That's the subtext of a column by Jonah Goldberg (link in title). A couple of morsels:
Thank God for Barack Obama. Until his “More Perfect Union” speech last Tuesday, it seems it never occurred to anyone that America needed to talk about race.
“Maybe this’ll be the beginning of a conversation,” Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan proclaimed on Meet the Press. The Chicago Tribune reported that “many voters, black and white, say they were moved by Obama’s speech ... which they see as a long-awaited invitation to begin an honest, calm national dialogue about race.” Newspaper editorial boards agree. In the words of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “Prodding Americans to confront their racial differences is, by itself, an accomplishment of historical proportions.”
As Goldberg noted, the issue of race has come up before:
Oh, thank goodness Obama fired the starter’s pistol in the race to discuss race. Here I’d been under the impression that every major university in the country already had boatloads of courses dedicated to race in America. I’d even read somewhere that professors had incorporated racial themes into classes on everything from Shakespeare to the mating habits of snail darters. I also had some vague memory that these universities recruited black students and other racial minorities, on the grounds that interracial conversations on campus are as important as talking about math, science, and literature. A ghost of an image in my mind’s eye seemed to reveal African-American studies centers, banners for Black History Month, and copies of books like Race Matters and The Future of the Race lining shelves at college bookstores.
Were all the corporate diversity consultants and racial sensitivity seminars mere apparitions in a dream? Also disappearing down the memory hole, apparently, were the debates that followed Hurricane Katrina, Trent Lott’s remarks about Strom Thurmond, the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, the publication of The Bell Curve, and O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. Not to mention the ongoing national chatter about affirmative action, racial disparities in prison sentences and racial profiling by law enforcement.
Yep, Barack Obama says something and people become stupider.