Obama’s ‘I Am Trayvon’ Moment Raises Stakes for Sharpton Protests
Marches of racism to allow blacks to beat on other races.
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Saturday’s nationwide protests against the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin will mark the next chapter in Al Sharpton’s long and checkered history of activism. Over several decades, Sharpton has led protests against both real civil rights abuses–and fabricated ones; both peaceful–and not.
Sharpton’s demonstrations will likely attract greater attention following President Barack Obama’s statement Friday that Trayvon Martin “could have been me, thirty-five years ago.” While Obama called for Americans to respect the verdict, he also claimed the outcome might have been different if Martin had been white.
Obama’s comments followed a statement last Sunday in which he likewise called for people to respect the verdict, appealed for calm, and offered words of sympathy for the Martin family. He first weighed in on the case in March 2012, emphasizing the racial aspect of the controversy: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Media outlets friendly to Obama seemed this week to be worried that he had not done enough to clarify his stance on the case. On Thursday, two consecutive shows on CNN–The Lead with Jake Tapper and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer both explored the question of whether Obama should say more. Friday, he did.