In American Politics, Racism Is Far From Dead

Barack Obama is pinning his hopes for the White House on the notion that America is ready to move on to a postracial society. But there are many signs that this is not the case. White voters, particularly older and low-income whites, have been reluctant to support his candidacy. In the latest instance of the so-called Bradley Effect, Obama has consistently performed better in preelection polls than he has when actual vote tallies were completed.

But racism is not confined to the voting booth. One bar owner in Marietta, Georgia, has generated considerable controversy by his sale of T-shirts that show a monkey eating a banana and the words, “Obama in ’08.”

And there has been numerous incidents of racism directed against Obama campaign workers. A campaign staffer in Pennsylvania reported that when soliciting voters over the telephone she was told to “Hang that darkey from a tree.” In Vincennes, Indiana, the Obama campaign office was defaced with graffiti the night before that state’s primary. Black teenagers in Kokomo, Indiana, stood along a local highway holding Obama campaign signs. They reported that people frequently rolled down their car windows and yelled “nigger.”