It has become obvious that Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen will not be satisfied until Barack Obama joins the Klan. Until then, the fact that some (and perhaps more than "some") whites won't vote for him due to his skin color will remain Obama's own fault. Per Cohen's column yesterday, it is Obama's responsibility to make "some" whites comfortable with his blackness by assuring them that he shares their distaste for darkies. He wrote:
My guess is that he [Obama] still has not put the race issue to rest -- maybe because he failed to do what Kennedy did in West Virginia. In that speech, Kennedy told Protestant West Virginians that when presidents took the oath of office, they were swearing to the separation of church and state. A president who breaks that oath is not only committing an impeachable offense, he said, "but he is committing a sin against God." In other words, he told West Virginians that their major fear was baseless.
Obama in his Philadelphia speech said nothing as dramatic. On the contrary, when it came to the perceived threat posed by young black men (one out of every nine is in criminal custody), Obama built a fence around the issue by citing his grandmother's "fear of black men who passed her by on the street" -- suggesting it was comparable to what his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had said. He did not confront white fears. Instead, he implied that they were illegitimate.
First, this suggests that black America and its concerns are monolithic institution with written rules and regulations to which all must pay fealty, and which run counter to US interests. Talk about irrational, racist and divisive fears!
He then likens white fear of black men (which he attributes entirely to black criminality as opposed to throwing in the stiffer penalties for blacks vs. whites) to concern that a Catholic would follow the church's written dictates as opposed to the Constitution's. The man's inability to construct a rational metaphor suggests a serious IQ deficit. Per the Bell Curve, perhaps he has some hidden black blood in him.
"He did not confront white fears," wrote Cohen. And how would he do that? Per his analogy, only by assuring America that he would not rape their women or jack their cars.
Only by attacking blacks, by suggesting that racist attitudes toward us are justified, as Cohen obviously believes they are, can Obama lay the race question to rest.
There'll be a cross-burnin' at the Obama rally tonight! Y'all come!
This piece ran originally at PopandPolitics.