The Obama Years, 2012 Election, and Systemic Racism

I just published a short article on the Obama years, the 2012 election, and systemic racism at It may be of some interest, given all the political news. I begin thus:

We are not a fully democratic country. We never have been and now are moving only very slowly in that direction. To understand the 2012 election and key political events in the Obama Era, we must look at the larger societal context—at institutional fundamentals. Systemic racism is central in that institutional context, and especially in our political system. Our political institutions were built by elite white male founders (40% of the participants at the U.S. constitutional convention being slaveholders and many of the rest profiting off the slavery system).

These men and their descendents built political institutions to protect their racial and class interests, and many were undemocratic or anti-democratic: A U.S. Constitution aggressively designed to protect enslaved property; a U.S. Senate representing land areas and powerful whites far more than ordinary people; an unelected Supreme Court of elite whites trumping acts of Congress; and an elite white male president chosen by an undemocratic electoral college. There are too many undemocratic capitalistic institutions to list, all also made and maintained mostly by elite white men substantially to protect their political-economic interests.

You can access the rest of it here. I draw substantially in this article on a new book (White Party, White Government) that has been out a few months, one that deals with the larger elite white (male) control of all major aspects of our political system since its beginning in the late 18th century.

Skewering White America

Randy Newman, the musician and satirist, has a new song that pretty much nails one of the racial dynamics of this election. The song has the refrain “I’m dreaming of a white president” and is written from the point of the view of a voter who casts his ballot solely on the basis of race. According to The New York Times, Newman said he felt the passionate opposition to President Obama over issues that generally put the public to sleep – the budget deficit and health care policy, for instance – belie a deep strain of racism in the electorate. Here’s the short video (3:17) for the song: