It seems that some white Americans, and the modern-day Republican Party in particular, have found themselves stuck between Barack and a hard place.
The nation’s tortured history of racial discrimination and violence against African Americans has left the promise of a color-blind society as elusive as Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.
President Obama has skillfully (and wisely) remained above the fray of racial innuendo and hyperbole in dealing with the issue of race. But it remains unavoidable largely because his opponents have used the issue to skew the political discourse and manipulate the social consciousness of the American electorate—which, despite becoming increasingly brown, remains overwhelmingly white.
To that end, race matters. And Obama recently acknowledged the fact with an unapologetic and deft sense of reality.
In a recent interview with David Remnick for the New Yorker magazine, the president ascribed some (not all) of the incessant political opposition and personal attacks he has faced to race.
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President,” Obama said. “There is a historic connection between some of the arguments that we have politically and the history of race in our country, and sometimes it’s hard to disentangle those issues.”
As with respect to all things truthful, there was an immediate far-right, conservative backlash.
Failed vice presidential candidate and former Gov. Sarah Palin resorted to Facebook, writing, “Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.”
Conservative radio jockey Rush Limbaugh declared, “This is not a racist country.”