ED Show
updated 7/22/2013 1:17:28 PM ET 2013-07-22T17:17:28

The day after President Obama made candid remarks on the Trayvon Martin case, millions of Americans who believe the system failed are holding Justice for Trayvon vigils in over 100 cities. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., join Ed Schultz to talk about the renewed dialogue on race.

The day after President Obama made candid remarks on the Trayvon Martin case, millions of Americans who believe the system failed are holding Justice for Trayvon vigils in over 100 cities. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., join Ed Schultz to talk about the renewed dialogue on race.

Video: Obama: 'Trayvon could have been me'

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama: 'Trayvon could have been me'

    >>> good evening, americans , live from new york. it's 5:00. let's get to work.

    >> is the president easing racial 10:00 or stoking racial tension ?

    >> is he possibly stoking racial tension ?

    >> trayvon martin could have been me 35 years ago.

    >> i would expect some guys will go over the top . just my guess. i hope not.

    >> is that the president admitting i guess because what? he was part of the choom gang?

    >> they are at this through a set of experiences and history that doesn't go away.

    >> it is the narrative. this country is still a slave state for all intercepts and purposes.

    >> it seems to be their position unless you are maying down the street and burning a cross on somebody's lawn, racism is over.

    >> ask yourself your own questions about am i brinking as much bias out of myself as i can?

    >> is there no place for black men to feel fear? are they only the monsters, never the person afraid of monsters?

    >> i think it will be important for all of us to do some soul searching .

    >> good to have you back with us on "the ed show." who to talk about this more than this man, the president of the united states ? he has the life experience, the authority, he is the leader of the country. he did the country a favor on friday. but as a white guy from the middle of the country, let me start this program off by saying this. we have to want this conversation. all of us have to want this conversation. all of us have to believe that we can contribute and in our heart want to make changes to make this country better. if we don't have that conversation, we will go backwards. stand your ground is going backwards. president obama ignited, i guess, what some say was a firestorm on friday with surprise remarks about the trayvon martin verdict. in doing so, the president did something you have to admit he typically, as the nation's first black president , pretty much stays away from. that's race. he talked about race and he made it personal.

    >> trayvon martin could have been me. 35 years ago. and when you think about why in the african-american community at least, there is a lot of pain around what happened here. i think it is important to recognize that the african-american community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences. and a history that doesn't go away.

    >> it will never go away. you're sitting at home. you're not fat and you don't have red hair . i'm stuck with that. you don't know what that's like. i don't know what it is like to be a black guy. i don't know wlats like to be profiled. i may have been profiled. i'm not sure if i have. i don't think i have been. this isn't controversial. this is guts. as a society, i believe we have a responsibility to talk about race. and the predisposed attitude people have. president obama i think showed a lot of courage. he came out and said it. like no other president has ever that it. racial profiling is going on in this country and what are we going to do about it? he knows it. he has experienced it. and he continues to experience it to this day.

    >> well, let's talk about the political fallout from his comments. the president knows that there are demonstrations happening this weekend. if anything the president incited, incited any violence that takes place over the weekend.

    >> he is looping in this argument, confusing the public and it is more irresponsible behavior.

    >> last remark suggests that local prosecutors, local police , indeed the jury may have been racist because the outcome --

    >> is he possibly stoking the racial tensions ?

    >> he is most divisive --

    >> they were all tweeting and e-mailing each other about what a major significant moment it was that president obama was making at 2:00 p.m . on a friday. he didn't even take their questions.

    >> now the president is saying trayvon could have been me 35 years ago. i guess he was admitting he was part of the choom gang?

    >> you can argue he has more in common with zimmerman because they both have one right parent.

    >> i thought you were going to say because they both smoked pot.

    >> can all the hosts on fox guarantee that their kids will never smoke pot , never break the law and be perfect citizens? those reactions are elementary and they are very predictable. and they are a turnoff. there is a complete lack of understanding and zooer reflection on their own prejudices. president obama is in a very unique position. to understand the frustration and pain felt in the african-american xhunlts across this country, in the wake of george zimmerman 's acquittal, he doesn't to have rely on statistic or studies. president obama can talk about his own experiences. and there is something i believe that is very jarring about the most powerful man in the world talking about growing up in a society where he was profiled in fear.

    >> there are very few african-american men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were in a department store . that includes me. there are very few african-american men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. that happens to me, at least before i was a senator.

    >> can we come to agreement that no president has ever made a more powerful statement about the african- american experience ? because no other president could. no other president has walked in his shoes. no white person , no latino ever walked in the shoes of a white person . come on. we are a country that is mixing. and we have to figure this out. and we have a president who is perfectly positioned to talk about his experience to help us to relate to one another. to make americaber. president obama is talkinging about his experience in depth now because the nation is paying attention to this case. the truth is the struggle is part of his dna. take a look at what emback in 2008 . talking about reverend jeremiah wright .

    >> i can no more disown him than i can disown the black community. i can no more disown him than i can disown my white grandmother. a woman who hemmed raise me. a woman who sacrificed again and again for me. a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world. but a woman who once confessed her fear of brlack men who passed her by on the street and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial stereo types that made me cringe.

    >> at this hour across america , justice for trayvon vigils are taking place. millions of americans feel the system failed. they feel that way. who is to be the judge at this point? we need to move forward. zimmerman 's defense team did not end up invoking stand your ground defense. without a doubt, it was a focal point of the trial. a least 21 states have stand your ground laws which allow citizens who feel threatened, to meet force with force including deadly forceful so right now, what we are teaching young people in this country, that a gun pulled out of the back of your pants is an option to make things better. i don't believe that. and i believe the parental discussion in this country needs to be one of maturity to talk to kids today that when you pull that firearm out, after legally owning it, you use it. you're in for the hassle of your life. when you kill somebody, you take everything they open, everything they're going to own, every bit of a morsel of their life and their loved ones. it is not in any way shape or form the correct direction to go. in his speech, president obama called for review of stand your ground laws and those like it.

    >> for those who resist that idea, that we should think about stand your ground laws, i ask people to consider if trayvon martin was of age and armed, could he have to do his ground on that sidewalk?

    >> oh, the tough hypothetical question . president obama wans not talking about policy there. this has become much greater than one case or one law or one victim. president obama is using this as a teachable moment. and we, of course, have to be adult enough to not shy away from it. or chid the conversation or turn it into a political arena. this is about people living side by side in america without butchering one another. do you think we can do that? do you think we can get rid of the prejudice in our society? that we won't judge people on the color of their skin but the content of their care and their desire to move america forward ? trayvon martin's death has brought up a much larger issue of how our society treats young black men.

    >> we need to spend some time thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our african-american boys. is there more that we can do to give them a sense that their country cares about them.

    >> left behind are parents. they release ad statement thanking president obama saying, what touches people is that our son, trayvon benjamin martin , could have been their son. president obama sees himself in trayvon and identifies with him. this is a beautiful tribute to our son. what are we going to do? what can we do? i could do hours on this. i have my philosophy of what i think the investment could be in society to turn this whole thing around. but the first responsibility we have, and i believe as broadcasters, is to never shy away from the conversation. and to seize that moment when people are paying attention to what's going on in america . we have to talk about nonviolence. we have to tell young people in this country that using this is not the correct option. and when we pass laws on the street that say stand your ground , that is not defend your home and your family. that's a confrontational signal, stand your ground . as if everybody is coming after us. it bleeds paranoia and it also breeds contentment for our fellow americans . that's not the direction we want to go. i'll have a lot more on this in coming shows here on the ed show on msnbc. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. should there be a race relations class in every public school ? text a for yes. tech b for no. i'm going to vote yes on this. you want to go to 67622. you want to leave a comment on our blog at we'll bring you the results later. on i believe that this has to be part of our public school discussion. that confrontation is not an option. that we need to love one another. and that loving your neighbor is what the almighty wanted us to do. if you're not faith-based, at least you can respect the human rights of someone else . so we can find common ground throughout this entire conversation. joining me tonight is reverend jesse jackson and new york congressman gregory meeks . great to have you with us tonight. we could talk hours about this. i want to focus in if i can, on what president obama actually said on friday and what impact could this have? reverend jackson, how big a moment was this?

    >> it was a precious moment for him. we've learn to survive apart. now we must learn to live together under one big tent . we do it in the military. we do it on the ball field. when we choose direction over complexion. when president clinton reach out and had the commission, it was all right. if clinton reached out to someone who played the saxophone, it was seen as expansive. when president obama reached out, it was seen as divisive. i must tell that yyou, lyndon johnson said it is not equal, not protected by law. we need freedom, justice. lyndon johnson did it and it worked.

    >> no president has had more civil rights legislation passed on his watch ever in the history of the country. so the conversation can work. congressman meeks, what do we tell young men of color in this country in the wake of this decision? and in this week's discussion.

    >> one of the things i think that this has again awakened young men, that we can make a difference. it cannot be just a series where people go out to rally. we've got to register and we've got to vote. there are these laws like stand your ground . and i think the conversation has to happen as the president that. but it has to happen at every level. it has to start in families. the president was very courageous. i think he was a patriot. what he is trying to do is make this a more perfect union. unless we talk about this, as we focus on how african-american men are feeling, i know that i surely have experienced racial profiling . here in new york city where we have this huge debate because of the way the mayor has gone with racial profiling and talking to individuals, we've got to make sure that this conversation happens. we've got to make sure that we stay with it until such time that we get rid of those laws like stand your ground .

    >> how do we get rift racial profiling ? you have to make it illegal. number one. that's the trayvon martin situation, the prosecutors tried to avoid the discussion the jurors said they did not recognize it. and the defendant tried to delete it. can you imagine if you have a trial in florida where you had six black jurors as opposed to six white jurors, the prosecutor would accept that arrangement? the jury should have been black , white, male and female. it was very unrepresentative. you have a conclusion that was, imagine again, an all black juror. that would be accepted by the media. by the prosecutor.

    >> president obama talked about personal experiences. how important is that? do you think the country can consume that as a positive? and i don't know the experiences of a black man. i can try to relate to them. but at the end of the day , in fact, i had a gentleman call me on my talk show this weekend. irwin from chicago. he said ed, i'm a decorated combat veteran. a graduate of yale. i have three young black sons. no matter what say to them at the end of the day they're still black . all we can do is try. these personal experiences and trying to explain what it is like to go through society when you are profiled or when there is discrimination. this is part of the conversation i think some americans shy away from. but how do we approach this in a positive to make sure we don't shy away from it, congressman?

    >> i think what the president talked about. that we try to get other folks to understand the context from which african- americans view what's going. on i think it is important. i sit as a member of congress. when i look at those tv hosts you showed earlier, once i go on one of those shows, you should see the kind of mail that i get, or phone calls that i get. as a member of congress. an african-american member of congress. it still exists in this country today. and when i looked at those shots, you see they are playing to those individuals who bring out the worst of americans .

    >> you know, as a new south today , made possible by the walls coming down. you couldn't have had the carolina panthers pulling the wall down ufrl couldn't have had the big alabama/lsu game.

    >> we could talk for hours on. this reverend jackson, congressman gregory meeks , i appreciate you being part of the discussion.

    >> thank you very much.


Discussion comments