RACE RELATIONS

Barack Obama's election was a confirmation of the progress that has been made in race relations in this country (Confidence about race relations down in U.S., AZ Republic 1/18/10) and to think otherwise is foolish. Any sluggishness at present is not so much a failure of the white community as it is a failure of black leadership (including Obama himself) and the black community to build upon the Martin Luther King legacy. Instead, the politics of division are used to strengthen and enrich various "leaders". The re-elections of corrupt politicians such as Marion Barry, Charlie Rangle and William Jefferson send a message to wary whites that, to blacks, race is more important than integrity The insistence by Obama to fill his administration with tax cheats and opportunistic Chicago hacks has only exacerbated that perception.

In the entertainment field, black rappers, filling the heads of young people with filth and violence, rather than the hope we were promised in 2008, cause the ordinary citizen - black, brown or white - to pull away. The growing black middle-class must be mortified as responsible leaders such as Bill Cosby, who exhorts blacks to take full advantage of the American dream, are vilified as "Uncle Tom's". The president, by not using his office as a bully-pulpit for race relations, has squandered a gift.

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