Thursday, April 28, 2011

So THAT'S the Problem

I’ve been wondering for some time why President Obama hasn’t succeeded in solving all of our many serious problems. I mean, we haven’t withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq and are now bogged down in Libya, unemployment is still a terrible problem, the national debt is an absolute disgrace, Guantanamo is still going, DADT is still in operation, there is still no well-defined energy problem, global warming is still real, and the Israel/Palestinian problem still festers on and on. Now, thanks to a legislator in Oklahoma named Sally Kern, I finally understand why so little has happened… Black people just don’t work hard enough like White people. I bet if George W. Bush, or Saint Ronnie were (still) President all of these problems would have been solved long ago. Ms. Kern also gave me a clue as to why we have never had a woman President, as women, too, just don’t work hard enough.

What I find of the most interest about this is not the sheer idiocy of Ms. Kern but the flat-out, in-your-face racism that was expressed. It has become increasingly apparent that the racism that infests the Republicans that up until recently has at least somewhat been kept under wraps, is now out in the open. Part of this is because of Donald Trump’s ridiculously unfounded claims about President Obama. The fact that Obama felt it necessary to produce his long-form birth certificate at all is truly a national disgrace and would not have happened had he been White. His citizenship was never truly in question, the short form was perfectly legal and reasonable proof, and the entire episode was absurd and should never have achieved the attention it received, and, again, would not have happened had he been White. Now Trump has shifted his attention to Obama’s academic performance, demanding to see his grades and how it was he managed to get into Columbia and Harvard. There is no reason for this other than the fact that Obama is Black, it is racism pure and simple. The one thing the Republicans have not as yet come right out with is the claim that Obama is a bad President because he is just not smart enough (he’s Black, you know). While they have not yet been aggressive enough to say this, it is floating around right now in the hints that Blacks don’t work hard enough, probably are not truly academic achievers, Obama didn’t really deserve to be admitted to Harvard, and so on. But so far not even Trump with his unsurpassed vulgarity has had the temerity to say it, at least not in so many words.

Don’t forget the intellectual capacity of Blacks has been denied routinely throughout our history. For a very long time they were considered clearly inferior to Whites in every way, especially intellectually. Even in recent years arguments have continued over their lower IQ scores, poorer school performances, and so on, with some believing these differences are innate and others arguing they are merely the result of cultural conditions and discrimination. For years, not very long ago, it was believed by many, if not most, that Blacks could not be Quarterbacks because they lacked the intelligence, then they could not become coaches for the same reason, and of course management was virtually out of the question. These terrible prejudices have slowly begun to disappear, but have still not entirely disappeared. There is no doubt that racism is alive and well in the United States. Thus it should not be surprising in the least that many people in the U.S. would be both unhappy and threatened with having a (unthinkable until Obama) Black President. Given the fact we slowly added Black Mayors, Black Congresspersons, (a rare) Black Senator, as well as a couple of Black Supreme Court Justices it was perhaps inevitable that eventually there would be a Black President. Personally, I thought it was one of the greatest moments in our history when Barack Hussein Obama was elected President, but I also said it would destroy a long-standing paradigm and would bring about a great deal of resistance. It seems the pride some of us felt in what we had accomplished, along perhaps with the novelty of having a Black President, and also along with the realization that he is not really any different from a White President, has brought about this current reaction and tended to renew questions of ethnic competence. In any case, it is clear now that President Obama is not being judged solely on the basis of his performance or his character, but also on the color of his skin. Just as women have to work twice as hard as men to achieve half as much, so it is that a Black President has to accomplish so much more than our usual White Presidents to receive the same amount of credit. You, like me, might not approve of everything Obama has done, but compare what he has accomplished in two and a half years in office with what George W. Bush accomplished in eight years and then tell me he doesn’t work hard enough. Donald Trump, and those who put him up to this disgusting attack, should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on rails for picking open this scab that should have been left to continue to heal. The Sally Kerns who blurt out their innermost feelings and then try to apologize should be shown the door and escorted into the dustbin of history as soon as possible. Someone today asked, “Where do Republicans even find these people?” Where, indeed?

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