President Obama’s Town Hall on race

Obama town hall on race and reconciliation (picture: an earlier town hall discussion)

Following last week’s high profile violence in the U.S., in which both black men were shot and killed by cops, and white cops were shot and killed by a black man, President Obama presented a much-needed and must-see televised Town Hall format discussion on race and reconciliation with his fellow citizens.

The President extended understanding and sympathy to both cops and African American citizens who feel they’ve been mistreated and victimized by police officers. He recognized the long history of racial struggle in the country, and also expressed admiration and respect for the difficult and dangerous jobs that police officers do every day to keep America safe.

The President addressed what he believes are misconceptions, like the true meaning of “Black Lives Matter,” which is interpreted by many conservatives as exclusionary and anti-white, and therefore racist. The President, however, rejected that interpretation. He also said that there’s a greater presumption of dangerousness regarding black men in American society, which is both unfair, and can lead to violence.

Several relatives of men who died in police shooting incidents were present, in person or remotely, to ask the President questions, and some of the questions were critical of the President. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick asked if the President was doing enough to support police and moderate his rhetoric, which President Obama responded to somewhat curtly.

More events like this are both important and necessary to begin dissolving the barriers of fear and misunderstanding that separate our society into opposing camps.

Learn more about President Obama’s Town Hall on race (The New York Times)

Photo: Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons