Skin color’s still im­por­tant in pol­i­tics


To­day the idea of not be­ing judged by the color of one’s skin but be­ing judged by the con­tent of one’s char­ac­ter is as far­ci­cal as the idea of uni­corns. Judg­ing based on color of skin is ex­actly the barom­e­ter race-mon­gers and racial­ists mea­sure with to­day; con­tent of char­ac­ter be damned.

As I have said be­fore, “Obama would never have been elected if he were white.” The color of his skin has been, and con­tin­ues to be, his trump card that for­gives his most egre­gious acts as an elected of­fi­cial; and the color of his skin cer­tainly for­gives his tran­spic­u­ous short­com­ings on a per­sonal level. It is the color of his skin that (in large part) has pro­tected him (thus far) from im­peach­ment. I defy one of the voices who have, with feigned solem­nity, ut­tered Dr. King’s now fa­mous words to ar­gue they would stand pas­sion­ately silent if Obama were a white pres­i­dent.

Hav­ing wit­nessed the neg­a­tive things said about Ros­alynn Carter, Bar­bara Bush, and Hil­lary Clin­ton, I’m pre­pared to de­bate that Michelle Obama doesn’t hold a can­dle to them pur­suant to eti­quette and proper po­si­tional be­hav­ior, and yet she is revered for eti­quette, pro­pri­ety, and more, specif­i­cally be­cause of her skin color.

Color of skin is an im­por­tant con­cern when it comes to pol­i­tics. If said were not the case, Tea Party groups would not be maligned by NAACP, the Ur­ban League, and the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus. If color of skin no longer mat­tered, there would be less grav­ity placed on it in the con­text of to­day where it is used as a blud­geon by blacks and lib­er­als to fo­ment dis­cord and/or to have their way.

The con­tent of Amer­ica’s char­ac­ter speaks vol­umes in that Amer­ica has elected black of­fi­cials since im­me­di­ately af­ter the sign­ing of the Eman­ci­pa­tion Act to ev­ery po­lit­i­cal post we have. The con­tent of Amer­ica’s char­ac­ter has been wit­nessed in her will­ing­ness to right in­jus­tice. The con­tent of Amer­ica’s char­ac­ter is not por­trayed by Jesse Jack­son, Al Sharp­ton, and oth­ers who have en­gaged in racial ex­tor­tion.

Con­tent of char­ac­ter is waived when talk­ing about Trayvon Martin. Con­tent of char­ac­ter is waived when speak­ing of per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity as it per­tains to blacks. Con­tent of char­ac­ter is waived when it comes to Jesse Jack­son, Al Sharp­ton, the New Black Pan­ther Party, et al.

Even more egre­gious is that in­vid­i­ous marplots have co-opted and mis­rep­re­sented Dr. King’s mes­sage. With poi­soned tongues, they are quick to use Dr. King’s for­ward-look­ing mes­sage of be­ing judged by char­ac­ter jux­ta­posed to color of skin as it serves their evil and di­vi­sive pur­poses, but they con­ve­niently dis­miss the other words Dr. King ut­tered in his mo­men­tous “I Have A Dream” speech.

Dr. King said: “There are those who are ask­ing the devo­tees of civil rights, ‘When will you be sat­is­fied?’ We can never be sat­is­fied as long as the Ne­gro is the vic­tim of the un­speak­able hor­rors of po­lice bru­tal­ity. We can never be sat­is­fied as long as our bod­ies, heavy with the fa­tigue of travel, can­not gain lodg­ing in the mo­tels of the high­ways and the ho­tels of the cities. We can­not be sat­is­fied as long as the Ne­gro’s ba­sic mo­bil­ity is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be sat­is­fied as long as our chil­dren are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dig­nity by signs stat­ing: ‘For Whites Only.’ We can­not be sat­is­fied as long as a Ne­gro in Mis­sis­sippi can­not vote and a Ne­gro in New York be­lieves he has noth­ing for which to vote. No, no, we are not sat­is­fied, and we will not be sat­is­fied un­til jus­tice rolls down like waters, and right­eous­ness like a mighty stream.”

Those con­cerns Dr. King ref­er­enced that day are no longer the case. The sign­ing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 ended that dis­crim­i­na­tion. To­day a restau­rant can very quickly be­come the tar­get of a civil rights in­ves­ti­ga­tion if the staff takes longer to ser­vice their ta­ble than a black per­son feels com­fort­able wait­ing. Qual­i­fi­ca­tions be damned, if a black is de­nied a bank loan the pri­mal cry is “it was be­cause of skin color.”

Most peo­ple have no clue that Dr. King also said that day, “Let us not wal­low in the val­ley of de­spair, I say to you to­day, my friends. And so even though we face the dif­fi­cul­ties of to­day and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Amer­i­can dream. I have a dream that one day this na­tion will rise up and live out the true mean­ing of its creed: ‘We hold th­ese truths to be self-ev­i­dent, that all men are cre­ated equal.’”

That day Dr. King ref­er­ences ar­rived long ago, and iso­lated in­stances to the con­trary are anec­do­tal not sys­temic.

I per­son­ally be­lieve Dr. King would be ap­palled by the be­hav­ior and in­fec­tious propen­sity to es­chew mo- der­nity by so many blacks to­day. And I feel strong enough pur­suant to same that I am pre­pared to say if I am wrong in said opin­ion, then I am com­pletely wrong about Dr. King him­self.

What part of Dr. King’s mes­sage called for self-seg­re­ga­tion? What part of Dr. King’s mis­sion was ded­i­cated to­ward the mass slaugh­ter of un­born chil­dren? What part of Dr. King’s mes­sage sanc­tioned ba­nau­sic be­hav­ior and the break­down of the nu­clear fam­ily?

Based on the con­tent of Dr. King’s char­ac­ter, I refuse to be­lieve that he would have ap­plauded the spec­ta­cle of misog­y­nis­tic, anti-so­ci­etal, anti-pro­pri­ety, rap mu­sic as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a so-called black cul­ture.

Dr. King said he be­lieved in the “Amer­i­can dream.” The Amer­i­can dream is that of for­ward think­ing and em­brac­ing moder­nity. It be­speaks the very “truths” that we, in fact, do hold “to be self-ev­i­dent.” “All men are cre­ated equal” by God; and in Amer­ica, de­spite what the naysay­ers and pro­po­nents of racial im­mis­er­a­tion would pros­ti­tute for gain and out of ig­no­rance, we are equal. And, in a per­verse way, if any are not treated equal to­day, it is white con­ser­va­tives and/or any­one who ar­gues against the idea that Amer­ica is mired in the an­te­bel­lum past.

My­chal S. Massie is the for­mer Na­tional Chair­man of the con­ser­va­tive black think tank, Project 21-The Na­tional Lead­er­ship Net­work of Black Con­ser­va­tives; and a mem­ber of its par­ent think tank, the Na­tional Center for Pub­lic Pol­icy Re­search. You can find more at my­

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