(The Root) — A week after facing heavy criticism from the black community for his initial comments on the George Zimmerman verdict, President Obama melted a few icy hearts by speaking more in-depth on the matter. In a press conference held earlier today, the president spoke candidly about what it’s like for young black men to be profiled in America.
He told the listening public that he himself had been racially profiled. “Trayvon Martin could’ve been me 35 years ago,” he said. He later commented, “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”
For the most part, blacks on Twitter lauded the president’s comments, expressing shock and surprise that he spoke so candidly. For others, however, his comments seemed in stark contrast to his endorsement of New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, a champion of the stop-and-frisk policy.
Love it or hate it, both sides were very vocal online about the president’s comments.
President Obama statement was strong, powerful & truthful. Let’s respect what #POTUS said without any notes. He speaks for the voiceless.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) July 19, 2013
When President Obama was speaking about Trayvon Martin, I shouted HALLELUJAH in the office. Had to remember where I was. #hewasspeakingtruth
— Jamarr Brown (@JamarrBrown) July 19, 2013
How can President Obama say all these things about racial profiling in America yet praise Ray Kelly?! Did I miss something?
— Purple Ranger (@AyoMia_3) July 19, 2013
Obama validated and explained black people’s enduring anger, pain and hurt today. That rarely happens.
— Nia-Malika Henderson (@niawapo) July 19, 2013
Obama: “Trayvon could’ve been me, 35 yrs ago”, but considers Kelly, who headed stop&frisk prgrm, for Homeland security. Alarming disconnect.