The election of a black president was supposed to mark a turning point in American race relations. It has — in the wrong direction.
Everywhere we turn, Democrats are using race as a cudgel to try to intimidate voters. Their message is that, if you disagree with President Barack Obama or hold conservative beliefs, you are a racist.
Thus, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker told Chris Matthews on MSNBC that one reason Republicans have a strong advantage going into the midterm elections is that “Obama’s election has suddenly made many white Americans aware of the loss of a white majority.”
New York Times columnist Frank Rich claimed opponents of Obama’s healthcare legislation are motivated in part by the election of a black president who sows “fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country.” The Washington Post’s Colbert King called tea party activists forerunners of the southern segregationists who tried to block blacks from attending the University of Alabama in 1956.
“All of a sudden, we have a black man elected president and everybody wants to start acting like something’s wrong with our country,” Rep. Mike Turner of Nashville, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, has said.
Never mind that the 53 percent of American voters who elected Obama presumably were aware of his race. Never mind that Southern segregationists in Congress who opposed civil rights legislation were nearly all Democrats. Never mind that, rather than fearing they will be in the minority, growing numbers of white voters fear that Obama’s policies are weakening the country both economically and from a national security standpoint.
Although Obama himself has steered clear of race-baiting, he betrayed a chip on his shoulder by saying that, even though he did not know all the facts, Cambridge police acted “stupidly” when they arrested a black Harvard professor who was being obstreperous during an investigation of a possible break-in at his home. Moreover, for 20 years, Obama listened to the anti-white racist ravings of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whom he called his mentor, sounding board, and friend.
In a revealing posting on JournoList, a private online community for liberal journalists, one writer proposed a way to distract conservatives from the campaign controversy surrounding Wright.
“If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us,” Spencer Ackerman wrote. “Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”
To those of us who have exposed genuine discrimination against blacks, what is heartbreaking about all this is how it is setting back race relations by bringing race to the fore. If this were a truly colorblind society, no one would mention race or think about it. Instead, Democrats have turned back the clock to the 1960s, when the first thing we thought about when seeing a black man was the color of his skin. Now the first thought that may come to mind is: Is this person going to turn on me because of some misperception that I am a racist? If so, the safest course is to keep that individual at arm’s length.
Democrats reserve their most hurtful racist-tinged accusations for blacks who disagree with them. Black Democrats have called blacks who express conservative views such as Justice Clarence Thomas, Juan Williams, and Bill Cosby Uncle Toms and sellouts.
Ron Miller, whose book “Sellout: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch” just came out, has experienced this and more. Miller is a black conservative who runs a website called Regular Folks United. At age 19, he realized that his values emphasizing personal responsibility rather than government handouts did not comport with Democrats’ world view. As a result, he became a Republican.
He writes in his book that the “only thing the Democrats do for us [blacks] is keep race at the forefront of our minds and promote race-based policies, which stoke our egos but really don’t make our lives better.” Although blacks perceive Democrats’ policies as “caring,” they are “really just keeping us angry and frozen in time so we’ll continue to keep them in power,” Miller writes.
In the end, the Democrats’ approach will backfire. No one likes being called a racist. Rather than intimidating Americans, that tactic will only create resentment and persuade more voters that Democrats must be defeated in November.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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