There has been some news to note on the issue of race in America. The first, from Fox, is that the tea party movement may perhaps be a bit more diverse than the far left wants to admit:
Though the tea party movement has attracted criticism for its supposed lack of diversity, minority activists who are involved say the movement has little to do with race, and that it is attracting a more diverse crowd every day.
. . . [Lloyd] Marcus, a black conservative who is now involved in the growing tea party movement, attributes the problems of his childhood neighborhood, his extended family and the black community in general to a "cradle-to-grave government dependency" that in the case of his cousins enabled an idle life of crime and drug abuse.
To Marcus, President Obama's policies perpetuate that dependency. That's why, he says, it baffles him and other black conservatives when the tea party movement is dismissed as somehow anti-black, as a rowdy bunch of ignorant, white protesters who have it in for the nation's first black president.
"This is the nicest angry mob I've ever seen," Marcus said.
Marcus is one of a number of black conservatives who have joined up with, and helped lead, the conservative tea party movement since its inception. Though the movement has attracted criticism for its supposed lack of diversity -- MSNBC host Chris Matthews recently called the groups "monochromatic" and "all white" -- those minority activists who are involved say the movement has little to do with race, and that it is attracting a more diverse crowd every day.
"I think a lot of black people are waking up from their Obama night-of-the-living-dead fog," Marcus said. "They were walking around like zombies going Obama, Obama, Obama."
He and other black conservatives connected with one of the hundreds of tea party groups across America were largely active in conservative and Republican causes before the movement's start in early 2009. They spoke and wrote about the need for smaller government, lower spending and lower taxes and warned that Obama's candidacy would pose a threat to those values.
But in the tea party movement they found a group that not only reflected their views but provided a platform. . . .
Well, at least in that regard, Obama is having a positive effect on race relations. A recent poll suggests that, beyond the mere fact of his election, Obama has had no further positive impact on race relations in America. This from the Washington Post:
Soaring expectations about the effect of the first black president on U.S. race relations have collided with a more mundane reality, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
On the eve of President Obama's inauguration a year ago, nearly six in 10 Americans said his presidency would advance cross-racial ties. Now, about four in 10 say it has done so.
The falloff has been highest among African Americans. Last January, three-quarters of blacks said they expected Obama's presidency to help. In the new poll, 51 percent of African Americans say he has helped, a wider gap between expectations and performance than among whites.
Although most of all those polled view Obama's election as a mark of progress for all African Americans, three in 10 say it is not indicative of broader change. About two-thirds see Obama's election as a sign of progress for all blacks in the United States, a figure unchanged from last year, but about half say his time in office has not made much difference in race relations. One in eight say it has hurt relations. . . .
The truth is that America largely exists in a post-racial society irrespective of Obama. That said, Obama is a product of the far left, a group whose raison d'etre is identity politics. Thus there was never a chance that Obama would act to move us forward on race relations. And indeed, Obama's acts as President in the arena of race have, if anything, moved America backwards, reinforcing the status of blacks as societal victims unable to achieve without special help. A few months ago, he signed a color-centric hate crimes bill into law. And recently, he announced his intent to reintroduce race into the center of our financial system.
What will be interesting to see in the future is how much the mere election of Obama erodes support for the far left's toxic, marxist brand of identity politics. How much and for how many on the left has the election of Obama erased their liberal guilt for the original sin of slavery in America? For the far left, it is a sin that must be held up as unerasable since it is the entire basis for their political power. That is a reality distorting position - a cognitive dissonance - that cannot forever withstand the push in this country towards true equality.
As much as I wish it were otherwise, there will always be some sort of proactive racism in America - practiced by some small minority of people of every race - (just as there will apparently always be short white guys of questionable intelligence who can't jump). We can minimize it by using public opinion to condemn it and by using our laws to severely punish it in appropriate cases and venues. But the simple fact is that we will not move any closer to improving race relations in America than where we are today until the far left is broken and the scourge of identity politics is consigned to the dustbin of history.