Michael Brown on Sorry, But I Don’t Believe Obama’s Portrait of Racist America

I don’t doubt for a moment that we still have race issues to address in America. And I don’t believe that, to date, we have fully overcome the legacy of hundreds of years of slavery and segregation in our history. At the same time, I do not accept former President Obama’s claim that the 2016 election of Donald Trump was, in part, a reaction to having a Black man in the White House.

In a widely reported excerpt from his forthcoming book Promised Land, Obama claims that “millions of Americans” were “spooked by a Black man in the White House.”

To quote him more fully, he argued that Trump “promised an elixir for the racial anxiety” of “millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House.”

These same Americans, we are told, were prey to “the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican party – xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward black and brown folks.”

Yes, he writes, “It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted. Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president.”

Michael Brown

How should we respond to this?

There are certainly White racists in America, and they must have hated having the Obamas in the White House. (It may surprise you to know that I have never met such a person face to face, heard from them on my radio show, or, to my memory, interacted with them on social media. I’m sure they exist. I just don’t know any of them.)

And, while I do not believe Trump is a racist, he surely knows how to push certain buttons to get people from different backgrounds in his camp.

But the fact of the matter is that there were no anti-Black, White supremacist, race riots when Obama was elected, nor were there any protesting his presidency during his 8 years in office.

Not only so, but no one was boarding up stores in anticipation of his victory, which would surely have been the case had “millions of Americans” been “spooked” by his election and had his victory “triggered a deep sense of panic.”

Where, pray tell, was that panic? What evidence does the former president provide?

The reality is that in 2008, Obama received 43 percent of the White vote (compared with 55 percent for McCain), which hardly speaks of a racist nation in panic. In fact, going back to 1980, this tied for the highest percentage of White votes for a Democratic candidate.

Bill Clinton also received 43 percent of the White vote in 1996. Other than that, the percentage of White Democratic votes from 1980 to 2008 was: 1980, 36 percent; 1984, 35 percent; 1988, 40 percent; 1992, 39 percent; 2000, 42 percent; 2004, 41 percent.

And in 2012, despite fears that Obama would see a significant drop in White votership, the percentage only dropped from 43 percent to 39 percent.

The Washington Post even carried a November 8, 2012 headline reading, “President Obama and the white vote? No problem.” As the article noted, Obama “won a clear popular vote victory – with a majority of his total vote nationwide coming from white voters.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown

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