The Race

Oct 19 2008 | 3 comments |

Obama boy and dad[AP/Alex Brandon]

Something has really been bothering me about the US Presidential Election. We all know the questions asked from the beginning about Sen. Obama have been centered around experiance and his race. Now that the experience question has almost vanished and been substituted with the patriot question, thanks to Sarah Palin, race is still on the table and the "great unknown".

As a black person watching the coverage since December when he was 20 points behind, I feel a bit slighted when the media makes comments like "race is an issue" or "the race problem". This directly links his blackness as being a problem or an issue that he created. Well, I know what you're thinking...duh! Of course its an issue, America's never had a black president! But I think there is more here. 

First, it puts the "burden of proof" on Obama. Its like, "yeah you're black and you have to prove otherwise". Thats the general attitude. That is, instead of the heat being turned towards the voters who aren't voting or are unsure of him not because of his polices or party but because of his race, it is being forced at Obama.  But how unfair is that? What is he supposed to do? Un-black himself? It also says to the rest of us black people that you will always have to prove that you won't threaten us with your blackness.  I guess its easier to talk to one guy instead of a nation of racists. But this strikes me as just backwards. Almost like those with such prejudices are being given a free pass by the media because they are "Middle America".  Its like totally fine that there are people out there who won't vote for him because of the color of his skin. I haven't seen to many pieces questioning WHY that is ok.  Well I guess there is no law against being racist.

Which brings me to my next point. Why can't the media just come out and say that white voters in the Midwest are worth more than the rest of us? I mean they keep alluding to it with phrases like "the all important white working class vote" or "hockey mom" how many black hockey mom's are there? For that matter, how many non-white hockey mom's are there? A part of me knows that this is because white people are the majority in this great country, but constantly making their votes worth more is a disservice to democracy in my opinion. Here are some other code words:

America = The white parts
Un-American = possible terrorists 
Pro-America = Republican
Anti-America = Democrats/Liberals
Values = What we believe to be right for everyone
Muslim = Terrorist
Small Town = Midwest
Freedom = Restrictions
Working Class = White working class (since most black people and latinos are working class anyway)
Black voters = Obama voters
Troops = People we care about and use as political leverage only when they are on the battlefield but not when they return home
Drill, Baby, Drill = I want to be able to waste and consume without restrictions
Saddam Hussein = Osama Bin Laden
Lastly, when it comes to women voters, this is also code for white women voters. As it is assumed that ALL black women voters are for Obama. This is why race usually trumps gender. But returning to my original point, I wish Republicans weren't allowed to get away with this as much as they do, i.e. Michele Bachmann. I think this year the media has done a better job at holding them accountable than usual, but not nearly enough. 
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Comments

  • Posted by J. Newell on November 01, 2008

    Astute observations. Obama will win, he is pretty non threatening and isn’t too dark. When a person with predominatly West African or Bantu wins then we will have made great progress.

  • Posted by chi flat irons on June 10, 2010

    I see those bad issues as well and then I have a day like today when I went to the Obama rally in Harrisonburg

  • Posted by BlakChek on October 28, 2008

    So true, very good post. I see those bad issues as well and then I have a day like today when I went to the Obama rally in Harrisonburg, VA. It was truly amazing to see so many white people standing in the line for hours to support Obama. I talked to some people and there little kids who begged their parents to get them out of school early to go see the rally it was amazing. So I guess what I’m saying is going into this last week of the election we are seeing the both the worst of America and the best as well.

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