(Community Matters) Race still matters – much less today than before – but we’d be dishonest to pretend it doesn’t influence perceptions, acceptance, even sometimes opportunities. With the latter, it’s probably more cummulative discrimination.
But when President Obama addressed the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, he demonstrated integration’s great limitation—that acceptance depends not just on being twice as good but on being half as black. And even then, full acceptance is still withheld.
It is often said that Obama’s presidency has given black parents the right to tell their kids with a straight face that they can do anything.
While Beck and Limbaugh have chosen direct racial assault, others choose simply to deny that a black president actually exists. One in four Americans (and more than half of all Republicans) believe Obama was not born in this country, and thus is an illegitimate president.
What we are now witnessing is not some new and complicated expression of white racism—rather, it’s the dying embers of the same old racism that once rendered the best pickings of America the exclusive province of unblackness.
I am not implying that America is not good or that the majority of voters aren’t above racism – quite the opposite. I’m not sure any other first world democracy has ever elected a member of a minority to its highest elected office. We’ve come far – and those last miles are the hardest. Can we see the finish line? I suppose it depends in which community you live. Yes, definitely from here and definitely from Grant Park nearly four years ago.