America Still Can't Accept a Black President
Ta-Nehisi Coates takes a long look at Obama and American racism
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2012 9:15 AM CDT
President Barack Obama puts his arm around daughter Malia as they and family friends walk to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The Trayvon Martin shooting at first brought much of America together in a "trans-partisan" reaction, with many Republicans and conservatives sympathizing with the unarmed teenage boy who was killed. But when America's first-ever black president commented on the tragedy—with a mild expression of sympathy and a universal message for "every parent in America"—it quickly descended into "racialized political fodder." Why the change? Because the president's "indelible blackness irradiates everything he touches," writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic, in a long, angry, and nuanced look at race relations in America since the election of President Obama.

Obama came to power seeming to promise a post-racial America; but to do so, he had to be "twice as good" and "half as black," writes Coates. And as soon as Obama seemed to be a black man wielding the power of government, the racist backlash kicked in. To illustrate how the negative attacks on Obama are more than just typical partisanism, Coates looks at how opposition to the Affordable Care Act and other issues has grown racialized, even though Obama has mostly ignored race as an issue since becoming president. "Barack Obama governs a nation enlightened enough to send an African American to the White House, but not enlightened enough to accept a black man as its president," writes Coates. Check out his entire article in the Atlantic.

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Showing 3 of 337 comments
HopeSC
Sep 15, 2012 9:20 AM CDT
Ok, I live in what is STILL one of the most racist states in the U.S if not THE most racist. People who sit here saying that one of the main reasons alot of people hate Obama isn't because of his race are either delusional or racists themselves. People hated Obama here for the simple fact that he was elected! Before he even got a chance to do anything. They even made several racist remarks in public and didn't care who heard. If a wealthy white man isn't in charge of everything, people here start to get uncomfortable. But on another note, why do people here refuse to accept that Obama DID inherit the crap bush started! The same people who are attacking Obama here were some of the main ones supporting that incompetent Bush. People are like "stop blaming bush" etc. No...Blame Bush, why isn't Bush at fault? People want to act like that whole administration didn't happen. Well it did! Bush is the one who got our country in the shape that it's in now NOT Obama. I agree that Obama can't rely on "its all Bush's fault" forever but, people are expecting him to clean up bullsh*t in four years, when it took 8 years to lay it. Get real. Plus, republicans are in control of government right now, so i dont care what Obama even tries to do, they will try to block it. Until another white male gets into office and starts catering to the wealthy again, none of you will be satisfied. Even if he screws up you will still praise him. And when he screws up you know what you will say? "it was all Obamas fault, he got us into this mess"
Pouncekitty
Aug 28, 2012 12:12 PM CDT
Many of us were thrilled when he was elected, but he has proven to be a very poor president. It's not his color, that argument is totally dishonest and false. It's his lack of understanding of the economy and his state-control policies that turn people against him. When will Democrats and Liberals HONESTLY admit that Obama's presidency is a failure, NOT BECAUSE HE'S BLACK, but because he's not good at it. Racism is a very weak and defensive excuse for Obama's supporters. Grow up, girls!
caturner
Aug 27, 2012 12:41 PM CDT
I am voting for Obama not because he is perfect, but because he is flawed. I don't want a perfect candidate like Mitt Romney, someone who never stands for what it is that he believes, who like a weather vane constantly change in his positions. Obama may not be the best, but he is all that we have if we want an America that represents us all. We have been down the road of Republican trickle down economics and look at where it got us, nowhere. Give me a President who is willing to try even if he has made mistakes, and I will show you a President who will succeed.