Driven partly by loyalty to and partly by pressure from his Windy City posse, Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, recently went to Copenhagen to plead Chicago’s case for hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee eliminated Chicago – a finalist with Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro – in the first round. Predictably, the loss inspired glee in some Republicans and other assorted wing nuts like Americans for Prosperity, who apparently only love America when white men are in charge of it.
So now, a number of pundits are trying to cast Chicago’s failure to snag the 2016 Olympics as a sign that Obama’s glow is dimming, that his transformative edge is gone, and that all the adulation from other nations is about tokenism rather than real respect.
But that’s not true – and it especially isn’t true about Brazil.
Since Obama won the presidency last year, black Brazilians have begun to take a closer look at the racial divide in their country, which has the largest black population outside of Africa.
Yet even though black and mixed-race people make up more than half of Brazil’s population, they hold woefully little power in that country. Few head corporations and institutions, and they are rarely featured on television and in advertisements.
In other words, in this largely black nation, blacks are all but invisible where it counts.
Only seven blacks hold top government posts, and while most of them were appointed by Brazil’s current president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, most analysts say that it will be years before blacks amass enough power to elect a black president.