There’s a thought-provoking article in today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune. The piece surveys African Americans on whether the nation is really ready to look past race in the presidential election. About Barack Obama, one person remarks, “He speaks a language that white people can understand and comes across as not frightening.” On the other hand, according to the reporter, “[s]ome blacks say acceptance of Obama on those terms shows just how little progress has been made on race.”
I’d be most curious to hear your response to a couple of quotes toward the end of the article. The first comes from Princeton University professor and African American commentator Melissa Harris Lacewell:
“If you listen to Don Imus and Michael Richards and the discourse in parts of white America around those comments, not only are we not ready for a black president, old-fashioned racism is back.”
The second is from Alondra Jones, a senior at Howard University:
“In 2007 we are far more progressive on race than we were in 1967. But we are not at the point now where the whole of America will allow a black man to win the presidency. Maybe in another 25 or 26 years. I’m hopeful.”
So, like Harris Lacewell, do you detect a “hard-line racism” simmering just below the surface in our nation today? And, as Jones suggests, is waiting “25 or 26 years” for the whole of America to warm to the idea of electing a black president something to be hopeful about?