Obama, Not Trump, Ripped Racism Bandage Off America

America couldn’t handle a Black president

Jeffrey Kass
ZORA
Published in
4 min readFeb 12, 2024

--

MILAN, ITALY-MAY 09, 2017: former 44th USA president Barack Obama speacks at the international food meeting “Seeds and Chips”, in Milan.
Image: Shutterstock/Paolo Bono

I was commenting the other day to a group of friends that the worst thing Trump did was give renewed voice to the most rabid racists in America.

Before Trump, I argued, vocal racists were out there, but they didn’t feel safe spewing their hatred in public, in political speeches and on every imaginable digital street corner.

Now we’ve got someone running again who the American Nazi Party and the KKK openly endorse.

One Republican in the group started fidgeting with discomfort after my statement. He’s one of those “I don’t like Trump’s rhetoric or style, but he gets things done” supporters.

But a Black friend in the group chimed in with a different perspective, which I found profound.

“Trump didn’t rip the racism bandage off. Obama did.”

My friend Donte wasn’t claiming that Obama gave the stamp of approval to racists like Trump did and continues to do. Obama never invited a white supremacist to dinner at a fancy club.

Donte was merely pointing out that when a Black man became president, every imaginable racist under the sun came out to play.

He’s right, and here’s how we know.

President Obama, by any reasonable measure, is a great man.

A caring husband. A proud and loving father. A person who preaches and teaches respect for our fellow human beings. A person with genuine empathy and humanity.

His words and actions have always been infused with a deep sense of class and dignity.

I recall when I met then–State Senator Obama 20 years ago when he gave a speech about not viewing differences of opinion on a political issue as meaning the other side is bad.

“When George Bush has a good idea, it isn’t bad just because it was his idea,” he told the crowd.

In his book, “A Promised Land,” President Obama detailed the complex decision-making process he employed on every issue. Whether it was on police brutality, Israel and Palestine, or climate policy.

--

--

Jeffrey Kass
ZORA
Writer for

A Medium Top Writer on Racism, Diversity, Education, History and Parenting | Speaker | Award-Winning Author | Latest Book: Black Batwoman V. White Jesus | Dad