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President Obama's Trayvon Martin comments criticized by an unlikely source


The controversy surrounding the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case has exemplified that even in the year 2013, 148 years since slavery officially came to an end, and five years since we elected the first African-American President, the complexity of race relations in the United States is still a very real and divisive part of our culture.


Thus, it was no wonder that as the first African-American elected President, Barack Obama would use his position to help bridge the hurt and divide that has resulted from the George Zimmerman verdict.Photo: mashable.com


When the President made his statement on Friday surrounding the controversial verdict, he was met with criticism from both sides of the aisle. Opposition coming from the Right was to be expected, but from the Left and the African-American community was dumbfounding.  This is a President that was praised for breaking a seemingly unbreakable glass ceiling.  And yet, in the most appropriate opportunity, Obama was criticized by the very electorate that propelled him to office five years ago.


Perhaps it was because his feeling on the end result was simply, and yet not -- “The jury has spoken.”  As an African-American male that described a marginalized feeling throughout his entire life, he did not express unacceptable outrage, as so many African-American men and women felt.


Eugene Robinson, well-read columnist of the Washington Post said, Obama does more to change racial attitudes and challenge prejudices simply by performing his functions as head of state and commander in chief. A dozen speeches about the long struggle for racial equality and justice would not have the impact of one picture of the first family — the proud, African American first family — walking across the White House lawn.”


But then, if that is so, why was it such a milestone in this country for there to be a “first African-American President” at all?  Generally, Robinson would be in the right.  We don’t change hearts and minds by telling, we change by actions.  


The President’s statements on Friday represented a man who understands the complexity of the race wars in America.  Up until this point, Obama’s Administration on social issues has been better characterized by his crusade for gay/human rights than for the African-American community.  Now has never been more appropriate or necessary.  Had he worded his statement differently, Robinson may have a point.  The President’s words were not ones of resentment, but of empathy.


This is why America elected President Barack Obama, to bring the American people in and along in a way that could not be done before. Had President Obama been a white man, he never could have made a public statement on his personal connection to this national controversy.  


In 2013, America is one of the most diverse countries in the world.  Some may ridicule the President for not taking a side, but this may have been his most Presidential moment to date.


Contact Alyssa Bonk at abonk08@gmail.com

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Check out more of Alyssa's work at Blocktalkradio.com/backroompolitics, Luckandhustle.blogspot.com and Smart Girl Politics

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Photo: mashable.com