September 16, 2013
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Like so many other lost black boys, Trayvon Martin was killed close to home. He was killed by someone whom he lived around. His hoodie marked him, as surely as any gang color ever marked anyone. He was watched by George Zimmerman in the exact same way that I, and all my friends, were watched when we strayed into some other neighborhood. Indeed, one thinks of George Zimmerman’s attitude and can’t help but hear the moans of Kendrick Lamar (“Where your grandma stay, huh, my nigga?”) And finally Martin was killed in a way that is very familiar to a lot of us: a sucker goes looking for trouble, finds it, and shoots his way out of an ass-kicking.

There are no fair ones in America.

"

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on Trayvon Martin, Hadiya Pendleton, and Derrion Albert.

August 27, 2013
President Obama Isn’t Bringing Race into National Controversies

In National Review, John R. Lott Jr. accuses President Obama of repeatedly “interjecting” race into law-enforcement issues, including George Zimmerman’s trial for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, even as he ignores cases where blacks violently attack whites because of their race.
There isn’t much I like about Obama’s presidency. But the way he handles race and racial controversy is one of them.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

President Obama Isn’t Bringing Race into National Controversies

In National Review, John R. Lott Jr. accuses President Obama of repeatedly “interjecting” race into law-enforcement issues, including George Zimmerman’s trial for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, even as he ignores cases where blacks violently attack whites because of their race.

There isn’t much I like about Obama’s presidency. But the way he handles race and racial controversy is one of them.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

August 5, 2013
Ta-Nehisi Coates on Trayvon Martin's America

July 22, 2013
Obama, Race, and Justice

The President’s remarks on race Friday were remarkable for many reasons. Let me focus upon the one (and the only one) I feel qualified to discuss: Barack Obama was spot-on in his blunt and gloomy assessment of the racial disparities (still) inherent in the nation’s criminal justice systems. He was even more insightful in reminding the rest of us about some of the ways in which those disparities contribute to the skepticism and frustration many minority citizens feel about the nation’s unfulfilled dream of equal justice.
Read more. [Image: Larry Downing/Reuters]

Obama, Race, and Justice

The President’s remarks on race Friday were remarkable for many reasons. Let me focus upon the one (and the only one) I feel qualified to discuss: Barack Obama was spot-on in his blunt and gloomy assessment of the racial disparities (still) inherent in the nation’s criminal justice systems. He was even more insightful in reminding the rest of us about some of the ways in which those disparities contribute to the skepticism and frustration many minority citizens feel about the nation’s unfulfilled dream of equal justice.

Read more. [Image: Larry Downing/Reuters]

July 22, 2013
President Obama: Pitch Perfect on Trayvon, Yet Silent on Abdulrahman

I can’t help but harbor complicated feelings toward Obama and the American people generally. You see, right around the same time that Obama gave his speech, the grandfather of a 16-year-old American, killed in an apparent incident of profiling, wrote in the New York Times, “They showed me the grave where they buried his remains. I stood over it, asking why my grandchild was dead. Nearly two years later, I still have no answers.” As he put it, “the United States government has refused to explain.” The 16-year-old “lived in America until he was 7, then came to live with me in Yemen. He was a typical teenager — he watched ‘The Simpsons,’ listened to Snoop Dogg, read ‘Harry Potter’ and had a Facebook page with many friends. He had a mop of curly hair, glasses like me and a wide, goofy smile.” In the autumn of 2011, Abdulrahman set out from his grandfather’s home in search of his father, who he hadn’t seen in years. He was still hundreds of miles away when the U.S. government killed his father, Anwar al-Awlaki, in a drone strike due to his affiliation with Al Qaeda. “Abdulrahman called us and said he was going to return home,” his grandfather wrote. “That was the last time I heard his voice. He was killed just two weeks after his father.”
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

President Obama: Pitch Perfect on Trayvon, Yet Silent on Abdulrahman

I can’t help but harbor complicated feelings toward Obama and the American people generally. You see, right around the same time that Obama gave his speech, the grandfather of a 16-year-old American, killed in an apparent incident of profiling, wrote in the New York Times, “They showed me the grave where they buried his remains. I stood over it, asking why my grandchild was dead. Nearly two years later, I still have no answers.” As he put it, “the United States government has refused to explain.”
The 16-year-old “lived in America until he was 7, then came to live with me in Yemen. He was a typical teenager — he watched ‘The Simpsons,’ listened to Snoop Dogg, read ‘Harry Potter’ and had a Facebook page with many friends. He had a mop of curly hair, glasses like me and a wide, goofy smile.” In the autumn of 2011, Abdulrahman set out from his grandfather’s home in search of his father, who he hadn’t seen in years. He was still hundreds of miles away when the U.S. government killed his father, Anwar al-Awlaki, in a drone strike due to his affiliation with Al Qaeda. “Abdulrahman called us and said he was going to return home,” his grandfather wrote. “That was the last time I heard his voice. He was killed just two weeks after his father.”

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

July 19, 2013
Considering the President's Comments on Racial Profiling

July 19, 2013
"No president has ever done this before. It does not matter that the competition is limited. The impact of the highest official in the country directly feeling your pain, because it is his pain, is real. And it is happening now. And it is significant."

Ta-Nehisi Coates

July 17, 2013
"Years ago, some of these same issues drove my father to sit down with me to have a conversation — which is no doubt familiar to many of you — about how as a young black man I should interact with the police, what to say, and how to conduct myself if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way I thought was unwarranted. I’m sure my father felt certain — at the time — that my parents’ generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children."

Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking to the NAACP about having to tell his son about Trayvon Martin.

July 17, 2013
Howard University’s medical students, taking part in the “Am I Suspicious?” campaign.

Howard University’s medical students, taking part in the “Am I Suspicious?” campaign.

July 16, 2013
"

The thing to understand here is that Stand Your Ground laws do not exist in some segregated section of Florida’s criminal code. They are not bracketed off from the rest of Florida’s “standard” self-defense laws. Stand Your Ground laws are integral to the very meaning of self-defense in the state.

I do not think you can argue that Zimmerman would have been convicted if not for Stand Your Ground. But you certainly can’t argue that the law had “nothing” to do with this case. And you most certainly can argue that SYG reduced the chances of Zimmerman being arrested. If that arrest hadn’t happened we probably would not be talking about this case right now.

"

Ta-Nehisi Coates on how Stand Your Ground is relevant to the George Zimmerman trial.

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