The role racism does not play....
John McWhorter is one of my favorite writers - here is an important column on the Obama victory...
Now, if this racism of the scattered and subliminal varieties were the obstacle to achievement that Jim Crow and open bigotry were, then we would have a problem. But yesterday, we saw that this "out there" brand of racism cannot keep a black man out of the White House.
Might it not be time to allow that our obsession with how unschooled and usually aging folk feel in their hearts about black people has become a fetish? Sure, there are racists. There are also rust and mosquitoes, and there always will be. Life goes on.
I know--what about "societal" racism? Well, if we can now relax about the backward folk "out there," then maybe Obama in the White House can help open up an honest discussion about the role racism does not play in black communities' problems.
Obama has come in for some criticism for not putting forth a "black" agenda--i.e., one designed to combat "racism" in various ways. It's because he knows that paradigm has no useful application to our times.
The harsher penalization of crack than powdered cocaine that has put so many black people in jail needs revision, but it was not created by racists: The Congressional Black Caucus helped pass it. Newark's schools are not failing because of racism, when New Jersey funds them as liberally as schools in the suburbs and most of the teachers and staff are black.
America has problems and our new president knows it. However, is America's main problem still "the color line" as W.E.B. DuBois put it 105 years ago? The very fact that the president is now black is a clear sign that it is no longer our main problem, and that we can, even as morally informed and socially concerned citizens, admit it.
There is nothing at all "unreal" about this. It is, after all, what we were supposed to be working toward. We must embrace it.