electing the first black president would ultimately do more to pry away black and other minority voters from a decadent American liberalism, than would anything else....One could no longer make the argument that America is racist, or unfair. Not when a black man has risen to the highest office in the land.
I've heard this argument from many people -- sometimes even from libertarians, who you wouldn't expect to be so government-centric. While I'm not sure what it means to say that America (all of it? some of it?) "is" racist, the presence of a black man in the Oval Office would hardly mean that no American blacks face institutional barriers, any more than the presence of black officers on a police force means that blacks don't face racially driven police harrassment. Yes, a President Obama would be a symbol of progress in race relations. But it is an open question whether he would reverse the policies that helped produce the racial isolation of working-class blacks, the disproportionate number of blacks in prison, or the sorry state of the urban schools that so many blacks attend. It is even conceivable -- not necessarily likely, but conceivable -- that Obama, like many black mayors, would actually make life worse for African Americans.
For the record, I think Obama is the most palatable (or the least unpalatable) of the four frontrunners, mostly because of his stance on Iraq. I do not believe his election would usher in a new age where racism and unfairness have been banished, and where whites can confidently pat themselves on the back without worrying that some black man will interrupt with a complaint.