CHH Politics: Post-racial society still far away

Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 Political Cartoon

Kwabena Boateng

In 2008, the mythical post-racial society began. Somehow, electing Barack Obama magically erased the stains of our country’s racial history.

I didn’t buy it. I’m not saying Obama’s election meant nothing. I expected a non-white president at some point — but later in my lifetime. I didn’t think the American public was ready for a black president. I was wrong and right.  If 2008 showed how far we’ve come, 2012 has shown the great distance remaining.

Since 2008, someone has been playing the race card — and it isn’t who people expected. President Obama, who, according to the New Yorker, some Kentuckians feared “would put too many minorities in positions over the white race,” has been quiet on racial issues. Research from the University of Pennsylvania’s Daniel Gillion, as reported in the Atlantic, found that the president has spoken less about race “than any other Democratic president since 1961.” So who keeps bringing it up? 

None other than people such as Rush Limbaugh, who can turn an incident on a school bus into a fear-mongering of an Obama America where “white kids get beat up with the black kids cheering.”  You can say that Limbaugh represents an extreme. It’s not racist to criticize the president for his policies. But when you use race as the lens for judging him, there is a problem.

Also, if we call on moderate Muslims to denounce extremists professing violence, why can’t Limbaugh’s party do the same with their extremists who are stoking the flames of racial fear?  

These are the same people who want to put “the white back in the White House,” as described on a T-shirt at a Republican rally — as if power is a white privilege. And yet these people, feeling entitled to the power of our nation, turn around and decry government entitlements. 

What is scary is that I’m not sure that these are the opinions of only the extremists. If you are black, Latino, Arab, Chinese, white, etc., and you believe race should prevent someone from holding any position of power, then you need to open your eyes to see the evidence on and outside of campus that shows how wrong you are. 

The Pew Research Center predicts non-Hispanic whites will be a minority in 2050.  By then I hope we will have moved closer to a post-racial society. It’s up to us to determine if it happens sooner rather than later.