Trayvon Martin’s backers hope Obama’s remarks will spark nationwide talk of race

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TACOMA — Emotions ran high on both sides Friday in reaction to President’s Obama’s candid remarks about what it is like being an African American man in America.

trayvon protestAlong Martin Luther King Way in Tacoma, protesters gathered late Friday to show support for Trayvon Martin — the black teen killed by George Zimmerman during a struggle in a Florida gated community.  A Florida jury found Zimmerman innocent of murdering the unarmed Martin.

“I think about my daughter, and I think about the future. All Americans should think they are Trayvon,” said demonstrator Thomas McCarthy.

Protesters in Tacoma said the tragedy was bigger than just what happened one night in Florida; they said the black teen was racially profiled.

“We all have those experiences; that needs to stop,” said demonstrator Dennis Lucas.

Many on Friday called the president’s comments on Friday heartfelt and fair while others say he was out of line.

Lucas said it’s hard to find an African American man who has not experienced Obama’s tales of being watched at a department store or an elevator and in neighborhoods.

“It doesn’t matter how well you dress. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or what neighborhood you are in,” said protester James McNeil.

McNeil applauded the president’s comments and said he hopes it will spark a nationwide conversation about racial profiling.

“It’s a good thing.  For so long, if you mention race, people automatically think you are trying to make an excuse,” said McNeil.

“I am affected by the stereotypes that I am being bombarded with everyday; I have to check myself of my assumptions of people,” said protester Laurie Arnold.

Others say Martin’s death had nothing to do with race.

“All of this is fluff; they are building it to what it is not, it’s not about race, it’s a matter of right or wrong,” said Tacoma resident Dave Schnabel.

Schnabel said Obama shouldn’t be taking sides.

“The president does not need to get into this; he’s stirring the pot. It’s not right,” said Schnabel.

“The only good thing to come out of something like this is have some dialogue; it will be painful dialogue,” said Arnold.

Friday’s protest at People’s Park in Tacoma was relatively small compared to what is was expected to occur Saturday in Seattle.

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  • jabailo

    Parents of all races should be concerned that psychopathic Kid Killer named George Zimmerman got away with murder and is walking the streets again. No child is safe with George Zimmerman around.

  • Scotty

    What if you're an Italian American trying to run your own business and everybody asks if you have mob money backing you up? "You look like Al Pacino, but you're a little taller – ever see the movie Scarface" ??? Everybody has something to deal with.

  • warthog6

    Trayvon Martin could NOT have been me. I don't have a history of vandalism, possession, and burglary. I don't walk around with my hand down my pants and playing with my balls while I talk to people. If I did, though, I still couldn't be Trayvon Martin because if I did do something wrong, I wouldn't be able to count on mass demonstrations across the country to protect me.

    I couldn't be Zimmerman either, since I wouldn't be fool enough to think that I could fix the world.

    I am myself. I don't have either Trayvon or Zimmerman's problems. The reason is because I know what they did not:

    The world is easier to break than to fix, and you can't kill everyone who's character it would improve.

    I don't go to places where stray pit bulls corner people, where the same people mass protests will defend as innocent, are walking around looking in windows, vandalizing property with a backpack full of drugs, burglary gear, and someone else's jewelry, where "innocent" people are creating a hostile atmosphere by chanting in grunting rhyming slang with their hands down their pants, and fondling their genitals while talking to children–and any objection labels you "racist."

    The world is filled with human trash of every color. Move to an atmosphere covered with video cameras, hang out in libraries, learn to read and become an interesting, intelligent person, and surround yourself with interesting and educated people with something interesting to talk about. Then pit all the assholes against eachother. Sow confusion and uncertainty among the enemy, and watch in safety while they all destroy eachother. Trayvon and Zimmerman could both have done this, but they didn't. Trayvon was no saint. He was a drug addicted burglar and vandal that got exactly what he deserved. Zimmerman was no hero either. The only tragedy here is that he didn't get gunned down as well. I can't wait until someone attacks him and he dies right along with the rest of the scum he takes out.

    It won't change my world because I don't share theirs. I chose the library.

  • Matt

    Interesting thing. I am a white male, and when I was between the age of 18 and 20 I was followed through a Safeway store o ne night by a black security guard. No my draws wernt hanging at the bottom of my butt. I had no backpack, bag or hat. I was going to college. Went there for microwave popcorn. Yet can I call that a racist incident? No because I’m white! Truth is all people of all colour experience racism in all it’s form. Why is this such a big deal? A 15 year old girl got shot in a drive by and it’s not this big a deal! That’s neither fair or right! It’s all because she is white!
    And no king Obama needs to stay out of this issue. This is not and never has been an issue that the president needs to be involved in. This is a justice department thing and his hand picked judges have ruled. The Feds have no right to press charges on a man that the state has tried and found not guilty.

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