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Gil Laroya Headshot

Did the Obama Presidency Regurgitate America's Deep Racial Divides?

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There is a growing wave of unsettled feelings in America. Motivated by economic struggles and two overseas wars, the American populous is beginning to show its true colors. But in a strange yet obvious twist, could this sentiment be the social upheaval of racism in the midst of a black presidency?

When we look at the multitude of anti-Obama stories that have surfaced in the last few months, we notice a trend in politics which is less regulated, less controlled, less polite, less professional. From a Texas representative who yells "you lie" at a presidential speech, to a southern representative who apologizes to BP for an apparent "shakedown", to the millions of Tea Party faithful who call President Obama a "terrorist" and an "illegal alien" and even a US general who publicly criticized the president, it appears that institutionalized racism -- the kind of biggotry that American society deems "okay and acceptable" -- is making a comeback.

In my 43 years, I have never seen as much "racially undertoned" politics as I see and hear about today. People blatantly call Obama the "n" word on a daily basis. White supremacists are finding new allies in government, and a general sense of "us versus them" is growing across the country. What might be construed as "typical politics on steroids" by many, the nation's interactions with government have in fact become a sounding board for the millions of underground racists and biggots who make up a growing sector of the country.

Not too long ago, if we saw a young boy on TV wearing a KKK outfit screaming racial epithets, we would be shocked and outraged. Nowdays, we see so much outright racism, racism that isn't even being hidden anymore, that we are slowly getting used to it. This doesn't make it right, but it happens anyway, the only difference being that we have a black president whom racists can use as their motivation to be public about it.

With Republicans scrambling to try and find ways to regain their stature in Washington, it was inevitable that they would soon be looking to the race card, as a means of churning the coals of America's racist populations. The GOP has literally picked the race planks from their platform, built it up into a cross, and set it on fire. Their battle cry of "Obama wants to ruin America" resonates amongst the thralls of America's racists, leveraging the already brewing angst of those who see a black presidency as a call to [social and physical] arms.

The GOP is, in a frightening way, playing with fire. By enraging millions of Americans to hatred and anarchy through racist ideology, for the sake of bringing down a black president, is downright irresponsible. It had taken so many years for America to understand that racism is a bad thing, yet thanks to the arrogance of the GOP, America is regurgitating the bitter pill of bigotry that we as a nation hoped had been swallowed and done with long ago.

Once again, the ideal of "selfishness over morality" shows us that we have so much more to learn -- about ourselves, and about who we trust in government.

Let's hope that the rancid taste of what comes up, is enough to remind us of how far we've come.