President Obama weighs in on Trayvon Martin’s killing

United States
March 25, 2012 6:47am CST
WASHINGTON - Declaring that "if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon," President Barack Obama chose a highly personal way to join the heated national debate over the death of Trayvon Martin, the black teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida. Obama took care to voice no opinion on the conduct of the shooter, George Zimmerman, or any legal aspect of the case beyond a call for a thorough investigation. "The Attorney General reports to me so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation," he said. I was really shocked that the president chose these words ""if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,". What does that mean? I take it to mean Trayvon was good looking black boy and therefore should not have been killed, if he had been of another minority group (Latino, Asian, etc) and did not look like Obama's imaginary son then it would be OK to kill an unarmed young person? IMO this statement really shows just how racially motivated our president really is. I was shocked and upset at this terrible senseless murder regardless of the color of the victim's skin. What is your opinion on this remark? Complete article http://www.bostonherald.com/news/national/general/view.bg?articleid=1061119679&srvc=rss
5 people like this
16 responses
@mcspocky (65)
• United States
25 Mar 12
President Obama was only trying to reach out to the people and show compassion. He couldn't comment more on the incident, because it is still under investigation. Why can't people ever take what President Obama says at face value? I swear, if President Obama walked on water people would criticize him for not swimming!
@debrakcarey (19925)
• United States
25 Mar 12
A large majority of his supporters feel he CAN walk on water.
2 people like this
@matersfish (6311)
• United States
25 Mar 12
To be fair to Obama here, I highly doubt that he wrote it. In fact, it was probably written by a white person for him to say, like most of his words are. I take what Obama said to mean that Martin was an unassuming, ordinary, innocuous teenager. It just so works out that both Obama and Martin are black. (He wouldn't have one word to say about it if Martin was white. We all know that. Just like he'll console Fluke but not a right wing woman who has bore the brunt of sexism. Or like he'll say the "police acted stupidly" for an innocent black man but for no one else. So I do agree that he's making it racial. I just doubt he wrote that.) Most of what I've heard about this story comes from watching Geraldo. And I do tend to agree with Geraldo when he says to parents, "DO NOT let your child go out of the house wearing a hoody!" Spending a lot of time in DC and Maryland growing up, I've personally seen dozens of young black and innocent teenagers stopped by the police. I've seen innocent black teens arrested. But as I grew older, I started to put 2 and 2 together. When the cops get a description "Number 1 male (black) with a black hoody, tan boots and blue jeans," that's about 200 different dudes out on the street. It's not PC to say--and in fact may be racist to say, depending on the context--that black people "look alike." But if so many people, regardless of race, are dressed exactly the same, you're going to expect some mix-ups. How could you not? It's a choice. It's a style. Kids want to look "gangsta." They want to play the part of the hoody and baggy jeans. But, as Geraldo states and I happen to agree, that evokes imagery of criminality. So while it may be a well-mannered A-student with a job out there on the streets, the perception if he's wearing a hoody and Tims and baggy jeans is that he's a wannabe thug. And if this wannabe thug is walking around a neighborhood where homes are being broken into, well, someone might mistake you for the burglar. Play the part, be the part. Or to quote Thompson: Buy the ticket, take the ride. I'm in no way defending Zimmerman. He was told NOT to follow the suspect. He instigated the confrontation and then shot without provocation. I feel he deserves to be in prison. Life. But if what Geraldo said was true and Martin was another kid trying to play the role of tough street thug, then I would hope President Obama could use this as one of those "teaching moments" he loves to preach about instead of being divisive in saying that his son would look like that. Who here thinks Obama's daughters are going to step out in corn rows with halter tops and press-on fake nails in stripper shoes wearing too much makeup and sweatpants that say "Booty" on the a$$? That's how most of the chicks who want to look "street" carry themselves as well. You're not an individual when you dress up like the common crowd. If you wear a dog collar, black fingernail polish, black clothing, black eyeliner and dye your hair black, people are gonna assume you're goth. Fair? Of course! Now, the goths don't deserve to get beat up or anything! Bless their little emo hearts. But I think Obama is way off base in what he's saying. Again, though, I'm basing this on assuming that Geraldo's reporting is accurate. I don't know too much about the case.
3 people like this
• United States
25 Mar 12
I do agree that Obama has to be very careful how he words his support on anything to do with blacks. Early in his tenure, he received considerable criticism after saying that police in Cambridge, Mass., had "acted stupidly" in arresting Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a Harvard professor who is a friend of the president Personnally I think the people wearing a "hoody" for the "gangsta look" appear rather ominous but not a reason to shoot someone..
3 people like this
• United States
25 Mar 12
It's definitely not a reason to get shot. That's for sure. Just as a girl wearing a mini skirt and showing her thong off doesn't deserve to be raped. My point with that was that Obama's son obviously wouldn't be sporting the same attire. His son wouldn't be hoddied up in a neighborhood where burglaries have taken place. Obama's son would be in khakis with a blue button-down French-collar, sleeves rolled up, loafers on, passing out pamphlets about some social awareness beef in an upscale gated community - and that's assuming Obama's not President. While President, his son would be on vacation somewhere extremely expensive, or in a private school, or guarded heavily by secret service. So what he's saying doesn't make a lick of sense.
3 people like this
@anniepa (26270)
• United States
26 Mar 12
Maters, since by your own admission you got most of what you know about this situation from Fox News maybe you somehow missed the fact that this took place in a gated community. Whiteheather, my grandson and most of his friends, some of whom are black but most of whom are white, often wear hoodies and they're far from gangsters. It just happens to be the current style. Heck I have a hoody and I doubt anyone would find me ominous! Annie
1 person likes this
@Mashnn (4503)
25 Mar 12
Why do people like you just misinterpret statements to try to fit to your own imaginations or just to spread things that are not true? I saw Mr. Obama commenting about the issue and his statement was just a way of saying that if the teenager who was killed was his son, he would have felt the same thing that the family/parents of the teenagers are feeling. It has nothing to do with other minority races that you are mentioning. The case is still under investigation so you do not expect him to go around bashing or condemning the person who did it.
3 people like this
• United States
25 Mar 12
Why do people like you presume to interpret my statement as not true. This is my opinion regarding Obama'a actual choice of words not a figment of my imagination and I have the right to my opinion regardless of whether you personally like it or not. Just as you have your opinion when watching Mr. Obama's comment.
2 people like this
@Mashnn (4503)
25 Mar 12
I always respect other people opinions and I believe you are free to air your views but why I responded to you in this way, it is because of the way you put your discussion, it was somehow inciting. I think when it comes to racial issues, we should always be concerned to avoid exaggerating things. In this case, a life has been lost and we should be more concerned is trying to find out how people can live together peacefully rather than inciting each other.
3 people like this
• United States
25 Mar 12
The fact that President Obama chose to speak out about this particular incident warrants a discussion on the merits of anything he chooses to say thereafter. As Debra points out below, there are plenty of other incidents happening to teenagers across the nation, perhaps based on race, yet the President and everyone else remain silent in the face of those tragedies. That's not anyone else's doing save the Presidents in terms of lending kind words to trouble souls. If he speaks about one thing and not the other, that raises a simple question: Why? Why when other teenagers suffer horrific fates does the President not speak out? Why for this particular teenager? Could it be political? Could it be racial? Doesn't everyone--especially his most ardent supporters--want to know? After all, if it's only for the loss of a teenage life to such a crime, then other deaths should warrant reaction from the highest office in the land. It's not like people just pull this stuff out of thin air. Sure, maybe people could lightly brush over the glaring issues and choose to give him a pass. Maybe people could phrase things differently when being critical of him. But the question still stands. What amazes me aren't the people who gnash their teeth over it, but rather the people who don't care about they "why" at all - the people content to assume it's genuine and heartfelt and not political and that Obama only speaks up because he cares so deeply for someone else's plight. If that were the case, well, he could speak on other incidents. He could stick up for other women who have been called "sl#t" and not just one who sides with him politically. He could call the police to task for other ills and not only those involving a noted professor who happens to be black. He could bash rhetoric from both sides of the aisle. We're dealing with a track record of selective statements from the man who ran as everyone's President, not just those who supported him or those with whom he aligns himself. Standards. One can long for peaceful living while still holding someone to task for his three-year selection process of what stands out as important to him and what slips under his radar. Media is accountable, too, because they're asking in a lot of cases. But if Obama's anything at all, he's the master of the deflecting filibuster. So it's 90/10 all day.
3 people like this
@sierras236 (2740)
• United States
26 Mar 12
Okay as much as I would like to criticize President Obama on this, I can't. He has finally learned from some of his previous mistakes when stepping into the public arena on a subject that is very touchy. He was very careful not to make comments about public officials. He was very careful not to make a big huge controversy or refocus the attention back on himself. So what if it was a bit personal? As a parent of teenagers, he does have a personal connection with the victim and the victim's family. In this situation, it is okay for him to personalize that. Personally, I am fine with it. Yes, I know some people on here are going to be shocked.
2 people like this
@debrakcarey (19925)
• United States
26 Mar 12
if I had a son, he would look like this boysounds like he's putting the spotlight on who?
1 person likes this
@anniepa (26270)
• United States
27 Mar 12
KUDOS, sierras! The thing is, I think in a tragic case like this we should all be able to put politics aside and agree this was a horrific thing that happened to that young boy. I think of my grandson every time they show Trayvon's picture on TV; he's also 17 and also frequently wears hoodies. I don't think what Obama said was wrong at all and I'd feel the same way if it had been a Republican President or anyone else. Who cares if some people here are shocked, I'm proud of you for having the courage to post your opinion! Annie
1 person likes this
@jdyrj777 (6558)
• United States
26 Mar 12
Since the day this man was elected into the white house everything he says and does is under the microscope. I understood exactly what he is saying. When you look at the boys pic beside obamas pic they DO LOOK ALOT ALIKE. When you think about it i dont even know that race was really an important part of that caes. A armed person claims to have been defending himself against a unarmed person. Not to mention the fact that he was the one following the person he says he was defending himself against. If he felt in any way threathened why was he following him??? He was almost twice the size of the kid too. IT WAS JUST PLAIN MURDER. NO EXCUSES. MURDER.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Mar 12
Obama and his look-a-like son?? - The resemblance is obvious. ...especially around the ears.
You said "Since the day this man was elected into the white house everything he says and does is under the microscope. " Exactly and that is because everything he does and says is suspect. He is hidden behind so many screens and veils so no-one know really where he is from and just who is pulling his strings to destroy the USA. I have posted this picture before of Obama and his look alike son....
@jdyrj777 (6558)
• United States
28 Mar 12
Nobody can say with any amount of truth that obama is destroying the usa unless they are saying everything was fine when he went in office. As everyone knows it was messed up long before he got there. Get real!!! Stop being a hater!!!
@carolbee (16243)
• United States
25 Mar 12
It's better I don't comment about this discussion since I, along with everyone else, don't know all the facts. I do have an opinion but think it's better I don't voice it here. However I would like to say, may Trayvon rest in peace and bless his family.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Mar 12
This discussion is only about Obama's choice of words about Trayvon looking like he could be Obama's son. The facts are contained in the link. This discussion is not about the actual shooting guilt or innocence.
1 person likes this
@carolbee (16243)
• United States
26 Mar 12
I understand.
@oneidmnster (1382)
• United States
25 Mar 12
Obama is clearly using this incident as a political tool. He's also showing what a racist he really is. The worst thing is that it will work with black voters. They will turn a blind eye to all of the things Obama has done wrong during his term in office. As others have said,we would have never heard about this shooting if the young man had been white. Other than Martin getting killed,we don't know many facts. There was a struggle because Zimmerman had a bloody nose and a cut on the back of his head. Without more to go on,why is everyone wanting to have Zimmerman arrested? Unless he confesses to shooting Martin for no reason,there is no case.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Mar 12
I agree that this incident only further proves what a racist Obama is and how he will grab at any incident to cause further unrest in our country.
@Rollo1 (16666)
• Boston, Massachusetts
25 Mar 12
I think it is the same sort of ill-advised comment that the President is wont to make whenever he seeks to curry favor with one group or another by inserting himself into a situation where he doesn't belong. By saying Trayvon looked like what he imagined his son would look like (if he had one), the president sought to portray himself as sympathetic and also in unity with a major part of his base of support. Obama should know better by now, though. Remember his rush to judgment on the case of his friend Professor Gates and Officer Crowley? He should be more careful, we don't know all the facts in this case. I do think it may be appropriate for him to say something on the situation, especially if asked, but he should confine it to expressing concern, interest, and a firm belief that law enforcement in the relevant district will investigate it fully. The main reason for the president to comment on this situation SHOULD HAVE BEEN to pour oil on troubled waters and to improve race relations instead of choosing sides. These are the moments he ought to think as a president first, and everything else he may be second. This is when his lack of presidential gravitas is obvious.
2 people like this
@celticeagle (111529)
• Boise, Idaho
26 Mar 12
I was shocked as well. I think the strength shown by the US since has been extraordinary. All the pics of people, both adults and children, wearing hoodies. Obama's remark is one many could have made. He could have been anyone's child. And, if you look at the picture of the young man he does have a resemblance to the president. He must have noticed this too.
• United States
26 Mar 12
Obama and imaginary son - Family resemblance
I am still disgusted that the president ignores so many other dreadful unnessesary killings but addresses this particular one because he thinks the victim looks like him. Shame shame shame!! IMO Trayvon was MUCH better looking than our vain president. This is a much better likeness of any son of Obama......
2 people like this
@celticeagle (111529)
• Boise, Idaho
27 Mar 12
I love it!!!!
• United States
26 Mar 12
This is a president that feels the need to pull the race card to suit his needs. In one way it was good that he made a statement, but notice that he STILL has made no statement about the soldiers killed recently...look at who he associates with...people have to put the pieces together, it's all right there...I hope that justice is done in this case...
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Mar 12
I totally agree, thank you!
1 person likes this
@mgzg11 (139)
• Croatia (Hrvatska)
26 Mar 12
Question from uninformed outsider; is Obama really black? As far as I know, he was born and raised in white community, and didn't have much contact with his father. In fact, some prominent black leaders call him "Oreo" (black outside, white inside). Now, I understand that he uses his mixed heritage in his political advance, but does it really matters what ethnicity he belongs to? First of all, he's politician, and they are not black or white, they following and protect interests of those who puts them in the office (and that's not voters on elections).
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Mar 12
In my opinion, Obama is attempting to show his sympathy in a rather unorthodox fashion and for the record that young man is much better looking than a son of his would ever be. Connecting himself to this situation in such a personal manner is very unbecoming to his position as President, but unbecoming behavior seems to be the norm for him. I find it extremely unusual that his so called advisers cannot make him understand how he is ruining his image, but then it is a well known fact that one is only as good as the information given so I have to assume that he has surrounded himself with ........ well I will allow you to fill in the blank as you see fit. I also have to wonder if he even considered the effect that statement may have had on his daughters, such things have been known to cause developmental issues, but of course I keep forgetting he and his family are perfect.
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (44556)
• United States
1 Apr 12
I admit I thought it was insenstive, but I guess the parents did not.
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
29 Mar 12
Hi whiteheather, I didn't read anything into the president's remarks but I'm sure that we all see things differently. I feel certain that President Obama, along with all good Americans, is not racist. Certainly this was a senseless murder and this is what we must focus on, not the president's words. Not just the US, I think the whole world is outraged by this. We must make sure that this sort of thing is never allowed to happen again. Blessings
@Fatcat44 (1142)
• United States
28 Mar 12
Is Obama guilty of interfering in a criminal investigation?
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
27 Mar 12
SHows how dumb and stuiid he really is and where his favoritisum is