Saturday, July 18, 2015

Obama offers the perfect response to the Confederate flag wavers

By Dana Milbank Opinion writer July 17 at 11:49 AM, WashPost

When President Obama arrived in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, a vulgar sight awaited him: about 10 demonstrators across the street from Obama’s downtown hotel waving Confederate battle flags as the presidential motorcade pulled up.

Such a greeting of the nation’s first black president would have been appalling under any circumstance. It was all the more repugnant because of what it followed — the flag’s importance to the accused killer in last month’s South Carolina church massacre — and by what it preceded: Obama’s visit to a prison Thursday to showcase the problem with sentencing policies that have filled the nation’s prisons with nonviolent offenders who are disproportionately African American.

“[P]eople of color are more likely to be stopped, frisked, questioned, charged, detained,” he told the NAACP this week. “African Americans are more likely to be arrested. They are more likely to be sentenced to more time for the same crime.” With one in 35 black men behind bars (versus one in 214 white men), “around one in nine African American kids has a parent in prison.”

Oklahoma was just the latest reminder of how little progress has been made in what was naively greeted with Obama’s election nearly seven years ago as “post-racial America.” In May, Obama joined Twitter — and was met by a flood of racist tweets. In June, a gunman killed nine people at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The suspect had allegedly posed with the Confederate battle flag and posted a racist manifesto online.

(More here.)

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