Prejudice is part of human nature. It dates back eons and once served a purpose which advanced human survival. While it is still prevalent today, it is a fallacy that it is inherent mostly in whites as alluded to last Sunday by Attorney General Eric Holder when interviewed on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” According to Holder, he and President Barack Obama have been unfairly treated because of their skin color.
“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” stated Holder. “You know, people talking about taking their country back… There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”
Holder is correct — racism exists in America. It also exists in every other corner of the globe. But it is hardly the reason for the President’s record low approval ratings or the discourse in Washington. Instead it is a convenient excuse for an abysmal administration which is itself racist in nature.
Racism: One Of The Original Sins
We see evidence of racial and religious hatred every week, most recently with hostilities erupting in Israel. It is tribal and it can be calmed or it can be exacerbated. President Barack Obama has chosen to make prejudice and racism worse in America.
In his actions, Obama is hardly as Oprah Winfrey claimed him to be, “the [chosen] one.” He has not unified the United States but split it further apart than at any period since the Vietnam War. Polls show that racism is worse today than when Obama took office in 2008.
Obama has maintained that many of America’s problems stem from racism — white racism — that can be shamed and legislated away. And yet it is the President’s own racism against whites is also egregious.
Evidence of this is when Obama reiterated Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s words:
It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere…That’s the world! On which hope sits!
That doesn’t sound presidential does it?
That the President is a racist is hardly a surprise. Racism exists in nature — a part of the natural order that Obama is more than willing to express but won’t allow in others whom he holds to a higher standard.
Prejudice And A Dog Name Boo
Last winter, my wife and I were babysitting our daughter’s French bulldog, Boo. She is just past the puppy stage and is intelligent as far as dogs go.
My wife Angela had to pick up some things at the corner store, so Boo and I warmed ourselves in the lobby where we live. The building is managed by Romanians. The manager and the maintenance man nearby were speaking in Romanian and the dog became agitated. She was pulling at her leash and attention was on the two of them as she sat on her haunches with hair bristling.
After a few minutes, my wife came and the Romanians greeted her in English. The dog’s entire temperament changed and became friendly. Obviously the dog didn’t understand Romanian any more than it understands English, but the dog understood something foreign from something common. You don’t have to be an anthropologist to see that in primitive societies it would be important for tribal dogs to differentiate, to discriminate, what was common and friendly to them and what was a potential threat. So yes, I confess, my daughter’s dog is prejudiced against Romanians.
I witnessed a similar example with our eldest son when he was an infant 30 years ago. We took him to the Bahamas. He awoke on a bus full of Bahamians. He had never seen a black person before in his life and he began to scream. For the entire trip he was deathly afraid of black people.
Noted Berkeley, Calif., American sociologist and social psychologist W.I. Thomas wrote about what black children experience when they first encounter a white person:
There must be something in the appearance of white men frightfully repulsive to the unsophisticated natives of Africa; for on entering villages previously unvisited by Europeans, if we met a child coming quietly and unsuspectingly toward us, the moment he raised his eyes and saw the men in “bags,” he would take to his heels in an agony of terror, such as we might feel if we met a live Egyptian mummy at the door of the British Museum. Alarmed by the child’s wild outcries, the mother rushes out of the hut, but darts back again at the first glimpse of the fearful apparition. Dogs turn tail and scour off in dismay.
That racism is a natural state is repugnant to modern thinkers, yet instances of it in history abound. I recently read Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors by Stephen Ambrose. Part of the book’s focus is that the Plains Indians were not a homogenous group. Wars within the tribes were rampant as was prejudice between them. Ambrose points out that this was a key reason that the Indians were defeated in short order by the U.S. Army in the 1870s. They simply could not unify as a single force. America may face the same downfall if racism continues to fester, leaving the country without a united front to take on economic wars of the 21st century.
Yet prejudice is portrayed as something heinous that exists in the modern age only and it is directed most often by whites against blacks in the United States. But blacks also harbor racism against whites and modern society has done its best to mute this and keep it under control. This is where Obama comes in.
To the President’s shame, he has exacerbated racism in America. This is evident by the President weighing in on the racist component of the Trevon Martin case and the arrest and controversy of Obama’s former professor at Harvard, Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested by police, ostensibly according to many blacks because of his skin color. All of which has brought racism to the forefront of the American consciousness.
On October 27, 2012 The Washington Post reported on a poll that indicated that racial prejudice has risen during Obama’s first term in office:
Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.
In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.
Obama’s tenet that only blacks are victims of white hatred is ludicrous. Prejudice and racism exist everywhere and always have. Good leaders have lessened it. Bad leaders have exacerbated it.
Obama falls into the latter category. It is the legacy he cannot escape.
Yours in good times and bad,