If anyone thought that the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States signaled the beginning of the end of racism in this country, they need to re-think that. Everywhere you look you will find that bigotry and racism are as alive and well as they ever were. It’s in our classrooms and boardrooms; it’s in our industries and universities. It can be found on the internet and in traditional media. Some of it is overt; most of it is more subtle.
Not too long ago, a Barnes and Nobles Bookstore in Florida was forced to issue and apology after a photo of it’s store window display was circulated via email and in national media outlets. The window display featured books about the Obama family with a book about monkeys prominently displayed in the middle.
Just this month Walgreens ordered the removal of “Chia Obama” from its stores in Florida and Chicago.
Just two months ago, the New York Post published an offensive cartoon that likened President Obama to a chimpanzee. Rather than apologize, the editor of the paper defended the cartoon and the cartoonist who drew it.
Another racist cartoon recently appeared in an Israeli newspaper. It depicted our president painting the White house black.
Even the fashion industry seems to have racist underpinnings. All the criticism Michelle Obama has been getting from some of the most well known designers clearly has a tone of bigotry to it.
Listening to all the criticism of President Obama, it is hard for me to believe that it is all based on opposition to his policies. Hearing what Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck have to say convinces me that they are playing to a racist base. They know exactly what they are doing; they are deliberately inciting the bigots among their listeners. Fortunately, their followers are a minority. Unfortunately, they are a crazed minority.