President Obama gave an extensive statement about this issues surrounding the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trail, putting the context that minorities viewed the verdict on full display. He also discussed the problematic Stand Your Ground laws, as well as bolstering the strength and image of African American boys in the United States.
The full video is worth watching, and below are a few quotes courtesy of the New York Times.
“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 — that doesn’t go away,” Mr. Obama said in the briefing room. “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.”
“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son,” he said. “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
He added: “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.”
Mr. Obama also said he and his staff were examining policy options, and he raised questions about the wisdom of laws like Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
“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,” the president said.