The Naked Racism of an Obama America
America is more racially divided today than when Obama took office. In this feature, Alan Noble explores the causes of this division and why it may be a good thing.
Whatever you think of Barack Obama’s presidency, the first African American to hold the highest office in the land has dramatically changed the way we view race in our country–or, at least, what it is acceptable to say about race in public.
As a people who believe that all humans are made in the image of God, that before Christ there is no distinction between races, that part of the mission of ambassadors for Christ is to act as reconcilers between people, and that we are called to care for the poor and needy and oppressed, Christians have a deep responsibility to seek racial reconciliation, not just in our churches (but especially there), but also our neighborhoods and country. And given the history of racism in our country and the ways in which our Faith was abused to justify it–and still is in some corners (See: Kinism–better yet, don’t)–we have a unique calling to live in and promote peace with our neighbors. And four years after Obama’s election, I think there’s a lot for us to consider and reconsider regarding the current state of race relations in America.
There’s good reason to believe that America is more divided over race today than it was the day Obama took office. At that time, many tried to herald his election as the beginning of a post-racial America. After all, we had outlawed slavery, given minorities the vote, and ended Jim Crow laws. In fact, we were so sensitive to racial issues that we had gone to the opposite extreme, according to some. We were so worried about not racially discriminating against blacks that we began to discriminate against whites in retaliation. But, by electing Obama, we proved to the world that we were so over that whole racism thing.
But over the last four years it quickly became clear that things weren’t getting better. Obama used his race to sympathize with Trayvon Martin’s parents, and people took offense as I wrote about previously. And he spoke out in defense of Henry Louis Gates when he was arrested by a white police officer. And blacks started to act out across the country, according to some. They became more dependent on government aid. And there were reports of black mob violence against whites going unreported by the Main Stream Media*. Rather than heal our racial divide, Obama supporters’ constant use of the race card seemed to create significantly more conflict between whites and blacks. And a study has provided evidence for escalated conflict.