Against this backdrop came Barack Obama with an unspoken promise: elect me as President and America can put race in the rear view mirror once and for all. After all, if Americans elected a black President, how racist could the country really be? Moreover, if, as many liberals claimed, Barack Obama would win the presidency unless America is racist, then didnâ€™t his victory mean America isnâ€™t racist?
“Racism” in the real world is almost entirely subjectively defined, by which I mean that whatever one person thinks is, or is not, racism, another person will disagree.
In America, “racism” as it is generally understood is almost entirely a black issue. No matter that Asians are a smaller minority, and have historically endured almost as brutal treatment – de facto rather than de jure slavery, for instance – racism is not generally considered to be a problem of Asians. And so forth for other “ethnic minorities.”
Only for blacks is racism the overriding issue, and the reason is simple – one or another of our two major political parties has always used the issue of racism to draw black voters into its tent. Currently, the black vote lives, for the most part, on the Democrat ethnic plantations. And in order to maintain this situation, for the past several decades Democrat organizers and black leaders have told blacks that all their problems are the result of racism. It’s not surprising that many blacks come to believe that is true.
Which leads to a perverse world view. If you are a young black man, and you father several children, drop out of high school as a functional illiterate, join a gang, sell drugs or commit other crimes, get arrested, and end up in prison, you are told that all this is because of racism, and has little or nothing to do with the choices and efforts you have made in your life. Similar scenarios apply to young black women, who end up living in public housing with two or three children of different young men, looking down the tunnel of a bleak future.
But if you think that “racism” is the cause of every single thing you don’t like about your life, then the election of a black President is going to come as a tremendous disappointment to you, because that President isn’t going to be able to fix what you perceive as racism.
Remember that young woman who was caught on video in the runup to the election saying that of course she would vote for Obama, because he was going to pay her mortgage and buy her a car? Many people found that worldview so irrational as to be ludicrous, but if she believed the reason that she didn’t have a new car, and couldn’t pay her mortgage, was racism, (and many people had told her just that), then why wouldn’t she think that electing a black President would end racism and give her what she wanted?
The long and short of it is simple: When Americans talk about racism, they might as well be talking on the Tower of Babel, considering how many different meanings are being used for the term. And until we can come to some common understanding of what racism is, all the talking about racism in the world isn’t going to do a damned bit of good.