home North America, Racism, Society America’s anxiety about Obama is mostly skin deep

America’s anxiety about Obama is mostly skin deep

While many people in the United States, across the African Diaspora and around the world celebrated the November 4, 2008 election of Barack Obama as our president, there were elements of my country that greeted the news with fear, paranoia, apprehension and gloom. That happens with every presidential election, but in this case, the historic nature of the event only elevated the fear levels among a certain aspect of the population.

Thanks to our original sin of slavery, the United States still has major problems when it comes to race relations. It’s been almost 150 years since the emancipation of my ancestors from chattel slavery and relations between Blacks and Whites are still as contentious as ever. If you think I’m kidding, go to any U.S.-based online discussion group and watch the sparks fly whenever race gets injected into a discussion.

It’s no surprise that a sizable slice of the electorate saw the election of Obama as their worst nightmare.

Gun sales increased immediately after the election. We’ve had the rise of the ‘birthers’, people who laughably claim that the Honolulu, Hawaii born President Obama was not a ‘natural born’ citizen of the United States and thus ineligible to be president. Never mind the fact that American citizenship is automatically conferred on any child born in the United States and elsewhere in the world as long as one parent is an American citizen.

The president’s birth certificate has been online for several years now, along with the original birth announcement published in both Honolulu newspapers. That’s still not enough evidence for the reality-challenged sore losers, though.

One of the things that was constantly parroted at liberal progressive during the Bush misadministration was ‘you lost, get over it’ and ‘you need to respect the office’. Well, what’s stopping right wingers from taking their own advice they contemptuously spat at us in this instance? I’ll tell you what: it’s the color of the president’s skin.

These people are apoplectic that an African-American presidential candidate decisively beat their GOP man and the former runner-up beauty queen from Alaska. Not to mention the fact that the conservative sheeple were infuriated that they lost to an educated Black man. President Obama is a cum laude graduate of Harvard law school who taught constitutional law, and he freely admits his wife Michelle is smarter than him.

The increasing anxiety of knowing that white people will become a minority constituent population in the United States by 2050 is playing a part in this Fear Of A Black President meme as well. Conservatives are also still harboring centuries old nightmares that the mistreatment heaped upon African descended people over centuries will be revisited upon them now that a Black First Family resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The conservative lunatic fringe and their GOP handlers also realize that if the Obama presidency is successful, it will open the doors to possibly women and additional ethnic minorities capturing the presidency of the United States.

And they can’t have that. If their leader ain’t white, it ain’t all right.

It’s why you’re seeing the irrational extremist behavior in our health care reform battle and hearing the nasty rhetoric from right wing media trying to compare President Obama to a certain European fascist dictator.

It’s also why you heard a right wing talk show host who claims he loves America openly say on-air he hopes the leader of his nation fails.

Oh, you mean like George W. Bush did?

3 thoughts on “America’s anxiety about Obama is mostly skin deep

  1. The rational behind your article is exactly why race relations are still having ‘major problems’ as you put it. If anyone dare disagree with your point of view, they are a racist – straight up. What a bunch of hooey!

    I was no fan of Bush’s politics, couldn’t stand McCain’s – but I abhorently object to Obama’s politics and yes, I hope he fails – politically – but not the nation. Stop making it out to be something more sinister than it really is. You didn’t want Bush to succeed, did you – but I’m sure you didn’t want the nation to fail as a whole either.

    And it’s funny that you see Obama as a black man – I see him as a white man. He was raised by a single white mother, white grandparents, attended private predominately white schools and predominately white ivy league colleges. His father may have been black, but you’re right, that is only skin deep. Whether a person is white, brown, pink or black makes no difference – Obama is half white and half black – yet he leans towards his black roots in order to make you ‘think’ he is black. Wonder what color you would think his skin was if he had married a white woman – think about that – NO, really think about it – he would loose a lot of that blackness immediately – and a LOT of supporters.

    As far as reparations for something that happened before I or my parents, or grandparents were born is ridiculous! The nation committed an attrocity, many men died trying to right the wrong, which finally occurred. Now – it’s done and it’s in the past. Leave it there and go forward. How long must this nation as a whole suffer? When I pass a person of color on the street, they are just another person – same as me….until they say or do something that makes me take a second look. Most times, the racist is not the accused, but the accuser. I am an American, not an Irish American or a White American – just an American. We need to stop dividing our nation up into segments and pitting ourselves against each other…we are either a UNITED nation, or we are not. If we are not, we need to stop pretending that we are.

    I have no trouble believing that Michelle is smarter than Obama – besides the fact that he says it is so – it just appears to be true as well. As far as Obama being a cum laude graduate of Harvard law school who taught constitutional law, show me the proof.

  2. Sally, I’ve got to say- some of what you said in your post there comes across as racist, even if that’s not what you intended.

    Firstly, I’m white too, and you know what we white folk don’t get to do? We don’t get to say when racism is no longer a problem. We don’t get to say that we’ve apologised enough and people should just get back on with their lives. We don’t get to declare that biracial or multiracial people are not one of the races that goes into their makeup, but the other. Here’s the thing- Obama is black. Not black back a thousand generations, not even black back 1 full generation, but still black. The proof of that is in the racist attacks that have been made on him in the form of “jokes” since he took office. Regardless of how white he is, he’s still black enough that whiter people judge him badly for it, and that is racism as clear-cut as it comes.

    So why shouldn’t he identify as black? Why shouldn’t he be proud of a heritage and a people that have been devalued by white people for hundreds- if not thousands- of years? It’s part of who he is and I have no problem with him celebrating his black identity.

    The most worrying part of your comment is the “Why can’t people just get OVER racism already” part. Here is the thing- racism is not a problem because it is forcing white people to make the effort to treat people of colour with the respect they deserve. Racism is a problems because it kills people of colour, fires them from work, mocks them on national television, tells them every day in a thousand tiny ways that they are something less than we are, that they are not white and that they will never be white and thus they lose at life.

    The United States is a grand experiment. I intend to live there some day. But the United America you speak of is one where everyone is just like you- the one I dream of is one where people nothing like me, who share none of my experiences or dreams, help lift me up to accomplish them, and let me do the same for them. Unity is not conformity.

    Monica, great post as usual. There’s no way race is ever not a factor when it comes to the Pres- but that was always true. It’s just that this Pres is black that has thrown it into sharp relief.

  3. Are you talking about that Black version of George Bush who’s currently in the White House? I suppose if you view people purely by the color of their skin, his election amounts to change. However, if you look at policies, they’re the same thing.

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