February 19, 2020         
VHS Learning Opens 2020 Summer School Registration   •   Learning Ally is Giving Students a Chance to Meet Popular Children's Book Author, Dan Gutman ...Register Today for this Exciting   •   The Financial Women's Association of New York (FWA) Continues its Commitment of the Back2Business™ Return to Work Program   •   iPhone 11 Pro doubles radiation exposure deemed safe for consumers, according to new test   •   Unboxing is brought to life with HEXBUG JUNKBOTS at the New York Toy Fair   •   Hemp Depot Redefines U.S. CBD Farming Economics With 70% Reduction in Feminized Seed Pricing   •   To Honor World Cancer Day, The WISDOM Study Seeks Support from Women to Modernize Breast Screening Guidelines   •   To Honor World Cancer Day, The WISDOM Study Seeks Support from Women to Modernize Breast Screening Guidelines   •   InventHelp Inventor Develops New Jewelry Item to Express Religious Beliefs (RSD-106)   •   7,000 Bacardi Employees Turn on Their ‘Out of Office’ to Visit Hundreds of Bars Across the Globe to Spark Conversati   •   Lovers, Sub a Sandwich for a Ring This Leap Day and Quiznos May Cater Your Wedding – Assuming They Say “Yes”!   •   Ivy College of Business Names Berta Aldrich Women in Business Inspiration Award Winner For 2020   •   InventHelp Inventor Develops Improved Feminine Hygiene Product for Women (CPC-437)   •   New ESA ‘Game Generation’ Campaign Shows Video Game Play Brings Benefits Beyond Fun   •   National World War I Memorial Receives $5 Million Grant From Lilly Endowment   •   Comcast Celebrates the Year of the Rat With Continued Sponsorship of San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Festival & Parad   •   U.S. Flunks Reproductive Health and Rights Report Card   •   Contigo Reannounces Recall of 5.7 Million Kids Water Bottles Due to Choking Hazard; Additional Incidents with Replacement Lids P   •   Fulton Mortgage Company Honored With First Annual Community Revitalization Award in Philadelphia   •   The Author Incubator Launches New Program for Spanish Speaking Entrepreneurs
Bookmark and Share

Obama "Cannot Avoid Race Issues Much Longer"

WASHINGTON - Try as he might, President Barack Obama can’t elude the nation’s complicated racial passions. For plainly obvious reasons, this president will be judged as none before him on how well he helps the nation grapple with the prickly passions that arise when Americans confront matters involving race. So far, Obama seems mistakenly resolute in avoiding any explicit effort on this front.

Yet another “teachable moment” seems to be going by without any lessons learned in the continuing aftermath of the unwarranted firing of a U.S. Agriculture Department staffer. There have been other moments as well, going back to the 2008 campaign’s flap over Rev. Jeremiah Wright sermons to last year’s “beer summit” after the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Even when the president or his policies are the targets of mean-spirited racist campaigns—such as the debate over health care reform, placard-carrying protesters at Tea Party rallies, or foolish court challenges regarding his nationality—he has swallowed hard and held his temper in check, forsaking an opportunity to personally lead the nation to a fact-based understanding of the continuing role that race plays in the affairs and thoughts of average Americans.

The reason for Obama’s silence is clear. Taken at his own word, the president views his job as serving all Americans. He refuses to be labeled as the president of “black America” or any other special interest group, arguing that what is good for the nation will benefit everyone.

He’s correct, of course, but it doesn’t stop his critics. A significant number of Americans believe Obama’s policies are intended to help blacks and other minorities, while expressly aimed at crippling white Americans. Such fears received a lift when Virginia Sen. James Webb erroneously argued in a Wall Street Journal opinion article that continuing affirmative action programs are harming whites.

So when these racial incidents and falsehoods flare—often ginned up by opportunistic right-wing activists and spread by too eager radio and television entertainers—the president’s staff goes into overdrive to keep Obama out of the spotlight in the vain hope that he can rise above it all to handle more important business.

But there is no more pressing national business than the unfinished racial issues that daily confound Americans. Obama’s approach is worse than missing opportunities—it’s a gross miscalculation, one that ultimately may take its toll on the president’s reputation. By avoiding direct confrontation with those groups and individuals who are eager to inflame racial passions to their advantage, the president cedes them too much power.

So what’s Obama to do? Should he convene a national conference on race, as some, including the Congressional Black Caucus, have urged? I don’t think so formal an approach is necessary or needed. No, all it would take is for this president, who carries incredible clout and awareness of the nation’s racial challenges, to speak up in a clear, commanding, and factually correct voice to denounce any and all of his critics whenever they use race to divide the nation for political purposes.

Sure, political risk is involved. It’s easy to anticipate the racial inversion strategy of his critics in their effort to silence Obama. They will accuse the president of being the one to play the race card or using racism as a shield against legitimate criticism of his policies. But so what? They’re doing it anyway, often with lies as their only proof. Worse, the White House lets them off without so much as a fact-laden argument to push back.

Enough. It’s past time for President Obama to stand before the nation, repeatedly if necessary, to call out any and all race-baiting critics as the bullies that they are.

Sam Fulwood III is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. His work with the Center’s Progress 2050 examines the impact of polices on the nation when there will be no clear racial or ethnic majority by the year 2050.


The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

 



Back to top
| Back to home page
Video

White House Live Stream
LIVE VIDEO EVERY SATURDAY
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Video

LIVE BROADCASTS
Sounds Make the News ®
WAOK-Urban
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
KPFA-Progressive
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
WVON-Urban
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
WADO-Spanish
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
WOL-Urban
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News