President Barack Obama has come under fire for preaching "divisiveness" to black leaders at a swanky awards dinner by saying that America is basically a racist society.
In an opinion column for The Washington Times
, writer Joseph Curl condemned the president for telling the mostly black audience at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner that police nationwide "are to blame" for community mistrust.
"Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement — guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness," the president said.
Curl chided Obama for saying that "most Americans" believe the American justice system suffers from institutional racism, while giving examples ranging "from enforcing drug policy to applying the death penalty to pulling people over."
The Times columnist said that Obama should have instead used the black-tie event "to talk optimistically about race in America — with a slew of prominent black lawmakers, lawyers and entrepreneurs."
Obama's comments came on Saturday evening on the same night that a police officer was shot in Ferguson, Missouri
, following an encounter with two men at a community center who ran from him and then opened fire during a foot chase.
The shooting incident comes in the aftermath of the race riots in the St. Louis suburb that erupted after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, allegedly after he had robbed a liquor store.
After Obama had informed his dinner audience that Brown's parents were guests in the audience, the president said he didn't plan on talking about the federal investigation into the 18-year-old's death.
But he went on to say, "I know that nothing any of us can say can ease the grief of losing a child so soon. But the anger and the emotion that followed his death awakened our nation once again to the reality that people in this room have long understood, which is, in too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement.
"There are significant racial disparities. That's just the statistics. One recent poll showed that the majority of Americans think the criminal justice system doesn't treat people of all races equally. Think about that. That's not just blacks, not just Latinos or Asians or Native Americans saying things may not be unfair. That's most Americans.
"And the worst part of it is it scars the hearts of our children, that it leads some youngsters to unnecessarily fear people who do not look like them and others to constantly feel under suspicion no matter what they do," Curl quoted Obama as saying said, citing a report by The Associated Press.
Curl wrote that the speech spelled out that, as far as the president is concerned, "the color of a man's skin is far more important than the content of his character."
The Times columnist said that the "Divider in Chief decided to stoke the dying embers" of the racial tension in Ferguson "just in case he could cash in on a late campaign issue" ahead of the midterm elections.
Curl concluded by saying, "Rather than talk about all that unites the races, for Mr. Obama, America just keeps getting worse and worse. And that's just as he wants it to be. For only by dividing Americans by race, sex and class can his pessimistic worldview take hold.
"Then again, voters will go to the polls in little more than a month. From all the polls the president didn't cite on Saturday night, the consensus is those Americans will vote against just the kind of divisiveness Mr. Obama preaches every day."
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