Few conservatives saw Barack Obama as the transcendent leader his supporters did, but who could have foreseen the racial divide that has accompanied his tenure? Instead of improving America’s race relations, Obama seems to have worsened them. At least, that’s what 53% of people think, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll. These respondents believe that interactions between white communities and black communities have taken a hit since his election. Obviously, the recent incidents in Ferguson and Staten Island have only served to highlight some of that deterioration.
The obvious first question is whether Obama owes it to the country to improve “race relations.” That doesn’t seem to be implicit in his constitutional duties, and it is perhaps unfair to expect such a thing from a president of any color. If we concede that it isn’t really the business of the White House to act as a “community organizer,” then we have to move on to the second question. Has he actively done things to worsen race relations? And that’s where things look a bit worse for the president.
Visiting The Issue When Convenient
His first big misstep came only a few months after he took office. A black Harvard professor named Henry Louis Gates was arrested in front of his house after getting into an altercation with police. Obama admitted up front that he didn’t have a full grasp of the facts, but he chose to go forward with some dicey comments anyway. He opined that the Cambridge police that arrested Gates had “acted stupidly” and that there was a “long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”
That would serve as a talking point Obama would revisit several times during his next six years in office. Though he rarely made race a central tenet of his policies unless a special event warranted a comment, he didn’t pass up too many of said events. In conflict with the evidence, he condemned the Trayvon Martin verdict without coming out and directly saying so. His attorney general – Eric Holder – has spent much of his own tenure focusing on issues of race. And, of course, he has made his opinion well known on the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Obama’s Supporters Are Worse Than Him
If there has been a significant worsening of race relations under Obama, a lot of the blame lies outside the White House. It belongs to the media, the Democrats, and the left-wing columnists who have made it a racist sin to criticize the country’s first black president. This has been going on since his primary with Hillary, and it’s still going on today. And while there are undoubtedly a few racist whites who hate Obama a little bit more just because of his skin color, they don’t comprise even a fraction of his critics. Conservatives would have been dismayed with Obama’s policies with every bit the same fervor if he’d been a white man. I guess the world forgot how much we disliked Slick Willie.
If the last few weeks are any indication, Obama is going to be highly focused on race for the remainder of his time in office. It would be nice to think he might do some good, but he’s too eaten up with liberalism for that to be possible. The best we can hope for is that he doesn’t screw things up too badly. In fact, maybe he should just go golfing.