The angry response to my Salon article last week on White Privilege was as swift as it was predictable. To sum up the wave of bigoted blowback in my email box and on my Twitter feed, the argument from denialists seems to be that race is no longer a factor in American politics, and that therefore, those who mention bigotry in the context of President Obama are, in the ugly retrograde vernacular of the 1980s, “race hustlers” engaging in an unseemly ploy to change the subject from the current administration’s policies.
It’s certainly true that bigotry is not automatically synonymous with criticism of the Obama record. For instance, many liberals (including me) who question the substantive gap between candidate Obama’s policy promises and his policy record are not doing so out of any racial animus; they are doing so out of a sense of democratic citizenship. Similarly, many honest conservatives who oppose the Obama administration’s civil liberties atrocities and Drug War are doing so on principle rather than because of prejudice.
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