Obama Doesn’t Actually Heal Racial Divide, Activists Say

This blog isn’t even remotely about race, and there’s no intention to focus on it relative to the election of Obama as President. However, the central theme following the election has been that by electing the first black man as President, America has moved past race and made true the dream that one can become anything in this great country.

Not so fast, however, as this headline: Obama win does not end racism, activists say:

Chuck D, regarded by many as the godfather of politically-conscious rap music, said Obama’s election could radically change the debate about race in the United States but in some ways could be unhealthy.

“People will say: ‘You guys have got a black president so it’s cool. It’s straight.’ But it does not erase the discussion (about race) that you need to have,” said Chuck D, the main force behind the rap group Public Enemy.

In an interview, he warned against the election of Obama being “a weapon of mass distraction” from an attempt to tackle problems facing African Americans.

Of course, it’s remarkably silly to assume that Obama’s election “ended racism” in America–despite claims to a Jesus-like stature, Obama can’t actually rid the world of bad ideas just by virtue of his existence. There remain plenty of white racists, and plenty of black racists. 

One important question, though, is how will Obama respond to those “activists” who believe that racism remains institutional in America and that blacks have a right to, say, reparations for slavery? Will Obama himself transcend race?

This sort of thing bears watching, I think.

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