11/17/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Underestimating American Racism: Would Colin Powell's Endorsement Of Barack Obama Really Help?

Tonight I saw Chris Mathews speculating on the possibility that Colin Powell will endorse Barack on one of the upcoming Sunday talk shows.

It is encouraging to know that Chris just assumes that General Powell has some kind of race-transcending status in this country. Just because he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State, I mean; as if that were enough in itself. Is Chris so sure that Powell's biography will override the fact that he and Barack are both, how do I say this -- black?

If Powell does this endorsement, I hope and pray Chris is right. But if he is right, he is way ahead of me. My nightmare imagination is telling me that, playing off the image of Joe The Plumber -- I mean Joe's look and style as well as his story -- Colin Powell is practically the only other politically prominent black man in America, besides Obama, whom you could plausibly call elitist.

So I don't know how this endorsement would actually play. But guess what? I bet Colin Powell shares my doubts. So we will see exactly how he does whatever he does. It's an historic opportunity for him to make up for a lot of mistakes...