Racism in Obama's America One Year Later
One Year into Obama Presidency, Some Still Use Race to Define First Family
By SARAH NETTER
Jan. 27, 2010—
In the year since President Obama smashed barriers to become the country's first black president, his tenure at the top has been punctuated by racial taunts and innuendos that have slyly, or sometimes blatantly, been circulated on the Internet, in e-mails and cartoons.
The offenses have ranged from crude to subtle, and offenders have ranged from the unknown to elected officials. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, an Obama ally, had to apologize for what many considered to be insensitive, denigrating language while referring to Obama.
Poll numbers suggest most voters are not judging Obama's presidency based on the color of his skin, but the issue has continued to surface in Obama's presidency with disheartening regularity.
The president's image has been altered to look like an African witch doctor, his wife's to look like a gorilla. The idea of having a black family in the White House was initially so sensitive to some that even simple acts like a fist bump or a pat on the behind between husband and wife, were analyzed for possible racial undertones.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said he has seen evidence, albeit anecdotally, that Obama's race has become significantly less of a factor for most Americans since he took office, "in spite of an increase in vicious, mean comments from a small minority."
Poking fun at the president is an inevitable tradition, almost a national pastime. President George W. Bush was skewered by opponents who believed him to be unintelligent and inarticulate. And for years, President Clinton's libido was the prime target for late-night comedians.
But for many, criticism based solely on the color of Obama's skin crosses a line...CONTINUED HERE