Barack Obama and Racial Double Standards

Late last week I heard from a theologian of liberal leanings, someone with whom I have been in (often friendly) correspondence for years. He wrote me to voice his objections to my recent “diatribes” against President Obama. That didn’t particularly surprise me. What did surprise me is how he framed his objections. He didn’t take issue with the facts I’ve presented or even my interpretation of the facts. Rather, his concerns were expressed this way:

When I read your constant barrages aimed at the first black president, I think to myself, “Doesn’t Pete, the devout Christian, understand what it took to get to this place? And where would Pete have been in the years of the freedom struggle that finally eventuated in some measure of equality for African-Americans and even a black president?” Isn’t there some way you can temper your attacks on Obama with this history in mind?

In a follow-up note to me, he elaborated on this matter, saying, “The presidency of an African -American is a dramatic symbol of the advances in the struggle for human rights in this country so long denied to black citizens. Unless you have a record deep in the civil rights struggle, relentless attacks on this symbol will be seen as giving aid and comfort to, if not an expression of, the latent racism that is still much with us in this country. That is why criticisms of this president-as-symbol are not to be made in the same way as the conventional political fisticuffs.”