As America’s first black president nears the end of his first term, it has become more obvious than ever to me that racism is rampant in this country.
I looked upon Barack Obama’s election as a historic breakthrough, signaling the approaching end of race prejudice and the dawning of a color-blind era – the promised land that Martin Luther King had dreamed about.
Sadly, I was misled.
Obama’s election has sparked a dramatic outpouring of racial hatred. Assassination threats multiplied. Ugly signs appeared at rallies and some people carried monkey dolls representing the president. White supremacist groups proliferated. The “birther” movement emerged accompanied by absurd conspiracy theories. The underlying message: Obama is not “one of us.”
The shamelessly bigoted Tea Party was born and was nurtured by media attention.
It has been three years, and the racist tide has not abated.
Today comes news of an e-mail reportedly sent by California Republican official Marilyn Davenport. It shows a “family portrait” of chimpanzees – parents and child – with Obama’s face artificially superimposed on the child. The caption: “Now you know why no birth certificate.”
It’s as if the election of a black president tore the scab off the festering sore of American racism.
It is now apparent that at least one-third of Americans are blatantly racist.
It might be a coincidence, but one-third of Americans are apparently religious zealots.
In poll after poll after poll, the dogma of the radical right is unshakably supported by about 33 percent of the people of this country.
I cannot say it is the same one-third, but I suspect it is.
I suspect the people who profess most vehemently to be followers of Christ make up the bulk of the bigots in this country.
The irony is deafening.