Friday, July 19, 2013

That’s how our system works

Obama made a surprise appearance in the White House press room to talk about Trayvon Martin. On a Friday afternoon.

HE WENT TO LAW SCHOOL, YOU KNOW: “And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.” If that sentence seems like part of it is missing, that’s because he couldn’t really say, “And once the jury’s spoken, we have to respect that” or “And once the jury’s spoken, justice has been done,” or any other platitude suggesting that Florida possesses a just and fair and equal legal system. That’s how our system works, he shrugs.

AND IF MITT ROMNEY’S BILLION-DOLLAR TIME-MACHINE PROJECT EVER PAYS OFF.... “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

He said that most African-American men have experienced being followed in stores, people locking their car doors when he approaches, women in elevators being nervous etc. Notably, he doesn’t indicate any race for these people scared of black men.

He explains that black people are “looking at this issue” through the prism of their experiences of racism (a word he uses just once in this speech) and their knowledge of past racial disparities. In other words, he’s explaining to white people how black people think.

UNDERSTANDABLE: “I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests...” “Understandable” is to expressing support what “I’m sorry you were offended” is to apologies. “...and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through, as long as it remains nonviolent.” Sounds like he’s talking about a particularly difficult poo.

He wants “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.” I’m sorry, but I find the balancing act he’s trying to perform here very amusing. He just can’t bring himself to say that the system has deserved the mistrust that “sometimes currently exists” toward it, but why else would training be required?

Similarly, he talks later about “helping young African American men feel that they’re a full part of this society” without quite saying that at the present time they aren’t, just that they feel that way.

Then he criticized the Stand Your Ground law, and asks hypothetically, “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.” This is just strange. Obama, a black man, is saying: but what if the scary black guy had a gun, huh? huh? didn’t think about that, did you?

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