Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger & Patanzo, P.A.

America and racism, it’s a grey area

Last month a new Miss America was crowned. Unlike many of her predecessors, she did not have blond hair, or blue eyes, or creamy white skin. Rather her skin was darker, her hair was dark and her family had moved to the United States from India before she was born. Just like her predecessors, she was an American, and like her predecessors, nothing can take away from the fact that she is beautiful.

 Yet, comments flowed after her crowning that Miss America is supposed to be for Americans and not for Asians. Racist comments spewed indicating this melting pot that we call America applies in theory only.

 In that same vein, there are many who have never accepted Barack Obama as the President of the United States. They continually champion the cause that he was not born in the United States and that really he is from Africa, having been born in Kenya. They disregard the proof and pretend that it is a political issue. Yet down deep maybe there is just a little bit of, how can a black man have become President of the United States. After all, Americans are white, having come from western Europe.

 Recently, two Republican members of the House of Representatives withdraw from a bipartisan group of 8 Representatives who were planning on making recommendations on the immigration issue. They didn’t cite impasse and they didn’t cite a lack of time. Rather, what they cited was that there was no need for them to take part in this endeavor, because whatever they came up with was irrelevant, as they did not trust Barack Obama.

 They didn’t cite reasons for their lack of trust and their resignation hardly made any ripples in the media. Historically for members of Congress to blatantly say that they don’t trust the President of the United States was not an every day occurrence. But when it comes to Barack Obama, our first black President, they are not viewed with derision or with alarm, rather, the comments are allowed to stand. In fact comments of this nature have become commonplace.

 The House of Representatives has now voted over 40 times to repeal “Obamacare”. Obviously, a number of Republicans do not like what it will do to the healthcare system. Yet, over 40 times, knowing full well that the Senate will not pass these resolutions, this is not a statement about the healthcare system, but rather a statement of their feelings toward the Commander in Chief. Basically saying, he is not our President, he is yours.

 Where is the outrage by the media over the waste of time by the House Republicans in passing these needless and endless resolutions? Where is the outrage by the fellow Republicans in the Senate for this waste of time? Where is the outrage from the American people? The answer seems to be simply that all the rules and all the protocol that we have had for over two centuries of the presidency now have changed because we have a black president.

 From his first days in office, Republican Senate leaders, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Conservative/Republican icon Rush Limbaugh, have proclaimed that it is their sound objective to make Mr. Obama’s Presidency a failed one. This seems quite un-American and yet the media and the country allowed them to get away with these sentiments. After all, they were made against the first black President.

 Recently there was the issue of bombing Syria. Our President drew a line in the sand that the use of chemical weapons would trigger a military response. When those chemical weapons were used, the President received little support. Historically, many of our elected officials would have backed the President even if they disagreed. They would have noted that it is important to show the world that we are united and the President speaks for all of us.

 Certainly the desire not to go to war might have been the basis for the lack of political support. But the glee and outright undermining of the President during this crucial decision-making time, smacked as much of “we’ll show you” as it did, sound opposition. And where were those “Hawks” who get excited on showing our military might and orgasm if it should be used against an Arab country?

 Sure, many of you will find this article to be ridiculous, but you need to ask yourself down deep is Barack Obama treated differently and with less respect than previous Presidents? Has he had members of the opposition party treat him with less respect than previous presidents have been treated by the opposition? Have his credentials for Presidency been questioned more than is appropriate? Has his legitimacy of being President been questioned more than is called for? And has he been viewed as the first black President of the United States, rather than as the President of the United States?

 For many the answers will be no to all of those questions. But, for some, though you may be ashamed to admit it, some of the answers are yes. It is time that we, the American people, realize that the United States has changed. It is no longer white, it is no longer western European, but it is just as much African and Asian. It is no longer just English speaking; a sizable population speak Spanish and others speak different languages.

 Many will contend that the reason they disrespect Barack Obama is because of his policies and not because he is black. This may be true, but what is also true is that his being black has made it more acceptable and easier for many to disrespect him. That too is racism.

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