President Obama held a press conference to discuss the controversial verdict of the George Zimmerman trial, moments ago. ‘Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,’ he told a room or reports and officials, reiterating what he said last year about the tragic death “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. He asked for peace amongst the protests and urged legislators to review the “stand your ground” law, but more importantly he described the disconnect between races and why there are two polarizing viewpoints of what actually happened the night of February 26, 2012.
“In the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away,” he said. “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.”
White America and Black America view the killing of Trayvon Martin very differently. One group of people believe that George Zimmerman, neighborhood watch captain, saw a young boy in his housing complex, who appeared suspicious. In their eyes, Zimmerman did nothing wrong, besides get out of his car in an attempt to serve his community which suffered an influx in break ins recently. He, when told to refrain from following Martin, stopped and was attacked by the thug.
On the other hand, is the Black perspective. We see the killing of Trayvon as murder. In our eyes, Zimmerman racially profiled Martin, stalked him then followed him until confronting the teenager steps away from his destination. Others may accept Zimmerman’s theory of events, but Black know better, it’s all too common of an occurance to write off as a man whose heart was in the right place, according to juror B37.
“I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear,” he described. “And 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. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.”
President Obama was criticized for “involving himself” with the case, even if said involvement was only a comment to sooth the hearts of his fellow African American. Rather then end on a pessimistic note, the President concluded: “And so, you know, we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues, and those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. But we should also have confidence that kids these days I think have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long, difficult journey, you know, we’re becoming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.”
See the full transcript, here.
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