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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Racism and 'Racial Conflict' in America - The Atlantic

"When viewed through this lens, Obama’s election and reelection represented not a logical endpoint for racial conflict, nor even a sign that the occupation is over, but a promising proof-of-concept for discussing that occupation. Obama’s candidacy in 2008 was the beginning—not the end—of a new wave of black and brown organizing. It came just as the mirage of progress lifted and the centuries-old sinews of exploitation and exclusion were revealed again. The racist backlash and gatekeeping appeared first and most often as opposition to Obama, the most visible emblem of the organizing power of people of color. As Jamelle Bouie at Slate aptly notes, that racist reaction set off a chain of events that now sees Donald Trump––a candidate who peddles racism as a first order––as the presumptive Republican nominee and will likely see the party coalesce around him, #NeverTrump sentiments be damned.

Obama could never have been both the post-racial harmonizer and the racial equalizer that many analysts seem to have expected. “Racial conflict,” like more polite euphemisms, suggests a grand poetic struggle between groups and ideas— a negotiator like Obama should’ve been able to broker a peace. But in reality, addressing institutional racism tends to intensify societal racism; promoting interracial conciliation and promoting racial equality are often antithetical. This has always been the central issue at the core of “racial conflict” in America, from the backlash during Reconstruction to outrage about the Voting Rights Act. There is a much better word for what Obama has been confronted with, and it has always sufficed: racism."

Racism and 'Racial Conflict' in America - The Atlantic

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