Of Course Some Voters Are Racist

The 800-pound gorilla has come out of the closet and stands in the middle of the room: Racism is now the political topic of the day.

Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t.

Tribalism is one of mankind’s oldest and strongest instincts. If we all were the same color, had the same hair and eyes, were the same height and weight, spoke the same language and liked the same music, I bet the right-handed majority would gang up on the left-handed minority in a heartbeat.

If you watch children at play, you will probably see two or three forming a group and turning against some other child. It’s an us-against-them world.

Yes, mankind is flawed. Yes, that’s why we must try to rise above our baser instincts. That’s why we go to school. That’s why we go to church.

At least, that should be one reason we go to church.

Unfortunately, in some churches tribalism is encouraged. Yes, Pastor Wright’s church is a glaring example.

But don’t think for a minute that tribalism is absent from all “white” churches.

In many devoutly Christian communities, the message is not one of universal brotherhood but of exclusivity, self-righteousness and implicit hatred. It’s us against them, brother. God bless us — and curse them!

If you recognize this sad fact, it will not be hard for you to understand why some white voters are saying they would never vote for Barack Obama. I haven’t seen any reports describing how black voters feel toward Hillary Clinton, but I am sure there are quite a few who would much rather elect a black man than a white woman.

Yes, brothers… Yes, sisters… Racism is alive in America.

But I am convinced it is declining and that it will not determine the outcome of the Presidential election.

One sign of racism’s decline is Obama’s acceptance among younger Americans. And — I believe this is a tribute to our much maligned educational system — he is also popular with college graduates. We are breeding up as a race, becoming more enlightened, more human.

But we should hang our collective heads in shame when we read the racist comments of some older voters — church going, hard working men and women who love their families and their country. Before they take too much pride in those attributes, I would remind them of the words of Jesus Christ:

For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not also the publicans the same?”

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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