Obama: The Most-Racial President
By Mark Tapson
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, President Obama confided that, of all the Hope and Change his supporters assumed he was bringing to America, the hope of a change in our racial divide wasn't on his list: "I never bought into the notion that by electing me, somehow we were entering into a post-racial period." That may come as a surprise to the millions around the world who did indeed see his historic election as the promise of a post-racial era. Instead, as Ward Connerly points out, thanks to Obama "we are not living in a post-racial society. We are living in a most-racial society."
Political activist, businessman, and former University of California Regent Ward Connerly is the founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, a Sacramento-based organization created to educate the public about racial and gender preferences and to help implement laws to abolish them. An outspoken opponent of affirmative action, which he calls "yesterday's solution to yesterday's problem," and an advocate of equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, sex, or ethnic background, Connerly is the author of Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences and Lessons from My Uncle James: Beyond Skin Color to the Content of Our Character.
In a column in the Wall Street Journal several months ago titled "What Happened to Post-Racial America?" Connerly took Obama to task for a record in office that falls far short of his post-racial promise. As just a couple of examples, he cited Obama's Executive Order 13583, which promotes "Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce," and the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law promoted by Rep. Maxine Waters, which Connerly says should be called the "White Male Exclusion Act." Both of these laws are fundamentally discriminatory and redundant as well, since the federal government is already more diverse than the general population, and "the infrastructure of the diversity network is vast."
"More than anything else," Connerly wrote, "the pursuit of diversity overshadows and subordinates excellence and competence and often makes us content with mediocrity." Of course, a meritocracy is heresy to leftists, who cling to their victimization narrative to justify affirmative action, and who have made the enforcement of diversity into a virtual religious imperative on the order of Islamic jihad.
Like all blacks who publicly insist that Americans look beyond color to one's character – a concept for which Martin Luther King, Jr. is rightly lauded – Ward Connerly is demonized and dismissed as an Uncle Tom by the left, his fellow blacks who have crowned themselves the arbiters of blackness. "He has no ethnic pride," said then-Senator Diane Watson in horror. "He doesn't want to be black." The Oakland Tribune depicted him in a cartoon as the proprietor of '"Connerly & Co./Ethnic Cleansers'" – with a Klansman's robe hanging in the window.
"I implore you, Mr. President," Connerly wrote in an open letter to Obama, for the sake of all Americans, the rule of law, for fairness and justice, and for the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, end the racial discrimination, end racial preferences, policies, and laws… Unleash our potential by calling for a colorblind society in life and law.
His plea has fallen on deaf ears. Townhall columnist Rachel Alexander points out several ways in which, despite ballot initiatives spearheaded by Connerly passing in various states banning affirmative action, the Obama administration moves full steam ahead with policies of racial preference. Obamacare legislation contains race-based preferences, and hospitals and healthcare providers have been given notice to come up with affirmative action plans or risk being audited and fined. Contractors who train individuals from underrepresented minority groups will receive preferences when applying for contracts from the Department of Health and Human Services. The federal stimulus funds also included preferences. The Department of Justice is selectively enforcing voting rights and also intends to use the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to favor minorities when redistricting Congressional districts, even though there's no longer any evidence of real discrimination. The administration has intervened in high-profile lawsuits defending affirmative action. Don't forget Obama's appointment to the Supreme Court of "wise Latina" Sonia Sotomayor because apparently she can come to better judicial conclusions than a white male. As Rachel Alexander puts it, Obama is implementing his own unofficial form of affirmative action by appointing minorities and women who support race and gender preferences to top posts in his administration, ensuring its perpetuation.
Affirmative action isn't the only aspect of Obama's detrimental impact on race in America. "My view on race has always been that it's complicated," Obama told Rolling Stone. "It's about interactions." If so, then his interactions as President have definitely complicated matters. He may have ridden the wave of an historic promise (however illusory) into the White House, but since then he has heated race relations to the boiling point. He has empowered and emboldened race-profiteering demagogues like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, Jr., violent race radicals like the New Black Panthers, and blacks in political power like Attorney General Eric Holder and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who have embraced this opportunity for racial payback while hypocritically dismissing Obama's critics as racist.
From insulting the white police officer who properly arrested Obama's black academic buddy Henry Louis Gates, Jr., to ramping up racial tensions over the killing of black Trayvon Martin by a "white Hispanic" (both of which were mere criminal incidents that a President should not have lowered himself to comment upon), our first (half-)black President has done more to set back race relations in this country than anyone since O.J. Simpson.
On the heels of Obama's election in 2008, in an article titled "Obama's Post-Racial Promise," Shelby Steele wrote that "There is nothing to suggest that Obama will lead America into true post-racialism," and that "culturally and racially, he is likely to leave America pretty much where he found her." Three and a half years later, it seems Steele was right about the former statement, but unfortunately very wrong about the latter. Leaving America where Obama had found her culturally and racially would be immeasurably better than the brink he has led her to thus far.