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Did the President give us help and hope in his analysis of African American men?

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

Did the President give us help and hope in his analysis of African American men?

By Roger Caldwell

As the first African American President, there are always political pundits on both sides of the fence, and it takes courage to take a position. The Trayvon Martin verdict is a transformational moment in American history, and it will initiate a national conversation and dialogue on race. It does not matter which side you support with the verdict, there will always be a question, “Am I 100 percent correct in the decision I have arrived at?”

This week on Friday, July 19, President Obama shocked America by giving public remarks on the George Zimmerman verdict, explaining to America how it feels to be an African American male. The president surprised everyone with a candid, thoughtful, and transparent conversation that reaffirmed his experience of being a Black man.

“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 locks click on the doors of cars. That happened to me at least before I was a senator,” said the president.

The president on Friday was speaking from his heart, because he and everyone in the country are searching for healing. Trayvon will not be back, and his father and mother will never hear or see his face again. The if factor will not bring peace to their souls, and the country is in mourning, and looking for direction.

Many Americans are perplexed and don’t understand why the president would discuss the history of being an African American male. But, African Americans in all the states across the country are in pain, and the president is showing his solidarity with the largest group of constituents that supported him in both elections. The president surprised many by saying Trayvon Martin could’ve been me 35 years ago.

On the other side of the fence, many folks are disappointed with the president and this talk makes no sense. Many Americans believe that racism does not exist in our country in 2013, and they think the president is inciting a race riot.

“Your shameful behavior is no less than high misdemeanor. You should be ashamed of yourself. I know patriotic Americans are ashamed of your disgusting, shameful vengeful, hateful, despicable behavior, Mr. President,” said a reader from the comment section in a newspaper. This individual was extremely angry with the president, but he has probably never been discriminated because he was an African American male, and he forgets that the president is Black.

The Zimmerman verdict has demonstrated to African Americans that many powerful people in America don’t value African American males’ life. They make decisions based on false assumptions and stereotypes, and in-justice is prevalent in the justice system every day. Racism is systemic and ingrained in the system, and Black men can be killed at any time without an investigation.

Some people will say the president is going too far when he talks about being an African American male, but that is who he is, and how he was born. Friday was a teachable moment from the president, because he was explaining that African American males are at a greater risk of being killed each time they walk outside. African American males can be killed by their peers, and they can also be killed by an ambiguous “Stand Your Ground law.”

It is absurd to get upset and angry with the president when he asks Americans to improve laws, and have a conversation so young African American men can leave home and return home without being shot.


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