Black President, White Fears

Brokaw's comment might have set off the reader who wrote, "There is no doubt in my mind that blacks as well as Mexican-Americans are laughing it up that a black (half-black) president has been elected. Revenge is sweet. It is payback time."

Revenge? Payback? African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities have been assured that racism is dead and they aren't being treated as badly as people believe. And now, it seems this isn't true. As to the "half-black" comment, yes, Obama is biracial, with a white mother and a black father. He identifies with the black half. And many Americans identify with the black half of him, too. When Hillary Clinton supporters tried to destroy Obama during the primaries and played the race card, they didn't use language intended to attack the white half. They tried to scare off white voters by focusing on the black half.

Still, there are white Americans who seem to be feeling a little out of sorts, and they haven't forgotten Obama's biracial background. One reader wrote: "You liberals continue your assault on white males, but our culture will continue to dominate America because it is superior. Obama is proof of that. His black father abandoned him and he was raised by whites."

How sad. People are letting their insecurities get the best of them. This isn't a contest. And it isn't a zero-sum game. This is still a magnificent country where opportunities abound for people of all colors. The fact that Americans just elected Barack Obama president says more about our capacity to knock down walls than our tendency to erect new ones.

Let's keep that in mind, keep our wits about us, and maintain our civility.