THE BLOG
07/21/2013 12:09 pm ET | Updated Sep 20, 2013

Not Everybody Liked Obama's Trayvon Speech

In the wake of the Trayvon verdict, Obama's first response was clear: "A jury has spoken." It was the kind of No Drama Obama concoction that's exempted him from leading by example when he has the platform to do so. No wonder today's delayed Trayvon "not-speech" didn't cut it for many black Americans. The following are just a few of the voices that weren't impressed with Obama's late and latest Trayvon response.

Today's not-speech was, if you take a look at it closely, extremely careful. Obama made general statements, addressed specific issues with a ten-foot pole, and quite clearly tread with a measured step around the issue of being black in the United States of America. Though he quoted MLK, he once again took a backseat to the kind of activism MLK exhibited (and demanded of all Americans) and that many black people expected of the first black president. In short, he was a politician posing as an emotional being at a time when people wanted an authentic voice, a sincere response coming not from a place of caution but a place of passion.

Obama specifically stated that he's not interested in discussions. His words today: "There has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race. I haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations."

Many black Americans felt Obama's speech was a pacifier -- like that thing you put in a baby's mouth to shut it up when it's getting ornery. The trouble is, babies cry for a reason, when they need something, and a pacifier is a brash & temporary solution to eventually having to address that need.

Agree or not with the president's latest comments on the Trayvon case and race in America, many black Americans simply did not appreciate the delay in Obama's response:

Despite Obama's statement today that "it doesn't mean that we're in a post-racial America... it doesn't mean that racism is eliminated," many felt that Obama's kid-gloves handling of the Trayvon verdict and the profoundly serious issue of race in America was not only weak, but dangerously misleading.

Ultimately, Barack Obama, America's first black president, did what he has done since the day he was elected: gone through the motions of blackness while firmly avoiding the issue. Maybe it's because the part of him that was black was not American -- this wouldn't be the first time many people of color have wondered about his emotional connection to the history of American slavery.

His vision of a post-racial America is turning on the TV to find the Huxtables: a well-adjusted, successful black family that showed up out of no where with no questions asked or protests made about what it took to go from centuries of the most brutal and institutionalized slavery to a happy go lucky family that lives in a vacuum of racial injustice. No wonder Bill Cosby disappointed millions of fans by doing the same: he too contends the Trayvon case is not about race.

Obama's speech hit all the right notes -- there is no question that he addressed the primary issues many people of color in the United States have been deeply concerned about on this topic -- and it almost felt good to hear the president of the United States talk about the "pain" and "experience" of black America. It almost felt good to see a black face in front of the White House logo today. It almost felt good to hear the president talk about investing in black boys.

It almost felt good -- but it didn't.

I know I'm not the only one who believes that Obama's pillow talk since Sunday has been dominated by a sincere and nagging voice: Michelle's. Unlike him, her family knows and lived black America's history. It is unlikely that either will admit it, but judging by Michelle's pre-Obama political history, it seems that today's speech was for Michelle and and the millions of black Americans she knows so well and represents. The trouble for Obama is, though he may have gotten back on his wife's good side, the same can't be said for the millions of black Americans he failed to pacify today.

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