Obama On Trayvon Martin: “He Could Have Been Me 35 Years Ago”

Beginning less than an hour ago, President Barack Obama held a impromptu press conference in the briefing room to share his thoughts about the death of Trayvon Martin and the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. (This is on top of the brief statement he released earlier this week.) For nearly 17 minutes, the President gave what I would call an extraordinary and unprecedented speech that touched on the verdict itself, the need to review Stand Your Ground laws, and what it’s like to be a black boy/man in America, going one step further than he has in the past by saying, “Trayvon Martin could have been me.” I am so glad to see our President address this in such a thoughtful, nuanced way, especially given how many people would like to believe that his Presidency is indicative that we live in a “post-racial” world. You can watch the full briefing above (in two parts) and read a few of his most notable quotes after the jump.

“The African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences, and a history that doesn’t go away.”

“If a white male teen was involved in same kind of scenario, then from top to bottom, the aftermath might be different.”

“If Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have Stood His Ground on that sidewalk?”

“And do we think he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman because he felt threatened, because he was being followed?”

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