Eugene Robinson: Obama shouldn't lead the conversation about race

"Through no fault of his own, he might be the worst" person to talk race after Trayvon Martin, Robinson writes

By Jillian Rayfield
Published July 19, 2013 3:18PM (EDT)

In an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson argues that President Obama is not  the right person to lead a national conversation about the larger racial issues in the country that were highlighted by the Trayvon Martin shooting. "President Obama is not the best person to lead the discussion. Through no fault of his own, he might be the worst," Robinson writes.

From the Op-Ed:

The designation “first black (fill in the blank)” always brings with it unfair burdens, and one of Obama’s — he bears many — is that almost anything he says about race will be seen by some as favoring the interests of black Americans over white Americans.

At this point in his presidency, Obama could ignore this absurd reality and say whatever he wants. He must be sorely tempted. But the unfortunate fact is that if his aim is to promote dialogue about race, speaking his mind is demonstrably counterproductive.

Read the full article here.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Barack Obama Eugene Robinson George Zimmerman Race Trayvon Martin