The Utterly Depressing State Of Race In This Country

I'm starting to become afraid that this thing will never get fixed. Dig George Packer in Kentucky talking to Hillary supporters. The guy is explaining to him why he won't vote for Obama:

“Race. I really don’t want an African-American as President. Race.”

What about race?

“I thought about it. I think he would put too many minorities in positions over the white race. That’s my opinion. After 1964, you saw what the South did.” He meant that it went Republican. “Now what caused that? Race. There’s a lot of white people that just wouldn’t vote for a colored person. Especially older people. They know what happened in the sixties. Under thirty—they don’t remember. I do. I was here.”

It's not so much that you don't know this sort of sentiment is out there, it's the sort of matter of fact way Packer reports and then lays it on Obama to fix. I've got great respect for Packer. Unlike any number of pinheads who sequester themselves in Washington think-tanks, to read second-hand reports and reach third-rate conclusions, Packer is the sort of dude who actually goes out and reports and then forms an opinion. I give him mad props for schlepping down to Kentucky to talk to folks.

But in his post he conflates white racism--which dude's objection clearly is--with Democrats' general problem of being perceived as effete latte-sippers. While one is related to the other, they aren't the same. Being seen an effete liberal is an image problem. But white racism is one of this country's most ancient traditions, and the longer I am alive the more I think that it's what will ultimately destroy us. Here is what disgusts me about Packer's post:

It’s a tall order. But Obama has a serious political problem. Until now, he and his supporters have either denied it or blamed it on his opponents. It’s not his fault, but it is his burden, and the way to begin lightening the load is to admit that it exists.

What these fools have never understood is that it's THEIR BURDEN TOO. At this very moment two of the three candidates for president are selling a fraudulent gas tax to the vaunted white working class. It's snake-oil and has been dismissed as such by everyone with a smidgen of economic credibility. Only one candidate has the respect for the intellect of voters to stand up and say "No." But for the great purity of the white race, for keeping his daughter clean as the driven-snow, this beef-head won't even consider a man with decency to level with him. Disgusting.

These dimwits never fucking get it. They had to loose more than a half-million of their own in order to see that slavery was a cancer, and most of them still didn't see it. Martin Luther King leaped in front of bullets in the hope of redeeming them, and they pissed a fit about giving him a holiday. Who actually gets upset about getting a day off? Food prices will be through the roof here. All our children will be baking from global warming. The Iraq War will be in its 30th year. But you know what? None of it will matter as long as the blacks can be kept in their place. When will they get it through their heads that this is their problem too? That we are tethered to each other until the end of this country's days? When will they understand that black America may go down first, but it won't go alone.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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