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Digital Afro Media
Complete Footage - President Obama Speech About Trayvon Martin...
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Category: Black News

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In an unscheduled statement to the press Friday, President Barack Obama addressed the state of race relations in America, less than a week after George Zimmerman was acquitted Saturday on self defense grounds for killing the unarmed black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, speaking with surprising personal detail on the subject.

Obama, who has been called on by African American leaders to spearhead a national conversation about race, instead spoke personally about the tragedy and the national controversy, calling for individuals to engage in soul searching instead of “stilted and politicized” conversations driven by elected officials. It was his most detailed address on race in America since his noted 2008 address following following media coverage of incendiary remarks by his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

In the aftermath of the shooting last year, Obama said that if he had a son he would look like Martin. “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Obama said Friday. “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 probably 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.”

Obama said those experiences inform the African American community’s response to the shooting and to the subsequent court decision. “It’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear,” he said.

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