Ferguson and How Obama Failed on Race

One of the most remarkable aspects of the reaction to the Ferguson, Missouri controversy is the manner in which President Obama has become a marginal figure in the discussion about race in America. To say this is not to discount the fact that the president’s various statements on the case—including his entirely appropriate response to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown and his condemnations of the violent riots that ensued—have been given wide notice. But one of the most significant elements of this debate is the one that few are discussing: how is it that the man who was elected president in no small measure to heal the country’s historic racial divide has not only failed to advance that cause but has found himself sidelined by race baiters. As with so much else that has happened in this failed presidency, Obama’s inability to act decisively or courageously caused him to miss opportunities to help a nation that looked to him for leadership.