Please consider the Cagle cartoon on the editorial page of August 26. It shows a caricature of President Barack Obama (looking diabolical) saying, "If I had a son he'd look like the one [Trayvon Martin] killed by the white guy [George Zimmerman]...but not like the black teens that shot the white dude." Is this cartoon trying to imply that President Obama refuses to recognize that black people commit crimes as well as white people? Is the president supposed to be saying that black people are victims more than white people? Is he saying a black victim deserves more compassion than a white victim? And we are to conclude that President Obama is a racist?
Let's imagine that the tables are turned and Trayvon Martin is a white young man (we'll call him John Anderson) and George Zimmerman (we'll call him Amos Jones) is black. Amos has been acquitted of any crime in shooting and killing John, who had been unarmed and minding his own business when Amos began stalking him in a vehicle, and then in person. Apparently John had no right to defend himself against an unknown person stalking him, but Amos, the black man, had every right to shoot to death an unarmed white 17-year-old boy who was defending himself with only his fists.
Next, imagine a cartoon showing Mitt Romney (or President George Bush or any other U.S. president) saying, "If I had a son, he'd look like John Anderson...but not like James Earl Ray, the white man who shot and killed Martin Luther King, Jr." Would that be a cartoon that we would relate to; one that would make us angry and/or accuse Mitt Romney or the president of racism? Or, would we just take it for granted that he would have been very much aware that both black people and white people have committed crimes against each other and that both races have also been victims of crimes. I'm sure President Obama is very much aware of this fact also. I believe his saying his son would look like Trayvon was his way of extending sympathy to Trayvon's heartbroken parents.