Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A further reply to the specification

Dear HP,

Whenever I hear someone ask whether the President really is "post racial", my concern has more to do with what a given interlocutor might mean by the term, than with anything else.

I think the more constructive question to ask would sound something like, "Is America in 2010 post-racial?" and the answer there must be: sic et non.

To be sure, it is pertinent to this discussion that America elected a black man (a mulatto or mixed-race man, if you will - but if the POTUS self-identifies as a black man, I can extend him the courtesy of following his suit) to the nation's highest office, and all through the hard fought, 15-month campaign, no one ever seriously asked whether America is "ready" for a black president.

When former President Jimmy Carter suggested that popular opposition to the proposed health care reform was based on lingering racial hatred or at least inability to accept a black president, the incumbent POTUS went on a popular national talk show and responded, saying, "I think it's important to realize I was actually black before the election."

Indeed, Obama's personal story is in many regards beautiful, in many controversial, and always powerfully moving even if it is not always compelling.

The representative power of Obama's story will, I think, bear comparison with that of one of our favorites: TR.

His scriptis, I disagree with Obama on just about every question of policy - and that is the point: his election proves that, beyond its resolution in principle, America is post-racial in at least one extremely important existential sense, but we continue to talk about it as though the issue were not resolved in principle.


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