From this Saturday's postings comes another offering from John Blake, the same reporter noted by this blog last week for his article "Black first family 'changes everything'." In that piece, Blake informed readers that what we see of the First Family will not look like the caricature of black people as seen in movies and on television. It is shocking that the collective reaction to the revelation that stereotypes are not real did not send the culture into outright chaos and rioting in the streets.
In the same vein as that vital public service announcement, Blake and CNN.com have now turned their attention to a different problem in America: the alleged existence of a double-standard for performance by ethnic minorities. In the article - "Will Obama have to be better because he's black?" - Blake asks the important question, "Will people hold Obama to a different standard because he is the first African-American president?"
How convenient for the President that Blake has lain down the tracks for a bullet train of excuses that will follow any of President Obama's failures.
Obama is a man, and in so has been given a range of talents and skills based on the same aeons-old lottery of DNA as they rest of us. Most Americans do not care about the color of his skin, and will judge him by his actions and how well he represents their interests and protects their values. Blake even owns up to this by citing polling results that showed 61 percent of whites did not think his race will be any sort of factor in how he is judged.
Not happy with finding a majority of Americans to be enlightened, Blake continues undaunted in his argument. Using Andrew Rojecki as a source, a co-author of The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America, the seed of doubt is planted:
Even people who regard themselves as the most progressive, open-minded supporters may subconsciously hold Obama to a different standard, Rojecki says.
I suppose that means that even Matt Damon might be an unwitting tool of "The Man?" In Rojecki's estimation, we are all suspects; guilty in the kangaroo court political correctness.
Blake's article provides quick fuel for those who thrive on racism as a justification for being, but more importantly it intends to disrupt the feedback mechanism between the president and the people that has worked remarkably well since our nation's birth. He is in essence urging us to lower the bar for Obama, a bar that has always been set high for all of the men occupying the Oval Office. The uniformity of skin color of our past presidents is matched only by the uniformity of the slings and arrows cast at them.
Despite Blake's grim stereotype of an American society mired in racism - both subconscious and conscious - Americans will probably measure President Obama's performance against the same set of unreasonably high expectations as all other holders of the office have always been judged.