America's Racial Obsession

May 1st, 2012 - C. P.

When Barack Obama was elected to office in 2008, there was talk of a post-racial America. It seemed as though racism was on an exit route out the back pipe of American society. As the years passed, it became more obvious that this was all just a fantasy.

Those who criticized the policies of President Obama were labeled racists within the first year of his presidency. Still, today, his opponents are often branded as bigots. Morgan Freeman, during an interview with Piers Morgan, called the Tea Party racist for making Obama's defeat a part of its agenda. During the 2004 presidential campaign, the privately funded anti-Republican group tried desperately to ensure that George W. Bush would face defeat against John Kerry, just as Michael Moore released Fahrenheit 911 – conveniently before the election campaign. Such practices are considered customary, unless of course there is a black president.

In recent months, the U.S. mainstream media has become obsessed with race and racial divisions. From Anderson Cooper's headlined study that paints white children as more prone to racist behaviour than black children, to the Trayvon Martin shooting, America's racial divisions are being made deeper by the mainstream media.

On CNN and MSNBC, viewers are subjected to continuous coverage and analysis of a shooting in Florida. Their interviews lean heavily on implications that George Zimmerman is a racist and that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin before shooting him for no reason – other than for the colour of his skin. On Fox News, viewers are subjected to analysis and interviews that lean heavily on the implications that George Zimmerman was only defending himself against an aggressive Trayvon Martin, who just happened to be black. The divisions created by the mainstream media are clear and polarizing.

Talk of riots if Zimmerman is acquitted have begun to flood the internet and the twitterverse. America's black community is becoming more enraged by such ideas, and the mainstream media has only sprinkled the flames with gasoline. Not only have the national mainstream media organizations avoided giving some recent crimes the very same constant coverage, they have chosen to make a story out of something that is guaranteed to raise contention – and ratings. Little attention has been given to the actual affects the Trayvon Martin coverage is having on the black community. The actions of Alton Hayes and others like him have been largely ignored.

With such a rising focus on race, it is no surprise that racist attitudes are resurfacing in America. The outcome of the George Zimmerman trial could set the stage for similar incidents that followed the beating of Rodney King in 1992. This time, with social media as a factor, the incidents could be much worse and widespread.

Barack Obama himself has had several connections to individuals who have been known for anti-semetic remarks. In the past, Obama has hailed some of them as mentors and friends.

When leaders embrace, let alone tolerate, racist views, it is no wonder why such attitudes have not yet disappeared.