Oprah Winfrey said that the shooting of Trayvon Martin is the “same thing” as the brutal 1955 murder of Emmett Till, which had a profound effect on civil rights over 50 years ago.
Winfrey appeared on The Today Show Monday to promote her upcoming film Lee Daniels’ The Butler but also offered her first public comments on the controversial acquittal of George Zimmerman.
Last year, Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed. He was acquitted, and his actions were deemed “self defense.” The case has sparked new discussions on race relations and gun ownership across the country.
Flash back to 1955 when another unarmed African-American teenager named Emmett Till was brutally beaten and murdered by a gang for allegedly flirting with a white woman. His killers were also acquitted.
To Oprah, the parallels are too obvious to ignore.
“It’s so easy during this time — Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin parallel to Emmett Till, let me just tell you. In my mind, same thing,” Winfrey said.
“But you can get stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and to see how far we’ve come.”
But how far have we come? Winfrey brought the subject back around to the film in order to drive her point home.
“Look at the butler’s life. Look at that opening scene, the hanging… and then the end. We need to give ourselves a round of applause. In this country, with all of its injustices, look at what we’ve been able to do in the span of one man’s lifetime.”
What do you think? Have we come a long way with race in America? Watch Oprah Winfrey’s Trayvon Martin comments below, and let us know what you think: