Ohio Democrat and Congressional Black Caucus member Marcia Fudge cited a rash of recent political developments to explain why there has been so much despair in the black community in response to the George Zimmerman verdict.

“We are being attacked from so many sides, that you have to decide where you can have the most impact,” she said, on a “Meet The Press” panel discussion, listing the Supreme Court decisions on the Voting Rights Act and the Tea Party’s attack on food stamps among African Americans’ grievances.

“This is not about a kid with a hoodie,” she said, “We also need to have a discussion about how we are treating poor and minority people in this country.”

As Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy pointed out in a June column, “Nearly 40 percent of black children live in poverty; nearly 50 percent of young black men in some of country’s largest urban areas are unemployed; the incarceration rate for black men is so high that it amounts to a state-sponsored crime.”

While Rep. Fudge said that there were certain ways Congress could try to reverse this trend — by passing bills to fight racial profiling, for example — she intoned that lawmakers would only be able to do so much.

“You cannot legislate against prejudice, or bias, or racism.”

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.