Is it Public Policy Disagreement or old Fashion American Racism?
Former President Jimmy Carter recently said the “overwhelming position of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based upon the fact that he is a black man.” I agree. President Carte gave voice to millions of people in the United States who believe President Obama has been unfairly treated not because of policy differences but rather his very presence in the White House is distasteful to many White Americans that believe the job of President should not be held by any persons of color. What other explanation would explain the comparison between President Obama and Adolph Hitler who used his racism and power to murder millions of people not Arians. President Obama has devoted his entire life to help others and provide leadership to the nation desperate for change after the past 8 years of Republican rule in the white House. President Obama and his administration have tried to take the high road and keep the discourse focused on policy differences. Nevertheless, the outrageous disrespect for President Obama who is still the leader of the free world and our nation has nothing to with health care reform initiatives but has everything to do with salient undercurrents of racial hostility which has always been very close to the surface and any incident can light the spark of overt violence, e.g., Rodney King, Martin Luther King, Jr. assignation, etc. Former President William Jefferson Clinton tried to address the perennial problem of racism with his “National Conversation of Race” initiative.
President Carter words helps to explain why President Obama image has been depicted as “the Joker” a criminal from the Batman Dark Night film. At recent town hall meetings President Obama’s critics use signs with his likeness as a monkey, an African witch doctor, and as a mistreal figure. Are these images rooted in public policy differences or are they the real salient views of many white Americans that claim to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ who preached love and not hate. Even a undistinguished South Carolina Representative, Joe Wilson goes so far as to holler, “You lie” during a joint session of Congress for rightly he was censored by Congress. Representative Wilson is most noted for his support for the Confederate flag to fly over the state capitol building.
To his credit President Obama has tried to keep his public policy proposals focused on trying to help all of the people in the nation and not for any specific group. In contrast, hired black leaders like National Committee Chairman Michael Steel become an apologist for racially motivate behavior for the Republican Party and its members who have not resonated well in America’s multiracial society. President Carter is correct in his feelings that many people in the country do not believe African Americans are qualified to lead the United States of America. Public policy difference has nothing to do with old fashion American racism.
Dr. Frazier is the Director of the Master of Arts in Public Administration and Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Howard University September 19, 2009