Even those who voted for Romney can take heart in one aspect of the 2012 campaign: racism continues its historic retreat in the United States.
In the heat of the campaign, voices were heard saying that a defeat for Obama in 2012 would be a sign of racism in America. We could never buy that. Though we have no illusions that dark forces like racism, anti-Semitism and other kinds of bigotry still linger in the U.S. and in other places around the world, it seemed to us that electing an African American president in the first place was a pretty clear indication that white racism in America continues, thankfully, to wane.
The President’s re-election should be further evidence of deep change in America. While the President did not do as well among whites as among other groups, partisan loyalty and the mixed economic record of his first term account for the fall off in his support. A white president in his shoes would have also faced a tough fight for re-election and would have lost some states that he carried the first time around.
As we’ve written, the election of an African American president hasn’t brought much economic relief to American blacks. The economic divide is very much with us, and in some ways it is worse than it was in 2008. Sadly, it’s unlikely that the policies of the current president will be able to do much to solve these problems. But in spite of the serious issues that remain, the long slow racial healing of America continues. That is something we can all be grateful for this year.