U.S. President Barack Obama has given the debate on the acquittal of George Zimmerman a new depth with his personal words. However, the debate must continue.
Barack Obama did something unprecedented – and in so doing achieved something astonishing. His words were unprecedented because he intervened in the debate about racism with a personal appeal. He described his experiences with prejudices. He appealed for understanding for the heartache and anger of the African Americans who are protesting against the acquittal of George Zimmerman – the man who shot the unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
Obama placed action, judgment and protest into a historical context of racial prejudices and discrimination, and in so doing gave the debate new depth.
A Topic of the Future
His remarks have astonishingly not deepened any divisions in society because Obama sagely clarified the complexity of the topic, including the problems within the black community. He offered no simple solutions. Instead, he urged debates and solutions where they belong: in the states, in the community, and in society.
The president's role was appropriate and wise. However, he must expand his intervention, and no one knows this better than Obama. Discrimination against blacks and other minorities is not just a topic of the past, but rather a topic of the future.