Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Not About Race

So says David Brooks in a pretty good piece in the New York Times. Brooks says that the so called racism that many on the left, from Jimmy Carter to Jeanneane Garafolo, are accusing the right wing for harboring against President Obama is not racism at all but a schism that is just as deep seated in American history--the conflict between the "common man" and the "elite." Down at the Mall last weekend, Brooks came across the Tea Party protesters mingling with and purchasing food from the Black Family Reunion Celebration:
Several thousand people had gathered to celebrate African-American culture. I noticed that the mostly white tea party protesters were mingling in with the mostly black family reunion celebrants. The tea party people were buying lunch from the family reunion food stands. They had joined the audience of a rap concert.

Because sociology is more important than fitness, I stopped to watch the interaction. These two groups were from opposite ends of the political and cultural spectrum. They’d both been energized by eloquent speakers. Yet I couldn’t discern any tension between them. It was just different groups of people milling about like at any park or sports arena.
But the cries of the racism of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and other continue, not because these people are truly racist, but because it is an easy route to take--if you have opposition to what a black President is trying to do, it must be racism.

But it would seem to me that on an everyday level, we truly are reaching a largely post racial nation. That is not to say that there aren't pockets of racism, on both sides, but I think that for the most part, most Americans don't really give a toss about race. In fact, I would wager that for the most part, we simply don't care. Everyday we see more and more mixed race couples, bi-racial kids and the mixing of people from different races. For the most part, we don't notice or care--at least we don't in my world--limited as it may be.

So what drives the liberal left to cry racism? The obvious answer is insecurity. I suspect that a fair number of Democrats were surprised by Obama and don't know how to properly defend him as a President and politician. Obama's near instant arrival on the scene didn't give Democrats a time to vet him a little more, to plot a way to describe Obama in terms other than racial terms--i.e. our first Black President, a President for the post-racial America. In fact, I suspect that among Democrats, Obama is seen first as a black man and that is more indicative of a party more concerned with race than with policy.

I think the mish-mash of opinions and placards David Brooks saw among the Tea Party protesters is indicative of a general dissatisfaction with Presidential policies. But dissatisfaction with the President's race is not a factor.

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