Thursday, March 29, 2012

Murphy: Obama fuels racial hatred

When 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Florida last month by a neighborhood watch group volunteer, he was packing Skittles, not heat.

The man who killed him was doing some sort of neighborhood safety patrol and started following Martin, who is black, because he “looked suspicious.”

This is ugly stuff, and although many of us can’t relate to what it feels like to be considered “suspicious” for simply walking down the street, we can certainly become outraged as human beings on behalf of anyone who dies at the hand of a killer motivated by prejudice.

The Hispanic man accused of killing Martin, George Zimmerman, claims he acted in self defense. If he did, the law will protect him from prosecution. If he didn’t, he will land in prison for the rest of his life, as well he should.

While we await the specifics, it serves no purpose to whip up a racism-fueled frenzy because whatever motivation propelled Zimmerman to kill, the serious problem of racism needs to be redressed, not stoked.

The president of the United States apparently believes otherwise.

Clearly not worried about embarrassing himself again, as when he declared that Cambridge police acted “stupidly” by arresting a black Harvard professor, Obama interrupted a relatively insignificant White House press event to answer an obviously planned-out question about Trayvon Martin with an even more obviously planned-out response about how if he had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.”

The president prefaced his fatherly comment with an awkwardly gratuitous observation that, as the head of the executive branch of government, he had to be careful not to intrude on the discretion of law enforcement officials.

And then he intruded anyway, dumping a pile of presidential jet fuel on an already incendiary situation. This, despite his declaration at the outset of his presidency that this is “not a black America or a white America.” Read More