On racial unity pledge, Obama fails to deliver

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: October 12, 2012

When Barack Obama first ran for president, he implied that his election would usher in a post-racial era. This hasn't been the case.

Consider how black citizens who support Republican Mitt Romney are treated. After actress Stacy Dash tweeted her endorsement of Romney, she was inundated with racist attacks. In a CNN interview, Dash said she chose Romney “not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.”

Ward Connerly is nationally known as a black man who opposes affirmative action policies. In a meeting with The Oklahoman's editorial board this week, Connerly acknowledged that his race often plays into the reactions of critics and supporters.

“I just have to cast all of that aside,” he said, “and just do it because it's the right thing to do.”

Former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis recently switched parties and endorsed Romney. Like Dash, he was a former Obama supporter. The Congressional Black Caucus derided Davis' actions as having “no basis in real policy or political disagreements” and credited them to “transparent opportunism.”

The caucus tacitly acknowledges that black officials enjoy greater opportunity in the Republican Party. This has been the case in Oklahoma, where J.C. Watts won both a statewide office (corporation commissioner) and a U.S. House seat. State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, is expected to become the first black speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives next month. Both have won the support of voters who don't share Shannon's racial background but do share his conservative values.

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