President's remarks on race were needed, expert says
OKLAHOMA CITY —
In the hours after President Obama made a surprise speech on race relations and the Trayvon Martin case, many are still unsure about whether he should have commented. But, others say this was a necessary conversation.
"The whole Trayvon case was a local/state issue. It was not a national issue. There was not even anything done along the federal side," Oklahoman Quinton Bruney said. "He's inserting himself into the situation now."
But others said the speech was overdue and agree with the President's remarks that most African-Americans know what it's like to be in Martin's shoes.
"My son could have easily been Trayvon Martin. He runs in a hoodie all the time because he's a football player. So that could have happened to anybody." said Rodney McKinney, who is visiting Oklahoma from Tennessee. "You get those looks, those stares, people crossing the street when they see you coming."
President Obama said he's experienced the same thing.
Mike Korenblit, the president of the Respect Diversity Foundation said he understands why the President took his time to comment, and was glad he finally did.
"I think too many people think because we elected our first African-American president that we live in a post-racial society... and I don't think we're there yet," Korenblit said.
President Obama said solving the issue will mostly require changes in communities. Korenblit agrees.
"It's not just a matter of passing laws now. Now I think what you have to start dealing with as far as the attitudes of people and where is it that we need to go from here and I think that's what I loved about him addressing the issue. That it's not something that can be done in federal policy, that it has to be done in our communities," Korenblit said.