You’ll have to excuse me if I’m unmoved by the keyboard jockeys claiming racism for those who are not supporting Obama. I don’t have to justify my race relations credibility to anyone. You just have to ask those who know me, about the group I helped start at the medical school I’m affiliated with to address the needs of minority students including recruitment and retention or the broader activism on a university wide level. (Ironically, when I requested a couple years after the group’s founding to include women’s issues like pregnancy, I was voted down.) Go ahead, ask about my constant consternation aimed at the local parties (leaders of which support Obama) for ignoring the nearby African American communities. Whatever.
I have received unsolicited email from strangers that claim the only reason I got into grad school was because my name was “Rodriguez” (exact word in one such email) and have been refused a job because of my skin tone. I know a thing about discrimination and the racism that still exists in this country. I have much to say about this topic, but that’s for another day. Suffice it to say that I’m unconvinced and unmoved by references to my supposed racism because I just don’t trust Obama to be president.
There was a reason why civil rights pioneers fought hard in the courts as well as in the court of public opinion. While we may never be able to fully root out the remnants of individual bigotry, we can root out the institutionalized racism in this country. I even wrote a little about it two years ago. All these absurd claims of racism and calling the Clintons racist because they are opponents of Barack Obama trivializes the institutionalized racism in our country and makes the struggle for institutional equality much harder.
There is also institutionalized class discrimination. In fact, I’m a believer in the Poor People’s Campaign as I think it goes hand in hand with institutionalized racism to a certain extent. It would be nice if we could discuss these real issues instead of throwing out lame charges of racism on our opponents.