December 4, 2016
I was so proud of America when we elected Barack Obama president in 2008.
A black man and his family in the White House! Had we actually matured as a people? Had we put down the terrible weight of racism we had carried from our earliest days? Were we set to grow toward the light?
Well, we should have had a clue from the very fact that we called Barack Obama a “black” president. He’s half-Kansas, for heaven’s sake. He could just as easily been classified “white.”
A 50-50 person – or a 60-40 person or a 95-5 person – was “black” under slavery and Jim Crow, and the rest of America has adopted their ancient system without much thought. The federal census and the federal courts maintained a system that is white supremacy all through.
Our definition of “black” is unusual, and maybe unique, among nations. And we definite no other minority group in this way – not half-Chinese or half-Anything. It all goes back to slavery.
But still we were proud that we had elected a man named Barack Obama.
On November 8, we found out a huge chunk of America was NOT growing toward the light. It turned out that millions of white people had smoldered for eight years.
Indeed, it could be argued that it was precisely the election of Barack Obama that elected Donald Trump.
I’m still proud we “went high” twice, just not as much.