The Corner

Presumed Racist

Obama’s statement yesterday about Republican scare tactics is merely the latest in a string of statements in which he suggests that certain Americans are intrinsically racist, and those Americans aren’t just confined to political opponents. His declaration that his grandmother was a “typical white person,” was, at the time, derided primarily because it was seen as Obama “throwing her under the bus” for political expediency. But the statement’s premise — that the “typical” white person is a reflexive racist — is at least as offensive.

Similarly, the commentary surrounding Obama’s statement to San Francisco elites about bitter, working class voters focused largely on the condescension in his claim that such folks “cling to guns or religion.” Somewhat ignored was the clause “…or antipathy to people who aren’t like them…” Again, Obama is branding a huge swath of the American populace in unsavory terms.

During the primaries his campaign lept upon any statement that was even remotely related to color as evidence of racist intent. This is, to say the least, peculiar for someone whose campaign was based in part on racial transcendence. Even more so for someone who doesn’t seem to have encountered any pernicious racism or racial barriers in his personal life. His profligate insinuations of racism now are far beyond unseemly. As the possible next President of the United States, he needs to be called on it.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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