President Obama has the privilege to not have to drive and thus not have that experience. Or does he actually have that experience, but in different ways? Possibly even more so.
Back in 2007, 6 months before the primaries, as a volunteer I noticed how organized Obama and his campaign staff and volunteers worked on security. I went to one other Presidential campaign session prior to the primaries and didn't see any security like that. Could the color of his skin make that kind of difference? I think Obama knew about race politics in this country then and might have had an idea that it would get worse before it got better.
The thought came to mind when reading What Should “Racism” Mean?, an excellent article pointing out the difference in presidencies between the current and past, especially in terms of media reaction. The article points out: "For a lot of whites who don’t harbor any conscious racial malice, things just look different when blacks do them. What do you call that?" and quotes from a new book:
Ian Haney Lopez’ recent book Dog Whistle Politics. Lopez notes that racism changes from one era to the next, and somebody changes it. “Racism is not disappearing,” he says, “it’s adapting.”
Lopez uses the word “racism” for most of the possible meanings, and differentiates with adjectives. Here are some of the ones he finds:
- structural or institutional racism.
- implicit bias.
- commonsense racism.
- strategic racism.
You can read the article to get descriptions on those kinds of racism. I didn't add racism to the title of this article. Would you have read it if I did? He says that most racists are not bad people, even most conservative whites are not haters.
As someone who's working at anti-racism, I questioned someone's choice of pet in terms of their choice of friend - since I thought that friend knew I didn't think of them as racist, I thought they might find humor in the way I stated it. Unfortunately, it backfired on me and the person thought I was accusing them of being racist and was very defensive.
It is an emotional topic and very difficult to discuss. We have a long way to go.
How do you feel about this?
What do you think of this?
See: News about Racial Issues in Prince George's Co. click here.
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