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Can Obama ‘barrack’ racism?
Believe it or not, the world will witness the resurgence of a new era of racism than the end of it...
Obama’s win in the US Presidential election and his swearing in as the first African-American President was predicted to be a case study on the beginning of a new era But perhaps history doesn’t want it to happen that way. And thus even before the euphoria over his historic swearing in has settled down, the dark side of the American racism has started raising its dirty head. And for some it was not absolutely unexpected either. And the more unfortunate thing is that even Obama’s charisma and his incredible campaign for nearly one and a half years could not bridge much of the deep divide that run deep between the Whites and the Blacks of the US.
President elect Barack Obama himself was skeptical about it. His confession at a civil rights group’s convention stating – ‘our work is not over, mere electing me President doesn’t mean our work is over, we got more work to do’ to the NAACP bears testimony to it. In fact, the ugly aspect of racism was blatantly evident in the presidential election result itself. The voting pattern between two presidential candidates- John McCain and Barack Obama was biased and discriminatory. A closer scrutiny at the voting pattern reveals that McCain won greater support in white dominated counties of states like Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Northern Texas. For example, about 80% of the voters in Arkansas are Whites and 70% of them unanimously voted for McCain. The same was witnessed in case of Obama who equally gained greater support from Blacks and minority groups. Research reveals that 67% of Latinos and 62% of Asian voters voted in favour of Obama. It wasn’t a surprise that 88-95% of Black voters who comprise 13% of total the US population unhesitatingly supported him. Well, even the most die hard optimist who would love to find a silver lining in it would accept rather grudgingly that if this does not exemplify racism then nothing else perhaps does. However, moving further, what was a little more horrifying than this was the fissures among the Democrat leaders. Reports state that when Obama was to take oath, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was busy convincing Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and other Democract leaders to replace Obama’s vacancy at the Senate by any of the two White women (Veteran Affairs Chief Tammy Duckworth or Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan) and rejecting the three potential Black candidates namely Jesse Jackson, Jr. Danny Davis and Emil Jones.
Yet the fissures run deeper than what is visible to naked eyes. Bruno Serato, the Presidential-themed restaurant owner in the Anaheim, White House, e-mailed his announcement to some of his several high profile customers that he has dedicated a special room to Obama as has been the customary in the presidential theme (in the past he dedicated similar rooms for Nixon, Reagon, Carter, Kennedy, Washington and Jefferson). But then this time, he literally got the shock of his life with strange and revulsive responses from some of his regular customers. Some of the replies indicated utter disregard for Obama. Later when Serato revealed some of the angry responses to the press, one read as follows , ‘I am not an Obama supporter, I could never be and as much as having an African-American in the White House could be a good thing, having one with Marxist ideals is certainly not a good thing! I will not be patronising your restaurant, much less the Obama Room.’ The next one goes as ‘Do not insult us with a Barack Obama room. … You have no idea whether he is a great leader or a hopeless socialist. You may regret your hasty judgement of what he will do to this country. May you remain Orange County’s hidden treasure with the emphasis on Hidden.’ The one as ‘you must be kidding? He didn’t do anything yet other than weaken our internal security. May be you could house all the Gitmo internees there instead.’
Moreover, tensions between the national and state security forces are not at all healthy for the US or its president. No one can kill an American President without involvement of someone from its own intelligence forces (read: Vantage Point). Obama’s failure to replace FBI director Robert S. Mueller reveals Obama’s hard struggle against racism. Muller was appointed FBI director in 2001 by former President, George W. Bush and was obvious to be replaced by someone nominated by the next President. When Obama pronounced his time tested aide Sandy Berger as the next FBI director, Muller didn’t agree to resign and made it clear that he intends to complete his first ten years term which will be over by 2011.
By:- Akram Hoque
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