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Friday, July 19, 2013

President Obama's Comments on #TrayvonMartin and Being Black in America

I've watched the entire clip and I think it's good to recognize that the president was sincere in his desire to add something meaningful to the discussion of the Zimmerman verdict and the controversial issues of race in America that we've been having. I'm not particularly impressed with his comments, especially those about racial profiling, but since I've often in the past criticized Obama for not using the bully pulpit to speak about the crisis of black America I've got to give at least mini props to his later comments about using the powers of his office to convene resources for our vulnerable black youth across the nation. As a second term president with declining capital, this could be one of the most important legacies of his entire time in office. And notice how the president blew off talk of grand new federal programs to address such concerns. That's both a recognition that he wouldn't get much done legislatively as well as a statement on the need to increase private social capital in distressed communities outside the purview of government. I think that's important.

Other than that, like I said, there's really not much here for me. Check Ace of Spades HQ's comments, for example, where he mentions that mostly Obama speaks in "Notional Sentences, that is to say, assemblages of words which mirror the structure and form of a content- and idea-conveying sentence but which actually contain far less than the sum of their word-parts." That's true, so again mostly we're dealing with symbolism rather than action. I don't even expect much follow through on that bit about helping black youth. Mostly it's just fair enough to note that the man has spoken and I expect a lot of inner city folks can take that to heart.

In any case, here's the New York Times' piece, "In Wake of Zimmerman Verdict, Obama Makes Extensive Statement on Race in America" (at Memeorandum).

I'm going to troll around for awhile and will update with additional reactions. Obama conceded, at the earlier part of the speech, that it's not likely that federal civil rights charges will be brought against George Zimmerman, so that's not likely to go over well with the hardline race grievance monsters on the Democrat race plantation, but we'll see.

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