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Obama: Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me

obama-trayvon-martin-could-have-been-me

President Obama has once again weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case in a personal manner. In a surprise appearance at the regular press briefing yesterday afternoon, the president spoke quite eloquently.

First, the preliminaries:

But watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.

First of all, I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation.  I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.

The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case — I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.  The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner.  The prosecution and the defense made their arguments.  The juries were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict.  And once the jury has spoken, that’s how our system works.

A reminder that, amidst a politically charged controversy, there’s a grieving family dealing with the loss of their son. A nod to the criminal justice system. Both are important context and he’s said that before. That’s not why he spoke yesterday, though.

But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.  And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.  That includes me.  There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars.  That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.  There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.  That happens often.

And I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.  And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.  The African American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws — everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws.  And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.

There’s been quite a bit of blowback to the effect that it’s inappropriate for the president to personalize this. To make it about race. But, given the legacy of race relations in this country, it’s unavoidable. Those who identify solely as black or African American constitute 13.1 percent of our population, some 41 million human beings. And, while he himself is biracial, he’s generally perceived of and self-identifies as one of them. More importantly, his election and re-election as president makes him a rather powerful symbol.

So, he’s both talking to white Americans who don’t understand the prism through which most blacks see the case and trying to heal the hurt of blacks who, wrongly but reasonably see the verdict as a statement about the value of their life. And, having read so much of the commentary over the past week, there’s little doubt we’re talking past one another.

Now, this isn’t to say that the African American community is naïve about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence.  It’s not to make excuses for that fact — although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.  They understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.

And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration.  And the fact that a lot of African American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.

I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.  So folks understand the challenges that exist for African American boys.  But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it and that context is being denied. And that all contributes I think to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.

While context is important, the essence of leadership is working to make a better future.

Now, the question for me at least, and I think for a lot of folks, is where do we take this?  How do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction?  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.  If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family.  But beyond protests or vigils, the question is, are there some concrete things that we might be able to do.

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 is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.

So, no, there’s not going to be a federal re-trial of George Zimmerman. Whatever one’s view of “justice” in this case, the law is pretty clear on that point. But this really isn’t about George Zimmerman anymore.

That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation we can’t do some things that I think would be productive.  So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff, so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.

Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.

When I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things.  One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped.  But the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.

And initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and, in turn, be more helpful in applying the law.  And obviously, law enforcement has got a very tough job.

So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive.  And I think a lot of them would be.  And let’s figure out are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.

I don’t have strong feelings about the program, not having given it much thought before now. But the general idea seems reasonable. Local law enforcement, outside a handful of well resourced jurisdictions, is not well trained.

Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.

I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the “stand your ground” laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case.  On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?

And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?  And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened?  And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

This will of course be controversial, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it’s not at all clear Zimmerman was standing his ground at all. But, regardless of one’s views of guns, it’s hard to justify the idea of untrained citizens going around with guns looking for trouble.

Number three — and this is a long-term project — we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African American boys.  And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about.  There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement.  And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?

I’m not naïve about the prospects of some grand, new federal program.  I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I do recognize that as President, I’ve got some convening power, and there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front.  And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes, and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed — I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was obviously a tragic situation.  And we’re going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.

That’s not really a policy proposal. And I’m not sure that, whatever we do in this regard, it needs to be limited to African American boys.

And then, finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching.  There has 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.  On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?  Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character?  That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.

Conversation is good.

Finally, some closing perspective:

And let me just leave you with a final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better.  Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race.  It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society.  It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.  But when I talk to Malia and Sasha, and I listen to their friends and I seem them interact, they’re better than we are — they’re better than we were — on these issues.  And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country.

And so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues.  And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our nature, as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions.  But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did; and that along this long, difficult journey, we’re becoming a more perfect union — not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.

But we’ve got a long way to go.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Jenos Idanian says:

    Wanna win money? Whenever Obama is about to make a statement about something, find some sucker and wager that Obama will find some way to make the topic about himself. It’s a sure thing.

    And notice how there’s no mention of Zimmerman and his family. Those Americans don’t need any attention, not even with all the death threats. No, the only attention they get is the Justice Department trying any way they can to get him on something — anything, even to the point of opening up a tip line for anyone who might have some dirt on Zimmerman.

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  2. JoshB says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I know. How dare the first black president discuss racism in American society from a personal context. How uppity of him.

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  3. Jenos Idanian says:

    @JoshB: Tell you what, Josh: since he’s so busy being “the first black president,” can we get someone else to be just the regular president?

    And let’s open up this “honest discussion on race” that everyone calls for.

    Trayvon Martin was profiled — but on the basis of his appearance. He wore baggy pants and a hoodie — the generally-accepted uniform of the “gangsta.” The hoodie helps conceal identity, the baggy pants are jailhouse chic. The message intended to be sent by that outfit is intimidation, violence, disobedience to the law. In short, “I want to be treated as a violent criminal.”

    Had Martin been wearing a suit and tie (like a Mormon or a Nation of Islam member, for example), he’d have been just fine. Or gym shorts and a T-shirt. Or slacks and a polo shirt. Or a big ol’ yellow rain slicker. Or even a frilly blouse and a poodle skirt.

    I have a hard time taking seriously people who say “don’t you dare judge me on the way I choose to dress like a gang member or a prisoner or something else potentially dangerous.” The clothes you wear reflect the image you wish to protect. Why else do so many employers have dress codes or uniforms?

    If I see someone who has chosen to dress like a gangsta, I’m going to react to them like a gangsta. I’m going to be suspicious of them, I’m going to expect them to be aggressive and potentially violent.

    On the other hand, if I see some teenagers in ties walking around in the heat, I’m going to think “Mormon missionaries” and try not to snicker at them.

    It’s not exclusively about race. I sincerely doubt Obama ever walked around in baggy pants and a hoodie, even when he was a member in good standing of the Choom Gang.

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  4. Woody says:

    President Obama’s remarks yesterday were among the most important of his career.

    He did not advocate for some grand policy measure, or propose a “fix.” He proposed that we, as American citizens, examine our own perceptions and prejudices concerning racial bias. He did this without accusations, but did not shy away from the obvious: for many Americans, the default treatment of African-Americans – in particular black male youths – is suspicion. There are many reasons for this, some more honorable than others, but this truth remains.

    I’ll also add that I don’t think there is a better example of projection than the knee-jerk reactions of Riehlists accusing Obama of making it “all about him.” It’s gone from provocative through predictable through boring and is now mired at piteously pathetic.

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  5. Smooth Jazz says:

    I have news for Obama – Zimmerman is “Hispanic”, a minority just like he is. Standing toe to toe with race hustlers like Al Sharpton in a case that apparently has nothing to do with race, appears to be one way to take his mind of that impending train wreck called ObamaCare, and the love note he and other top Dems just received from top union leaders regarding how ObamaCare is destroying the unions way of life.Obama probably didn’t listen to all the evidence in this trial, wasn’t there and can’t claim to know all the pieces that the jurors know. Yet, here he is hiving up the same race based propaganda like race baiters such as Al Sharpton, NAACP, Jesse Jackson, et al. A reasonable, unbiased observer can understand the verdict rendered by this jury.

    As I posted on another blog, only Liberals on guilt trips about our country’s historical racial ills can make the suppositions and leaps people like Sharpton and the other race baiters are making. The fact that Martin called Zimmerman a “bleeping cracker” is an argument that Martin was profiling Zimmerman – contrary to the race hustlers perpective. For the NAACP to push a case where a “colored” minority (Hispanic Zimmerman) racially profiled another minority (African American) is up there with all those predictions that Hillary already won the Presidency in 2016 becuase she is a woman that is entitled to it. I grew up on Brownsville & Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn – 2 of the toughest neighbor hoods in the country. 17 year blacks have been killed by hispanics males (and other blacks) many times. I never heard DOJ or Obama getting involved.

    Reasonable people can disagree regarding what happened. When I first head the initial news reports, I thought Zimmerman was a racial profiler and stalker. As the case unfolded, I thought another possibility was just as reasonable: That Zimmerman never “chased Martin down”, but got out of his car so he could have a better vantage point to lead police to what he thought was a suspicious person. Getting out of his car to better guide police does not make him guilty of murder or justified getting his head and nose bashed in. We do know the jury looked at the evidence and came to a reasonable conclusion.Indeed, one juror even suggested that it was the police dispatcher that was suggesting to Zimmerman to get out of car so he can track Trayvon more closely.

    There is no evidence to suggest he got out of the car to hunt or chase down Martin as Liberals are suggesting. I know that is the race baiters & race hustlers position – But there is ZERO evidence to support that. Besides, Zimmerman as hispanic not white, and many people in this country consider hispanics a minority.

    At any rate, as I mentioned previously, in the Bed Stuy & Brownsville neighborhood I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, 17 year olds Black teenagers die at the hands of other 17 black teenagers all the time. Sometimes after being chased. I just don’t see the President making comments or mass rallies protesting these situations which happen quite often in our communities.

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  6. Jenos Idanian says:

    And yes, I’m going to not only stand by my first comment, but expand on it. Obama is a narcissist — he needs to put himself at the center of everything and anything. Examples abound.

    His eulogy for Senator Inouye was pretty much all about how Inouye had been his senator for a couple of years.

    His speech in Egypt was about himself.

    His speech in Germany was about himself.

    His first reaction to the Martin shooting was to make it about himself.

    He honored Rosa Parks with a picture of himself on the famous bus.

    He gave the Queen of England an IPod loaded with his speeches.

    His appeal to get the Olympics to come to Chicago was about how it would make him feel good.

    And so on. And so on.

    As I said, it’s an easy bar bet.

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  7. PD Shaw says:

    So Obama would have violently attacked someone who was following him? Learn something new every day.

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  8. Just Me says:

    I think some of the current criticism of Obama’s remarks is reading too much into what he is saying.

    I do think Zimmerman’s family deserved some sympathy from the president-given that they are subject to the current threats when they had nothing to do with what happened.

    I think there is a subtle racism that blacks experience that white people do not deal with (driving while black etc) and I agree that we need to talk more about racism (and add in the fact that whites are presumed to be motivated by racism especially when it comes to opinion on policy).

    I also think he is right that there is hope for younger generations but color me skeptical of using his own children as examples-his daughters have essentially frown up in an elite bubble-his girls experience less of the real world than the vast majority of children. They have no idea what it’s like to go shopping and be followed around by store security because they are being protected by their own security. I am also willing to bet the friends he hears his girls discuss race with are about as equally elite and privileged-none of the children involved will be living in a ghetto because it is their only option. Probably none of them have friends whose parents live pay check to paycheck or worse may not have enough in one to pay all their bills. It is easy to talk about race relations when living in the ivory tower.

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  9. Hazelrah says:

    Trayvon Martin was profiled — but on the basis of his appearance. He wore baggy pants and a hoodie — the generally-accepted uniform of the “gangsta.” The hoodie helps conceal identity, the baggy pants are jailhouse chic. The message intended to be sent by that outfit is intimidation, violence, disobedience to the law. In short, “I want to be treated as a violent criminal.”

    She was wearing a very short skirt and a low cut top. The skirt helps show off the upper legs, the top is prostitute chic. The message intended to be sent by that outfit is loose, easy, and available. In short, “I want to be raped.”

    I try to give both sides of this very contentious case the benefit of the doubt. But for the love of God, Jenos, please never have children.

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  10. mantis says:

    Notice how when Jay Tea’s puppet Jenos is not complaining about the president “making it all about himself,” that’s exactly what Jay Tea’s puppet Jenos does? It’s all about what he thinks of black people based on their appearances? Nobody gives a shit what sort of racist attitudes you have, Jay. Nobody cares that you think if someone is dressed like a nigger they should be treated like a nigger. Nobody cares if you think the girl deserved to be raped because she dressed like a slut. Nobody cares if you think gay men deserve to be killed if they give a straight man gay panic. In fact, all you do is demonstrate that you have no interest in seeing any of this change. You think a country where black teenagers get killed for being black and scaring wannabe vigilantes just by existing is on the right path. You think baggy jeans are an invitation to a bullet, and a bullet is a deserved consequence of wearing those jeans. You are scum, but nobody cares what you think.

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  11. beth says:

    It was raining here yesterday. My 17 year old wore a hoodie. News flash, morons, teenage kids don’t wear slickers and carry umbrellas – it’s just not cool. And from the photos I’ve seen of Trayvon that night (damn you Andrew Sullivan) his pants looked pretty tight.

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  12. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Trayvon Martin was profiled — but on the basis of his appearance. He wore baggy pants and a hoodie — the generally-accepted uniform of the “gangsta.”

    It is also the generally-accepted uniform of a lot of middle class suburban white kids.
    While I don’t necessarily think Zimmerman was a racist, race was an element. Among other things, if Zimmerman was black and Martin were white, the Florida police would have treated the situation much differently. A black man in that same community would not likely have been issued a CCW if he had Zimmerman’s record, so that situation is less likely. Hell, if you are a black woman in FLA and shoot at, but miss your abusive spouse you get 20 years. The law is not applied evenly by the police, courts, or licensing agencies and it encourages this poor behavior by wanna be heroes.

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  13. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian: As James says, “And, having read so much of the commentary over the past week, there’s little doubt we’re talking past one another.”

    We get your point about the president being a horrible person. Noted.

    Maybe you could spend five minutes (Three? One???) trying to get Obama’s point.

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  14. Hazelrah says:

    She got 20 years because the ceiling was white.

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  15. Woody says:

    @Hazelrah:

    “Their appearance caused this to happen” – - one could draw a straight line from this to the fabled Devil Dodge: I wasn’t responsible for my own actions, but Satan/a demon/ a witch / a hoodie-clad teenager possessed me!

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  16. JKB says:

    @Grewgills:A black man in that same community would not likely have been issued a CCW if he had Zimmerman’s record, so that situation is less likely.

    Florida is a “shall issue” state. Which means that unless prohibited by law or determined in an open, answerable judicial proceeding, a permit will be issued. It isn’t up to the random, biased judgement of a police chief or sheriff. So your statement a black Zimmerman wouldn’t have received a permit is ignorant. Save such ignorance for “may issue” states where they may have some merit and your ability to receive a permit is dependent upon your political connections.

    Hell, if you are a black woman in FLA and shoot at, but miss your abusive spouse you get 20 years. The law is not applied evenly by the police, courts, or licensing agencies and it encourages this poor behavior by wanna be heroes.

    The “imminent” requirement in the used of deadly force means you act to physically stop the threat of you die (or suffer serious bodily injury). In the case you are referencing, the woman walked past her “attacker”, retrieved her gun, and purposely discharged it in the direction of but not at her “attacker”. Now, explain how she had a “reasonable” belief of an “imminent” threat of “death” or “serious bodily injury”?

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  17. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I applaud the President for talking about this issue in such a thoughtful manner. The message is there for anyone that wants to hear it. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, he says: “I respect the verdict, people shouldn’t do others violence because of this, racism is getting better, but let’s consider the deeper aspects of this.” and people hear: “Kill all the white people.”

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  18. JKB says:

    I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened?

    One would think a Harvard Law grad would have a basic understanding of the use of deadly force in self defense. But one would be wrong. So many, purported and verified, Harvard Law grads have spoken stupidly on the use of a firearm in self defense.

    This is especially problematic for someone in Obama’s position, that is one of authority. Some may actually listen to him and they will end up in jail. Or they’ll claim to have when they act stupidly like the guy in Vancouver, WA, who stated he was just following Biden’s advice when he fired his shotgun in the air.

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  19. Latino_in_Boston says:

    And you know, I’m not sure what all the Zimmerman champions here are getting worked up about. Whether it was just “appearance” as Jenos claims, one could ask, how could he be so wrong? so, so tragically wrong? Why exactly did he perceive that to be dangerous? What are the underlying assumptions of this, and is that a reasonable thing to believe?

    Consider, for example, the cases of Treyvon vs. Dzhokhar, as this salon piece does:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/07/19/how_america_profiled_trayvon_martin_and_dzhokhar_tsarnaev/

    And as to whether Zimmerman considered race or not, it really doesn’t matter any more. The fact is that a significant portion of this country believes it had everything to do with race. In particular, African-American males don’t need the Zimmerman case to tell them that they are more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to be profiled, more likely to be considered inferior to whatever position they have in life (including the President himself who was once confused for a waiter). And this very point is what the President was trying to make, to explain to an audience that might not perceive it this way. People are stuck with the specifics of the case, where whatever happened, doesn’t really matter any more, it’s goes far, far beyond.

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  20. michael reynolds says:

    Denying, as some of our pet racists do above, that there is a serious and on-going race problem in this country, and in particular attempting to deny this country’s racist history, is the more equivalent of holocaust denial.

    It is not just factually wrong, it is despicable.

    Attempting to twist culpability, to portray African-Americans as the only real racists endlessly victimizing whites with “race-hustling” is likewise equivalent to holocaust denial, and is absurd, wrong and despicable.

    I realize some conservatives have heard themselves spout these lies so often they half believe them, but that doesn’t change what they are.

    Kudos to James Joyner, a conservative who still actually cares about the capital T Truth even when the truth is not helpful to his politics. He’s part of a dying breed.

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  21. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @JKB:

    What’s this basic understanding he’s missing, according to you, JKB? It is not at all obvious to me, perhaps you can elaborate.

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  22. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    You are a cult member. As usual you speak for your cult. As usual you are indifferent to logic.

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  23. JKB says:

    and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young African American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed

    Well, one documented way is that when employers run criminal background checks on applicants, they hire more black men. Unfortunately, Obama’s administration has moved to stop employers from conducting such background checks claiming they discriminate against minorities. When in fact they only discriminate those with criminal backgrounds with those who don’t, permitting those who don’t have criminal backgrounds to avoid guilt by association.

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  24. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    One would think a Harvard Law grad would have a basic understanding of the use of deadly force in self defense.

    Obama:

    And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

    Basic understanding….demonstrated.

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  25. Dan says:

    While it is almost impossible to avoid the issue of race here, I think what is most important is that a human being was killed, someone who was unarmed and just minding his own business, and this happened because the law allowed someone who was untrained in law enforcement to carry a gun and patrol the streets and make judgements about when to use deadly force. A society that allows a law like this to exist, a law that can easily lead to deadly mistakes should seriously ask questions about its values, not in a negative way but in a way that can lead to answers. Answers on how to move forward, how to prevent incidents like this, how to make the society a better place for everyone.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  26. PD Shaw says:

    @James Pearce: That quote from Obama indicates that he does not understand the Stand Your Ground law, which by the way, was the law in Illinois when he was a state senator, and he didn’t sponsor any legislation to change it.

    The President, like so many others, refuses to acknowledge that George Zimmerman had no avenue of retreat from the beating Martin was inflicting on him. Zimmerman would have prevailed on self-defense without a stand your ground law. The only additional element a stand your ground law adds to traditional self-defense is the elimination of a duty to retreat if one is available..

    TalkLeft

    I really don’t care about SYG, states can have that element or not as far as I’m concerned. I despite the ignorance that people who should know better are perpetrating about the legal and factual issues of this case, including the President.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @PD Shaw:

    I wonder how many classmates at Punahou would have been unable to read a letter than they would have claimed to have written.

    It is odd that someone who grew up in the most racially tolerant state and attend the most elite prep school in the State of Hawaii, would have the same worries as Treyvon Martin. When President Obama was 17, he was applying to tier one liberal arts colleges. I doubt i Martin was doing the same.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  28. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Tell you what, Josh: since he’s so busy being “the first black president,” can we get someone else to be just the regular president?
    And let’s open up this “honest discussion on race” that everyone calls for.

    As soon Obama became “the first black president” you guys showed your hand by indulging yourselves in an ongoing absurd and toxic Birtherism movement. Race? Everytime anyone deigns to mention (let alone discuss) race, you guys accuse that person of being a racist for bringing up the subject of race.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    It is odd that someone who grew up in the most racially tolerant state and attend the most elite prep school in the State of Hawaii, would have the same worries as Treyvon Martin.

    As long as there are racist goons like you they both face similar problems.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  30. stonetools says:

    Looking at the comment thread, the racists and Zimmerman apologists (but I repeat myself) were really quick off the mark.
    According to Jenos, TM was to blame because a black boy wearing a hoodie and jeans SHOULD be shot to death by an armed white guy. Why? GANGSTA blah, blah blah.
    Smooth Jazz tells us TM should be killed because hey, HE was the racist.Apparently, If TM tells a third party that GZ is a cracker, GZ is justified in killing TM. And oh yeah, black teenagers shoot other black teenagers in other states so GZ’s vigilante killing is totally OK.
    PD Shaw says that TM should have been killed because its known that Zimmerman’s version was the gospel truth-he was merely “following” TM when TM jumped out of (non-existent ) bushes and attacked him for no good reason.
    So far, so predictable.
    Note that no one contradicts Obama’s premier point-that if Trayvon Martin was white, things would have proceeded completely differently.
    No one would have thought that GZ should have pursued TM with a gun merely because he was walking from the store in his own neighborhood at 7PM.
    No one would think that GZ was right to continue following TM on foot after the police advised him not to.
    No one would have thought that TM should not have had a right to “stand his ground” and resist someone pursuing him.
    No on would have justified GZ’s shooting on the ground that TM was dressed wrong.
    No one would have argued that because white teenagers kill other white teenagers in another state, therefore TM’s killing is somehow justified.
    Certainly, GZ would never have been sent home that night after a cursory investigation and with no charges filed.
    That last is indisputable to me. Maybe Jenos et al. can prove me wrong by linking to cases where a person escapes liability and even prosecution after “following” and killing an unarmed white teenager. Go ahead and do the research. Take all the time you want .

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  31. stonetools says:

    @PD Shaw:

    First of all, the President doesn’t discuss the specifics of GZ’s defense-anywhere in his message. This is what he said:

    I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the “stand your ground” laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case. On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?

    And for those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these “stand your ground” laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-trayvon-martin-race-speech-video-text-2013-7#ixzz2ZbQW4QV8

    What you and Jeralyn are responding to is a speech that Obama never made. Carry on, though. I’m pointing this out to simply alert our readers that you were in alternate universe mode.

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  32. john personna says:

    @PD Shaw:

    In fight or flight, are you always flight?

    FWIW, if someone follows me in the dark, I’m thinking about throwing a punch.

    (Of course, I’m white … so that’s ok.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  33. john personna says:

    (So James writes a very calm and rational piece, and it plays out as “troll the subliminally racist.” So incredibly sad.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  34. anjin-san says:

    But for the love of God, Jenos, please never have children.

    Hazelrah enters the OTB hall of fame on the first round :)

    If I see someone who has chosen to dress like a gangsta, I’m going to react to them like a gangsta

    Run home to mommy?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  35. anjin-san says:

    When I saw the uncover photo of Martin’s dead body on gawker, I was struck by how ordinary he looks. Based on how he was dressed (tan pants that are most certainly not baggy, sneakers with low or no socks, and yes, a hoodie, aka a sweatshirt) he could easily have passed for a kid on his way to a SAT study session.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  36. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    I sincerely doubt Obama ever walked around in baggy pants and a hoodie, even when he was a member in good standing of the Choom Gang.

    The Choom Gang

    Yes. The Choom Gang was a bunch of typical high school teenagers, who were out to explore the world, to make it an adventure, to make it fun, to make it funny, and just generally become a family on our own. I mean, the Choom Gang became more of a family to me more than my own family.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/oral-history/choice-2012/the-choom-gang/

    Yes Jenos, Obama was a popular kid with a lot of friends. One more reason for you to hate him, I guess. Seriously dude, you should disengage yourself from this issue. You are starting to sound a bit unhinged.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  37. Gustopher says:

    How dare that negro bring up race! That just shows who the real racist is.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  38. anjin-san says:

    I wonder if white people have a clue how stupid they sound when they use the expression “gangsta”…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  39. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    FWIW, if someone follows me in the dark, I’m thinking about throwing a punch.

    Some days ago, I was walking in the dark and then appeared a White dude talking about Jesus or something like that. Since I was coming from the gym and I was tired I simply run, instead of punching him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  40. stonetools says:

    In the speech, the President says that he accepts the jury verdict , but that an injustice was done, and that the injustice was at least in part because Trayvon Martin was a young black man, and that we should fix the law so that this doesn’t happen again.

    Zimmerman apologists:
    Justice was done.
    The black teenager who was killed had only himself to be blame.
    The only injustice was that Zimmerman was charged at all, because there is nothing that suggests prosecution when a 29 year old man with a gun “follows” a black teenager with the spoken intent that he won’t “get away”, and then shoots him to death.
    The law is fine as it is, despite empirical evidence that as in this case, armed whites who shoot unarmed blacks mostly get off, while armed blacks who shoot unarmed whites mostly get convicted.

    Plainly , Zimmerman apologists have a different view of justice than Obama. And that view is just as plainly based on race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  41. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Some days ago, I was walking in the dark and then appeared a White dude talking about Jesus or something like that. Since I was coming from the gym and I was tired I simply run, instead of punching him.

    Well if you had shot him dead, then concocted a story that you thought he was crazy and that you genuinely thought he was about to attack you,and that you feared for your life, then you have a good chance of being acquitted and maybe not even charged in Florida- so long as you are not black.
    That’s the exception Obama was talking about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools: Luckily, I don´t live in Florida. I I ever go there I´m going to be afraid of meeting White overweight dudes in the middle of the dark.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. stonetools says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Well, if ALEC comes to your state, you could definitely get the same wonderful regime of easy CCW and SYG that Florida was been flourishing under these past 8 years.
    What we need is a liberal ALEC that can work to dismantle all the crap that ALEC has passed all over the USA. But liberals are good at creating movements, not building institutions. Its our Achilles heel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I always find it odd that progressives think they are hip when they are insulting others.

    I Romney could not identify with the poor because he was rich, then how does President Obama, an Ivy League educated, prep school graduate who grew up in Hawaii identify with a poor 17 y/o from Florida who had been suspended by school.

    I find it odd that progressives believe that it is not racist to believe that all blacks are the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Some days ago, I was walking in the dark and then appeared a White dude talking about Jesus or something like that. Since I was coming from the gym and I was tired I simply run, instead of punching him.

    You took the right approach, Bill Maher would approve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Oh, the “mistruths” here.

    “Stand Your Ground” didn’t apply to Zimmerman because he didn’t have an opportunity to retreat from the confrontation.

    “Stand Your Ground” didn’t apply to Martin because he chose to flee from a confrontation, then reconsidered and went back to initiate a confrontation.

    Zimmerman’s decision to follow Martin was based on profiling — which is NOT a dirty word. It’s a short-hand term for logic and common sense and intelligence. “Unknown person” plus “odd behavior” plus “general appearance consistent with perpetrators of recent crimes” equals “suspicious” and follow.

    Zimmerman’s decision to shoot Martin was based on Martin’s busting of Zimmerman’s nose and pounding of ZImmerman’s head into the ground repeatedly.

    And finally (for now), the Choom Gang’s biggest claim to fame was a rather remarkable list of shenanigans that would make Cheech and Chong blush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  47. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: The verdict is in….You don’t have to keep litigating the case.

    PS. No one cares about the Choom Gang. People who do should consider doing something more useful with the time. Clip your toenails. Sweep up the dust bunnies under the couch. Don’t waste even another second more fretting over what teenage potheads did in the 1970s.

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  48. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You should give up the dis-proven notion that SYG had nothing to do with the case. Not only was SYG in the instructions to the jury, one juror stated that she based her decision on SYG.

    Your post clearly shows the problem of having a “stand your ground” provision.
    First, everything in your post assumes Zimmerman is telling the truth, but since he has every reason to lie, and since he killed the only witness that could dispute his story, that is problematical. Did Zimmerman try to physically detain TM when he met up with him after TM fled.?That certainly is possible. We’ll never know since TM isn’t here to give his account. If this was the case, then TM would have a right to “stand his ground”.

    Now if there was a duty to retreat, the inquiry would go beyond the seconds before GZ fired.Rather,

    the burden of proof is on the defense to show that the defendant was acting reasonably. This is often taken to mean that the defendant had first avoided conflict and secondly, had taken reasonable steps to retreat and so demonstrated an intention not to fight before eventually using force

    Now, it’s pretty darn obvious that TZ did not take steps to avoid conflict. Indeed, by following TZ on car and then on foot, he made a confrontation much more likely. Had he broke off pursuit, followed the dispatcher’s counsel and returned to his car, the confrontation never happens.
    With a duty to retreat, you don’t have right to use deadly force until you absolutely have to. It’s the last resort. With SYG, any use of deadly force is justified as long as you are in fear of injury or bodily harm, even if such fear is illusory. We don’t inquire, for example, whether he could have used his martial arts self defense training to get TM off him, or if he could have pushed TM and simply ran when (according to him) TM jumped him. And as we saw, you get to shape the narrative by executing the only person who can dispute what you say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  49. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Speaking of profiling someone as “suspicious” – Zimmerman has a criminal record.

    I guess, in Florida, it’s legal for someone with a criminal record to possess a gun and mete out OK Corral style justice?

    Please continue with your victory lap on behalf of George Zimmerman

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  50. PD Shaw says:

    @stonetools: “PD Shaw says that TM should have been killed because its known that Zimmerman’s version was the gospel truth-he was merely “following” TM when TM jumped out of (non-existent ) bushes and attacked him for no good reason.:”

    Idiot. Liar. Jerk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  51. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:
    I have lost the cite, but my wife saw statistics recently for FLA that showed a disproportionate number of african americans being denied CCW for among other reasons the criminal record of a relative. I will try to find it again when I have more time.

    As to the imminent threat requirement, there are quite a few cases of people getting off on SYG when they also left and brought back a gun, when more than one clip was emptied, when the other party was fleeing the scene (shots in their back).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  52. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:
    Please explain to this non Harvard, non law grad how what he said was wrong.

    It was dark out, a large suspicious man was following him and continued to follow after he ran. When he turned around he saw the gun GZ was packing, so he shot GZ to protect himself from the immanent threat posed by the armed man that had been tracking him on his way home. Assuming GZ died leaving no other witnesses, why wouldn’t TM have a valid SYG case. Hell, if everything went as it had, but TM had picked up a brick or a stick and hit GZ in the head killing him, leaving no other witnesses and his defense was that GZ approached him menacingly with a gun, why wouldn’t TM have a valid SYG case?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  53. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:
    My father moved to Hawaii in 1973, near to the time Obama would have begun attending Punahau (one of the top 3 private schools on Oahu). At that time there were about 780K ppl in the state (about the size of Jefferson County AL). At that time one of the things that struck me, coming from Alabama was that there were virtually no African Americans and virtually all of them were in military families and so segregated from most of the rest of the population. I would hazzard a guess that Obama was the only African American at Punahou during his tenure there (not just the only one in his graduating class).
    Hawaii now is the most racially tolerant place, despite it being the state where open racial humor is more prevalent than anywhere else I have lived. That is largely I think due to everyone being a minority (no race or religious group makes up more than 30% of the population). Back then, that was not so much the case. My father and his wife were nearly run off the road more than once for being white in rural Hawaii. African Americans were very much discriminated against, called popolo and thought less of. In the later 70s and 80s when reggae became very popular and more locals identified with that culture, that particular type of racism decreased.
    Hawaii or at least Oahu when Obama lived here was certainly a better place for someone who self identified and looked to most African American than most places in the South or middle of the US, but it was not how you are trying to portray it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  54. Grewgills says:

    @Grewgills:
    Most racially tolerant place should read, most racially tolerant place I have lived.
    Not a very broad spectrum (Southern US, Western US, Hawaii, and parts of Western Europe)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Smooth Jazz tells us TM should be killed because hey, HE was the racist.”

    WTF??? Where did I suggest Martin “should be killed”. Dude, please lay off the angel dust. My point is very simple: I see a bunch of race hustlers & baiters using this young teenager’s death, and a tragedy that was borne of confusion involving 2 minorities, to push their racial agendas and to fight 200 year old wars involving slavery and police brutality towards African Americans.

    I never suggested this unarmed teenager deserved to die. As former NBA legend & Bill Cosby suggested racism works both ways.

    Al Sharpton, a rabble rouser who went to my high school (SJ Tilden HS) in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, NY should be ashamed of himself: After being revealed as a huckster and race baiter involving Tawana Brawley & the Duke Lacrosse team, he’s at it again perpetrating a media campaign of hate against a hispanic man who was rendered not guilty and his family. Sharpton and the other race hustlers got nothing here, but they need oxygen to be relevant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  56. anjin-san says:

    a rather remarkable list of shenanigans that would make Cheech and Chong blush.

    Now this is funny. Obama bogarted joint after junior prom! Issa to investigate.

    Yea, that’s a real gotcha. A teenager in the 70′s smoked pot. Where I went to high school, that crew would have been regarded as lightweights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  57. anjin-san says:

    how does President Obama, an Ivy League educated, prep school graduate who grew up in Hawaii identify with a poor 17 y/o from Florida who had been suspended by school.

    Easy. They had both been called “ni**ger”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  58. anjin-san says:

    @ PD Shaw

    violently attacked

    You do realize that there is no evidence that Martin attacked Zimmermann. The only thing that there is evidence of is Martin tagging Zimmermann with one good punch.

    Zimmermann might have grabbed Martin and tried to restrain him. He was concerned about Martin “getting away”, though why remains something of a mystery. Zimmermann might have swung at Martin and missed. He might have shoved Martin.

    Zimmermann is a proven idiot, and a proven liar. He lied to Martin’s parents faces during his mockpology.

    Yet you treat his every word as gospel…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  59. PD Shaw says:

    @anjin-san: So you agree that “PD Shaw says that TM should have been killed “?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  60. anjin-san says:

    @ PD Shaw

    So you agree that “PD Shaw says that TM should have been killed “?

    I only speak for myself. Did I say that? No, I did not.

    What I did say is that there is no proof that Martin attacked Zimmermann. If you can show I am wrong in this, feel free to do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  61. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “

    Unknown person” plus “odd behavior” plus “general appearance consistent with perpetrators of recent crimes” equals “suspicious” and follow.

    The problem is precisely that: this is none of Zimmerman business. During the night, in fact, it´s pretty difficult to make distinctions between people: one can think that a large white woman in fact it´s a black man, for instance.

    Allowing a random dude with a history of felonies to carry a gun and to profile(Or whatever he was doing) during the middle of the night is a pretty dangerous preposition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  62. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer: I

    Romney could not identify with the poor because he was rich, then how does President Obama, an Ivy League educated, prep school graduate who grew up in Hawaii identify with a poor 17 y/o from Florida who had been suspended by school.

    1-) Romney could not identify with people. That´s because he is a senseless jerk, not because he is rich.

    2-) There are things that people of color, regardless of their ethnicity, can understand, while many White people do not understand. It´s simple as that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  63. Andre Kenji says:

    @al-Ameda:

    You took the right approach, Bill Maher would approve.

    I´m going to buy the largest Virgin Mary Medal that I can find just to show it to the next evangelical jerk that tries to convert me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    the Choom Gang

    Maybe you should discuss your pot obsession with Sarah Palin (link):

    Palin has admitted to smoking when it was legal for personal use in Alaska, saying she “can’t…say that I never inhaled.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  65. jukeboxgrad says:

    smooth:

    my high school (SJ Tilden HS) in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn

    I grew up in East New York, so this jumped out at me. Tilden is in East Flatbush, not Brownsville. The lines are pretty clear, and the two places were quite different, and the difference is relevant to the point you’re trying to make. Anyone who really went to Tilden knows that Tilden is not in Brownsville.

    A minor lie, but I could not let it pass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  66. jukeboxgrad says:

    super:

    I Romney could not identify with the poor because he was rich, then how does President Obama, an Ivy League educated, prep school graduate who grew up in Hawaii identify with a poor 17 y/o from Florida who had been suspended by school.

    It is a common right-wing lie to imply that Obama was raised rich. He wasn’t. He went to prep school on a scholarship. His grandmother raised him in a 2-bedroom apartment. She lived there for over 40 years, and she was still living in that same apartment when she died five days before he was elected president in 2008.

    The place was probably not much bigger than Mitt’s car elevator, and probably smaller than the place where he keeps his dancing horse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  67. anjin-san says:

    @ jukeboxgrad

    The all time classic was Jan talking about the frugal, down to earth Romney’s and silver spoon spoiled rich kid Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    the frugal, down to earth Romney’s

    Yup. Which reminds me of these hilarious statements from Ann Romney (link):

    we couldn’t afford a desk … [we were] struggling students … we were living on the edge … [we] learned hard lessons

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  69. anjin-san says:

    we were living on the edge

    They were on the edge. They actually had to sell some of Mitt’s stock portfolio. These people paid their dues.

    The sad thing is that Ann Romeny thinks that is what hardship is – having to liquidate part of an investment due to inadequate cash flow, all the while never missing a meal or having to decide which utility you will give up.

    A parakeet has more insight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  70. Smooth Jazz says:

    “I grew up in East New York, so this jumped out at me. Tilden is in East Flatbush, not Brownsville. The lines are pretty clear, and the two places were quite different, and the difference is relevant to the point you’re trying to make. Anyone who really went to Tilden knows that Tilden is not in Brownsville. A minor lie, but I could not let it pass.”

    The lines may be clear in YOUR mind, but from my boyhood house on Kings Hway & Tilden avenue, and amongst my homies, East Flatbush & Brownswille is pretty much one and the same depending on where you are – ie Somers JHS near Kings Hway & E 91st. Just like Crown Heights borders on the much bigger Bed Stuy and Bed Stuy borders on Fort Greene. I know people who live on Eastern Parkway & Utica Ave who call themselves from Bed Stuy even thought they are “technically” in Crown Heights. That was no lie I assure you – I know where I grew up and that Sharpton & I went to the same high school that is a few blocks from what is technically considered Brownsville.

    The fact is, when I look at Mr Zimmerman I see a minority that looks a lot like all the Cubans, Puerto Ricans & other Hispanics that attended PS 269 with me on Nostrand Ave in Flatbush, Meyer Levin JHS on Ralph Ave & Tilden HS. He looks no different, is no different and it could have been one of those other Hispanics that shot Martin in self defense as the jury found. Since when does the, arguably, justfiable shooting of one minority by another in self defense become a cause for hucksters and the racial grievance ecosystem.

    I am just disgusted that a bunch of race hustlers and race baiters are using this kid to further their own agendas, when there is no evidence this unfortunate death was race based. These race hustlers are disgusting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  71. rudderpedals says:

    @jukeboxgrad: These were my old stomping grounds too. Tilden, just on the border of the Flatlands area a little north of the projects and a bit west of Ralph Ave. Mrs rudder and my sis are Tilden alum :-/

    (If I could have a first mate I would choose you. Can you sing?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. rudderpedals says:

    My Brooklyn post is stuck in moderation. Waddaya doin to me? Cmon and gimme a break.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. rudderpedals,

    Fixed. It ended up getting caught in the spam filter for some reason

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. jukeboxgrad says:

    rudder:

    Can you sing?

    No, and I can’t sail, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. jukeboxgrad says:

    stormy:

    The lines may be clear in YOUR mind

    Not just in my mind. The lines are clear, period. Brooklyn is made up of neighborhoods that are quite distinct, with lines that are usually quite clear, and you can often see a pretty dramatic change just walking a block or two. Ask google maps to find “Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY,” and you will see that the western boundary is Rockaway Parkway. Tilden HS is at least 10 blocks away from Rockaway Parkway. On the Brooklyn scale, that distance is significant.

    And it’s not an accident that the wikipedia article for Tilden HS starts with this sentence (link):

    Samuel J. Tilden High School is a defunct New York City public high school in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

    East Flatbush and Brownsville were demographically quite distinct.

    from my boyhood house on Kings Hway & Tilden avenue

    You said this:

    I grew up on Brownsville & Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

    Your “boyhood house” was in East Flatbush. Brownsville is a mile away from your “boyhood house,” and Bed-Stuy is 2 miles away. In terms of Brooklyn demographics, it might as well be a light-year.

    amongst my homies, East Flatbush & Brownswille is pretty much one and the same depending on where you are

    No, they weren’t “pretty much one and the same.” Walk just a few blocks and things like income and crime rates change dramatically.

    the same high school that is a few blocks from what is technically considered Brownsville

    The distance is at least 10 blocks, and that’s not “a few” in Brooklyn. And your “boyhood house” is even further west, so the distance is greater. So you’ve admitted that your claim about growing up in Brownsville is false.

    that attended PS 269 with me on Nostrand Ave in Flatbush

    If you had really grown up in “Brownsville & Bedford Stuyvesant,” as you claimed, you would not have gone to school in Flatbush. A very, very different place. I didn’t leave Brooklyn until I was in my twenties, and I lived in a bunch of these neighborhoods that you’re mentioning, and I know them well.

    Keep digging.

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  76. rudderpedals says:

    Thanks, Doug

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  77. rudderpedals says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Bummer. Great song though.

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  78. stonetools says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    The fact is, when I look at Mr Zimmerman I see a minority that looks a lot like all the Cubans, Puerto Ricans & other Hispanics that attended PS 269 with me on Nostrand Ave in Flatbush, Meyer Levin JHS on Ralph Ave & Tilden HS

    Well, had you actually TALKED with those Hispanics you saw, you would understand that they DO distinguish as to race among themselves. Many Hispanics do self identify as white (blanco) because they ARE white (that is, of unmixed European ancestry). Some are even proud of it.Ever heard the expression “pure Castilian blood.”?
    Moreover, Hispanics have a broader definition of “white” than the American “one drop ” rule. In Latin America (including in Peru) if you look white, you ARE white, plain and simple-especially if you are middle class.

    I am just disgusted that a bunch of race hustlers and race baiters are using this kid to further their own agendas, when there is no evidence this unfortunate death was race based. These race hustlers are disgusting.

    What’s disgusting is those that won’t admit the obvious-that if Trayvon was white, Zimmerman would never even have noticed a teenager dressed in ordinary fashion walking through his neighborhood, and Trayvon would still be alive.

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  79. stonetools says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    I never suggested this unarmed teenager deserved to die.

    What you did was to furiously attack anyone who dared question the controversial verdict as a “race hustler” and “race baiter” . You characterized the President’s reasonable speech as “race based propaganda”and launched into a wholehearted defense of Zimmerman as a poor, misunderstood “minority” who did nothing wrong. As for Trayvon Martin’s , you attacked him as a “racial profiler.” To me, it read like you thought Martin’s killing was justified, and that Zimmerman deserved a pat on the head for being wrongfully accused by the “race baiters”.
    It was only in response to my post that you conceded Trayvon’s death was a “tragedy”. You’ll pardon me if I don’t think that’s particularly sincere.

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  80. Smooth Jazz says:

    “The distance is at least 10 blocks, and that’s not “a few” in Brooklyn. And your “boyhood house” is even further west, so the distance is greater. So you’ve admitted that your claim about growing up in Brownsville is false.”

    Yeah, blah blah blah – I don’t need any lecturing from Liberal cranks about all the enclaves in Brooklyn. YES, there are distinct lines and boundaries, but those bounderies get blurry in certain areas. For example, when the Jolly Stompers from Crown Heights & Bed Stuy were battling the Tomahawks from Brownsville during the 70s for gang supremacy, there were certain areas that bordered Bed Stuy & Brownsville that each gang called their turf. I also know the differences between Bed Stuy, Red Hook, Park Slope, Bushwick, East NY, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Bensonhurt, Sheepheads Bay, Bay Ridge, etc etc etc. I don’t need lectures on the Brooklyn’s geography – I grew up there and can GOOG Wiki to get the exact boundaries of each section.

    We moved around Brooklyn 3 times when I was an infant, adolescent and teenager living in the Vanderveer Projects on New York Ave in Flatbush at one point (near PS269), lived in Langston Hughes Projects on Sutter Ave in Brownsville for a short time, before my parents bought a row house on East 56th (near the intersection of Kings Hway & Tilden Ave) in East Flatbush when my sisters and I were teenagers.

    MY CLAIM ABOUT GROWING UP IN BROWNSVILLE WAS TRUE. Even as I referred to various Brooklyn neighborhoods loosely, for you to call someone a liar when you don’t have all the facts and I only gave you snippets of my background tells me where you are coming from. You should get over yourself. You are not all that important in this world.

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  81. Smooth Jazz says:

    “What’s disgusting is those that won’t admit the obvious-that if Trayvon was white, Zimmerman would never even have noticed a teenager dressed in ordinary fashion walking through his neighborhood, and Trayvon would still be alive. ”

    What’s disgusting is that you have no CLUE – You’re just speculating & convicting wth no evidence. I’m not going to admit anything I don’t know. That would be pure speculation on my part. Given the 8, 9, 10 or whatever previous burglaries, perhaps ANYBODY Zimmerman saw with a hoodie in a questionable area would have drawn his attention.

    For you to suggest you know what Zimmerman would do if he saw someone else is up there with the Black Helicopter conspiracy theorists.

    By the same token I can claim that if Zimmerman was a black neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed a black teenager under confusing circumstances (And YES Blacks have shot blacks before) Obama & Sharpton & Jackson and the other race hustlers wouldn’t care. I can claim that but I have no facts to back that up. And neither do you. Sorry.

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  82. stonetools says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Let me begin by acknowledging your posts as ostensibly reasonable, knowledgeable, and well argued. And I admit that you don’t dance on Trayvon Martin’s grave, as many all over the Internet do.
    That said, your posts have relentlessly defended Zimmerman’s conduct as altogether righteous. You have accepted Zimmerman’s version of the event as being competely and undeniably true. You have minimized and explained Zimmerman’s conduct as innocuous, as if there is nothing wrong with an armed man pursuing someone who someone who identifies as a “punk… who always gets away.” In sum, you have argued that :

    Zimmerman’s conduct was right.
    The law was right
    The jury verdict was right

    I concluded from that you believe that Trayvon Martin’s killing was right.
    Now if you had expressed any sympathy for Martin or his family, I might have thought different. AFAICT, you never did.
    Now in your cheer leading for Zimmerman, you might not understand that your attitude (and those of Jenos and Jazz Shaw) came across as one of pitiless indifference to the death of Trayvon Martin and those like Trayvon Martin. But that’s how it came across. I note that you seem far more upset with what I said, than the senseless death of a 17 year old who went out one evening to buy Skittles

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  83. stonetools says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    Given the 8, 9, 10 or whatever previous burglaries, perhaps ANYBODY Zimmerman saw with a hoodie in a questionable area would have drawn his attention.

    Anyblack male with a hoodie. Those are the only ones Zimmerman called 911 about .

    Prosecutor Richard Mantei told a Florida judge the five calls are central to the prosecution’s argument that Zimmerman committed second-degree murder since it shows his growing ill will at people he viewed as suspicious who were walking through his neighborhood. In each of the calls, which were played for Judge Debra Nelson with the jurors out of the courtroom, Zimmerman described the suspicious characters as black males.

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  84. superdestroyer says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I would propose that to say that all black people have more in common with each other than they do with non-blacks in inherently racist. A prep school, Ivy League Educated lawyers is going to have much more in common with other prep school, Ivy Leaguers than they are going to have with the underclass no matter what the race.

    Anyone who has lived and worked in a place like DC learns how to spot the powerful people. Individuals who are poweful carry themsleves differently than the middle class. To argue that the elite, wealthy blacks have more in common with underclass blacks who were struggling to finish high school is laughable. What seems to unit wealthy blacks with poor blacks is the underlying hatred of whites (and Latinos) and that is the real theme of all of the talk about Treyvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

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  85. anjin-san says:

    Who cares if Zimmermann is hispanic? Changes nothing, means nothing.

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  86. ElizaJane says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “And finally (for now), the Choom Gang’s biggest claim to fame was a rather remarkable list of shenanigans that would make Cheech and Chong blush.”

    I went to the link and read the stories; did you? Because I attended a nice, prim, tea-and-biscuits kind of Seven Sisters college and I could imagine pretty much any of those things happening there. OMG! A freshman threw up on a sofa and the Chooms carried it out of the dorm! If this is supposed to be gang-type behavior, I can see why you are afraid of anybody wearing a hoodie.

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  87. jukeboxgrad says:

    stormy:

    lived in Langston Hughes Projects on Sutter Ave in Brownsville for a short time … MY CLAIM ABOUT GROWING UP IN BROWNSVILLE WAS TRUE

    Only a special person like you could admit living “in Brownsville for a short time” and in the same breath claim they grew up in Brownsville.

    Flatbush is not Brownsville. And I only brought it up because you have a long record of distortions like this.

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  88. Jenos Idanian says:

    @stonetools: Sigh…

    In sum, you have argued that :

    Zimmerman’s conduct was right.
    The law was right
    The jury verdict was right

    I concluded from that you believe that Trayvon Martin’s killing was right.

    Zimmerman’s actions were not right. But they were not so wrong as to constitute criminal conduct.

    There’s no law against flipping off a public official. There’s no law against discreetly following someone from a distance. There’s no law against walking up to a complete stranger and hurling obscene insults at them.

    But that doesn’t make any of them “right.”

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  89. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Andre Kenji: The problem is precisely that: this is none of Zimmerman business. During the night, in fact, it´s pretty difficult to make distinctions between people: one can think that a large white woman in fact it´s a black man, for instance.

    Yes, it is Zimmerman’s business. He feels an obligation to his neighbors and his society, and that means not turning a blind eye when he sees something that might be wrong. “If you see something, say something.”

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  90. al-Ameda says:

    I’m pretty sure that Zimmerman’s neighbors are very grateful that he took it upon himself to carry a gun and follow a 17 year old kid who was doing nothing other than being Black(and wearing a hoodie in the rain).

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  91. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    “If you see something, say something.”

    If only Zimmermann had followed Neighborhood Watch’s simple rules, 17 year old Treyvon Martin would be alive today. Sorry, Zimmermann cannot hide behind Neighborhood Watch’s legitimacy. He went rogue.

    His motto was, “Arm yourself, profile, pursue”

    I really don’t care what obligations Zimmermann felt, or if he had good intentions. We all know what is paved with those. I am a homeowner, family man, taxpayer, and solid citizen. A teenager walking home from the store is not a cause for me to worry about the well being of my neighborhood. A not very bright man with a sketchy background driving around with a gun playing cop? That is cause for alarm.

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  92. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What seems to unit wealthy blacks with poor blacks is the underlying hatred of whites (and Latinos) and that is the real theme of all of the talk about Treyvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

    WOW! A white (hispanic) man follows, confronts, and then kills an african american kid because those assholes always get away, then there are peaceful protests about the obvious (to most) racial element, and your take away is black people are racists. That is amazing.

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  93. anjin-san says:

    He feels an obligation to his neighbors and his society

    I can just as easily argue that as the going nowhere fast son of a fairly successful and accomplished father, Zimmermann was motivated by a desire to impress/be seen by his dad. He had said he wanted to be a judge – he probably does not have the tools to be a decent court clerk, much less a judge. Likewise he is not equipped to be a police officer. Private security was as close as he was going to get to the law and order business.

    So he had a lot of motive to try and become a hero.

    We don’t really know, and we never will. To state Zimmermann’s motives as a fact is, at best, intellectually dishonest. Hardly a surprise, considering the source.

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  94. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer:

    To argue that the elite, wealthy blacks have more in common with underclass blacks who were struggling to finish high school is laughable.

    No one is saying that. In fact, I have really close friends that are Black and that are poor. One could argue that a guy like Jim Webb or Rick Perry has more in common with middle class people than Obama. But Romney?

    Romney can´t relate to ANY people, he is the lack of empathy in person.

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  95. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Ain’t you quite the mind-reader here?

    Regardless, the trial answered a lot of questions. You’d know that if you’d actually paid attention to it, but I bet you tuned it out when it became apparent just how crappy the prosecution’s case was, and how even crappier the prosecution pushed it.

    And here’s a good analysis of Zimmerman’s calls to 911. But I expect you to ignore that, too, ‘cuz it doesn’t back up your prejudices and need for a politically-convenient story.

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  96. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Ain’t you quite the mind-reader here?

    Well sure Skippy, you can tell that from the part where I said we will never know for sure what Zimmermann’s motives were and to claim otherwise is nonsense.

    but I bet you tuned it out when it became apparent just how crappy the prosecution’s case was

    I tuned it out the day the prosector filed charges. It was obvious that they were overcharging, and it was obvious that the prosecutors office was not terribly competent. This cake was baked before they ever got to trial.

    Is this the best you have today? Are there to be no more wildly wrong pronouncements about race? No more grim details of Obama’s pothead days? No more hysteria about “gangstas”?

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  97. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Yesterday I asked you to consider disengaging from the discussion about this case. You should really think about it. Ask yourself why you are Sympatico with an utter loser like George Zimmermann.

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  98. wr says:

    @Smooth Jazz: Are you still pretending to be black?

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  99. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    Most black men rock out to Kenny G records. Don’t you know anything?

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  100. jukeboxgrad says:

    Ask yourself why you are Sympatico with an utter loser like George Zimmermann.

    The GOP has this weird affection for pathetic losers. Another good example is Nakoula.

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  101. jukeboxgrad says:

    Is this the best you have today? Are there to be no more wildly wrong pronouncements about race? No more grim details of Obama’s pothead days? No more hysteria about “gangstas”?

    I want to hear more about how it was wrong for him to wear baggy pants even though he wasn’t wearing baggy pants.

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  102. Smooth Jazz says:

    “@Smooth Jazz: Are you still pretending to be black?”

    Only far left whack jobs and liberal elite know-it-alls ASSUME every African American is going to toe the liberal line – and stay on the reservation. Your comment is as insulting as it is demeaning. Only Liberal cranks think people surfing the internet on an open forum are going to make up stories about whether they are Black, and spend a ton of time making up a fake childhood and background, just so they can share a different perspective than 99% of the posters on a far left blog.

    I’m as Black as Trayvon Martin’s parents and Al Sharpton, and, arguably, “more” African American that Obama, who is of mixed race. I’m proud of my Black parents who emigrated from Spanish Town, Jamaica, West Indies in the early 1960s to help create better life for me and my sisters. I’m proud that I’m the only one among the 20 or so “homies” that were part of our “boys’ that hung out in PS 244 and Nazareth parks near KIngs Hway, Tilden & Clarendon Aves in Brooklyn during that timeframe to get a Masters after obtaining a BS in Accounting from Syracuse University & MBA from Rutgers.

    You can take your “African American must adhere to the Liberal perspective” and “All African Americans MUST stay on the reservation” mindset and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

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  103. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Most black men rock out to Kenny G records. Don’t you know anything? ”

    Yeah, That was funny. Actually my favorite artists are the late great 1970s balladeers Major “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” Harris and Robert “Magic Man” & “When Will My Love Be Right” Winters. I also have a soft spot for the vintage MFSB stuff from the early 70s – Think “My Mood” and “My One and Only Love”. Finally, I can’t leave this subject without giving a shout out to silver tongue songstresses Natalie Cole, Karrin Allyson & Jane Monheit. As for Kenny G, the only work I like by him was the 1986 Duotones CD with “Don’t Make Me Wait” fronted by former Tower of Power lead Lenny Wilkins and “You Make Me Believe” fronted by Claytoven Richardson”. The rest of Kenny G’s stuff I don’t like really. In that genre I prefer Najee & Gerald Albright.

    For a time, James Joyner oversaw a moderate if right of center platform. Then I noticed a change 5 years ago, when Rep women like Sarah Palin & others were treated like parasites and continually insulting on this blog simply because the moderators here didn’t agree with her politics. That appears to be the time the Liberal bloggers such as Doug M & Dr Taylor became front and center and OTB went full Daily KOS complete with the far left commenters that spend most of their time insulting people. There was a time you could be Black and post something on here that didn’t toe the far left line – and no one would care. Now you are insulted for stepping off the reservation if you happen to be black. For having a different POV.

    I guess Mr Joyner has cast his lot with the far left. We’ll see how a far left business model sustains itself in an era when ObamaCare becomes a train wreck and with left wing politicians running for cover the next few years. The good news is that all the far left commenters that now call this place home appear to be here for good.

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  104. jukeboxgrad says:

    Clarendon Aves

    There is no Clarendon Av. It’s Clarendon Rd. Something else that jumped out at me because I lived in this exact neighborhood for years (our many Brooklyn addresses included Lott Av, Pennsylvania Av, Winthrop St, E 96 St and E 57 St). Just reminding you so you can make your pitch sound more authentic next time.

    The place you just described (PS 244, Tilden HS, Nazareth Park) is East Flatbush. Brownsville was a much rougher place. A family that could manage to escape from Brownsville to East Flatbush was making a big step up. I know, because my family made precisely that step. I still remember it clearly even though it was a long time ago. The number one song that year was Wooly Bully.

    Bed-Stuy was even further away and probably even worse than Brownsville. You said this:

    I grew up on Brownsville & Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn – 2 of the toughest neighbor hoods in the country.

    Next time leave out the embellishment. You’re insulting the people who really did grow up in Brownsville and Bed-Stuy, who had it a lot worse than both you and me.

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  105. al-Ameda says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    For a time, James Joyner oversaw a moderate if right of center platform. Then I noticed a change 5 years ago, when Rep women like Sarah Palin & others were treated like parasites and continually insulting on this blog simply because the moderators here didn’t agree with her politics

    Sarah Palin as a victim? So sue Katie Couric for asking what she reads – that was an ambush question if ever there was one.

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  106. Smooth Jazz says:

    “There is no Clarendon Av. It’s Clarendon Rd. Something else that jumped out at me because I lived in this exact neighborhood for years (our many Brooklyn addresses included Lott Av, Pennsylvania Av, Winthrop St, E 96 St and E 57 St). Just reminding you so you can make your pitch sound more authentic next time.’

    I don’t need a sign of approval from radical leftists regarding where I grew up and whether I’m black or not – Just because they don’t agree with me. Clarendon Rd versus Clarendon Ave: BFD. LOL. I guess judgmental Liberals need to feel good about themselves by trying to catch every spelling error or distinction between Ave vs. Road. Figures.

    Let’s keep it simple for you. From Ave D & Kings Hway, through Nazareth High School up past Tilden HS back to KIngs Hway is the area I’m referring to. The Bus B7 ran through that area. The B46 which ran up & down Utica Ave to Crown Heights & into Bed Stuy was another bus I took a lot – before the “bus cabs” started to take over in the 1970s. Lincoln Terrace (Not far from Brownsville) between Empire Blvd (or is it Empire Road) and Eastern Parkway (or is it Eastern Ave) is a place I spent a lot of time as a teenager. The White Castle near Utica Ave & Empire Blvd where they intersect with East New York Ave a block from Lincoln Terrace was another popular hang out. East Flatbush, Crown Heights, a half mile over to Brownsville near Pitkin Ave are minutes apart. Only a Liberal elitist can force their vantage point on others.

    You are FULL of yourself. I can assure you the world doesn’t revolve around you and your ilk.

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  107. jukeboxgrad says:

    East Flatbush, Crown Heights, a half mile over to Brownsville near Pitkin Ave are minutes apart.

    In Brooklyn it takes only “minutes” to travel from a good neighborhood to a rotten neighborhood. East Flatbush, where you actually grew up, was the former. Brownsville/Bed-Stuy, where you said you grew up, was the latter. In the future try to be more honest.

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  108. anjin-san says:

    @ Smooth Jazz

    You should consider expanding your musical horizons:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf7kUd4awnw&noredirect=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl2UkWoN368

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDfR1zfFuM

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  109. Pharaohs Narim says:

    Gosh, if anyone passes Bill Belicheck on a lonely night wearing his usual garb. I should hope someone would pop a cap on his ass for dressing in a manner that suggests he wants to be treated like a “gangsta”.

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  110. Pharaohs Narim says:

    A little local knowledge about the Orlando area… Lifelong locals and working class blacks are not very well respected there– To suggest that Zimmerman couldn’t be racist because he’s Hispanic (an ethnicity not race) is to be completely ignorant of racial interplay in different metropolitan areas. The fact that he didn’t want young black men in his neighborhood wouldn’t put him in strange company in that part of town. Add in the fact that the community was gated and you have all you need to know short of a sign. Hell, keeping black men away are the reason gated communities exist in the first place.

    I’ve about had it with GZ fellators citing “black on black” crime as a reason no one should have brought GZ to trial. Most murder victims are killed by people they know….meaning most white murder victims were killed by….whites. Do you see any newsprint or commentary on the urgency of white on white violence? It just goes to show how easily manipulated you are by the ones you claim to despise…namely rich elites… who have figured out how to tap you pigeons’ money with targeted yellow journalism. Heck, they probably even voted for Obama. God you guys give me hours of entertainment. Keep up the good work.

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  111. wr says:

    @Smooth Jazz: ” Only Liberal cranks think people surfing the internet on an open forum are going to make up stories about whether they are Black, and spend a ton of time making up a fake childhood and background, just so they can share a different perspective than 99% of the posters on a far left blog.”

    Wow. You don’t get out much, do you?

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  112. wr says:

    @Smooth Jazz: “You can take your “African American must adhere to the Liberal perspective” and “All African Americans MUST stay on the reservation” mindset and stick it where the sun don’t shine. ”

    Nah, it’s more like “mildy annoying internet troll chooses to claim he’s black when he thinks it will help make his anti-Obama or anti-liberal point.”

    By the way, I seem to recall you lecturing us all on how Romney was going to win in a landslide and take the Senate with him. We were all morons for believing those polls, which evil liebruls had skewed.

    So pardon the bejeezus out of me if I don’t take you, your racial heritage, your deeply wounded pride, or anything else about you seriously. You know so little about this country, its people, and reality…

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  113. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Nah, it’s more like “mildy annoying internet troll chooses to claim he’s black when he thinks it will help make his anti-Obama or anti-liberal point.”

    So pardon the bejeezus out of me if I don’t take you, your racial heritage, your deeply wounded pride, or anything else about you seriously. You know so little about this country, its people, and reality…”

    Boohooo, I’m cowering in the corner, wounded pride on the floor. Don’t flatter yourself – I don’t get offended when attacked on a far left blog where 99% of the commenters think 100% of all Blacks think the same way. That is par for the course for leftist crackpots posting on DailyKOS type blogs such as Outside the Beltway. I couldn’t care less about what you think about my heritageor race (Ayuh).

    My original post was about Al Sharpton attending my high school (Samuel J Tilden is Brooklyn, NY) who graduated in the same year as my older sister. He was a rabble rouser then, who evolved into a race hustler & huckster as the Tawana Brawley & Duke Lacrosse frauds indicated. He tried to use the tragic death of a young man to push his race greivance agenda, but too bad it peetered own.

    Yeah, a conservative posting on Outside The Beltway is considered a “Troll”. LMAO. That tells me everything about how this once mainstream and measured blog has evolved. Mr Joyner: Good luck with your far left business model.

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  114. Rob in CT says:

    Far left! Far left!

    Everything is “far left” nowadays, I guess.

    I thought POTUS’ speech was good. My one addtion might have been to expand upon the bit where he talks about the trial being over, and protests needing to be nonviolent. That could have been expanded to include no attempts at making Zimmerman’s life miserable. That could then seque nicely into the “and this is about more than these two guys anyway” theme of the thing.

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  115. al-Ameda says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    Yeah, a conservative posting on Outside The Beltway is considered a “Troll”. LMAO. That tells me everything about how this once mainstream and measured blog has evolved. Mr Joyner: Good luck with your far left business model.

    Honest to god, today’s conservatives are the single largest group of self-proclaimed victims in America today.

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  116. caboosemon says:

    @Smooth Jazz:I wish that Obama had been Trayvon!!! What a wonderful world that this would be!!

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  117. Justin Smithers says:

    @JoshB: Just three points:
    1. Obama is not “the first black president”. He’s only half-black. His mother was white.
    2. He is a self-identified black (at least to the extent that the media reported that Zimmerman is a self-identified Hispanic).
    3. He is a white-black president (or white-African-American president – now there’s a potentially hot topic for you) at least to the extent that the media identified Zimmerman as being white-Hispanic.

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