Every now and then we lull ourselves into believing race no longer matters in politics or life but then some high profile incidents happen that make us realize that while we’ve come so far, we still have so much farther to travel before we can truly say physical differences do not separate us.
Every now and then we lull ourselves into believing race no longer matters in politics or life.
And then some high profile incidents happen that make us realize that while we’ve come so far, we still have so much farther to travel before we can truly say physical differences do not separate us.
We are in the midst of a historic presidential race with a black man leading a major party ticket for the first time. But already, there have been several thinly-veiled commercial references to Barack Obama’s skin color and the Democratic nominee has put the GOP on notice he will not lay down for such attacks.
An argument can be made there is legitimacy to criticism of Obama’s relationship with controversial minister the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., which caused the presumptive Democratic nominee to sever his long ties.
But there is no place in the political landscape for advertisements such as the one in South Dakota showing Obama wearing a turban he received as a gift on a visit to Africa and using his middle name “Hussein” as if it were an epithet. and there is no condoning a button made by a vendor in Texas for a state Republican party convention that read “If Obama is president. . . will we still call it The White House?” The GOP rightfully fired the vendor.
These ads run because they work, which leaves the question is it the fault of strategists or voters that race is an issue? Would consultants use the race card if it didn’t resonate?
It is shades of Willie Horton and former Sen. Jesse Helms blatant manipulation of racial tensions to defeat a black opponent.
Locally, race is still an attention-getter. The recent beating of a black teen in Marshfield is being treated as a hate crime by police and the Plymouth District Attorney’s office.
A story in the Weekend Ledger detailed the lack of diversity that continues to cast a shadow over the South Shore. Most communities in the region are still 92 percent and higher white population, showing little variance or growth in minority population in decades. And the level of denials for home loans for blacks still dwarfs that of whites, even in income levels of $150,000 and above.
But lack of racial diversity need not translate into intolerance nor should it be an excuse of ignorance.
We have before us what euphemistically can be called “teaching moments,” for us and our children. We need a recommitment to the acts of equality, not just the rhetoric.