The President and Trayvon

The President highlights subtle justifications for the reaction to and the violence that has occurred in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin trial. Actual behavior; violence, looting, death threats, goes unmentioned and by that lack of mention, essentially excuses those behaviors; likely leading to more looting, death threats and violence. Trayvon’s background, that the jury did not hear about is absent from the President’s analysis as well.

Our ‘post racial’ President reminds us “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.” To deny the facts and history of racism is intellectually disingenuous, it is equally disingenuous to paint vast sections of American society with the same broad brush. If racism in America is endemic and something we’ll never get over how is it that the President was elected in the first place? The President is apparently telling us to ‘get used to it’, because as he points out “it doesn’t go away.” There is no leadership here: this is not the President of all the people speaking. Equally disturbing is that racism of any sort, of all sorts, is not condemned, it should be!

The President is correct in stating that there have been legal disparities based on racism. The President, however, ignores the fact that his Justice Department, while willing to chastise us all and accuse us of a lack of courage, has done nothing significant to address those disparities in any broad sense. Where are the civil rights cases based on those disparities; rhetoric we have aplenty, constructive action is hard to find.

The President offers bromides, they are not bromides for America writ large they are justifications, and broad generalities deficient in both context and specifics. Stand Your Ground laws are on the President’s list but one must view those laws in context. Arrests and prosecutions of people protecting themselves and their families in their own homes and on their own property from people intent on doing harm were being prosecuted for that act of self protection. Those manner of situations became the motivation for Stand Your Ground. At the time, the overwhelming weight of public opinion was that those prosecutions were grossly unfair, leading to Stand Your Ground laws.

The President addresses ‘poverty and dysfunction’ as being traced to a “very difficult history”. There is validity to the comment; there is also validity in the fact that African Americans have fared worse under President Obama than any recent administration. Poverty is up, public assistance now covers over half of the population, wages are down, job growth nearly absent, Black unemployment is tragically out of proportion to unemployment in general and especially so for Black youth. The Black middle class is abandoning cities such as Detroit where Black politicians have been in charge for quite some time. Is ‘Black Flight’ racism as well?

This has been the most significant statement on race of the President’s administration so far. One has to wonder how important of an issue it really is to him? One has to wonder if it is simply political in the context of a rampantly flawed media and the resurrection of race bating?

The President also justifies the recent reactions to the trial by saying of the Jury; ‘they were properly instructed’. This manner of left handed compliment is a message that will be heard loud and clear, it will be taken as justification for those intent on violence. Presidential indeed!