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Obama Just Spoke Concerning Trayvon Again Today 7-19-2013

by James Denison / July 19, 2013 4:06 AM PDT

Transcripts should be available soon on news sites. Basic blame was placed on how others look at and treat young black men. Nothing I remember on responsibility of those same young black men in their actions toward others. Same blame game being sold, same guilt painting while ignoring the real problems.

Ever hear of "driving while Asian"?
Ever hear of people clutching their purses on elevators because a young Jewish man got on it?
Ever hear of someone seeing an young Asian man on the side of the street and they start pushing down the door locks?

Nah. That's because those with common sense and those who have checked the stats KNOW where the greater danger comes from.

Address that FIRST Obama and the rest will follow.

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A few snippets of the address are available

I won't try to post any links as the sites I've found and the edited copies of the address aren't helpful. From what I have seen, however, I need to be somewhat disappointed in one aspect of it. I think he had the perfect opportunity and the platform to put the media manufactured racial component to rest. He didn't do that. Instead, he used the occasion to reinforce the myth that Florida shooting was triggered by racial profiling. He used the occasion to call attention to the plight of black males in particular as to how our society views and values them. IMO, that's all well and good as long as the point is valid and some reason for that perception is honestly stated. We can't consider what corrective action might be needed without identifying that reason and having honest discussion about it in a civil manner. Otherwise, we just continue to further the racial divide that seems to have been slowly widening.

I'd think a president would do the country better by trying to unite people in some common effort so that they could learn the value of working together. Unfortunately, that common effort might not be one that fits a president's own agenda or viewpoint but sometimes it's the bitter pill that heals best.

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considering how few
by James Denison / July 19, 2013 8:34 AM PDT

seem to even remember him in the schools he supposedly attended, maybe he was a loner.

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This appears to be the address in its entirety
by Steven Haninger / July 19, 2013 10:36 AM PDT
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by James Denison / July 19, 2013 2:11 PM PDT

Govt publication which means able to paste in it's entirety under copyright law.

ONCE AGAIN, I HAD TO GO THROUGH AND CHANGE SOME LETTERS DUE TO CNET NOT USING UNICODE IN THESE FORUMS, BUT ONLY ANSI SETTING. Hey guys, it's time to move into this millenium on font usage, especially for internet usage.

For Immediate Release
July 19, 2013
Remarks by the President on Trayvon Martin

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:33 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: I wanted to come out here, first of all, to tell you that Jay is prepared for all your questions and is very much looking forward to the session. The second thing is I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks, there's going to obviously be a whole range of issues -- immigration, economics, et cetera -- we'll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.

The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week -- the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling. I gave a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday. But watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.

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. I can only imagine what they're going through, and it's remarkable how they've handled it.

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there's going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case -- I'll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues. The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that's how our system works. But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.

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. And when you think about why, 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 doesn't go away.

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. 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.

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. 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.

Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is naive about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they're disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It's not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.

And so the fact that sometimes that's unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent -- using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

I think the African American community is also not naive in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else. So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there's no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this? How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? I think it's understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent. 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.

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 doesn't mean, though, that as a nation we can't do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I'm still bouncing around with my staff, so we're not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.

Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.

When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.

And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law. And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.

So that's one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive. And I think a lot of them would be. And let's figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.

Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it -- if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.

I know that there's been commentary about the fact that the "stand your ground" laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we're sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there's a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we'd like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these "stand your ground" laws, I'd 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, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

Number three -- and this is a long-term project -- we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys. And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

I'm not naive about the prospects of some grand, new federal program. I'm not sure that that's what we're talking about here. But I do recognize that as President, I've got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they're a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed -- I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation. And we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.

And then, finally, I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have. On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there's the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and 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.

And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn't mean we're in a post-racial society. It doesn't mean that racism is eliminated. But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they're better than we are -- they're better than we were -- on these issues. And that's true in every community that I've visited all across the country.

And so 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, we're becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

Thank you, guys.

1:52 P.M. EDT

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The stats.....
by Josh K / July 20, 2013 6:52 AM PDT

.....will show you that white people commit a lot more violent crimes than black people do.

But don't let that deter your racist stereotyping and paranoiac responses when you see people of color.

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Some stats
by Steven Haninger / July 20, 2013 9:10 AM PDT
In reply to: The stats.....
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tell me your definition
by James Denison / July 20, 2013 12:25 PM PDT
In reply to: The stats.....

of the difference between statistics and stereotyping. Is there a statistically correct stereotyping, or is stereotyping only labeled when it doesn't match the statistical data?

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Statistics are what one writes down on paper
by Ziks511 / July 20, 2013 4:03 PM PDT

Profiling is assuming that a person who possesses certain characteristics is a potential offender and stopping them and searching insofar as that is legal. Anything in plain sight can lead to a body search and difficulties.

Just by how much does african american crime, diverge by percentage from latin american crime or diverge from white american crime and asian american crime. If one group's crime rate is 9% and another's is 6%, there is only 3% difference which isn't really a reason to stop and frisk anybody.


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Since we are visual creatures, I think it's
by Steven Haninger / July 20, 2013 7:31 PM PDT

perfectly normal that we make some presumptions based on our experiences with what we've seen? Once we've seen dozens of unflattering mug shots of criminals in the news, what do you think that does to us when we see a similar characteristics in a person we encounter on the street? Are we wrong to have negative thoughts? I can't see how. Once these images are burned into our brains, it takes a conscious effort to not recall them along with what they were associated when we see an actual person who appears to be similar. At that point, we're supposed to follow certain rules. Do you think you don't do such things at all? It also happens with clues that we take from what we read. Certain names are associated with race or nationality. One of the worst ones I see here is an R or D after a politician's name. They have nothing to do with race or ethnicity. They are letters of the alphabet and I'd bet dollars to donuts that you create mental profiles of persons when you see them.

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None of those presumptions.....
by Josh K / July 20, 2013 11:14 PM PDT

.....warrant killing someone. Your presumptions are your problem. This puts it much better than I ever could, from Colorado educator Bob Seay:

I am not Trayvon Martin.

I keep seeing people say, "I am Trayvon Martin." I understand the sentiment. If that is you, then I respect that.

I am not Trayvon Martin. I am a middle-aged, middle class, overweight white guy. I am also a teacher, and in 20 years of teaching, I have seen plenty of Trayvon Martins. More accurately, I have seen plenty of young men who fit the caricatured image that is being portrayed of this kid in the media, Left and Right. Fox News and MSNBC. I'm guessing that neither portrayal - saint or thug - is accurate. People are more complex than that.

None of the Trayvon Martins that I know deserve to die. They may arouse suspicion, but your paranoia is not their crime. If they do commit a crime, they deserve to have a trial. Trayvon Martin's jury consisted of one person. That is not how we are supposed to do things in America. Unfortunately, that is our reality.

Here's my point: You don't have to be Trayvon Martin to know this is wrong. You don't have to be black, or young, or a "troubled student" or a pot smoker to know this was murder. And you don't have to be the parent of Trayvon Martin to know this was a gross miscarriage of justice.

Let me be more blunt: This type of injustice will continue until enough guys like me - guys who are not Trayvon Martin - have had enough of it and finally say "No more."

You don't have to be Trayvon Martin.
You just have to be human.

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I'd agree that this never would have happened if it
by Steven Haninger / July 21, 2013 4:21 AM PDT

wasn't for Zimmerman's suspicions and or paranoia. At the same time, it never would have happened if Zimmerman was never given reason for suspicion or paranoia. That being said, I'd be able to find just as much blame for Martin's death as belonging to those creeps who'd already robbed, vandalized, created fear in the neighborhood and had eluded police. Had they never caused reason for concern in the community, I doubt this would not have happened. To try and lays this squarely on the back of a person trying to keep criminals out of his own neighborhood is very wrong, IMO. Those criminals share heavily in what happened to T.M.

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This all sounds an awful like a shooting in Upstate NY
by Tony Holmes / July 21, 2013 4:55 AM PDT

in 2009 where another "neighborhood watchman" was involved,NY has no "stand your ground law".The participants were Black and White also and it happened on Obama's watch.

Where was Bob Seay then? For that matter,where was Obama,Holder,Jackson,Sharpton,media,et al then?? Why didn't all the black apologists come out of the woodwork then to rally around this black man? Did the DOJ look into allegations of a hate crime??

Maybe it's because the shooter was black and he was aquitted of all charges.


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The guy in your story.....
by Josh K / July 21, 2013 7:00 AM PDT

......witnessed a crime in progress. George Zimmerman witnessed someone walking.

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Here's a good video that addresses paranoia
by James Denison / July 22, 2013 5:04 AM PDT

I do remember the 60's and 70's and most of those who were paranoid were drug users. It would seem when one is engaged in activities in one's life that are illegal, they tend to develop a paranoid attitude at all times. This video is about Trayvon, Watermelon juice (NOT ice tea), and Skittles, and Robitussin, to create something called "Lean". Oh, it also tends to make one paranoid.


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How do you explain Wayne LaPierre's rabid paranoia then?
by Josh K / July 22, 2013 5:14 AM PDT

Or yours?

Betcha if a white guy was purchasing Skittles and Iced Tea (not watermelon juice, but nice touch), you wouldn't leap to the conclusion that he was planning to cook up a drug concoction with them.

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could you define
by James Denison / July 22, 2013 6:32 AM PDT

what you consider as my "paranoia"?

Hey, I was just as surprised by the selection as you. I had wondered why someone would want Tea with Skittles, but having worked in a convenience store in a mixed area in the 70's I know that black people buy combinations of snack items that might seem odd to others. I remember the best selling soft drink in that store was Nehi Peach. Koolade was a big seller too. At that time at least, black people seemed to prefer the fruity flavors of refreshment, whereas most of the white customers wanted various colas instead.

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It wasn't watermelon "juice"....
by Tony Holmes / July 22, 2013 10:03 AM PDT
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Josh seems to think I invented that watermelon part
by James Denison / July 22, 2013 7:25 PM PDT

Truly life can be stranger than fiction. Either God or the Devil has a real sense of humor at times, and I'm not too sure which.

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why study statistics
by James Denison / July 22, 2013 7:34 PM PDT

unless they can be used for something, of which one can be profiling? Common Sense demands police should use profiling.

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Pretty speech by Obama
by TONI H / July 22, 2013 8:11 PM PDT

that addresses NOTHING........I like O'Reilly's speech much better because it addresses EVERYTHING.


As for the 'stand your ground' law in Florida that all of a sudden BO doesn't like......how many know that as a Senator in Illinois, BO actually voted FOR that same law to be put into place there? Just ONCE, I would like to see this jerk NOT be the hypocrite that he is and stop pandering to the base for votes and actually address real issues with real solutions. Doesn't seem to matter to him that the "SYG" law had NOTHING to do with the ZvsM trial....nor does it matter to hate mongers like JJ and AS.......the whole goal is to keep dividing and keep those 'social' programs going that keep their own people under their thumbs. It doesn't matter that all of them are corrupt morally (JJ's son had to resign from the Senate in disgrace and AS has been in trouble with race mongering for a long time, the most famous of which was Tawana, and now he's been given a media platform to spew that hatred on a daily basis nationwide)


Until blacks in the limelight, including the entertainment business, start telling the REAL black community the truth about how they are being used by other blacks for their own personal gain and political step ladder, nothing will change and that includes our 'leader'.

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