Many people, either overly hopeful or extremely naive thought that when we elected Barack Obama President in 2008 it meant we were living in a post-racial society. Quite the opposite is true as, in fact, the election of Barack Obama brought the seething scourge of hate-mongering ignorant racists out into the open, while the GOP and Tea Party gave them a voice and Fox “news” and right wing hate radio offered a platform to sell their poison.
Yesterday, President Obama addressed racism in America in the context of the reactions to the not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, who killed a young Trayvon Martin.
Predictably, the right-wing hate machine freaked out.
On Real Time with Bill Maher, host Bill Maher destroyed the notion that, contrary to what right-wingers say, racism is indeed alive and well in this country.
“The frustration of the black community here isn’t just about the verdict, it’s about this culture of suspicion that follows black people around.”
“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is, Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why in the African-American community at least there is a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it is important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
There are very few African-American in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are probably very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happened to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-American who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often. And I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it is inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.”
Former Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) said he felt that it would’ve raised more questions if the President hadn’t said anything.
Maher responded, “But lots of conservatives said it was race-baiting, and it seems to be their position that unless you are marching down the street with a white hood on and burning a cross on somebody’s lawn, racism is over. And I think what the President is saying is, ‘No! Open your eyes, white America, it’s so not over!'”
Of course, they’re lying.