Obama further explained,
“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. There are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. Is there more that we can do to give themthe sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing toinvest in them?
It’s not to make excuses for that fact –
although black folks dointerpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that someof 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.
(Extracts from the President’s comments.)
The Zimmerman verdict has opened fresh wounds for those who face discriminationon a daily basis. It has also challenged the idea that by electing a black president fortwo terms, the American society has managed a fundamental shift in race relations.
Mass protests are already taking place against Florida’s
Stand your Ground
law that allows a citizen to kill in self-defense. On the other hand, the Zimmerman verdict provides a perfect opportunity to understand the plight of the youth trapped inperceptions. It is important to understand that the American judicial process givesrights to a panel of jury members drawn from the local community to address the
evidence and determine if the accused is guilty or not. In Zimmerman’s case, though,
his lawyers did not evoke the
Stand your Ground
law in his defense; the influence of
this law on the jury’s decision
-making process was hard to deny. In fact, in aninterview on
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
Monday night, an anonymous juror said
the panel that found George Zimmerman not guilty considered Florida’s
Stand Your Ground
law in its deliberations.
"Stand your Ground"
governs U.S. federal case law in which the right of self-defenseis asserted against a charge of criminal homicide. The Supreme Court of the United