Trevor Phillips: Obama Will Prolong America's Racial Divide

The Independent describes him as Britain's most influential black figure, and he is the outspoken chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. No stranger to controversey, Trevor Phillips once suggested that black boys be taught separately to improve school performance, and that policemen are, in general, racist.

In an article published yesterday, Phillips suggested that Barack Obama's election as President would prolong the racial divide in America. "In truth, Obama may be helping to postpone the arrival of a post-racial America and I think he knows it," Phillips says in his article. "If he wins, the cynicism may be worth it to him and his party. In the end he is a politician and a very good one: his job is to win elections." Phillips believes that Obama cannot fulfil the hopes of whites without disappointing blacks - and vice versa. "For the black underclass and beyond, Obama may be the latest messiah, but there is anecdotal evidence that, where blacks have prospered to the extent that they are grimly competing for jobs and property with whites, they don't buy Obamania. I would guess this is because the people who actually experience just how far America remains from post-racial harmony are those blacks who work with whites."

Phillips goes on to say that a white vote for Obama is a "pain-free negation of their own racism. So long as they don't have to live next door to him; Obama has yet to win convincingly in white districts adjacent to black communities."

Even more interesting are Phillips' thoughts on why there's no British equivalent to Obama. Phillips explains that the number of blacks in Britain is proportionately one sixth that of America and thus the same range of talents are not seen - and that the white British population does not bear the strain of slavery in the same way US whites do.

Now, I don't consider myself to be on the same intellectual plane as Mr Phillips, but it seems to me that is argument has one fatal flaw: if a black President meant that only one racial group or another could be pacified, then wouldn't a white President present the same problem? Or is the current white President doing a neat job of keeping everyone happy? No? I didn't think so.

Presumably this means that a female President could only keep either men or women happy and fulfilled (and we all know that Mrs Clinton didn't do a great job of keeping Ole Bill fulfilled, don't we?)

There's also the argument that black, whites and little green men from Mars are never going to get along anyway, that there's too much water under the bridge, and that white Americans have been fulfilled for long enough. Maybe it's someone else's turn...


Tyler said...

I think we're going to all get along when our current president gets out of office and let's either Obama or Rodham-Clinton in. Most likely Obama but the voting masses will decide.

michael said...

This dude is british, and has no fucking clue about the racial divide in America, outside of what he's read in books, papers, and tv.

I'm not an Obamanut at all, but to suggest he will prolong the racial divide in this country is utterly ridiculous. Yet another white president is certainly not going to bring us all together.

ka-os said...

Michael, you've hit the nail on the head. Phillips' arguments are full of holes, and only leaves me wondering why would he make such a baffling claim? What's his real motivation?

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