Barack Obama | Eric Holder | News | News Clips | Trayvon Martin

Pres. Obama: "Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me 35 Years Ago": VIDEO

Obama

In a broad-ranging statement given to reporters on Friday, President Obama spoke about Trayvon Martin and reactions to George Zimmerman's acquittal for the first time since the jury in the high-profile case reached its verdict last weekend, The Washington Post reports. Recalling his own reaction to first hearing of Trayvon's death, the President remarked:

"When Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is that Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. When you think about in the African-American community, there’s a lot of pain around this. It’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away. And 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.”

Drawing further comparison between himself and Travyon, the President stated, ”There are very few African-African men who haven’t had the experience of being followed in a department store. That includes me.”

Throughout his remarks, the President remained focused on "where do we take this." He mentioned that Eric Holder was reviewing the case but brought the attention back to potential policy initiatives and called for an examination of local and state laws such as the "stand your ground" laws:

“And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like the stand your ground laws I just ask people to consider if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened?  And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.”

The President also mentioned that he and First Lady Michelle Obama have spent a lot of time, "thinking about how to bolster and reinforce African-American kids. There are a lot of kids out there that need help, that are getting a lot of negative reinforcement.”

Hitting a hopeful note the President reflected on his belief that race relations in this country continue to improve with each generation:

"Looking at his daughters Sasha and Malia with their friends, Obama remarked, 'They’re better than we are, they’re better than we were, on these issues. And that’s true at every community I’ve visited across this country.'

'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 along this long journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union, not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.'"

Watch two clips of the President's remarks, from CNN and ABC respectively, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. WaPo has the entire thing: http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/politics/obama-tryavon-martin-could-have-been-me-35-years-ago/2013/07/19/1bd5fa26-f09b-11e2-9008-61e94a7ea20d_video.html

    I strongly encourage you to watch it rather than listen to the tv idiots blather about it. Remarkable.

    Posted by: melvin | Jul 19, 2013 3:22:53 PM


  2. Sometime I just have such big love for this man.

    Posted by: Jersey | Jul 19, 2013 3:26:01 PM


  3. Ridiculous on so many levels.

    Posted by: James | Jul 19, 2013 3:27:20 PM


  4. I'm dreading the racist (and probably anti-Obama) comments that are likely to be posted in this thread.

    Posted by: MateoM | Jul 19, 2013 3:28:38 PM


  5. Ugh, stay out of it Obama. You're now joining the ranks of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and other race-hustlers and poverty pimps that are using this incident for personal gain.

    IF what happened here was such a travesty, why doesn't Obama comment on Marley Lion?

    "WHO is Marley Lion?" you ask. You don't know? Of course you don't know. Because outlets like Towleroad and the mainstream media don't report on them.

    Marley Lion, like Trayvon Martin, was a 17yo unarmed teenager who was murdered. The facts of the case are identical. Except Marley was white and his assailant was black.

    But no one's reporting or commenting on that. Especially the president. Who was raised by his white mother and grandparents and was abandoned by his black father.

    Posted by: LongBeach | Jul 19, 2013 3:30:05 PM


  6. Well Mateo you didn't have to wait long. Here comes the flood of racist trash, plucking an anecdote here, an allegation there and claiming it counters the entire history of this country.

    This thread will be one of the vilest cesspools on the net withing twenty minutes.

    Posted by: melvin | Jul 19, 2013 3:33:44 PM


  7. I agree with the president. If I was a black mother raising children in this country I would literally be in fear for their lives.

    America needs to confront it's history of racism and the legacy of slavery. It really hasn't yet. When rights are granted to a despised minority that doesn't automatically undo the damaging legacy of oppression. Gays know that or they should.

    Posted by: sundaybot | Jul 19, 2013 3:34:22 PM


  8. Wonderfully said, Mr. President.

    And yes, this post will inspire hateful comments. But take solace: not one hateful commenter will be able to a face and name to their comments. It'll just be the Anonymous Wimps With No Balls; hiding behind a computer screen because they don't have the orbs to say anything from a place of visibility.

    It's ugly, but even they know it is - that's why they hide in the dark like the shamed scum that they are.

    Our collective culture has not yet eradicated the cancers of prejudice and bigotry, but it's getting better.

    the Stand Your Ground law needs to go. ASAP.

    and the people who'll come on here and be typically-bigoted idiots? pity them, for all the joys they'll never know.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 19, 2013 3:36:46 PM


  9. Longbeach,

    Marley Lion's killers were arrested, and they face murder charges. Being that the murder took place in South Carolina the killers will not get off like George Zimmerman did...aint no way.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 19, 2013 3:40:19 PM


  10. "The Black woman in the South who raises sons, grandsons and nephews had her heartstrings tied to a hanging noose"
    - Maya Angelou, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 19, 2013 3:41:17 PM


  11. The President's statements were graced with truth and intelligence and had nuance, which means that the simpleminded racist brigades will fume over every word of them.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 19, 2013 3:51:13 PM


  12. Thanks Derrick, I am so tired of the "White Trayvon" meme going around.

    A good rule of thumb when talking about race in America, does the person you are talking/arguing with believe that life is fundamentally equal for all people? If they do, stop arguing with them, they are delusional and you can't help them until they start to fight that.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jul 19, 2013 3:54:06 PM


  13. Powerful
    I'm glad he didn't attack when he was followed
    Can't help but feel jz is part of the neg reinf

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Jul 19, 2013 4:06:42 PM


  14. 35 years ago, the President was part of the "Choom Gang" and was pretty much stoned out of his mind all the time.

    Posted by: Rik | Jul 19, 2013 4:10:38 PM


  15. Trayvon probably shouldn't have gotten on top of Zimmerman and smashed the guy's head into the concrete if he didn't want to suffer any repercussions.

    The kid was a pothead who got suspended from school for violent behavior and had drugs in his system when this incident took place. Trayvon also took pictures of himself with handguns.

    What an exemplary kid he was. What a role model. A true little angel.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jul 19, 2013 4:11:31 PM


  16. He always knows how to strike just the right tone.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jul 19, 2013 4:12:24 PM


  17. *****ALERT*****

    Do NOT post anything negative about Trayvon or the president.

    If you do, you are a racist.

    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST
    RACIST

    Posted by: SamIam | Jul 19, 2013 4:13:00 PM


  18. Here in Oakland the other night, tons of "protesters" smashed the windows and vandalized tons of small businesses.

    Great way to honor Trayvon. Real nice!

    Posted by: BAY_SF | Jul 19, 2013 4:15:36 PM


  19. So I can kill your Stormfront buddies and get off because they posed with guns?

    A 17 year old that smoked pot? Oh lord, fetch my smelling salsts, I'm going to faint.

    Good luck next time you are thuggish enough to walk to the mini mart to buy a can of soda.

    Posted by: melvin | Jul 19, 2013 4:15:58 PM


  20. Like my fellow commenters ratbastard and David Hearne, I lost my father in a tragic black-on-white gang bang accident. My father choked to death on nearly 4 gallons of black male ejaculate and as you can see it's screwed me up, royally.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jul 19, 2013 4:20:27 PM


  21. Sam, are you gay? Can you tell the difference between someone saying the F** word in anger vs out of hate?

    It's the same thing with racists and racism, it's just not that hard to see where someone is a racist and desperately doesn't want you to call them on it and a person legitimately asking a race related question.

    Maybe if so many racists would just shut the hell up we could hear from the non-racist Obama haters/trayvon haters. In Obamas case there are lots of negatives to talk about, but all these racists really hurt that conversation.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jul 19, 2013 4:21:07 PM


  22. The media is already calling this a "historic day in Obama's presidency".

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jul 19, 2013 4:21:24 PM


  23. @Andrew, why the hell does any of that matter? Zimmerman wasn't justified in murdering trayvon. A stupid law in a racist state let him get away with murder. Putting an underage murder victim on trial for his own murder is inhuman.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jul 19, 2013 4:23:08 PM


  24. If Obama really cares about African Americans, why doesn't he focus on the double-digit unemployment rate in that community?

    And before everyone cries "racism" when it comes to jobs, why is the unemployment rate lower for Hispanics, Asians, and every other group? Asians actually have the lowest unemployment rate of all groups.

    If he wants to start a real dialogue, talk about the welfare, baby-mama "culture" that's continuing generation after generation. Unless the black community starts to truly take some self-responsibility, things will NEVER change for them. Never.

    Posted by: shemzee | Jul 19, 2013 4:25:58 PM


  25. i love how Trayvon's "apparent history" with a substance known for making people PACIFISTS is used against him, posthumously, yet Zimmerman's own sordid track record of Not Understanding The Law wasn't....

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 19, 2013 4:30:42 PM


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