Column: Death of post-racial America

By Gus Bode

Jimmy Carter started a raucous last week when he said, ‘An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.’

Conservatives were in an uproar. How dare a former president play the race card. They’re right. The right’s hatred for Obama is based on clear, rational disagreements on ideology and policy – rational disagreements such as his birthplace, pastor and FEMA death squads.’

Carter’s remarks may have received condemnation from both sides of the aisle and Obama himself, but that doesn’t mean he was wrong.’ Sometimes, you have to call a spade a spade, and when you do, the truth hurts.


What Carter did was hit the nail on the head.’ Whether or not the tea-baggers will admit, Obama’s race factors into their blind rage toward him.’

Although those illiterate, irate, ignorant flying signs of Joker-Obama, Hitler-Obama, or Shaka Zulu-Obama may not realize it, racism is part of the reason why they hate the president.

The dumbest phrase to ever come into the English language in the past year is, without a doubt, ‘post-racial society.” The notion that hundreds of years of brutal racism have evaporated because America elected a Harvard-educated, biracial man as our president is ludicrous.’

Race relations have certainly improved in our recent history, but we are nowhere near ‘the mountaintop’ yet.’ We’ve still just begun the climb.

To be fair, of course, not all Republican objections to Obama are racist or racially motivated.’

From the trillions of dollars handed over to the banks, to his appointment of a tax cheat, to a high-ranking economic position, there is plenty from his first year to criticize.’

And to be fair, it was a Republican who fought the civil war and ended slavery.’


But in the past century, it was Republicans (and a few Dixie-crats soon-to-be Republicans) who fought to keep segregation.’ It was the Republicans who were opposed to inter-racial marriage.’ It was the Republicans who were against school integration.

Their record has shown they are not the greatest friends of the African-American community (and let’s not even get into xenophobia towards Latinos).’

Thus, the African-American community has written off Republicans, for the most part, in favor of the lip service and crumbs it gets from Democrats.

Racism is still with us today.’ The fact that the arrest of a black Harvard professor became a national story worthy of a ‘beer-summit’ at the White House (because alcohol helps ease racial tensions?) is proof we are still living in a very ‘racial-society.’

Truth is, we are all, at least a little, racist.’ No matter what race or gender you are, or how intelligent you are, we all have stereotypes.’ These stereotypes are a biological process with which we make sense of the world.’

Our primate brains, while capable of producing symphonies or splicing genes, still need to compartmentalize the world into archetypes to make sense of things.

So when you’re raised in an environment, such as the deep South for example, with a long history of racist thoughts and ideas, it stays with you.’ If you are socialized into an already racist culture, you will express that racism, consciously or not.’

Still don’t believe me?’ I don’t remember anyone bringing assault rifles to town halls any other time in my life.’ I don’t remember anyone questioning John McCain’s birthplace (which actually was outside the U.S.).’

I don’t remember anyone storming the capital to protest Reagan, Clinton, Bush I.’s or W.’s address to schoolchildren.’ In short, I don’t remember the climate being this heated.’

And the biggest difference, the lowest common denominator, is the president’s skin color.

But like I said, everyone’s a little racist.’ I wouldn’t give the right wing such a hard time about this if it didn’t make it so apparent.’

Whether it’s condemning Kanye West for ‘ruining the dreams’ of a white woman, the ‘radicalism’ of the Rev. Wright or the ACORN ‘conspiracy,’ the right wing in this country can’t mask the fact it still has a problem with black people.’

And that’s why the Peanut Farmer was right.

O’Connor is a senior studying political science and philosophy.