

And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher.  But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.

Note that instead of calling for calm himself, Obama decided to paraphrase Martin’s parents. And instead of pointedly insisting on nonviolence, Obama mentions the need for “calm reflection.”

Meanwhile, the statement unambiguously favors Martin – starting with the allusion to “two parents who lost their young son” – even though the jurors’ verdict means they could not rule out that Zimmerman was acting in self defense from a vicious attack in which he might have been beaten to death.

The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy.  Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America . . . We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.  We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.  We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.  As citizens, that’s a job for all of us.  That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

That’s the extent of the statement. Obama did not make any reference to Zimmerman, whom many believe also deserves sympathy, since his life may well have been ruined by the shooting and his safety is clearly in jeopardy in the face of numerous death threats.

By expressing sympathy only for Martin, Obama is again taking sides in the case, as he did in March 2012 when he proclaimed that, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Obama’s statement, with it’s insistence that Americans “ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities,” may send a message to the Justice Department that he would support federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

Appearing Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today hinted he would support such a move:

I think the Justice Department is going to take a look at this. You know, this isn’t over with, and I think that’s good.

And with Obama’s clear support for Martin over Zimmerman, the president may have undermined what would seem to be, in the context of the rest of his statement, an almost perfunctory appeal for calm.

Obama Silent So Far on Zimmerman Verdict

UPDATE: Obama issued a statement Sunday afternoon.

*******

The White House has so far refrained from commenting on the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, despite scattered protests around the country and calls for the administration to pursue federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

The last statement President Obama made about the case was a Rose Garden appearance in which he said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Critics say Obama’s remarks helped fan anger and set in motion charges against Zimmerman – charges that were dismissed with relative speed by the jury in Zimmerman’s trial Saturday night.

Having added to the emotion surrounding the case, Obama so far is doing nothing to defuse it and prevent potential racial violence of the kind that accompanied the initial verdict in the 1992 Rodney King case, in which white Los Angeles police officers were pronounced innocent in the beating of King, who was black.

After riots broke out, the Justice Department of then-President George H.W. Bush started a new investigation and lodged a civil rights case against the officers. They were eventually convicted.

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, the NAACP is urging the Obama Justice Department to also pursue federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

Coincidentally, Bush will visit Obama at the White House Monday to stage an unrelated event.

Meanwhile, protests against the Zimmerman verdict broke out in several cities Saturday night, including Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and a handful of cities in Florida. Protestors in Oakland smashed some windows and lit fires.

Obama may be calculating that any further involvement by him in the case at this point could backfire and stir emotions further. But the White House will ultimately have to address the matter, even if it is in answer to reporters’ questions about the verdict and the potential for federal charges.

Obama and Trayvon Martin, Part II

The trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin increasingly appears headed for an acquittal, and President Obama needs to be ready with a rapid response to rectify the error of his initial reaction to the case and prevent and outbreak of rioting. The police department and city government of Sanford, Florida, where… Continue Reading

Little-Known DOJ Cell Watches Trayvon Martin Protests

A largely unknown group of Justice Department officials has inserted itself into the local Florida protest movement surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin, assisting the protestors and attending their meetings and rallies. While the officials are tasked with preventing racial violence, it appears that in carrying out their duties, they have provided significant assistance to… Continue Reading

Obama’s Misuse of Power in the Zimmerman Case

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have inappropriately waded into the case against George Zimmerman. While the effects are unclear, the misuse of executive power is unmistakable. We don’t know if Zimmerman is guilty of a crime, though he may be, and if he is he should be punished. We do know that the… Continue Reading

Carney: No More From Obama on Trayvon Martin

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today said President Obama will make no further comments on the Trayvon Martin case. “I certainly don’t think you’ll hear from him,” Carney said, noting that there is an “ongoing investigation” in the case. Carney suggested the White House is now imposing a wall of silence on the matter.… Continue Reading