When Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008 even his opponents and many who voted against him hoped thought he would at least bridge a racial divide between blacks and whites and usher in a new era in our country. How wrong we were.
Instead, Obama has done little to nothing to advance race relations in this country, which during his administration have clearly regressed. His first attorney general, Eric Holder, had much to do with that.
In the spate of racially charged shootings over the past few years, Obama, while trying to present an image of walking the middle, has clearly sided with the Treyvon Martins and the Michael Browns even though investigations and or trials have shown that the shooters were innocent of wrong doing. Administration officials have been sent to attend the funerals of the some of the dead while ignoring the funerals of the dead cops shot down as a result of the rage stirred up by the Al Sharptons of the world.
And it is not just Barack Obama who is guilty of diving this. Michelle Obama gave a speech at Tuskegee University a week ago that was filled with anger at what she perceives as her own victimhood. Just as she wrote in her thesis when she was at Princeton, Ms Obama told her young audience of how "others" held negative perceptions of her and other blacks when she was in college as if she couldn't succeed because of her race.
Michelle Obama is no victim. She was brought up in a solid middle class family, attended a quality high school and went on to attend Princeton and Harvard Law School. She is now the first lady of the land, a testament to what anyone can achieve in this country. Nobody denies the history of discrimination and racism that once held black people down in this country, but who has held Michelle Obama down? Who has tried? (Sorry, but legitimate criticism of her words doesn't count.)
Indeed, Ms. Obama spoke as if we were back in the 1950s. Her reference to "others" was nothing more than a thinly-veiled pejorative reference to white people, the same type of rhetorical device we have seen from the likes of Louis Farrakhan. Her words echo what we are hearing on campuses across the land and not just historically black universities like Tuskegee. The new buzz word nowadays is "white privilege", something designed to keep racial grievances alive when racism and discrimination cannot be proven. Somebody needs to tell Ms Obama that with a few exceptions on the fringe, white people are not the enemy.
Equally divisive is President Obama's lashing out at certain media outlets, most notably Fox News. He has done it again just this week. It is worrisome given his thirst for more power and the calls from some on the left to remove Fox from the airwaves. Presidents always must use caution in speaking out against the press. Often the press deserves criticism, but presidents must be prudent in their choice of words.
When the final history of the Obama administration is written, it will take real literary creativity to make the case that the first black president improved race relations in this country. At the best, he has failed to grasp a historic opportunity. At worst, he has set us back a generation.