Friday, July 19, 2013

Barack Obama Calls Off the Conversation on Race

President Barack Obama's remarks today on the Zimmerman trial verdict frankly exhibited more wisdom than I had expected.

You can pull out and deconstruct the parts where he talks about the African-American experience and a lot of people will. I'm going to pull out several other parts.
"African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, ... they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence."
"I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that statistically somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else."
"You know, I think it's understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests, and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains nonviolent."
"I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it's important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government -- the criminal code and law enforcement has traditionally done it at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels."
"You know, there have been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have."
Not everyone wants to take the chill pill.

I got accosted by a black woman on the sidewalk yesterday. She demanded to know whether I had any change. I gave her four quarters. She handed me back a dollar bill, and fed the quarters into the parking meter.

Actually, she asked very nicely. Her children were very excited to be visiting Harvard Square and looked like they were having fun. A funny thing about kids is that they don't know to feel oppressed until you tell them, a very good reason not to have that conversation.

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