President Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States, but it wasn’t by all people, it was by the majority of people and the majority of electoral votes that President Obama was re-elected. Roughly half of Americans split their votes between Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney (50%-48%) and reactions to Obama’s re-election have been split.
America appears to be as divided today as it was before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law and “allegedly” ended segregation in the United States. A recent Associated Press (AP) poll showed that 51% of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48% in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56%, up from 49% during the last presidential election.
I believe that integration and the Civil Rights Act did a lot to end racial discrimination on paper, but did very little to deal with the deep-seeded prejudice and racism that has been passed down from generation to generation in this country. It is no secret that racism is alive and well in this country.
One of the biggest problems that I believe has caused some of our country’s biggest problems, is the fact that we have not fully addressed the issue of race head on and dealt with it accordingly.
There are many impressionable people in America, who rely on gossip, lies, propaganda, distortions and half-truths to help justify their prejudice beliefs and racist actions. Accepting much of this stuff as fact, folks find themselves co-signing on this troubling information. They never even care to perform any due diligence, to learn the truth. It feeds into their subtle or even blatant racist nature.
For instance, I was on Facebook the other day and I noticed that one of my Facebook friends had posted something that I responded to, offering an alternate reason to consider. The post made the assertion that “potential” voter fraud helped President Obama win one of the key battleground states, but there were no substantive facts to justify their position. I was extremely professional and simply offered a differing view, when all of a sudden, I got blindsided with some of the vilest and racist hate speech I have ever seen from an elected official.
Out of nowhere, Balch Springs, Texas, City Councilman Howard D. Arnold chimed in and started railing on me, ranting on and on about African-Americans and throwing out unjustifiable statistics. When I pushed back on these “so-called facts” Arnold went into rare form. I never told him that I voted for President Obama, but because I was a Black man, he appeared to be looking for folks to just go off on since the election favored Obama.
In response to my comments, he said that all people who voted for Obama were Obama lovers and that they were, “liars and you know what else.” I knew the direction that Arnold was headed, so I asked him what else they were. I told him that I was patiently waiting with my popcorn in hand. He then proceeds to say, “The only popcorn you Obama lovers pop is ACORNS. Popped ACORNS and Kool-Aid, what a match!”
He then proceeded to make the following statements:
“If you are an African-American, then quit bitching and try to educate YOUR people and tell them to stop using the N-word so much, it makes them look dumb.”
“99.6% of all African-Americans voted for Obama based on skin color.”
“You are a fool that wants a free phone.
“The most racist people in this country are African-Americans. African-Americans have committed millions more crimes against whites versus the 10,000 of whites against blacks. Who’s the racist? Who needs to be protected by the Hate Crimes Act?”
He called me a moron and an idiot. I can tell I was getting under his skin by providing facts and not reacting to his hate-filled messages. I immediately started thinking about the fact that this man is an elected official and is making decisions about other people’s lives with that type of mindset and heart. And to think that the mayor of Balch Springs is a Black woman, I can only imagine what she has to endure and deal with.
Sadly, you find that there are many community leaders, business professionals, religious leaders and elected officials who openly express their prejudicial beliefs and racist nature. I have written about and provided examples in previous articles about these types of people. I do believe that America can be healed of its racist past and present, but something that happened to me recently helped me realize that we have a long way to go.
It is my prayer that we as Americans realize that we are all citizens of the United States of America and we need to rally around what makes this country great…..our diversity. We can’t change the election outcomes, but we can change our hearts and our attitudes for the better.
“United we stand - United we fall” sounds a whole lot better to me than “Divided we stand - Divided we fall.”