When Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States in a veritable landslide, many Americans believed it signified a post-racist US. But instead of marking the end of racism, Obamas election revealed it.
Look at whats happened over the past four years.
Even before the election results were counted, white right-wingers questioned Obamas citizenship and, thus, his right to be president. They claimed that the election was stolen through voter fraud by minorities with the help of ACORN. The Southern Law Poverty Center, Homeland Security and the FBI noted a spike in the number of racist domestic terrorism groups. Gun sales soared on baseless fears that our first black president would take away our guns. And an all white group of Republican politicians made it their priority to block every Obama-backed bill and nomination in order to make him a one-term president.
And that was only the beginning. The racist assault on this president was carried out in many other ways.
For example, during the 2009 State of the Union speech, a white congressman broke protocol to shout you lie. White parents and politicians tried to block the presidents address to schoolchildren for fear their kids would be indoctrinated.
When President Obama authorized loans to US automakers, an almost entirely white group of angry citizens demonstrated with undeniably racist signs portraying our president as the Joker, calling him a communist, a socialist, a fascist and even a racist. The focus of their wrath allegedly was that they were overtaxed, despite the fact that their taxes were the lowest in 60 years. They called themselves the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party and threatened to exercise their Second Amendment rights. They called themselves patriots and the President a Kenyan.”
Backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, the Tea Party verbally assaulted President Obamas healthcare plan (a plan originated by Republicans and signed into law by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney). Much of the anger was directed against non-existent death panels and fear that illegal immigrants might be helped by the plan.
In the 2010 mid-term elections, many Tea Party members were elected to Congress, mostly from southern states that once had been part of the Confederacy. Undeniably, race played a very large part in their elections. Tea Party candidates won by creating fear of our illegitimate, un-American president and of anyone who looks like a Latino immigrant.
There have been videos of racists, including some cops, taking target practice with photos of President Obama as the target. Racists have regularly flown the Confederate battle flag from the back of their pickups to show their hatred of our president. There have been a host of racist bumper stickers and T-shirts attacking our president. Republicans even ridiculed First Lady Michelle Obamas efforts to improve the health of children through exercise and better nutrition. Not because its a bad idea, but likely because shes not white.
Leading up to November 6, race continues to play a large role in the 2012 elections. Republicans have passed voter ID laws in order to suppress Democratic votes in minority-dominated areas. There have been attempts to intimidate and mislead minority voters. Republicans have tried to limit poll hours to make it more difficult for working minorities to vote. At the same time, Republicans have resurrected anti-gay marriage propositions in states in order to excite their most highly-prejudiced base.
Throughout many parts of the nation, yard signs and campaign materials for President Obamas re-election have been stolen or vandalized with increasing frequency. Opponents shout racist threats and obscenities at those who display their support for the president. A racist was admitted to a rally for Mitt Romney with a T-shirt reading “Put the White back in the White House.” And, in the most telling example of racism, Colin Powells thoughtful endorsement of President Obama was ridiculed merely because theyre both of African-American heritage.
Think about that. Should we then dismiss any Romney endorsements made by white people?