As beloved as he is to some folks – and as I much as I particularly care for him myself – with each passing day, I come closer to the sad realization that some people, no matter what newly elected President Barack Obama does or does not do, will never, ever, give our newly elected leader the benefit of the doubt without questioning the very fiber of who he is.
That’s right America; make no mistake about the fact that, as many problems that exist in our current society, from economic issues, to the collapsing job and housing markets, some people, (you know who you are) will never give Obama the same courtesy, kindness and patience that was shown to former President George Bush, throughout years of repeated failures that have driven this nation to the very brink of total social and economical collapse.
Not only that, but the very same people that praised Bush for running this country into a state of possible disrepair, are openly bashing Obama, his future plans and his motives, despite the fact that he has officially been in office for less than two months.
The saddest part in all of this is the fact that all of the hatred towards Obama seems to be geared towards one singular reason above all others – racism.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some folks that don’ like Obama because of his plans to move this country forward in a spread-the-wealth type of fashion or because they are conservatives who consider Obama as too liberal and simply don’t agree with the plans of any Democrat. However, I fully believe that the majority of backlash and hatred toward Obama is due to the longstanding issue of racism.
The fact of the matter is that, whether people want to admit it or not, the racial problems that have existed since the formation of this country are as prevalent as ever, if not nearly as extroverted as they once were – and the fact that a man of color was running for the nation’s highest elected position, simply brought that fact back into the limelight if you ask me.
Just the other day, I read one of the most powerful articles ever written on the subject of race – a truth-telling journey that left me slack-jawed and in flat-out awe.
Andrew M. Manis, an associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia, who also happens to be a white man, titled his article ‘When are we going to get over it?’ basically asking whites nation-wide one basic question. As Manis himself wrote,
“Now I want to ask “When are we white Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?”
Before I go any further, let me give a short excerpt of what Manis wrote.
Recent reports that “Election Spurs ‘Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes” should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in “Bombingham,” Ala., in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than “talk the talk.” Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame, we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.
Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads.
But elect a liberal who happens to be black, and we’re back in the ’60s again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying “” that in America anything is possible, electing a black man as president. But instead, we now hear schoolchildren from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”
How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin?
Until this past Nov. 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect an African-American to the presidency. I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem.
Now, let me say that, as an African-American man over the age of 40, I certainly didn’t need to read Manis’ poignant article to come to the realization that this country’s racial problems are as prevalent as ever. I have often experienced it firsthand since coming into this world back in the mid-60s.
However, I will admit that it was refreshing to hear the thoughts on race relations and ways to improve it, from a non-racist white educator.
However, all Manis’ article did was help to state the obvious – that President Barack Obama will never get the fair shake that he deserves in the court of public opinion, largely because of the color of his skin.
As sad as it may be, the fact remains that, until the mindset of racists, both white and black, is totally eradicated, people of color, (yes, even the President of the United States) will almost assuredly never get the fair shake they deserve.
In closing, let me say that, as far as race relations have come since the formation of this nation, the most ethnically diverse country in the world, that is how far we all still have to go to improve race relations in the U.S.
Sadly however, I am in full agreement with Manis when he says, “I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem.”