President Obama remains silent about race. He almost never disagrees with white liberal opinion. He does little about the War on Drugs, the mass incarceration of black men, racial profiling, police brutality, poverty, unsafe neighbourhoods, high black unemployment, high rates of infant mortality, segregation in housing and education, environmental racism, the growing wealth gap – or about gun control until white children were gunned down.
Even George W. Bush had more blacks in his cabinet. He had four, Obama has only one.
When Jeremiah Wright and Shirley Sherrod were accused by whites of saying racist things, he took it at face value and dropped them. He said he could no more disown Reverend Wright than the black community – but then did six weeks later.
Close your eyes and he is a white liberal. He is arguably to the right of Nixon, who at least tried to do something about the racial segregation of schools.
Obama is limited by Congress, but he does not let that stop him from taking a stand on gay rights, becoming the first president to support same-sex marriage, the first to allow gays to serve openly in the military.
All that blacks get are public scoldings about bad parenting and class-based policies, like Obamacare, helping blacks only as a side effect of helping whites. Franklin Roosevelt can maybe get away with that stuff as “not knowing any better”, but not Obama.
If he helps blacks too openly whites will accuse him of racism, but even they expect some pushback, even they expect him to act like a president and show some moral courage by taking a stand and speaking out. Deep down they know things are still screwed up. As a black president who can move white audiences with his words, he has the power to shame them into doing the right thing.
Maybe he lacks courage. Maybe his hands are tied by the millions he took from big banks and big business to become president. Maybe he feels he has to kiss up to white people to maintain and exercise power. Maybe he is just a smooth-talking technocrat. Maybe he is a front man.
But then why did he put his hand on the Bibles of both – both!!! – Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr? Both were men of great courage and moral authority on race, men who died trying to make the country better, men whose words ring in our heads still, like they were our fathers.
To clothe himself in their moral authority and then do or say little about race is to say that racism is pretty much dead. It certainly allows white people to believe that.
If he goes on like this, then I will have to conclude that he is a Rented Negro of the worst and most cynical sort.
I hope and pray that I will be proved wrong.