When given the opportunity to speak on slain 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, he chose to instead unnecessarily conflate his brutal killing with the "disproportionate" number of black men involved in "criminal activities and violence."
There have been times in modern U.S. and world history when thoughtful, responsive and compassionate leadership was nowhere to be found. This past week we were treated to a sudden outburst of enlightened engagement from three people who are closely watched by millions.
The last time I went to Chicago, as we hugged goodbye at the airport, my father said, "Tell John we said hello. And tell him we love him. You know what? John has cured me of my prejudice, I am not lying."
Though James Comey has made public comments that suggest a tacit endorsement of racial profiling, neither the media nor the Senate has asked him to address these issues. Those who believe in civil liberties and racial justice should find this troubling.
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.
The seemingly impromptu (though apparently planned at the last minute) statement by President Obama on the Trayvon Martin case last Friday may be the most important statement he has made on race relations during his presidency.
Obama didn't speak solely because he felt obliged to make a generic observation about the anger of most blacks toward the Zimmerman verdict, or even out of remembrance of the fight he led in the Illinois state legislature. He spoke from a well-documented personal experience.
President Barack Obama in 20 minutes delivered on Martin Luther King's dream of social justice in action. He gave a voice to the voiceless, speaking for Trayvon Martin, Medgar Evers and many other nameless African-Americans in U.S. history.