The race card is tossed around too casually these days though and I believe it's used by some blacks as an excuse for failure. Let's face it: if a white person fails academically or professionally, he has no one to blame but himself. However, if a black person fails, he can blame it on this being a racist country. It's kind of a safety net to avoid taking personal responsibility for trying and failing, or worse, not trying at all.
So now we have Obama's defenders throwing down the race card. Tavis Smiley declares that the election of 2012 is going to be the most racist in our history. Whoopie Goldberg says the "birther" controversy is due to racism. Joy Behar gets in a snit at the first whiff of criticism of Obama and attributes it to the color of his skin. This casual use of such a loaded word minimizes the suffering of those who have experienced real racism in their lives.
Throwing this charge out there at the first sign of disagreement or criticism of Obama serves two purposes: first, it distracts, and in some cases intimidates, people and derails a rational discussion of his policies and second, it allows the president's supporters to maintain their blind allegiance to him.
It must be very painful to realize that the man on whom you pinned such high hopes, our first black president, is totally incompetent at governance and good only at campaigning. It's much easier and less painful to simply accuse those who question or oppose him of racism.