How does one judge another as a racist?

On MSNBC’s Ed Schultz program Friday night, the former chief of staff for Colin Powell, retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, said, of the Republican Party, “My party is full of racists ... and the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander in chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin ... that’s despicable.”

Wilkerson’s allegation followed his former boss’s endorsement of President Obama for a second term. The history of racism has certainly stained both parties and there are racist Democrats and racist Republicans, but when the race card is played this close to the election, I suspect the pro-Obama forces are sensing trouble.

We’ve come a long way in four years, from a transracial candidate who didn’t see a white or black America, but one America, to one in which if a white person votes for Mitt Romney that is evidence the voter is a racist. Suppose that white person voted for Obama four years ago and thinks the president doesn’t deserve a second term because he’s done a poor job? Was the person not a racist in 2008, but morphed into one in 2012?

When white liberals voted against the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas (including then-Senator Joe Biden) were they racist? Many white liberal Democrats are working overtime to defeat Rep. Allen West, Florida Republican. Are they racist?

Let’s reverse the polarity. According to a recent NBC/WSJ poll, 90 percent of African-Americans are expected to vote for the president. For those who will do so solely to demonstrate racial solidarity, does this qualify them to be inducted into the racist hall of shame? And what about conservative blacks who are voting for Romney? They’re called disparaging names by some blacks. Is that racism?

Mia Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, is running for Congress. She is an African-American woman and a Republican. If white Democrats oppose her, are they guilty of a twofer: racism and sexism?

While I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008 (and won’t this time) because of his extreme liberalism, not his skin color, I was still proud of my country for electing the first African-American president. If a qualified conservative African-American had been running, I would have voted for him (or her). That fulfills the wish of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that all people be judged on their character, not their skin color.

I endorsed the nonviolent protests of Dr. King to advance civil rights, but opposed the incendiary rhetoric of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panther Party and other black revolutionaries of the 1960s. Was I not a racist when I supported Dr. King, but racist when I opposed black radicals? How does one judge such things? Where’s the racist detector and who gets to operate it?

A Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll concluded that “The 2012 election is shaping up to be more polarized along racial lines than any presidential contest since 1988, with President Obama experiencing a steep drop in support among white voters from four years ago.”

The Post-ABC News pollsters, who appear to see so much through racially-colored glasses, might have asked some of those white voters who supported President Obama four years ago why they are supporting Mitt Romney now. I would be willing to wager most, if not all, would say the president’s performance has not lived up to their expectations or his hype about hope and change.

For supporters of President Obama, including Republican-in-name-only Lawrence Wilkerson, to suggest that Republicans want him out of the White House simply because he’s black, is a desperate attempt by a faltering campaign to change the subject from the president’s record and lack of vision for the future.

That isn’t racist. That’s fact.

Readers may e-mail Cal Thomas at tmseditors@tribune.com.


chinaberry25 3 years, 1 month ago

I did not vote for him because of his Muslim religion and his secrets. If one cannot trust a president, then why would I vote for him. His wife says she is ashamed to be an American, but now she is proud. She can always go back to Africa, that is a perfect choice for her. Both are liberals and America has been very good to both of them. No they will never get my vote and the color of their skin has never mattered. But I did lose some respect for Colin Powell, whom I would have voted for, but he is a racist just like the others. His true color is showing.


USTPC 3 years, 1 month ago

100% agree. I did not vote for him the first time because he had no experience, his Muslim background and the fact his hope and change rhetoric had no substance. I will not vote for him this time because over the last four years he proved my assessment the first time was correct.

I have had discussions with liberal associates and I list all the negative things associated with Obama over the last four years. I then ask them to list all the positive things. Guess what? They can't and so they turn to calling me a racist and a hater. Just like Romney said if you can't run on your record you turn to attacking the character of the individual.


Sister_Ruby 3 years, 1 month ago

When the Race Card is the last card they have in the deck........that's the card they play.


USTPC 3 years, 1 month ago

Sometimes that is the only card in the deck for them to play.


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