Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and new queen of gall, used the occasion of Martin Luther King Day to demand that President Obama — at long last — stop being so racist.
As we all know, the election of Obama in 2008 marked the end of racism in the United States. It had been dead for about a decade prior, as fans of Dinesh D'Souza's The End of Racism know, but on January 20, 2009, that became common knowledge. Here's how use of the term "post-racial" has trended on Google since 2005.
See? We're post-race now. Racism doesn't exist.
Palin, who has embraced post-racial America, is calling on the president to end one of the only remaining outposts of racial animus, Democrats' using race as an excuse to win political arguments. So she hammered to the door of Facebook a challenge in the name of the fallen civil rights leader.
Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.
It's not the first time Palin has reflected on King's legacy. Last year, she exhorted her followers to "let freedom ring," as King demanded. "To these freedoms we cling so that future generations may know and love the America that those before us so sacrificially gave." Somewhere MLK nodded.
Palin echoes a common refrain: that racism no longer exists because of the work of King and other civil rights leaders. (Remember the GOP's "Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism" tweet?) Racism is explicit rejection of or discrimination against minorities, not subtle, institutionalized disparagement and blockades. So when Democrats like Obama try and address racial issues, they're the ones being racist. (See former Rep. Allen West, who last week called Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder racist for advocating for a change in school policies.)
Update, 5:00 p.m.: Here's Glenn Beck, making the argument on his radio show today.
America is in a new place. We are no longer in the 1960s. [Obama] wasn't elected by people with brown skin. He was elected by people with brown skin and red skin and yellow skin and — majority — white skin. This is a new era. Get over it. Please.
In retrospect, it would have been interesting to see how racial politics played out had Obama lost in 2008 — to Sen. John McCain and Palin. There would have been no post-racial era, and Palin's MLK message would have been filtered through the lens of the vice president's office. Though MLK Day itself would have been fraught; after all, President McCain was one of the members of the House that voted against creating the holiday. But they lost — probably because Obama played the race card, as McCain suggested in August 2008.
Obama has not yet responded to Palin's challenge. This may be because she didn't use the Facebook post-tagging tool which would have made the mention of President Obama into a link to his profile and which would also have displayed her post on his Facebook wall. Or maybe it doesn't deserve response.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.