Could it be partisanship? Yes. Could it be a profound lack of patriotism? Yes. But again, it smacks of something that has nothing to do with partisanship or patriotism but with the basest of reasons for disliking and disrespecting someone: because he or she does not look like you.
Is this why some people feel comfortable saying that President Obama hasn’t done anything since he’s been in office? Had Osama bin Laden been captured and killed while President George W. Bush was in office, there would have been a movement to make him President Emeritus of the United States. Instead, President Obama, the man whose administration actually delivered, is reduced to a brother hooping it up at the White House and doing nothing.
This leads me right back to the racism that has been bubbling underground and resurfaced with the debt-ceiling debacle. Folks from all walks of life took that crisis as a get-out-of-jail-free card to spew venom on President Obama instead of dumping on those who would rather sink this country — and may have done just that with the recent credit downgrade. How sinister can you be to purposely create a hole and then try to push the entire country into it? All of this because a black man is president?
If it isn’t because President Obama is black, then what is it? There is plenty to criticize about the current administration, but the inability to do so with respect for the man or the office is the giveaway.
The racial climate is suffocating and getting worse. Every other week, another politician or pundit is apologizing for making what he or she keeps calling inappropriate comments about President Obama. But what these people call inappropriate, insulting or partisan, I call racist — a term that describes abusive or aggressive behavior toward a member of another race based on the belief that some races have an intrinsic superiority over others. If this is not what we’re witnessing, then I don’t know what it is.
Yes, it’s a great time to be a racist, and a horrible time to be the nation’s first black president.
Nsenga Burton is The Root‘s editor-at-large.