Black President, White Fears

I remember this delightful elderly white woman who, after Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, looked into the television camera and told America that she would never vote for him because "he'd only take care of the blacks." Now that Obama has been elected, I'm picking up on self-pity, worry, paranoia, resentment, and victimhood among some white Americans, especially thin-skinned white males.

These folks need to chill out. They haven't lost anything, except perhaps a little perspective. After all, African-Americans have somehow muddled through 43 white male presidents over more than 200 years, and they've survived. White Americans are two weeks into the tenure of the first black president, and already some are coming unglued. Lately, white males are upset over:

  • The comments by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich who, in testifying before Congress on President Obama's plan to create jobs, expressed his hope that "these jobs not simply go to high-skilled professionals or to white male construction workers."

  • The admission by former Republican National Committee Chairman Rich Bond that the GOP has to reach out to minorities because "not everybody comes from the same constituency as a majority-white homogeneous district in the South where all people care about is keeping their guns and taxes."

  • The announcement by CNN's Larry King that his eight-year-old son Cannon -- after watching Obama's inauguration -- "now says that he would like to be black." To which King noted, "There's a lot of advantages to being black. Black is in."

  • The goading by Tom Brokaw, who, during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Inauguration Day, said, "Having been in the South in the 60s and Los Angeles and Watts and northern urban areas, umm, uh, when we were evolving as a country, I'm thinking of all the bigots and the rednecks and all the people that I met along the way, and I'm saying to them, 'Take this.'"