Although his 2008 election to the White House was in large part due to the record turnout in African-American voters, President Obama seems to have lost the emotional connection necessary to inspire black voters to go to the polls this November.
On the contrary, the Romney campaign may have actually inspired an emotional connection that will result in another record turnout among blacks. Of course, this emotional connection is more of a negative one based on racial hostility.
A day removed from speaking to the NAACP, Romney echoed a hint of racism when he said, “Tell your friends who like Obamacare, that if they want more free stuff from the government go vote for the other guy.”
If the former Massachusetts Governor’s remarks were not enough to make us wonder if he is a racist, his wife’s comments in an ABC interview this past week certainly have set off the alarm among many African-Americans. When asked by female African-American reporter Robin Roberts why her husband was unwilling to show more tax returns, Ann Romney replied, “We’ve given you people all you need to know.”
The Mormon faith, to which the Romneys belong, is known to have doctrine that the black skin color was a curse from God against those who turned away from Him. 2 Nephi 5:21 reads, “And the Lord had caused the cursing to come upon them. Yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”
This is one of several verses that speak of how the curse of black skin came about for African-Americans. Throughout the vast majority of its history, Mormon theology has viewed blacks as "the descendants of Cain and as less valiant fence-sitters in the battle between God and Satan in heaven.” It is because of this theology that Brigham Young led the Utah territorial legislature to sanction slavery.
It was not until 1978 that the Mormon Church allowed blacks to be ordained into the priesthood. But, that same year, the church released a statement discouraging interracial marriages. Although the membership of African-Americans has since then significantly increased, there are still reports of echoes of the doctrine that inspired the religion’s racism.
As recent as 2003, Black LDS church member Deron Smith expressed that there are still church members who “continue to summon and teach at every level of Church education the racial discourse that black people are descendants of Cain, that they merited lesser earthly privilege because they were “fence-sitters” in the War in Heaven, and that, science and climactic factors aside, there is a link between skin color and righteousness.”
In 2007, LDS church member Peggy Fletcher Stack wrote, “today many black Mormons report subtle differences in the way they are treated, as if they are not full members but a separate group. A few have even been called ‘the n-word’ at church and in the hallowed halls of the temple.”
In light of the recent remarks made by Mitt and Ann Romney, it is only fair to question exactly what their views are now. Have they overcome the racism that they were instilled with growing up in the church, or are they part of the membership that continues to summon and teach that blacks are cursed because of how their ancestors turned from the Lord in the past?