For Steele, this is anything but post-racial. Nevertheless, couldn't an Obama victory move us in a post-racial direction? Over at NRO, a number of commentators argue that, if it doesn't, it should. Obama's election, they say, should lead to a recognition that the real problems facing the African-American community are largely unrelated to current day racism.
But Steele isn't buying.
Like most Americans, I would love to see an Obama presidency nudge things in this direction. But the larger reality is the profound disparity between black and white Americans that will persist even under the glow of an Obama presidency. The black illegitimacy rate remains at 70%. Blacks did worse on the SAT in 2000 than in 1990. Fifty-five percent of all federal prisoners are black, though we are only 13% of the population. The academic achievement gap between blacks and whites persists even for the black middle class. All this disparity will continue to accuse blacks of inferiority and whites of racism -- thus refueling our racial politics -- despite the level of melanin in the president's skin.
I'm a bit more optimistic, but the ball is in President-elect Obama's court. We can move past our racial politics if he intentionally decides to lead us there. I don't expect him to do that, but he is uniquely situated to accomplish that.