Last month Ruby Bridges came to the White House. She was there to see Norman Rockwell’s painting of her hung in a hallway that leads into the Oval Office. This is what Barack Obama passes everyday when moving in and out of his office:
There is something celebratory about Ruby Bridges standing next to our Nation’s first Black President and viewing a depiction of an ugly moment of her childhood that made her into a icon of courage for the ages. You can watch her talk about that moment here.
And yet, there is a bit of sadness when one considers how far we still have to go to confront racism in America. For it is racism and the fear of losing white privilege that animates most of the Tea Party and–I would say–most of the irrational rage at all things Obama. Others will disagree (especially those suffering from Obama derangement syndrome), but nothing I have seen in the last three years has led me to questions this view.
Racism is a fact of life for this President. It is just another thing to overcome. And something that can never be far from Barack Obama’s mind. Every time he walks to his desk he passes this image of courage in the face of hate and the word “Nigger” scrawled on the wall.
I’ll think about that the next time some dumb ass whines about how weak he is or how he doesn’t give a shit about progressive values.