But when asked by Fox, she “equated the president with the n-word,” Helms responded: “Sure.”
So one week after the presidential election, where 58 million Americans voted against the president, Obama is faced with another monumental challenge: He must meet with congressional Republicans on Friday to avoid a so-called “fiscal cliff” – a set of devastating tax increases that will take effect in January and could cripple the economy.
Obama has two choices: Compromise with Republicans or prepare for a prolonged legislative fight. Either way, Obama will be sparring with some congressional conservatives who may view him in the same way as Helms.
America is more racially divided today than ever before – and it’s getting worse, in large part because conservatives won’t accept a black man in the White House. The president doesn’t have to dwell on it, but he does have to live with it.”
Since Obama took office in 2008, the number of hate groups has increased significantly from coast to coast. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacist groups, there are 1,018 active hate groups in America. And as the nation becomes blacker and browner, more racists are rising up against the ever-changing racial demographics of our society.
Helms may be part of those hate groups, we don’t know for sure. What I do know is this: Helms is ignorant – and her ignorance got her fired from her job at the Cold Stone Creamery.
“We found her comments to be very disgusting, and they do not reflect our opinions here,” Chris Kegle, the store director, told reporters.
“We made the decision [to fire her] because of her comments, but also the community feedback,” Kegle said. “We are very into working with the community and doing community service. So when your community does not like you because of an employee, that’s bad. We have a business to run.”
Racists like Helms are everywhere. They work in places like Cold Stone Creamery – and on Capitol Hill. Conservative bigots will continue to attack Obama during his next four years in office and try to block most – if not all – of his legislative initiatives. I know it. You know it. The president knows it.
Here’s the truth: There are many Republicans on Capitol Hill who will never be able to look past Obama’s blackness to offer the kind of bipartisan support and leadership needed to move America forward.
And while millions of Americans – blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians – genuinely want to see Obama succeed, there will forever be racists like Helms who can only see a “nigger” in the White House.
But that’s her problem. I prefer to call him Mr. President.