A post-racial presidency?

There was much talk, when President Barack Obama was elected to the White House in 2008, that his would be a post-racial presidency.

After all, it was argued, as the son of a white mother and a black father, Obama was uniquely positioned to understand both sides on the black-versus-white divide and view things from a more objective perspective.

Moreover, during his campaign, Obama urged Americans to break the “racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.”

But, it hasn’t turned out that way. There was Obama’s famous “Beer Summit” after he made the baseless suggestion that a white police officer arrested a black college professor for racial reasons. There are the ongoing claims from a former Justice Department employee that the Obama administration ignored serious charges of voter harassment involving the New Black Panther Party. Most recently, there was a by-invitation-only gathering of black bloggers and Internet writers at the White House.

Imagine the outcry if President George W. Bush had held a White House meeting in which the only common qualification for those invited was that they were white.

Some of those invited last week to the White House have even people in the black community scratching their heads. Several represented gossip sites that focus on black celebrities or sexually revealing photos rather than serious news. Even some of those who attended the event were displeased with it.

It’s no surprise that, in an election season where Obama’s allies are in trouble, the president would try to rally black voters who helped get him elected. But it is disappointing that, instead of working to heal the racial divide, he seems to often make it worse.


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