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Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell
9 Feb 2016
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A Post-Racial President?


Many people hoped that the election of a black President of the United States would mark our entering a "post-racial" era, when we could finally put some ugly aspects of our history behind us.

That is quite understandable. But it takes two to tango. Those of us who want to see racism on its way out need to realize that others benefit greatly from crying racism. They benefit politically, financially, and socially.

Barack Obama has been allied with such people for decades. He found it expedient to appeal to a wider electorate as a post-racial candidate, just as he has found it expedient to say a lot of other popular things— about campaign finance, about transparency in government, about not rushing legislation through Congress without having it first posted on the Internet long enough to be studied— all of which turned to be the direct opposite of what he actually did after getting elected.

Those who were shocked at President Obama's cheap shot at the Cambridge police for being "stupid" in arresting Henry Louis Gates must have been among those who let their wishes prevail over the obvious implications of Obama's 20 years of association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who can believe that Obama did not understand what the racist rants of Jeremiah Wright meant can believe anything.

With race— as with campaign finance, transparency and the rest— Barack Obama knows what the public wants to hear and that is what he has said. But his policies as president have been the opposite of his rhetoric, with race as with other issues.

As a state senator in Illinois, Obama pushed the "racial profiling" issue, so it is hardly surprising that he jumped to the conclusion that a policeman was racial profiling when in fact the cop was investigating a report received from a neighbor that someone seemed to be breaking into the house that Professor Gates was renting in Cambridge.

For those who are interested in facts— and these obviously do not include President Obama— there has been a serious study of racial profiling in a book titled "Are Cops Racist?" by Heather Mac Donald.

Her analysis of the data shows how this issue has long been distorted beyond recognition by politics.

The racial profiling issue is a great vote-getter. And if it polarizes the society, that is a price that politicians are willing to pay in order to get votes. Academics who run black studies departments, as Professor Henry Louis Gates does, likewise have a vested interest in racial paranoia.

For "community organizers" as well, racial resentments are a stock in trade. President Obama's background as a community organizer has received far too little attention, though it should have been a high-alert warning that this was no post-racial figure.

What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.

To think that someone who has spent years promoting grievance and polarization was going to bring us all together as president is a triumph of wishful thinking over reality.

Not only Barack Obama's past, but his present, tell the same story. His appointment of an attorney general who called America "a nation of cowards" for not dialoguing about race was a foretaste of what to expect from Eric Holder.

The way Attorney General Holder has refused to prosecute young black thugs who gathered at a voting site with menacing clubs, in blatant violation of federal laws against intimidating voters, speaks louder than any words from him or his president.

President Obama's first nominee to the Supreme Court is, like Obama himself, someone with a background of years of affiliation with an organization dedicated to promoting racial resentments and a sense of racial entitlement.

An 18th century philosopher said, "When I speak I put on a mask. When I act I am forced to take it off." Barack Obama's mask slipped for a moment last week but he quickly recovered, with the help of the media. But we should never forget what we saw.

To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is



9 Comments | Post Comment
Thank you Mr. Sowell! Thank you for your comments - my husband is a PROUD 10 years and counting member of the police force here. God bless you, MaryAnn
Comment: #1
Posted by: MaryAnn
Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:09 AM
As Mr. Sowell and some others chop down the trees of deception, we are beginning to get a better view of the whole forest.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Patrick Chase
Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:45 AM
Mr. Sowell has long been a darling of the right wing, and he talks from his own convoluted notions regarding race when he professes to denigrate Obama supporters with ' They benefit politically, financially, and socially.' from racism.
This is exactly what Mr. Sowell himself has been benefiting from, for the last 30 years. He has been preaching only what racists/conservatives want to hear, while less than 5 percent of Americans of African heritage agree with him, his hypocrisy and intellectual reasoning is clearly out of step with the American people and their views on race. He needs to vacate the bubble he confines himself to.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Macmakay
Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:16 PM
Mr. Sowell is one of the finest editorial writers in my opinion. Yes, he is the darling of the right because he can speak for us. His color has nothing whatsoever to do with his intellect and ability to express ideas that we, the right, feel deeply are true. I admire him and support him in every way. As far as being out of step with the American people and their views on anything, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Mr. Obama, is a white man who calls himself an African American in order to attempt to identify with an under represented minority and get their votes. I wouldn't care what color he was if he only wasn't a Socialist dragging our country further out of step every day.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Stephen
Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:52 PM
Re: Stephen
"Mr. Obama, is a white man who calls himself an African American in order to attempt to identify with an under represented minority and get their votes."
You, like Mr.Sowell need to look beyond the petty politics of this unprecedented Presidency. While you view/categorize him in a negative generalization of racial concepts, history will see his presidency in a more positive light and one that brought a lot of good for America. America as a country wins with Obama there, no matter how his administration handles the catastrophic conditions left by the previous inept administration, except of course for the cynical naysayers like you and Sowell.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Macmakay
Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:44 PM
After reading your column "Gates incident has cast doubt
on Obama's post-racial image".
My only comment is Sad but True.
Comment: #6
Posted by: D. Mark O'Neill
Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:04 AM
After reading your column my only comment is
Sad but true!
Comment: #7
Posted by: D. Mark O'Neill
Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:06 AM
After reading your column my only comment is
Sad but true!
Comment: #8
Posted by: D. Mark O'Neill
Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:06 AM
Dear Thomas Sowell, Since Obamas' Mom was white and his Dad a black man from Kenya wouldn't Obama be considered to be bi-racial and not African-America! If you're going to live in America, why can't you be just an American? Why should all this stigma be attached to a person born in America? As Taxpayers have stated, before, America didn't have time to 'train' anyone to be President, let alone someone who is connected to the Acorn group, the Rev. Wright, just to name a couple! President of United States should be someone who's owned a business not using Taxpayers' monies, having to make sure his/her company is managed, not like purchasing a $100.00 commode and paying thousands for it, because they don't know what the hello-dolly is going on! It's time for government to be cut back 90%, as it's apparent "the left' doesn't have any idea of what 'the right' is doing! Take a look at a 1,000 page, piece of crap, called healthcare reform, Freddie, Fannie, AIG, Auto industry, and the list goes on. Time to cut all 'Tax & Spend' programs as Obama promised in his statement and I quote "I'm going over the books "line by line' and will eliminate all useless spending! Well, we've waited and this is not the case, now is it?

As for the Gates mess and Obama's beer party, sometimes it's best to 'JUST SAY NOTHING-RATHER THAN SHOW AMERICA YOU REALLY ARE A RACIST, AS TAXPAYERS THOUGHT!
'VOTING LAWS' must be changed, as all Taxpayers know, Obama got elected by the social and welfare recipients who've never contributed anything to society, but more illegitimates causing terrorism on American soil. This type 'VOTING' is called 'DISCRIMINATION AGAINST HARD-WORKING TAXPAYERS, DON'T YOU THINK?'
Comment: #9
Posted by: Shirley deLong
Sun Aug 2, 2009 10:05 AM
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