President's comments hit close to home for Houstonians

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 19 at 10:00 PM

Houston -- President Obama’s comments Friday hit close to home for some Houston area professionals.

“As an African-American growing up in this country, there are certain experiences that we have,” said attorney Michael Harris. “And I think that is what he was identifying with.”

The President delivered an impromptu and deeply personal press conference where he discussed his experiences with racism.

It came as the nation reels from the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial.

“There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they are shopping at a department store,” President Obama said. “And that includes me.”

Houstonians have similar stories.

“I’ve been profiled before,” attorney Edward Pollard said. “I’ve gone in stores and felt like I was watched.”

And though many feel the Trayvon Martin case was polarizing, they believe what the President said was not.

“I didn’t see the President taking a side rather than challenging the law itself, the stand your ground law, the concept of the stand your ground law,” Harris said.

Many were also grateful to see race so openly discussed.

“I think intelligent people should be able to openly communicate without anger and express their beliefs,” said financial planner Donnell Carter.

Yet there is still concern over the tone of some recent demonstrations.

“I do not agree with a lot of the different protests that have been going on,” Pollard said. “I do feel that because of them it will cause more of a divide in our country.”

He said he would prefer that people in America “take the elephant out of the room” and “be real with each other.”

Like many, he felt a humanity in the President’s words and he hopes it will lead to a new and better dialogue.

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