During an interview with Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah, President Obama was asked about race, and racism. Obama replied by saying that the United States hasn’t overcome the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow:
“My general theory was that if I was clear in my own mind about who I was, comfortable in my own skin, and had clarity about the way in which race continues to be this powerful factor in so many elements of our lives–but that it is not the only factor in so many aspects of our lives–that we have, by no means overcome the legacies of slavery, and Jim Crow, and colonialism, and racism, but that the progress we’ve made has been real, and extraordinary; if I’m communicating my genuine belief that those who are not subject to racism can sometimes have blind-spots or lack appreciation of what it feels to be on the receiving end of that, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not open to learning, and caring about equality and justice, and that I can win them over because there’s goodness in the majority of people–I always felt if I really knew that, and just communicated it as clearly as I could, that I’d be ok.”
It would be easy to spit out statistic after statistic regarding how far the United States has come regarding race relations–which Obama himself even mentions. However, it would be more prudent to examine why Obama said what he said, because that’s a deep reservoir.
When it comes to politics, progressives employ the divide and conquer strategy, which involves taking certain segments of the American population, isolating them, and convincing them that they are victims of a corrupt system, and that they require protection from this system. Naturally, the only protectors are the Democrats, for whom one must vote if one wants to stay safe and make “progress.”
In order to keep these segmented peoples in an unceasing victim-state, the Democratic Party must do two things: Create an enemy that is sufficiently heinous, and constantly remind the people that they are not yet free of oppression.
Enter Republicans. Republicans are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic monsters who want to keep you down so that they can have it all. They’re the enemy. Progressives make Republicans into the enemy by repeating lies in the form of easy-to-remember talking points. Republicans support voter ID laws, which are racist. Republicans are against affirmative action, which is racist. Republicans want to rein in entitlement spending, which is racist. These narratives become embedded into the fabric of our collective consciousness after hearing them so many times.
Next–and this is what Obama did with Noah–progressives incessantly remind minorities that racism is everywhere. Sure, we’ve made progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet–and the enemy is trying to turn back the clock! Be vigilant!
No rational person doubts the existence of racism, and no rational person believes they can step into an African American’s shoes to such a degree that they can fully experience life from their perspective. However, lying about the intentions of Republicans, and implying that African Americans can never escape the boogieman of racism is morally repugnant and truly oppressive.
That said, it’s how the Democratic Party continues to get 90% or more of the African American vote. Obama’s interview with Trevor Noah was just one more opportunity to advance that particular Democratic strategy.