No where in my column do I say — as Mike Gallagher somewhat jokingly put it — that racial quotas and the rest will disappear tomorrow. But I do think I'm right that Obama's election makes the race issue less relevant in American life in ways not entirely helpful to racial liberals. The average American — according to countless polls — does not like racial quotas. Indeed, I think the average black American doesn't either. These policies endure in part because racial liberals successfully argue that racism is still a burning issue in America. Well, doesn't that argument become more difficult to make when the President of the United States is black? I'm not saying activists — or even Obama himself — won't continue to make very liberal arguments about systematic racism in America. What I am saying is that I think Obama, simply by being president, makes such arguments less, not more, persuasive.
I think Jonah Goldberg is sincere is his views and hopes that America will be a better place for having our first black president, even if we don't agree with all his policies. That is my hope as well, but I will be surprised if it turns out that way. In my opinion, the best way to focus our predictions is with a nominal monetary bet. If Jonah is right, the racial hustlers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should see their influence wane during an Obama administration. My measure of "influence" would include television time on the network news, quotations in newspapers, and government funding and donations to organizations that they lead. I will wager $10 that by all those measures Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will have more national prominence after two years of the Obama administration than they do today.
Jonah's prediction that racial activists will have a harder time supporting the proposition that America still suffers from racism despite having a black president assumes that people such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will not adapt their strategies for the new administration. I think it may take them a month or two to figure out how best to make money off Obama, but they will get there. Remember, Obama is not an "authentic black" in that he is not descended from slaves. He had all the advantages of a white society, including an Ivy League education. Until every black child gets the same opportunity as Obama, Sharpton and Jackson can use the plight of poor black people to embarrass the president. Obama has to prove himself to be racially sensitive everyday, or he'll be just another Uncle Tom.
The big question is: will the media go along with the race hustlers? Sadly, I think so. And any political disagreement with the liberal policies of the Obama administration will be portrayed in racial terms, which plays right into the hands of Sharpton and Jackson.