Does Obama’s Candidacy Mean we’ve Overcome?

Barack Obama, a self-identified Black man, is the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for the upcoming presidential election in November. Despite all the naysayer arguments that he couldn’t win the nomination, either because he wasn’t black enough for black voters, or the he wasn’t experienced enough for white voters, he has in fact won the nomination. Does this make for a watershed moment in American history? Is it evidence of sorts that America has finally overcome its shameful treatment of black Americans?

The issue of the nation overcoming its past is no small matter. Many contemporary civil rights leaders, national as well as local, have hung their careers on the vitality of racism, and many have made the case that racism will always be with us. Some, like the New York University law professor Derrick Bell, a major force in something called “critical race theory,” argue that racism is the bedrock of nearly all that America is and does. Racial advocates such as Bell and others argue that racism has simply become subtle and has “gone underground,” all the while continuing to stunt the life opportunities of black Americans.

A Dangerous and Precedent-Setting Intrusion

An Assembly bill claiming to bring diversity and transparency into charitable giving in California is actually an unprecedented intrusion by government to muscle its way into charitable organizations.  Here’s a fuller perspective on the bill which David Lehrer and I wrote for the Jewish Journal:

The next few weeks will be the moment of truth for Assembly Bill 624, the so-called, “Foundation Diversity and Transparency Act” as it comes before the State Senate Business, Professions & Economic Development Committee.

The bill is a nearly unprecedented intrusion by government into the world of charitable giving. While purporting to promote “transparency”, in fact it is the first step in setting government mandated priorities for where charitable dollars should go.