The President is going grey y’all! Oooooh, and did you hear him just drop the feminine pronoun? “We are a better country than this!” PREACH!
So a huge criticism of the President has come from folks like Tavis Smiley and Cornell West who claim that Mr. Obama has not done enough to focus on the plight of the poor. That economic issues dovetail with issues of race is not lost on the commentators nor is it lost on the President. Racism is about economics and has been since Africans were enslaved to provide labor in Europe’s colonies in the Americas.
But white people are poor too. Asian people, Hispanic people, Native people, as well as African Americans are poor. Not all economic inequality is racist, but as Vineet Rai pointed out in this talk at SOCAP, when you solve for the problem of inclusion of people from all races (or castes), you solve the problem of equitable distribution of resources as well. I suppose this works both ways, of course. You can work to end racism and wind up ending poverty in the process or work to end poverty and end racism at the same time.
Perhaps the real challenge is that the two are linked in such a way that you can’t really have one without the other. In the U.S., Northern white liberals were happy to push civil rights laws on the South, but balked at equal housing laws which would actually impact them, socially and financially, as well. How do we know what we really believe unless we really look at where we put our money. It is written, after all, that where we store our treasure, there also will our heart be.