Michelle? She even talked about the racism she and Barack endured on their way to the White House and while in the White House. And I didn't think I'd hear THAT story until she and Barack were out of office for a year or two. (That speech was awesome, by the way. Listen to it here: http://thankherforsurviving.blogspot.com/2015/05/michelle-obama-tells-truth-about-racism.html)
Last week, President Obama told the NAACP that he has bipartisan support for Criminal Justice Reform. Even the way he said the words "bipartisan support" was different from the way he used to say them. The President mentioned "bipartisan support" like the republicans will come along for the ride or they won't. And he's been moving without them already. He's been using his presidential power to grant clemency to non-violent drug offenders. He's released a total of 89 non-violent drug offenders so far. He's simply not Mr. Nice Guy begging for support like he was the first few months of his first term.
Apparently, he lived and he learned.
Chris Rock is right, of course.
It seems worse to white people because, post-Trayvon, we've had Black Lives Matter around to bring cases to the nation's attention (so long as the victims are black and male.) Before Black Lives Matter, Freddie Gray might have died without anybody but a few scattered activists knowing his name. Now, there's a huge protest that lasts for days. Once those selling news figured out black death makes money, some news outlets seemed to start trying to get some outrage going on their own, reporting *the black, unarmed, and dead by white cop* every chance they got.
In other words, it seems worse to white people (and some black folk too) because black death used to be so local and relatively silent.
Please note, from where I sit, the black internet leads the press. Now, we have more connection to one another through social media. And that has translated into the power, the power TO FORCE mainstream news to pay attention to black deaths.
In other words, we have Black Twitter. The Los Angeles Times has even hired a Black Twitter Writer for their news paper.
Yes, because of fluctuating news coverage, it's hard to tell how much race relations have gotten worse. So much was going on in 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s that wasn't reported unless white police officers just happened to go crazy on somebody black or brown in front of news camera in those pre-cell phone camera days. Even if the police officer did act up on camera in the late 20th century, the incident might only be reported in "Emerge" Magazine.
On the other hand, I was totally expecting white racism to go buck wild when our first black president was elected. Most black folk were. Black people in the white house without the Prez saying or doing A N Y T H I N G was enough to guarantee the white racists would be jumping up and down like popcorn on an open skillet. Most of us know it's no accident that the Tea Party went from some ignorant fringe group to a political movement strong enough to turn the previously, super organized republican party into a scrambled mess. (<---Didn't see that coming)
Honest to gaaawd, before and after the Clinton years I thought the democrats would be a disorganized mess forever. I thought the super-organized republicans would always be in control of the white house, congress, and the supreme court. After all, they got that rock head elected as president twice.
And I thought I understood why the republicans were destined to always win too.
Democrats are the party of "yes" and "change" (at a glacial rate) And there are 100 ways to say "yes." So there's always a bit of a mess when there are 100 ideas about doing one thing and you try to move forward. Conservatives, the republicans? They always want to say "no" and keep the status quo. "No" is narrow. Therefore, "no" was always organized and seeming to speak with one voice.
But then there was this economic downturn in 2007. People start shouting "recession" and whispering "depression" Then BOOM! All of a sudden it happened!!! The white people got so scared of the coming depression that they'd vote for anybody who might save their houses, their banks, and free credit up again, even if the best guy for the job turned out to be black. My jaw dropped to ground and stayed there for months the day Barack Obama won the primary in Iowa.
Then, I blinked again and there was this black dude in the White House. After a little while I understood why this came to pass:
Ain't no atheists in a foxhole being shelled.
Ain't no racists in a home about to be foreclosed on either.
When the white folks were looking to break away from England, Crispus Attucks was a good guy to have around. When Lincoln was scared of losing the Civil War, he let the black soldiers fight. When the white folks were losing bombers in WWII, they let the Tuskegee Airmen fly. And 40 years after The Civil Rights Movement, when the bank was coming for white folks houses, they voted for the black guy to be president.
It's relatively simple. President Obama being elected during a white crisis, fits the pattern.
But the next thing that happened was a big surprise.
Once the black guy moves his entire black family into the White House, Southern Strategy starts working way too well to suit the traditional white republicans. The racists they've been courting in backrooms broke out into the front room and got themselves elected as Tea Party Members.
Dog Whistle Racism has long been used to get traditional white republicans the Dylann Roof Vote. But once there was a very visible black president in the white house, the dog whistle started working too well, so well that it attracted Dylann Roofish politicians too. And now that those racist dogs are in congress, they don't like dog whistles. Tea Partiers bark their racism loudly. And that makes the overt white racists happy while making the covert racists feel bad about themselves.
This is why the republican party looks like it's been devouring itself for the last few years.
And that's the story of how black skin, all by itself, helped racism collapse the republican party from the inside. Of course, it didn't hurt that our brainy black President Obama saved the economy, got Obamacare through and nailed Osama Bid Laden
I'm not going to talk about what the Prez did or didn't do directly for black folk until he's completely done -- especially since I tend to find out he sneaked things through for Black Americans without much fanfare from time to time for days or weeks after they've happened. But I fully expect him to break LBJ's record of 226 for granting clemency to drug offenders. The president had released 89 as of last week.