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.”