Barack Obama: Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me 35 Years Ago

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President Barack Obama has again waded into the controversy that is the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent George Zimmerman verdict.

Last weekend, he urged the public to honor the deceased, while respecting the verdict. Today's remarks were more impromptu and less detached.

  • Trayvon Martin, Hoodie
  • Prez Obama

Speaking at the White House about the Martin-Zimmerman case, Obama reacted both personally and as a member of the African-American community.

"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."

"When you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here."

"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."

"There are very few African-American men in this country who have not had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store."

"That includes me. There are probably very few African-American men who have not 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 have not had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had the chance to get off."

"That happens often.

"I don't want to exaggerate, 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."

"The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of drug laws."

"And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case."

This past Saturday, Zimmerman was found not guilty by a Florida jury of all charges stemming from the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Martin in 2012.

President Obama, who also seemed to reference the Marissa Alexander case with his mention of "racial disparities," finds himself in an unusual position.

As the first African-American U.S. President, many feel he should be more involved in helping lead and shape the national discussion regardng racism.

Obama has worked hard, however, to not let his racial background define who he is, and is often reluctant to comment strongly on the subject if at all.

Today's remarks on race reflect that paradox, as Obama tried to express his empathy toward the Martins and others he believed have been wronged.

He is willing to point out what he feels are injustices within society, yet is not inclined to offer specific solutions for fear of backlash or making himself the story.

By commenting on the verdict, perhaps Obama sought to ease some of the racial tension surrounding the case, yet also reiterate how bad it is.

It's a fine line to walk, and exemplifies what a deeply personal, divisive complex topic this is for so many Americans, even in 2013. Tell us what you think:

Did the George Zimmerman jury get it right? And should Obama be weighing in more on the topic of racism? Or less? Or not at all? Sound off below.

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Could have been you 35 years ago, now how could that be, George Zimmerman is only 29, he would have shot you 6 years before his birth??? And to compare you with Treyvon, lets see Trevon has parents that are the same race, George Zimmerman has mixed race parents and the preceeding two examples, given your parental lineage your more like__________ ______________

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If he said that, then he would have been dead and not be president at all, right? That remark was really low.

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OK. WHITE NATION !!!! ONCE AGAIN THE POINT IS VERIFIED !!! YOU CAN TAKE THE NIGGER OUT THE GHETTO ... BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE THE GHETTO OUT THE NIGGER !!!! CLASS DISMISSED.

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How unprofessional! !!! !!!! !!!! President did not speak at the oj trial

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@ lynn

Only this so called president would speak of this at all. With all that's going on in the world that fact is........... that a Hispanic shot a black 6 white women found him not guilty and after all that they blame the white man. The democrats are imploding. It's all crumbling down around them. They are orphans. They have used up all their life lines. Too little to late will be their 2016 motto. How could this idiot find that many morons to vote for him. His is a carnival act. Call in the clowns because he is finishes. All the race baiting his people have done. All the coverups. All the diverting attention from one scandal to another. Just knowing the republicans would roll over after the election. He isn't even at the halfway mark of his 1st year of his 2nd term and he is in shambles.

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I don't speak white trash, and have no idea what soot back land is. And you are too much of a pussy to say anything to my face..typical American.

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Id say it to your face you punk NIGGER,,,but thankfully i live nowhere near sootback land....i have standards and don't live in section8 housing..

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It's funny how all the white trash in America feel powerful when they hide behind the Internet to use the word nigger. I love that you are so angry that a black man is running your country.

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@ Nate

Yes- he is running right into the ground! Obamacare will blow a gasket as soon as it takes off and REAL AMERICANS are going to watch you sit and suffer. It will be Mardi Gras every day for us. The only thing Obama has done is assure us that not another democrat will be president for 30 years.

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@ Nate

Sorry Nate. I cut myself off by mistake. Anyway, this Ignorance is unbelievable.Like President Obama should have spoken at George's trial? What a hoot! He should have been a witness for the defence too! Guy just can't win .I think he's a good president. Be glad you don't have a ROBOT like our P.M Harper. You haters must miss that last crook in office.Yes, G.W Bush & his cronies. Illegal invasions, Falsified documents, Extraordinary Rendition. A criminal with Big Book sales. Well, of course they miss him!

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@ lori+snyder

Your stupidity knows no bounds. A good president? On what chart are you grading this? This guy along with you and the rest of the spineless, race baiting, pro gay idiots have all but moved everyone to their corner. If anyone has made GW look good it's Obama! WTF were you idiots thinking voting this fool in office! It should be demanded you take an IQ test before you vote. That's the difference in a Democrat and a Rep. Democrats always have a good idea on how to spend other peoples money. He has not put any of you "socially Handicapped" people to work! Obama is the worst president since jimmy carter. He won't answer a question of importance. I thank god I'm from a red state and I resent the fact that you blue state misfits are coming here and polluting what we have! You are stupid- the liberal media is evil and Obama is as useless as a sack full of assholes. You stupid people, you have single handily fu*ked this country in less than 5 years. You sit and wait for your hero to rescue you! You are stone cooled stupid!

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@ Nate

Isn' that the truth? These poor insecure lamebrains with their filthy and vacuos minds just have to Explode with their misplaced anger under Bogus names.They use this venue spew their vile as their 'Messages' are too screwed up to be accepted anywhere else. Don't you love this'DetractDeflect' mentality, this ranting about unrelated ridiculous Trumpy JUNK, desparately to blame anyone else

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@ lori+snyder

Does anyone understand shit you have to say? Who in the f*ck are you talking to as slobber drips from that catfish mouth onto your keyboard. The number of people that hate you in the real world must be endless! D&D method? WTF would know about anything other than collecting food stamps, pick pocketing on a city bus, running a train, writing hot checks, dodging bill collectors, wiping chicken grease off your nasty skanky ass chin, digging pennies out of your couch cushion in hopes to buy weed, paying by the minute with your cell phone, shop lifting at Walmart, Stealing gas at your local convenient store, coming up with excuse number 999 as you plead to what little family that will associate with you how you really are trying and you will pay them back ASAP! Any fool alive that still has faith in Obama should be subject to 40 lashes with a sock full of shit!

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He has to energize his unproductive,low iq nghr base to rally all over america this weekend to hide his own miserable failures,the scandals etc no one gives a f--k that 3 WHITE marines and a WHITE ambassador were butchered in Benghazi.This corrupt.

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BARRY THE "O" IS A MULATTO !!!! IN FRENCH : MULIGNON !!! IN ENGLISH : A MULIE OR MOOLIE !!!! NOBODY TAKES SERIOUSLY THAT THIS MOOLIE IS PRESIDENT ... HAA HAA HOOO HOOO ... THIS IS JUST THE LAST STRAW !!!!

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@ JOY

If it was'nt for the fact of his "white" mother and grand parents providing welfare to the obamo , he would !!! have been stealing and robbing for sure

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HOW IS THIS TREE NIGGER NOT REMOVED AND DEPOSITED IN JAIL BY NOW ???? WE NOW KNOW WHY HE HIDES HIS SCHOOL RECORDS !!! HE, LIKE THE NIGGER TRA-GONE GOT INTO TROUBLE FOR ASSAULT , POSSESSION OF BURGLARY TOOLS AND STOLEN JEWELRY ...... AND NOW IS AN ACCESSARY AFTER THE FACT IN A ATTMEPTED MURDER CASE IN WHICH THE ATTACKER WAS SHOT DEAD AS A DOOR NAIL BY AN ARMED PATROLMAN !!!!!