Earlier this month, President Obama addressed a gathering of young adults in an event hosted by a group known as the Young African Leaders. In classic form, President Obama did what he has uniquely been qualified to do as the nation’s first African-American president: discuss racial issues.
The president has grown somewhat in the matter during his 6.5 years in office. People may recall how the president responded to the 2009 incident involving university professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police. Officers arrested the educator at his home believing he was a home invader. Initially, President Obama seemingly issued a knee jerk response by stated the police force behaved “stupidly”. His annoyance on the racial issue was perceived by many as being indicative of him having a racial chip on his shoulder.
In the years since that time, he has found greater depth in addressing sensitive issues that many people find uncomfortable. This time around his words of gentle rebuke were directed at Africans. During his recent Africa trip, the president explained that he addressed the need for black Africans to be consistent in their calls for racial equality. It is easy for Africans to denounce the effects of European colonialist racism.
At the same time, the president pointed out that the treatment of the LGBT community in those same nations stem from the same racist mindset as the European colonialists. Admittedly, the president acknowledged that many Africans were not eager to have the racial table turned on them. Still, the president was correct to address the need for everyone to be consistent in their calls for equality.