barbarahowardweb.gifI was born and raised in segregated Alabama, where racists stood firmly in your face with arrogance in the light of day. They rode with hoods on their faces under cover of darkness. So, I take racism very seriously.

These racists passed Jim Crow laws that kept us in unequal schools, riding in the back of the bus, drinking from separate water fountains, and subjected to any number of affronts to our dignity, even to the point of death.

They ruled by fear. They were government officials, police officers, firefighters, businessmen and educators. And yes, contrary to the propaganda of today, they were Democrats.

During the primaries, Hillary Clinton praised Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  But what most people don’t know is that after 54 days of filibuster by Democrats, a weakened substitute bill was passed with 80 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats.

Even Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, former exalted cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, spoke against the legislation for over 14 hours.

Byrd once said, “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side…Rather I should die a thousand times…than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

So, I’m confused as to why Barack Obama would campaign for this former member of the KKK in 2006, but then accuse Republicans of being racist.

The man who says he is the one the world has been waiting for – the one who brings the audacity of hope – has stooped to playing the race card.

At a recent fundraiser in Jacksonville, Obama said, “Most of all we can choose between hope and fear…We know what kind of campaign they’re (Republicans) going to run.  They’re going to try to make you afraid of me.  He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name.  And did I mention he’s black?”

So I asked my Democratic friends to cite for me any instances where John McCain or any of his campaign people brought up
Obama’s race.  They could give me nothing – nada, zip, zero – absolutely nothing.

But that didn’t stop Obama, who was born to a white mother and a Kenyan father, and has said he was above racial stigmas.

Last week, he said at least three times to an audience, “Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face.  So what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me.  You know, ‘He’s not patriotic enough; he’s got a funny name.
You know. He doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

Please notice that in both quotes, he said “what they’re going to do,” not what they have already done.  So, not only did he play the race card, he became a psychic by saying he knew what “they” were going to say even before they said it.

So who’s playing to fear?  In fact, it is Obama. 

He played to our fears when he accused Bill Clinton of playing the race card.  But at least Clinton actually said something before
Obama accused him of being racist.  Now, he’s accusing McCain and Republicans of being racist before they utter one word about his race.  Then, when McCain’s campaign chastised Obama for playing the race card, he pointed to their response as evidence of their being racist.

Now, how’s that for audacity? Obama supports a Democrat who’s known for overt racism while pointing the finger of racism at all Republicans who have not even shown instances of covert racist acts.  And that includes us black Republicans as well.

To me, that is appalling. There are still so many real instances of both covert and overt racism that no one has to manufacture any.

Racism is nothing to play with.  I am saddened and offended that the first black man to get this close to becoming leader of the free world has to stoop so low as to play the race card in order to win.

Newsflash!  He is not the one I’ve been waiting for.

Barbara Howard is president of Barbara Howard & Associates and the Florida state chair for C.O.R.E. (the Congress of Racial Equality).