*(Via LA Times) – Finally, President Obama has spoken as a black man.
It wasn’t entirely on his own initiative, but a question he was asked about Trayvon Martin left him no choice. When he finally spoke, he began haltingly, as if his words were taking him out on a high wire with no net below. This was risky.
He said the safe things first: that the death of 17-year-old Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman in a Florida suburb was a tragedy. He said he sympathized with the parents, and that various law enforcement agencies should diligently investigate the matter. Then he took the plunge: “If I had a son,” Obama said, “he’d look like Trayvon.”
In other words, there but for the grace of God goes my son, another young black man likely to be put in harm’s way simply because of his skin color. In front of the cameras and microphones, Obama acknowledged not only that he is black but that even the president isn’t immune to stereotypes that can sometimes turn deadly. And it’s true. If Obama himself had been walking through a gated Florida community dressed in a hoodie with his face hidden, it’s not hard to imagine an overzealous neighborhood watch captain reporting his presence to the cops and trailing him as a suspicious-looking black guy.
Identifying as black is risky for Obama always, but identifying with working-class blacks — the kind the country sees as criminal, or at the very least potentially criminal — is risky on a whole other scale.
Read/learn MORE at LA Times.