If you’re like me, you justifiably shed tears at the incredible symbolic power unleashed this week when Americans chose Barack Hussein Obama to be our 44th president. Moreover, his victory speech rightfully reminded us after eight years in the Bush wilderness that indeed “our union can be perfected.” That there is genuine “hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow,” and the progress we can make for our children in the next 100 years of American history.
I must admit, though, by the next day I felt rather daunted by the enormity of that task. So I was relieved to discover through the searingly insightful analysis provided recently by some conservatives that, as far as continued progress in racial justice is concerned, we are finally off the hook.
Yes indeed, with Obama’s election, “America has completed its evolution into a racial meritocracy,” wrote Phillip Morris of the Cleveland Plains Dealer. Our country, according to Jonathan Kay of the National Post, “has finally become a fundamentally post-racial society,” where in fact, Laura Hollis tells us at townhall.com, “racism is dead.”
But if you are still mired in white guilt, or are one of those stubborn “race-obsessed” types who doesn’t believe that the remaining racial chasms in education, income and wealth, health care, criminal justice enforcement, yackety schmakety blasé blah can’t entirely be explained by, well, minority laziness and lack of initiative, don’t fret.
I’m developing a handy guide to help you navigate the new world that awaits you at the stroke of noon on January 20, 2009. I’m calling it, “How You Can Learn to Stop Making Excuses, Throw Away All Your Race Cards and Accept That We Are Living in a Post-Racial Society.”
It will be a pocket-sized book full of quotes from those who have evolved to a pure state of total colorblindness. These quotes will remind readers of the inexhaustible cure-all that was the 2008 presidential election.
In the coming months, for example, you might find yourself worried that Black, Latino, and American Indian kids are far more likely to attend public schools with substandard textbooks, less qualified teachers, and woefully under-funded budgets. Should this occur, just open your guide to the Education Section, where you’ll find nuggets of wisdom like this one from Reagan-era Education Tsar Bill Bennett: “I’ll tell you one thing that [Obama’s election] means, you don’t take any more excuses from anybody who says ‘The deck is stacked,’ ‘I can’t do anything,’ ‘There’s so much in-built this and that.’” Did you get that? According to Bennett, it is perfectly sensible to extrapolate from Obama’s individual educational and electoral achievements to conclude that no one can ever again claim that systemic resource deficiencies affect racial outcomes. I mean, “in-built this and that” is so Jim Crow. “There are always problems in a big society,” he so cogently reminds us.
But if that doesn’t make you feel better, be patient, and before you know it you’ll be lobbying Congress with me to change our national motto from E pluribus unum to Electus unum abandonae pluribus. The power of this logic isn’t limited to education.
Take, for example, the skyrocketing foreclosure rates currently ravaging many of those very same communities with these low-performing schools. When you find yourself getting indigestion thinking about today’s massive evaporation of African American and Latino wealth – in large part the product of predatory refinancing loans targeted at older homeowners who needed emergency cash – well, reading additional quotes about the power of Obama’s triumph will be the best antacid your declining real wages can buy. According to the Wall St. Journal the “One promise of his victory is that perhaps we can put to rest the myth of racism as a barrier to achievement in this splendid country. Mr. Obama has a special obligation to help do so.”
Ah great idea. The Obama Administration could use a new Cabinet-level position devoted to ridding our society of that pesky racism myth. It only clutters our simple, tacit interpretation of data such as $0.62 on the $1.00: roughly, the stagnant median family income for Latinos, Blacks, and American Indians compared to white families for at least the last seven years. What other explanation do we need beyond the well-understood notion that people of color are historically about 62% as hard-working as whites? Now that a majority-white America has demonstrated its inclusiveness at the polls, it should be self-evident that remaining effects of past and current discrimination in hiring, salaries, and promotion throughout our economy are illusions that have long since disintegrated.
But in case it’s not self-evident, my booklet will include defiant quotes from folks like Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, who got a little testy last week on the BBC when explaining what electing the first African American president should mean: “It is a very significant historical fact. And I take it therefore around the world, criticism of the United States for being a ‘racist’ nation will now stop. Right?”
You tell ‘em, John! And while we’re taking leaps of logic, I’ll go one better with respect to the snooty Europeans: until those hypocritical, socialist wealth redistributors have elected a leader of Barack Hussein Obama’s skin tone, I see no reason to look toward their societies for any policy ideas or values – health care, in particular. As our lame duck Decider in the White House has said, we have the “best health care system in the world,” so why commit as a nation to tackling the persistent racial inequities in health outcomes, in healthy work and home environments and in access to affordable health care?
There’s no need, my friends, because the Obama milestone single-handedly provides Americans with a clear record of colorblindness that inoculates us from any systemic blame in any sector of society where the “race complainers” cry foul. It really makes you wonder why people of color didn’t think of this electoral inclusiveness thing before.
Better late than never, though. And as far as current racial inequities are concerned, we need only follow the wisdom contained in my forthcoming guide, and ignore Obama’s call to continue perfecting our union. Let the “post-racial” happy days roll.