I want to talk a bit more about racism, because I know many people scoff at this accusation and want to totally discount it as an active factor in Washington. However, I don’t think we’re there yet, in that place where we’re completely color-blind. African-Americans and Caucasian Americans do not all grow up in the same America, even in the 21st century, and, racism in America cuts both ways, if we are completely honest. We even have terms created to describe the phenomenon: racism and reverse racism. These terms are not equal but opposite terms. African-American resentment against white Americans is justified by years of inequality. White “hate” is justified by years of imagined domination and culturally nurtured feelings of superiority. Slack must be cut at least in the case of the former.
I do believe that both racism and reverse racism have lessened and will someday disappear (perhaps I should call that hope). But for now that situation does not pertain. So we have to do that exercise of standing in someone else’s shoes. We have to imagine an American government where African-Americans hold a majority and there are only a few elected Caucasians. Imagine that our President has always been “black” and now a “white” man is elected. Would this President be accepted with open arms and find it possible to “fit right in”; maybe or maybe not? Add to that the huge partisan divide that we have had in America for the past 5 years and you double the chance for shutting out this “new man” who comes hoping to be able to “change” a government, which is perhaps the very thing those who have been in the majority for so long have been most afraid of experiencing. Will this person, whose people have been oppressed for so long, want revenge? Will this person deliberately sabotage the government? Or between the racial divide and the ideological divide is rapprochement just too difficult? A lot of this can be quite subtle or even unconscious, although the ideological divide has been anything but subtle.
It’s quite sad to me that we wasted our opportunity to welcome our first African-American President, who is a very decent and erudite man, and that we made his lovely family uncomfortable in this house of the people. So I say shame on us all. I understand these were hard times but with a bit of trying and a bit of cooperation we might all be in a better place right now. I hope we reelect Barack Obama because I would like to think that we all deserve a “do-over”.