Obama: ‘Soulssearching’ needed after Trayvon Martin’s death

“All of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means … Continued

“All of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident.”

-President Barack Obama, March 23, 2012, on the need for ‘soul-searching’ following Trayvon Martin’s death.

Read more in the Faith 2012 Quote Archives.

Haraz N. Ghanbari


President Barack Obama answers a reporter’s question about the death of Trayvon Martin, Friday, March 23, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/ Haraz N. Ghanbari)

  • thmas

    The whole event has played out on many levels. First, there is a killing and a dreadfully botched police reaction. In the aftermath, people are picking sides and picking facts and smearing reputations. But underlying this is another level of response, which is the perpetual fear among young black men in this country and among the people who care about them that they will be attacked or arrested simply because their existence provokes fear.

    Some of the national discussion has involved “the talk” parents of black teens must give their sons. Another has been the aching anger of grown men, of considerable achievement, about the many years they spent woried that they might somehow encounter this sort of response — and the surprise of Americans of other races that this fear even exists.

    Obama’s comment goes more deeply to that fear, and to the reason for that fear: that it is still dangerous, in this country, to be a young black man. Not because of what you’re doing, or who your friends are, but simply because somebody — say a neer-do-well with a gun — could decide for no reason other than your color and gender that you are dangerous, and kill you.

    Obviously, a law that shelters such a killer is wrong — as is a police force that wrongly believes such a privilege exists. More fundamentally, a police force that will presume that sucha killing was justified solely because of the race and gender of the victim is deeply troubling.

  • ArlingtonSMP

    Aside from the use of “soul”, which I don’t believe is in a religious context, this doesn’t appear to involve religion or faith at all. I’m puzzled as to why this is posted in On Faith? (I don’t get the Gingrich post much either, though he did pull out the “Creator” line from the declaration of independence, but that’s pretty much a reflex at this point).

    Don’t get me wrong, the conversation about Trayvon Martin is worth having, but I think that given the context of the speakers, it is misplaced here.

  • RevGal

    I agree that this entry doesn’t seem like a fit in “On Faith” but is a general interest matter.

    Matters of fear, hope and meaning are arguably matters of the spirit, but in the public sphere we tend to argue those things out on political stages… rather than the context of faith.

    But I’m glad to see this important and necessary conversation continuing.

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