President Obama Avoids Discussion of Race, Again

The New York Times has a very revealing story on President Obama’s trip to Brazil, and even calls out his colorblind racial framing.

The Brazilian officials frequently pointed to the similarities in the racial history and realities of the two countries, including the new Brazilian president, the first woman to hold that position, Dilma Rousseff:

The people in the United States and in Brazil, Ms. Rousseff said, had “dared to take at the highest level someone of African descent and a woman, demonstrating that the basis of democracy allows to overcome the largest barriers to build societies that will be more generous and live more in harmony.”

A former radical guerrilla fighting oppression in Brazil (and imprisoned and tortured), Rousseff later at a luncheon further spoke about how both countries

have the largest black populations outside Africa and “a long track record of the struggle of the minorities.” Lifting her glass, she said, “I propose that we should raise a toast to you and to the dream of Martin Luther King, the same dream of Brazilians and Americans, the dream of freedom, the dream of hope.”

Yet President Obama did not even once note such similarities or discuss racial breakthroughs or the persisting high levels of racial oppression in both countries, something even the usually colorblind Times reporting noted:

Mr. Obama, characteristically, did not overtly address his race, or race in general, in several joint appearances with Ms. Rousseff on Saturday.

Apparently, once again this pathbreaking US president fears talking about US racism, as he did in the Dr. Wright case, out of fear of alienating potential white voters. The power of the colorblind variant of the old white racial frame, again in 2011.