Obama: ‘Most Americans’ think na­tion is racist

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY JOSEPH CURL

For Pres­i­dent Obama, the color of a man’s skin is far more im­por­tant than the con­tent of his character. On the night when a po­lice of­fi­cer was shot in a Mis­souri town torn by racial strife, the pres­i­dent donned a shiny tuxedo to at­tend a ritzy black awards din­ner, where he said po­lice na­tion­wide are to blame for com­mu­nity mis­trust, even claim­ing that “most Americans” think the coun­try is racist.

Re­mem­ber, when Fer­gu­son ex­ploded in racial rage in Au­gust, Mr. Obama chose not to cur­tail his 15-day va­ca­tion, spend­ing day after day on the golf course in the white-skinned, white-wined, mil­lion­aire play­ground of Martha’s Vine­yard. But on Satur­day, the Di­vider in Chief de­cided to stoke the dy­ing em­bers in the small St. Louis sub­urb, just in case he could cash in on a late cam­paign is­sue.

“Too many young men of color feel tar­geted by law en­force­ment — guilty of walk­ing while black or driv­ing while black, judged by stereo­types that fuel fear and re­sent­ment and hope­less­ness,” the pres­i­dent told the mostly black crowd at the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus din­ner.

Mr. Obama, Amer­ica’s first half-white, half-black pres­i­dent, pointed out in the crowd the par­ents of Michael Brown, the black teenager killed by a white po­lice of­fi­cer in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, after, ac­cord­ing to po­lice, he robbed a liquor store.

“Now, I won’t com­ment on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. I know that Michael’s fam­ily is here tonight,” he said to loud ap­plause. “I know that noth­ing any of us can say can ease the grief of los­ing a child so soon. But the anger and the emo­tion that fol­lowed his death awak­ened our na­tion once again to the re­al­ity that peo­ple in this room have long un­der­stood, which is, in too many com­mu­ni­ties around the coun­try, a gulf of mis­trust ex­ists be­tween lo­cal res­i­dents and law en­force­ment.”

In­stead of us­ing the event to talk op­ti­misti­cally about race in Amer­ica — with a slew of prom­i­nent black law­mak­ers, lawyers and en­trepreneurs — Mr. Obama said “most Americans” be­lieve Amer­ica is racist, cit­ing ev­ery­thing “from en­forc­ing drug pol­icy to ap­ply­ing the death penalty to pulling peo­ple over.”

“There are sig­nif­i­cant racial dis­par­i­ties. That’s just the statis­tics. One re­cent poll showed that the majority of Americans think the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem doesn’t treat peo­ple of all races equally. Think about that. That’s not just blacks, not just Lati­nos or Asians or Na­tive Americans say­ing things may not be un­fair. That’s most Americans.”

So, with the majority of Americans suf­fer­ing from in­sti­tu­tional racism, Mr. Obama said that “makes folks who are vic­tim­ized by crime and need strong polic­ing re­luc­tant to go to the po­lice be­cause they may not trust them.”

“And the worst part of it is it scars the hearts of our chil­dren,” Mr. Obama said, adding, as The As­so­ci­ated Press put it, “that it leads some young­sters to un­nec­es­sar­ily fear peo­ple who do not look like them and oth­ers to con­stantly feel un­der sus­pi­cion no mat­ter what they do.”

But the half-white pres­i­dent gave a shout out to white peo­ple, say­ing they suf­fer, too. Racism “scars the hearts of the white kids who grow un­nec­es­sar­ily fear­ful of somebody who doesn’t look like them. It stains the heart of black chil­dren who feel as if no mat­ter what he does, he will al­ways be un­der sus­pi­cion. That is not the so­ci­ety we want. It’s not the so­ci­ety that our chil­dren de­serve. Whether you’re black or white, you don’t want that for Amer­ica.”

The pres­i­dent, who has two daugh­ters, said girls suf­fer as well (and women, but only black ones this time).

“African Amer­i­can girls are more likely than their white peers also to be sus­pended, in­car­cer­ated, phys­i­cally ha­rassed. Black women strug­gle ev­ery day with bi­ases that per­pet­u­ate op­pres­sive stan­dards for how they’re sup­posed to look and how they’re sup­posed to act. Too of­ten, they’re ei­ther left un­der the hard light of scru­tiny, or cloaked in a kind of in­vis­i­bil­ity.”

Mr. Obama’s com­ments came the same night a po­lice of­fi­cer was shot in Fer­gu­son. The of­fi­cer was shot in the arm Satur­day after en­coun­ter­ing two men at a com­mu­nity cen­ter who ran from him and then opened fire dur­ing a foot chase, AP re­ported.

Rather than talk about all that unites the races, for Mr. Obama, Amer­ica just keeps get­ting worse and worse. And that’s just as he wants it to be. For only by di­vid­ing Americans by race, sex and class can his pes­simistic worldview take hold.

Then again, vot­ers will go to the polls in lit­tle more than a month. From all the polls the pres­i­dent didn’t cite on Satur­day night, the con­sen­sus is those Americans will vote against just the kind of divisiveness Mr. Obama preaches ev­ery day.

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.