The setting was not the Oval Office that Kennedy chose, nor was it the floor of a packed House of Representatives where Johnson spoke.
We don't need to talk about race. We need to end racial profiling.
I have a hard time joining the chorus celebrating the President’s comments on Trayvon Martin as one of his most stirring speeches. His legendary race speech in 2008 was near literary; Friday’s statement qualified more as remarks. “Personal,” yes—but this is a President who has written a best-selling autobiography and regularly prefaces his statements on all manner of issues with comments about “Michelle and I” and his daughters.Yet yesterday’s talk may have been his most significant statement on race, for reasons of symbol as much as of substance.
President Barack Obama just held a press conference—or rather gave a speech in the White House Press Room—devoted entirely to the Trayvon Martin verdict. It was an example of Obama at his best, with fine rhetoric and several moving moments. But the president also went slightly beyond other statements he has made about race, and he spoke with more passion than he has displayed in a long time. All in all, it was good rhetoric that seemed to recognize rhetoric was insufficient for the problems raised by the trial.Obama began by discussing the verdict, before adding:
Let’s take the advice of Politico contributor Rich Lowry. Let’s have a national non-conversation about race in the wake of the Zimmerman case.
In the hours after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder and acquitted on manslaughter charges, the Tea Party News Network—a shoestring operation that is exactly what it sounds like and that launched last fall—sent out an email blast touting the voices of "black conservatives" sounding off on the verdict. The press release featured stat
But that doesn't mean the outcome wasn't
The law that aquitted Zimmerman isn't racist, but that doesn't mean the outcome wasn't.
Jelani Cobb, whose coverage of the Trayvon Martin case has been nothing short of extraordinary, has a post on The New Yorker's website about the lack of riots after the verdict.
When news broke late Saturday night that a jury had acquitted George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the flood of grief and anger carried memories of past tragedies to the surface.
During the George Zimmerman trial, I happened to be reading James Agee's Depression classic, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. The book describes the lives of three families of tenant farmers in Alabama, all of them white; poverty, not racism, is Agee's subject. But before he begins writing about the Woods, Gudger, and Ricketts clans, Agee takes care to include an episode that dramatizes the state of race relations in the American South.
Defense testimony for the Zimmerman trial, perhaps concluding Wednesday, has so far been something of a sideshow. A trainer from Zimmerman’s gym swaggered to the stand on Monday, described Zimmerman as “soft-bodied,” rated his fitness a 0.5 out of 10, and—feeling visibly awesome about his own athletic abilities—demonstrated a grappling move on the defense attorney.