One of the things citizens marveled at during Obama's historical presidential run is how he diffused racism enough to win the election. Perhaps the reasons President Obama's run for the ages should serve as the catalysts to engage in dialogue to finally get that elephant out of the room. The elephant I'm referring to is racism.
Obama's ascendancy demonstrates he has the capacity and the means to make a difference along racial grounds. How big a priority is this to Obama?
Not very, it appears.
Few thought Obama would rise to political glory so quickly. He was able to neutralize race and not allow it to derail his campaign nor his presidency.
Remember during the South Carolina primary when Bill Clinton tried to invoke race by suggesting Obama was living a "fairytale?" Despite Clinton's comments Obama marched on.
Remember when mainstream media utilized snippets of Reverend Jeremiah Wright to thwart his campaign? Obama was forced to denounce his friend and marched on.
Remember when Fox's Bill O'Reilly suggested getting a "lynch mob" out for Michelle Obama for her suggesting, "for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback?"
President Obama said nothing.
If Obama would've consistently engaged in race-based topics he wouldn't have won the election. He deflected race and focused on winning "the race." He consistently focused on his theme of "change."
That was great to win the election but now he's over year into his term. Continually ignoring the elephant in the room doesn't bode well for addressing race relations.
When African-Americans engage with the white elite they sometimes become entrenched in that world. Such relationships can cause one to distance themselves from the struggles that exist in the lower rungs of society.
Speaking of rungs remember the Henry Louis Gates situation? Gates was the Harvard professor who was treated like a slave by the police for attempting to enter his own home which resulted in him being arrested.
Remember when President Obama suggested that situation would be a real "teachable" moment for Americans? Well, what exactly have we learned from that situation? How to effectively sweep things under the rug?
Nothing transpired from that clearly racist situation. President Obama "diffused" that situation by not dealing with it. He merely had a few beers with the Gates and Sgt. Crowley at the White House and all was fine and dandy.
President Obama's journey has induced people to dream and aspire to greater heights, but by merely securing a job, Obama won't diffuse racism on a universal basis. Unless he's committed.
Typically, when African-American pioneers enter into a domain historically dominated by whites, a huge influx of participation is expected but it doesn't transpire that way. For example, Tiger Woods began dominating golf in 1997 yet he still remains the only African-American on tour in 2010.
All lasting change takes time. Change is what candidate Obama professed. It's about time he starts delivering on it with respect to race relations.
Bottom line, at some point we must address the elephant in the room. Race will continue to be a factor in this country unless the subject is critically addressed. Before we are to properly live in the present we must recognize Americas checkered past in a constructive fashion.