Part of the problem is that Obama is playing into the neo-Nazi and white supremacist narrative, said Brian Levin, who studies hate and extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. What the groups were saying — "Jews and blacks coming out of the urban areas are going to take over this white nation of ours" — has occurred, he said. You only have to look to the Internet to see how white supremacist leaders such as David Duke are using Obama to rally their troops. Duke has called Obama a "visual aid for hate groups." He says an Obama presidency would provide indisputable proof that whites have lost control of America. "This is a cultural and racial battlefront," said Levin. "Barack Obama is symbol No. 1 of the worst the future has to offer."
"There is a probable hypothesis that in the event that Obama becomes president that you could have a galvanization of these white supremacist groups," said John Karl, the officer in charge of the Los Angeles Police Department's criminal conspiracy unit. "Obviously, law enforcement needs to be prepared, and how do you prepare? You need to become as resourceful and comprehensively understand the groups and individuals involved."
Around [August 2011, when a Gallup poll that showed a decline in racial optimism was published], some African-American lawmakers and pundits openly complained about the president's refusal to specifically target any programs at high black unemployment. An interviewer from Black Entertainment Television asked Obama why not. "That's not how America works," Obama replied.
Just weeks after taking office, Obama said, "There was justifiable pride on the part of the country that we had taken a step to move us beyond some of the searing legacies of racial discrimination." Then he joked, "But that lasted about a day."
At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well. And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn. On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike. [from Barack Obama's speech, A More Perfect Union]
I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible. [from Barack Obama's speech, A More Perfect Union]
A photograph of a bumper sticker that features a racist play on words lit up Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere Thursday, adding to what is already shaping up to be one of the most vicious and negative presidential races in history. The sticker reads “Don’t Re-Nig In 2012″ and sits above a smaller text that reads: “Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect Obama!” The design seems to have originated from a site called Stumpy’s Stickers, which has since been dismantled.
Poll numbers suggest most voters are not judging Obama's presidency based on the color of his skin, but the issue has continued to surface in Obama's presidency with disheartening regularity. The president's image has been altered to look like an African witch doctor, his wife's to look like a gorilla. The idea of having a black family in the White House was initially so sensitive to some that even simple acts like a fist bump or a pat on the behind between husband and wife, were analyzed for possible racial undertones. Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said he has seen evidence, albeit anecdotally, that Obama's race has become significantly less of a factor for most Americans since he took office, "in spite of an increase in vicious, mean comments from a small minority."
In the year since President Obama smashed barriers to become the country's first black president, his tenure at the top has been punctuated by racial taunts and innuendos that have slyly, or sometimes blatantly, been circulated on the Internet, in e-mails and cartoons. The offenses have ranged from crude to subtle, and offenders have ranged from the unknown to elected officials. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, an Obama ally, had to apologize for what many considered to be insensitive, denigrating language while referring to Obama.
It was perhaps Barack Obama's most intense immersion in the charged campus racial politics of the late 1980s and early 1990s: As President of the Harvard Law Review in the spring of his final year there, 1991, he aligned himself with Professor Derrick Bell's dramatic protest for diversity on the faculty of Harvard Law School.
Bell was the first black tenured professor at the school, and a pioneer of "critical race theory," which insisted, controversially, on reading issues of race and power into legal scholarship.