Is racism alive and well? I believe it is. I am truly over-the-top with hearing about " The link to this flash video was removed for security reasons
It is hard to imagine this campaign being released to attack a white male candidate. It wouldn't work, because it would call up the white racism of the "uppity" black (man). The ad is aimed at triggering that (unconscious) white racism, It is, in my opinion, a tremendously racist ad.
Whites and African Americans (and other people of color) frequently do not "see" - or experience - the same world. The difference shows up in virtually every poll (see Race & Ethnicity Polls from Polling report.). Whites largely see equality and that the structural (and systemic) inequalities of race are part of history. African Americans (and other people color) see something different.
Obama clearly understands race as was shown in his speech at the Take Back America Conference. However, the Obama candidacy attempts to balance the sometimes wildly different perceptions and experiences of whites and blacks in the U.S. (and the racist structuring that has pitted various racial and ethnic groups against each other).
On one hand, Obama is a "black" candidate for president. His prominence for many whites is a "proof" of how "equal" we have become. He is palatable for whites because he strokes this meme. On the other hand, the undercurrent of racism plays the role of judging his actions and activities with a racist framework rather than within a "human" (or even "American") framework. This is because no such framework exists within the United States. Hence, the claims that Obama is "arrogant."
On the other hand, for many people of color (and especially for many African Americans) the expectations is for Obama to speak the truth of structural and systemic inequality within the United States. All protestations aside, Obama hews closer to white sensibilities than to black experience (Hecklers greet Barack Obama in Florida). Whether this is a real reflection of Obama, or political expediency, is an unknown. Regardless, it is a difficult balancing act.
It is not Obama who is "playing the race card." Those sponsoring campaigns against him definitely are.
Related Information of Interest
7/26/08 Carroll, CNN. Rove, critics try to pin 'arrogant' label on Obama.
7/27/08 Ridley, When Rove Calls Obama Arrogant, He Means "Uppity"
7/30/08 Bruns, FoxNews, So Is Obama Arrogant?