Color Blindess in the Age of Obama

When President Obama was sworn into office it was a proud day for America, and the world at large. A huge statement was made about the change in reality for people of color everywhere, concerning their political potential in the Free World. And yet, there is an ongoing debate about whether or not the election of a Black President, more specifically President Obama, has worked to the detriment of the argument of colorblindness in, what is now considered by many as, post-racial America. Are we REALLY living in a post-racial America? (Like, really...) And what role does Obama play in all of this?

Tim Wise's book, COLORBLIND: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity, investigates the criticism made about our President and what he deems a lack of attack on the issues still plaguing people of color in America. Since elected, President Obama has adopted the Universal approach...that is...Universal Education...Universal Health Care...which anyone would consider commendable. Still, many feel that a Black President could be doing MORE for people of color in the U.S. More specifically, Tim Wise feels that President  Obama could me more direct in addressing the ever-present disparity between White America and Black America. Wise doesn't limit his criticism to the President, either. He thinks Congressional Democrats could be doing more to help the race disparity. He discusses the nominal left wing and the complacent right wing, and the dangers of the attitudes of both parties when it comes to the evolution of progressive legislature in favor of minorities.  

Scholar Michael Eric Dyson has spoken on the issue, too. I think Wise drives home a point about a debate that Dyson already hit on. The idea that President Obama's success (depending on how you look at it) is tied to his distance from Black issues. Dyson has discussed that Blacks should not expect the President to do more for the Black community than any other President...but we should not expect him to do less. This brings the discussion back to Wise's book, and how in a post-racial America...racism is merely subliminal when there remains a subtle bias in the consideration of "equal". Regardless of whether Obama gets everyone health care, the larger issue is the QUALITY of health care afforded to people of color. Now, I steps, right? Agreed. The President is not going to fix the problems in one presidency but as a previous law teacher, Obama knows of the lingering inequality and suffering communities. And we still find him making comments about a seemingly EQUAL America. I think some are concerned that based on the political attitude towards race that he continues to maintain, we might fall into a far worse type of racism; the kind that denies the fact that there are still racial issues to be corrected. This includes but it is not limited to the public health crisis and the CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM...a mechanism that Wise identifies as an evolved version of Jim Crow. After all, as it stands today, about 2/3 of the people incarcerated  by the criminal justice system are people of color. We can't have progression simultaneously allowing for regression.

Wise considers the role of the activist to be the individual who pushes from the outside on the people on the inside. He believes that encouraging a healthy discourse allows White America to do the same thing that minorities are striving to do, themselves...that you can't legislate morality but you can ask everyone to rise to the opportunity of realizing our aspirations to be better than we have in the past. The unwillingness to discuss racial issues only alludes to the reality that there are still issues deemed uncomfortable when it comes to race relations...a reality that is detrimental to the country at large in the long run, which includes the majority.

INTERESTING TOPIC...I'm just listening because I stand firm in the fact that Politics is all about Politics and the allocation of funds (or better the fiscal interest of big business when it comes to public health) is the biggest problem. Don't they see the New World Order being established? CLASS IS THE NEW RACE!! It's not about Race's about the plutonomy that's forming. STILL...this is a GREAT READ!

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