The president's remarks were important. They were historic. But there is still extension needed to this start of his. There is a mountain to climb regarding the relentless marginalizing of black men and black boys that is cyclical between popular culture, everyday practice and policy.
We should be careful not to dismiss subtle forms of fighting oppression, for they are no less valuable than street fights and mass strikes.
Somewhere along the line I've lost my own defensiveness about looking at or admitting where our culturally-conditioned racial stereotypes are still affecting me, and I can call it racism.
There is a teaching in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 70a): "If someone comes to kill you, kill him first." Then the Talmud continues: "But if you can prevent his killing you by wounding him rather than killing him, and nevertheless you kill him, you become a murderer."
Obviously, there are public policies and institutional practices that contribute hugely to familiar racial disparities. We cannot take our eyes off of those structural factors. But the President reminds us that the long-running negative beliefs about blackness are invisible but extremely powerful forces that drive the context surrounding those structures that need to be intentionally targeted for change as well.
What is often missing for those well-intentioned people trying to provide greater opportunities for African-American boys is the interconnectivity between the plights of disadvantaged girls and boys.
As a professional athlete my father experiences the ultimate paradox almost on a daily basis. When he is seen in the context of sports, he is a hero. When the wrong people see him as simply a black man in America, he is a suspect.
The black community's reaction to the death of Trayvon Martin did not happen in a vacuum. It's a reaction to a long history of violence and stereotyping perpetuated on blacks.
Listen closer: his song plays on the lower frequencies of our collective unconscious; white noise filtered in the black light of colorless distortion. His song is loud. America has lowered the volume. But his song plays even louder.
The tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death has made plain to me what, in truth, was there to be seen for many years. What is needed is another moral movement in our society, and I believe it is a moral movement, though not the exclusive possession of the Church, that can only be effectively led by the Church.
Conservatives just love having conversations, except when it's with a black president talking openly and honestly about the kind of persistent racism in America that results in an unarmed black kid being shot dead by an armed white adult.
There have been few times in the typical American political debate where many whom are politically active and not have had such strong sentiments towa...
This is not simply a "black" cause. It is clearly a "human" one, a "moral" one, a "universal" one.
Democracy in America is multi-racial, young, idealistic, full of love despite our differences, and audacious in the sometimes unfashionable belief that we really can be one people.
I'm acutely aware of my atypical looks, one of those brown faces you can't put in a place. I get asked all time where I am from, as if my face can't possibly be American.
Gun industry analyst Tom Diaz explores Florida's role as a testing ground for laws that make it easier to carry, conceal and use guns in public spaces, and the booming business of "enhanced lethality."