Politics

The Black President Some Worried About Has Arrived

President Barack Obama, right, talks with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, center, after arriving at Tinker Air Force Base, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Oklahoma City, Okla. (AP Photo/Tyler Drabek)
President Barack Obama, right, talks with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, center, after arriving at Tinker Air Force Base, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Oklahoma City, Okla. (AP Photo/Tyler Drabek)

(The Washington Post) – There’s this thing people sometimes say down South.

So-and-so is “acting brand new.” Sometimes that’s a reference to people behaving like they don’t know old friends and family — that they have evolved past their old crowd. Sometimes that’s Southern-speak for the emboldened, people behaving like they either don’t know the rules or have outright decided to disregard them.

In the past four weeks, we’ve seen President Obama take up residence in a place that sits somewhere in-between.

He’s spoken off the cuff about race relations on a widely circulated podcast (even using the n-word) and then eloquently followed that with what can only be described as a sermon on race relations in America before breaking into song. He’s challenged America to go deeper in its support of equality than retiring symbols of slavery (such as the Confederate flag) and impolitic words (such as the n-word).

While eulogizing a slain minister and state lawmaker allegedly killed by a white supremacist in Charleston, S.C., he outlined a whole raft of ways in which discrimination remains and inequality continues to grow. And now, in the span of two weeks, he has announced two major reform packages — housing last week and criminal justice on Tuesday — that could, if ultimately implemented, be of particular benefit to people of color in the United States.

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