Barack Obama said in his final news conference that he planned to use his time off from politics “to do some writing.” I am hoping in his post-presidency, he begins to write a different racial history from the one he proclaimed from his presidential pulpit.
His is the story of America’s racial past that I am sure many Americans heard at celebrations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this month, as they stared down Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. While Mr. Obama granted in his farewell to the nation that “we’re not where we need to be,” he also said, “The long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all, and not just some.”
When I watched the inauguration of President Trump on Friday, I did not see a nation in the forward motion of racial progress. I saw someone who pledged to take us away from progress and to new walls and more stop-and-frisk and law and order and the post-racial imaginary and to Jeff Sessions and the alt-right.