But if this was dog-whistle racism, then Obama’s 2008 campaign was a blaring Klaxon horn of race. Forget the “post-racial candidate” (© the entire mainstream US and European media), Obama was in reality the “multi-racial” candidate, one who signified the end of white demographic dominance. That’s post-racial in the sense that the majority are becoming a minority, but it would be absurd to pretend that race was not a huge factor in the election of this not-very-experienced junior senator – illustrated by the fact that 96 per cent of African-Americans voted for him.
Obama’s underlining foreign policy narrative was that, being half-Kenyan and with an emotional attachment to people of colour, he would be able to form a better rapport with Africans, Arabs and the rest of the non-white world. But if that’s the argument, then logically Mitt Romney, who’s not just white but the whitest man in the world, will have the same appeal to Europeans. If non-whites are so basic and ethnocentric that it takes one of their own to make them see America kindly, isn’t it the same for everyone? And the fact is that, in his foreign policy, Obama has had a very cool attitude to Britain, which tends to suggest that the changing demographics of the US will influence its foreign-policy direction.
America’s vast contradictions and hypocrisies concerning race still rest on the idea that some groups are supposed to be post-racial, while others are encouraged to celebrate their identity, and to fight for the interests of their group. For example, lots of self-appointed Hispanic leaders want America to be more Hispanic, to have more of their countrymen. No one in the media accuses them of racism or chauvinism, and instead presents people wishing to maintain the status quo as hatemongers. Yet why is it necessarily more wrong for Anglo-Americans to want the country to be more full of people like them? Some people advancing the interests of their group are racists; some people advancing the interests of their group are anti-racists.
And why is it acceptable for every ethnicity in America to take pride in its roots, apart from the ethnic group that founded the 13 colonies, bequeathed it their language and laws, and established the political philosophy and liberal institutions? …
Among the many English-Americans were almost all of America’s founding fathers, including its greatest, Thomas Jefferson, who used the Anglo-Saxons as a political model, and often (like many Whigs and proto-Whigs before) saw the conflict within the British world as one between latter-day Normans (Tories) and Saxons (Whigs).
Jefferson even traced the English (and so American) tradition of representative government back not just to the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot but to the forest councils of the Saxons on the continent (one of the many popular pseudo-historical ideas that sprung out of the Teutomania that followed the rediscovery of Tacitus in the 16th century). He was so obsessed with the idea that he even learned some Old English.
It is only in recent times, many years after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act made America a truly diverse society, that making such a statement has stopped being a bland statement of historical fact and become a virtual hate crime.