(Guardian)Barack Obama used an unexpected speech at the White House to personally address the debates over race relations that have convulsed America since George Zimmerman was acquitted over the shooting of the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
In remarks immediately interpreted as the most expansive comments on race since he became president, Obama said the US was still not "a post-racial society".
"You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is: Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," he said.
"And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there's a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it's 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."
The president's intervention surprised Washington. For almost a week, Obama has resisted getting involved the swirling debates over racial discrimination, and was coming under growing criticism for his failure to respond to strong public outrage.