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Monday, February 02, 2009

Not About Race

Well, the presidential election hoopla seems to finally be over. I don't know how many times I heard or read it referred to as one of the biggest events in American history. It seems that at a substantial number of people in America (as well as the rest of the world) think that we just elected a black president. They also think it's an historic milestone in our country's history.

I am not so sure I agree with these claims. For starters, my understanding is that President Obama's mother was white. So he is as much white as he is black. Since when do the blacks get to lay claim to the bi-racials in America? If genetics isn't what signifies race in America, then what does? How much black do you have to have in your blood to be considered black in America? Apparently not more than 50%!

But let's suppose that Mr. Obama were black. Would it be a most remarkable milestone in American history? Despite Oprah's tears on election night, I don't think so. Let me explain why.

I've been around a few years now, and for as long as I can remember, whatever happened in America that was controversial or high publicity would be sure to draw the attention of high profile black crusaders. Jesse Jackson at times seemed ubiquitous. I wondered how he could be a reverend of any church and seem to show up all over the country all the time. Why did he show up at so many events and incidents? To play the "race card." Rev. Jackson wanted to be sure we knew how racist everything was in America.

It wasn't long before he was joined by Rev. Al Sharpton. Apparently they thought they could "divide and conquer." It wasn't long before Sharpton seemed almost as ubiquitous as Jackson. And for the really, really big stuff --- they both would show up. They would play the racist trump card, and make everything about race. Workers unions, school administration, local government, police brutality, immigration and all sorts of issues became "highly racist."

Most of us white people would hear about this and think, "Huh? What's racist about that?" Quite honestly, we saw no racism involved. And then others joined the band. Rev. Jeremiah Wright (who was President Obama's pastor for several years) preached some outlandish sermons - in the name of racism. The world was shocked at what he had to say. At least Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton were cool enough not to be so outrageous and inflammatory with their racist claims. Perhaps they saw themselves more as crusaders, along the lines of Rev. Martin Luther King.

It doesn't escape me that all of these inflammatory personalities who have antagonized America have Rev. in front of their name. I wonder if there's a connection. I wonder if they don't understand that America sees Dr. King in a whole different light than we see these guys - who sometimes act like real buffoons.

So here's what I think is most remarkable about President Obama's election. If he's black, his election doesn't really accomplish anything. Instead it proves something. It proves that it was never about race in the first place. There may be a few idiots in America who are still racist and consider blacks to be a lesser race. But the vast majority of Americans don't see race as an issue. If I'm not mistaken, more white people voted for Obama than black people!

Perhaps now that we have this so-called black president, the antagonistic personalities will stop making their livelihood off of playing the race card in America. That game is truly over; Obama's election proved it, once and for all.

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