What Obama and Romney Say About the Missing Campaign Issue of Civil Rights

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 9/19/2012, 8:49 a.m.

The virtual silence of President Obama and Romney during the 2012 presidential campaigns on Civil Rights is not surprising. Part of that silence is the result of both Obama and Romney seeing the economy and health care reform as their path to or back to the White House.  Another reason for the silence is a history of presidential candidates ignoring racial matters.

Civil Rights as a campaign issue has seeped into presidential debates only when they ignite public anger and division, such as the red hot debate that raged over affirmative action for a time.

No president or presidential challenger in the past two decades, especially a Democratic challenger, has risked being labeled as pandering to minorities for the mere mention of Civil Rights or racial problems. But Civil Rights — whether mentioned or not on the 2012 presidential campaign trail — still strikes at the heart of the chronic colossal problems of health, education, employment and income disparities that plague minorities and in turn the nation.

These are problems that all presidents sooner or later will have to grapple with. It will be the same for Obama or Romney during their next four years in the White House.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.