Obama's presidency is a study in American public relations as it relates to race relations. The real "hope" in Obama was that we had finally arrived at realizing Dr. Martin Luther King's dream in electing a president with stellar qualities who happens to have black skin. Was this not evidence that long-held American racist beliefs were a thing of the past? Sadly, no.
As I study the social/political landscape, racist hypocrisy is everywhere to be found under the vulnerable veil of political correctness. What we learn from the Gates episode is that racism is still alive and well. The cover-up, however, is glossier today, making it harder to recognize the presence of the same old bigotry.
Would the Gates episode even make a news splash if he had been a white man? I don't think so. Therein lies the tricky-to-identify, yet recurring spotlight on race, showing that racism is far from over. Obama, himself, quickly read the situation as a racial-profiling episode, stating that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly". He then backpedaled, complimenting all parties involved. He obviously wants to broadcast--for his own reasons--that racism doesn't exist. Alas, having a "Beer Summit" doesn't erase our nation's racist reality.
Here's the truth: even the world-wide ubiquitous presence of our black American President posing as a symbol of the end of American Racism turns out to be a lesson in appearances. It fails to mask the racist hatred that is real and alive. It is the subject Americans must identify and work to truly "change", not just to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, but in order for humanity to survive.