Two highly educated colleagues were having a conversation about the current presidential election when the white man asked the Black woman about what she believes is the reason that so many white women in the country, in voting for Mitt Romney, are voting against their best interests?
“Racism,” she responded. “It is so deeply embedded that they would rather have a white man with his backwards plans on abortion, his plan to do all he can to repeal Roe v. Wade, than have a Black man as president. What I’m suggesting, bluntly and frankly as possible, is that racism is alive and well in America.”
What the Black woman educator was espousing is something that many Black Americans believe is the case when it comes to the nature of racism in America. Namely, that here is no reason to think that just because Barack Obama won the last election by more than 200 electoral votes over Sen. John McCain and more than 50 percent of the popular vote that we’re living in a post-racial or post-racist society.
Even as Obama was being sworn into office, members of a Republican cabal in a restaurant in the nation’s capital were plotting ways to undermine his administration. Was this merely political, with little or nothing to do with Obama’s race? Perhaps, but no such incident had ever been reported following a presidential election.
Or consider the police officer, charged with the responsibility of providing protection to first lady Michelle Obama yet told other officers of his intention to assassinate her. Consider, too, the dramatic rise of right-wing groups in the country since Obama took office. According to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, there has been a 400 percent increase in the number of racist organizations who have no love at all for the president.
Add to this the reported number of potential presidential assassins caught with an arsenal of weapons, all of them with a deep hatred for Obama and ready to take him out.
Many Americans were taken aback with the emergence of the tea party, which did not exist during Bush’s two terms, and their stated intentions to do all they could to create a climate of resistance to every positive move put forth by the Obama administration. And don’t forget the representative who called the president a liar during his State of the Union address.
It’s folly to think that just because we have a Black president that all is well. Ask almost any Black American, as a recent survey did, if they believed racism was still a factor in their daily lives. Practically without exception they answered, “Yes,” while on the other hand, an opposite answer was given by white Americans.
Racism is endemic to nearly everything about our society. It’s at the core of the discussion on affirmative action, immigration, police brutality, mass incarceration and employment and education opportunities.
H. Rap Brown, the revolutionary of the ’60s, said, “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” He could have said the same thing about racism.