Commentary: Of Course Racism Fuels Anti-Obama Sentiment

Commentary: Of Course Racism Fuels Anti-Obama Sentiment

A new article titled "Is Opposition to Obama Fueled by Racism?" attempts to find out if bigotry might be directed at our president.

Published September 11, 2012

It’s perhaps the most laughable headline in weeks. Above a new editorial posted to Fox News Latino, a question in big black letters reads, “Is Opposition to Obama Fueled by Racism?” The laughs don’t end there, of course, because then comes a whole article that ponders whether racism is actually a contributing factor to the public’s disapproval of President Obama:


The question of whether race fuels opposition to President Barack Obama has become one of the most divisive topics of the election. It is sowing anger and frustration among conservatives who are labeled racist simply for opposing Obama's policies and liberals who see no other explanation for such deep dislike of the president.


It is an accusation almost impossible to prove, yet it remains inseparable from the African-American experience. The idea, which seemed to die in 2008 when Obama became the first black president, is now rearing its head from college campuses to cable TV as the Democratic incumbent faces Mitt Romney, the white Republican challenger.


Here’s the most frustrating line from the above passage: “It is an accusation almost impossible to prove.” That line is so galling because it’s simply not true.


Would it be unfeasible to try to prove that everyone who dislikes President Obama does so because he is Black? Certainly. Is it improbable that everyone who dislikes President Obama dislikes him because he is Black? Again, the answer is certainly. But trying to pretend that it’s “almost impossible” to find a deeply racist anti-Obama element in America today is just ridiculous.


How about the people on Twitter outright calling the president the n-word? I won’t link to cases, but it happens and you can seek them out for yourself. Or how about the conservative T-shirt producers who happily depict the president as a monkey on their wares? There’s the case of the Republican mayor in California who sent out an email of the Obama White House with a watermelon patch planted behind it. There’s also the case of the Republican women’s group that got caught sending around an image of “Obama bucks,” food stamps depicting the president surrounded by pictures of fried chicken and Kool-Aid.


And all that stuff is the less violent racist action taken against Obama. Even before Obama was president, federal law enforcement said that the then-senator had already been the subject of hundreds of threats, some of which were serious and being staged by neo-Nazi groups that were against having a Black president. In fact, death threats against Obama are up 400 percent from where they were with other presidents.


Again, none of this is to say that there are not very valid criticisms of Obama. But questioning whether racism fuels a lot of anti-Obama sentiment, as if it’s even a debate, is poor form. Let’s not pretend the bigots aren’t out there. Let’s acknowledge them and let them know they’re wrong.


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(Photo: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Written by Cord Jefferson


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