Some, including me, had hopes that the election of President Obama might reverse the tide of racism that has gripped our nation since its founding but almost immediately after he took office, there was a wave of anti-Obama sentiment calling him illegitimate, protesting his very first attempts to make policy to save our cratering economy, and vowing to do everything in their power to make him a one-term president. And this was just in the first weeks after he took over. The Tea Party that came to power and has sadly dominated our politics the past few years began as a movement in March of 2009, less than 2 months after Obama took power. George Bush "won" his first election when a Republican Supreme Court basically stopped the ballots being counted and awarded him the presidency. But I don't remember two months after he took office some significant part of the country starting a mass movement to kick him out of office and trying to make him fail (he did that all on his own). And these Tea Party "radicals" helped to keep our economy in tatters as a result (particularly after the Republican landslide in 2010), hurting all their pocketbooks in the wake. Why did this happen? Many have cited racism, just a raw visceral reaction of a great portion of the populace against the thought that (a) a black man was president and (b) white people were no longer in power, no longer able to direct the politics of the nation. I certainly had that thought myself -- just looking and hearing some of the rhetoric coming out of tea party rallies in 2009 and 2010, you'd have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to notice the virulent racism eminating from them -- but it seemed difficult to believe that such a wide swath of this country still cared enough to hate people because of the color of their skin. Even as the entire Republican campaign in 2012 revolved around a justification for their election based on Obama taking white people's money and giving it to black people (if you don't think that's the entirety of their campaign, you haven't been paying attention). But a couple things have come out this week that make me think I was right all along. Racism has a lot to do with this election being close, with our country actually voting to go back to the economic and foreign policy plans of the Bush administration we all so desperately hated just 4 years ago.
First, based on recent polling from the Washington Post,
“Obama has a deficit of 23 percentage points, trailing Republican Mitt Romney 60 percent to 37 percent among whites, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News national tracking poll.”
Second, there's this from an AP study:
Clearly, the Obama presidency hasn't wiped out racial prejudices. The AP measured racial attitudes using questions that explicitly asked respondents about their views and through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly. Quoting from the AP story again:
"In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell."
You think maybe one has something to do with the other? Some 56% of whites have implicit anti-black sentiments and 60% plan on voting for Romney. I may not have been a math major but I suspect some correlation there. So much for this being a post-racial society. Apparently electing a black man president has given a bunch of racists an easy target for their hatred. And by "bunch of racists", I mean half the freaking country. That's some scary ass shit.
If you're one of my white readers who somehow still support our president despite his darker skin color, please vote next Tuesday. Obama should be winning this in a landslide at this point but it's too close for comfort.