Obama's race problem

I've had an instructive conversation today with Piuma about race. At first, I assumed merely didn't understand the definition of 'magic negro' when referencing it as a rightwing  term.

In fact, I was corrected as to my thinking by the following comment:

"Try actually listening for once.  I understand it is a perception of what blacks think whites are thinking.  It is a perception of racial bias which relies on stereotyping.  It is a form of racial bias itself which takes a cinematic device for the "unexpected stranger" (see Pasolini's Teorama) and imposes it on social interaction without merit.  Perceived racism is not always accurate, nor ultimately helpful.  

It has been used by the right wing, Limbaugh etc. , to belittle Liberals and others who seek to break down the institutional barriers of racism, and has been used specifically against Obama as being just white enough for white America to embrace, a safe black man, which really seeks put forward just the opposite thought in his listeners and continue racism in this country."

If this is how some white voters supporting Obama thinks, then his coalition is going to face a problem when African Americans come to terms with your thoughts on race.  The key words here are "Perceived racism." Not real mind you, perceived.

More below

One of the continuing issues when addressing racism in modern America is the belittling of African Americans as overly sensitive and perceiving racism that's not there. I call this the anything-but-race theory.

Let me be clear- sometimes racism doesn't happen, but sometimes it does. What was the context of which I received this statement by Piuma? I was referencing this diary that I wrote about a subclass (not all, but a subclass) of Obama voters who seemed to ascribe to the 'magic negro' theory. That Obama isn't like those other blacks.

This was discussed here:

http://mydd.com/story/2008/1/8/124132/88 92#commenttop

My diary actually grew out of a discussion over at D kos in which a white Obama supporter in response to her father's fear over Obama being black basically told him that Obama isn't like those other blacks. It's classic magic negro.

That diary is here:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/1/5/1 73727/4473

As result of my pointing out these attitudes of some supports Piuma wrote this along the thread:

"
I think you should take this diary down.  It is tremendously disrespectful.  That's the nice word for it.  You've hit a new low.  I'm surprised.

by Piuma  "

What was the direspect? No idea. I specified I was talking abouta subset of Obama voters and my concerns over how they view race. This brings up my core point- calling acts of racism - "percieved."

What's perceived here? The question becomes do you see this as racism where someone defends Obama for not being like other blacks. More importantly, how fruitful is it to reduce it to 'percieved' as a response to a question, not about all, but a subset. Notice he never gets into the merits or the issue at hand. He simply violently dismisses it without ever having the discussion. Whether it is true or not- we never get to because he never asks.

If this is the viewer of race that some have its a destructive one.  

This is destructive because earnest evaluation of race that will improve the lives of the group rather than simply elected one from the group requires actually listening and weighing what is being said. If this is the attitude that some of his supporters have on race, it will make the lives of blacks worse, not better.Update [2008-1-17 19:36:7 by bruh21]: As if in reply to my queries, an Obama supporter restores my faith that this isn't about sweeping race under the rug: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/1/17/181454/945/831/438531

Tags: long term, Presidential Race, race, Rightwing, strategy, supporters (all tags)

Comments

46 Comments

Re: Obama's race problem

Obama has run a campaign about common values that bring all of us together.  What this diary, and others like it, is about is the ongoing effort by supporters of rival campaigns to make Obama's campaign about race, whether in reality it is or not, based on the crass political calculation that if you are able to make his candidacy about race, your preferred candidate will win.  I would not be particularly surprised to see this from republicans.  I am surprised and frankly disappointed to see the ongoing race-baiting from democrats.  Its ugly.

by davey jones 2008-01-17 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

what this diary is about is to engage in thinking, something you clearly have a problem accepting. I've accepted my original candidate will lose, and I am more concerend with vetting the remaining choices to see which of them (I was leanning Obama, but am now favoring Clinton again in part due to the response I've recieved over my concerns over race). Here is someone who may tilt me back the other way:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/1/17/ 181454/945/831/438531

by bruh21 2008-01-17 02:37PM | 0 recs
Obama would be toast in the general

Republicans have already said the drug use is on the table in the general.

You have Republicans like Buchanan saying Obama's bigoted, anti-semite Pastor, the Rev. Wright's name will be more well known than the Pope (there goes Florida).

His irresponsible comments on Pakistan will be thrown at him.

His trillion dollar Social Security tax increase will be thrown at him.

He will lose Ohio on Pa and maybe Michigan on the race issue alone.

by dpANDREWS 2008-01-17 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would be toast in the general

You add nothing to this discussion. This isn't a) abuot the gop and b) about your rant. oh, and pat buchanan can go fuck himself.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 02:43PM | 0 recs
It is about realism

I don't want to hope for a victory in the general.  It will be a state by state, issue by issue battle and hope and feel good nonsense will not play in it.   Barry Reagan will be sliced and diced by the Republican machine.

by dpANDREWS 2008-01-17 02:49PM | 0 recs
Re: It is about realism

please take this somewhere else. you are just offensive.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 02:51PM | 0 recs
Barry's Reagan comparison DOOMS him

Fox will get a Presidential debate.

They will ask Barry a question about his recent interview and how he hearted Reagan.

Meanwhile the Republican will wait as Obama answers, licking their chops and then they will channel Bentson:

Barack I have meant Ronald Reagan, I know Ronald Reagan, and you Barack are no Ronald Reagan.

Barry will smile his big smile ... and lose by 8%.

by dpANDREWS 2008-01-17 03:27PM | 0 recs
you are clearly deluded...

hillary's historically high negatives for a non-incumbent make her a much bigger gamble in the general than obama's issues.  yet you have no problem believing that she can do what no other non-incumbent (or incumbent president, for that matter) has done, win the presidency with negatives as high and as institutionalized as hers...

by bored now 2008-01-18 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama would be toast in the general

You aren't being helpful. The diarist is trying to have a thoughtful discussion on race. Please try to be respectful.

by Ga6thDem 2008-01-17 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

I'm trying to wrap my head around the point you're making about "perceived" racism.  Back when I was in college, at the height of PC and also of the PC backlash, the standard narrative on race was one of what I guess I'd call moral relativism.  In other words, a white guy doesn't get to determine what's racist and what isn't.  The sole determinant is whether a particular listener feels offended by it.

White America, of course, always gets to determine what the mainstream is, and in this case the mainstream deemed that standard to be pretty unacceptable.  It was a power thing, I guess, no one wanted to cede the power to determine which statements are offensive.  And the really put-upon white guys - the Rush Limbaugh listener types - created a standard of their own, where the only thing that matters is the intent of the speaker.  If you don't mean to offend - even if you're a clueless idiot who has no idea what's offensive - then you're automatically absolved of the charge of racism.

And somewhere in the middle you have the rest of us, believing that some statements are racist even if you don't mean to offend, but also that some accusations of racism are nothing but oversensitivity.  You make a lot of enemies being in the middle so we mostly just keep our heads down.

The fact that it's a power struggle, that everyone wants to claim for themselves the right to say what's racist and what isn't, really comes to light in the context of a political campaign.  It's hard to tell who is honestly offended, who is just feigning outrage, and who is offended solely because they've been misinformed about what was said and the intent behind it.  And just like in non-racial politics, no one wants to give the other side total control to side what's out of bounds.  If you're a Clinton supporter who thinks there was nothing wrong with those various controversial statements, you probably look at the charges of racism the same way you look at the Republicans who say "how dare liberals accuse General Petraeus of treason, how dare John Kerry say the troops are stupid, etc."

I don't know if I'm making a point that pertains to the diary or if I'm just thinking out loud, but in all these years we still haven't been able to come to a consensus on the definition of racism and who gets to make the judgment.

by Steve M 2008-01-17 02:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

If he had responded like you did, I wouldn't have had a problem. It was the discounting of the discussion as 'perceived' that lead me to write this. When I am discussing magic negro I am referencing a subset of voters with whom the incident actually happened, and yet he dismissed the discussion out of hand as 'perceived.'

by bruh21 2008-01-17 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

I took great pains to say , when I discuss race, not all and yet everything has been redefined as all. When people do that- that raises a red flag for me. your comment respected the complexity and didnt try to deny it.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 02:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

I see. Your supporting Clinton based on your concern that white voters who support Obama are really latent racists.  Right.

This isn't about "engag[ing] in thinking."  Its yet another attempt to deal the race card against Obama.  And I'm sure it won't be the last.

by davey jones 2008-01-17 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

I am concerend that he will be boxed in a way that clinton may ultimately be able to deal with race issues better.

It's not simply that. The reagan comment among others disturbs me too. I can also be convinced I am wrong.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 02:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

Boxed in is a valid point. I've felt the same way. I think it is the way it is for black candidates. At least right now at this time in the country. If someone says something racist they can't call them on it. They just have to take it. The flip side of this is that people like Sharpton have played the race card so much that it has almost made making racist comments acceptable because he screams "racism" at everything.

by Ga6thDem 2008-01-17 04:01PM | 0 recs
off-topic

but still relevant to your thought process. I urge you to vote for your original first choice, especially if you don't have a clear preference between Clinton and Obama. There are benefits to having Edwards stay in the race, accumulating delegates, even if he does not win the nomination.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-17 02:53PM | 0 recs
I too, urge you to vote your original choice

Nothing bad can come of it.

by Rooktoven 2008-01-17 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

Thanks bruh21 for trying to bring the topic of race into perspective and make it a topic we can discuss.  Race, prejudices and racism all have an impact on daily life for AAs and for any of us that live in a multi-racial and multi-cultural milieu.

What I have despaired about is that any attempt to discuss the fears and the various perspectives is immediately seen as trying to disparage Obama's candidacy.  We have to find ways to talk about these issues.  

I don't know what the outcome can be when we discuss these issues because so many don't know how to recognize their own attitudes.  Being self-reflective is a learned skill and usually occurs under challenging conditions.  

I applaud your raising the topic again.  Whether his supporters understand or not Obama's race is a factor and so is Edwards' and Clinton's.  Clinton's gender is a factor and so is Obama's and Edwards'.  That creates complexities that are not being well discussed.

I did not know the term "magic negro" until a few weeks ago.  I have puzzled over it and how some white voters do see Obama as a sign that racism will be ended if he is elected.  It seems like a concept completely isolated from the real world concerns and issues that all families are facing, especially the working poor of any race.  Nonethless the AAs face daunting challenges that will not be solved by symbolic gestures and that is why I support Edwards.  

If a year ago somebody had said that I would support the Southern white male over a woman or a minority candidate I would have laughed my head off.  But I actually am guided by issues.  I can't believe that this radical feminist is supporting the Southern white male.  I think I wanted to support Obama to show that we have moved beyond race in this country and that talent of any race is recognized.  But on issue after issue I just disagreed with him and agreed with Edwards.  I finally concluded that symbolism wasn't enough and not what we needed for the country at this time.  

by pioneer111 2008-01-17 02:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

He's been clear that his did not support Reagan's policies.  Its clear, though, that Reagan was able to engender support from democrats who disagreed with most of his particular policies because they appreciated his larger vision of America and the sense that Reagan gave that he was taking the country to a better place.

That's what Obama is pitching, in my opinion.  And he has, at least anecdotally, shown the ability to win over people who disagree with him on most particular issues because they like his larger vision of what the country can be.  And bringing in those people, who would otherwise vote republican or not vote is a formula for obtaining a mandate for progressive policies that even Clinton never had.

Hillary's arguments about her experience are fine in the primary, because she is the most experienced.  But frankly, no democrat is going to win this election over any of the Republicans if the general election debate is over who is most experienced.  The debate has to be one of change and one of altering course and direction.  And I think that in that debate, Obama's message resonates the best.  Just my opinion.

by davey jones 2008-01-17 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

I am not settled yet on what I will do. My point is to discuss these things rather than pretend I am certain. Too many here assume that I have some malicious intent for discussing this. It's to do what I didn't do in 2004, and I freely admit it was my error, vet and understand who teh candidates are and the forces supporting them. if I go with clinton it will be mainly because go with the devil i know, rather than the uncertainty that i feel about obama and which his supporters in their feverancy sometimes makes it hard for omsone like me to address. i am not new to politics, and i 've seen his type of candidacy before.- thats why i ask  these tough questions.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 03:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

I started to respond but instead will simply re-post what I said in the last thread which you've never responded to:

The way we as a society get beyond racism is to start acting with people in an interpersonal way which drops statements like "people like you".  If you want to talk honestly about race then you need to talk honestly about our experiences and that this country has been, and continues to be in far too many cases, racist in a general and institutional sense, and non-racist is many specific interpersonal cases.  Merely having a black friend doesn't make you non-racist in general.  Having a nurse or doctor who performs extraordinarily well in an ER does not mean there isn't overall a problem with how people of color are treated in ERs.  Obama acknowledges this, how could he not?  Do you think really think his personal experiences have shielded him from this overwhelming force in our society.  As he said in the Howard debate when his blackness was questioned, no one questions whether he's black enough when he tries to hail a cab uptown.

But to define the world in only these large terms, to see it as only a clash "between the polar choices we are given in American politics (either the "magic negro" or the "Al Sharpton" treatment)", is to view our experiences only through the prism of racial prejudice...which in my book is the definition of racism.  The reality of our experience is not that we have the two polar opposites you suggest, but rather we have interpersonal colorblindness and institutional racism.  What we have seen over the past 40 years is that between these two forces, the interpersonal is more powerful.  It is why integration has been so important and continues to be despite any advances which may have been made.  It is, belatedly, the immigration experience of African-Americans into the melting pot which has defined America as a whole.  

And this is where Obama, not as a just a Black man, but really as a mixed-race man comes in.  In 2000, Newsweek ran a cover of "The Changing Face of America" which highlighted that mixed race people were the fastest growing segment of our society.   And yet our forms still don't adequately leave room for that segment, there is no box to check, and in many respects our politics has yet to allow room for that as well.  You see him only in terms of a black candidate.  What his supporters see is that he is both that and also something quite different.

When my daughter, who is half-Korean, was at Berkeley she was heavily involved in a class called Poetry for the People, which dealt with race in both extremely political and personal terms.  She and another mixed race classmate of a white father and hispanic mother, wrote the following which I think is very pertinent:


One of the common sayings you'll hear in the Poetry for People world is that "personal is political," but it is also important to recognize that the political is also very personal.  For those of us who are of "mixed race" the concept of labels and/or picking sides often has to do with who we come home to and who we face when looking in the mirror.

How do we negotiate our identities when the very words that we are given to do so completely negate each other?  The very phrase itself : "a person of color," implies that to be Caucasian is to be the absence of color.  Being both, these labels seem to cancel out our existence.  Because in reality, we are not the product of conquest, we are not the product of colonization or occupation, we are the product of love.  And it gets to the point where we can only latch onto the "color" in us for so long before we take offense not only on behalf of our fathers, but for ourselves.  

Our politics at this point is beginning to be integrated.  That is something which is good and has certainly helped to chip away at some of the institutional racism.  That's a work in progress.  But what an Obama Presidency represents for race is not just a bigger step for political integration but a radical shift , to move the American identity toward that of a mixed race person, and as a country to look in the mirror and truly see that person defined in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.  It is not to ignore our racial divides.  But it is to fully realize, without cynicism or fear, that what unites us is truly more powerful than what divides us. That is something which anyone who has had a child knows is truly the only reality which matters.

by Piuma 2008-01-17 03:04PM | 0 recs
Obama's race is a double-edged sword

Having talked with scores of white Iowans who caucused for Obama, I think that his race was a plus in their minds, but not the deciding factor. I am not saying that people caucused for Obama just to show they are not racist, but I think that his candidacy drew more interest than a first-term white senator who was a great speaker would have.

I would also say that Obama's race made it a lot harder for Edwards to play the electability card in Iowa. It was very easy for Obama supporters to push back and accuse Edwards or his advocates of saying we all have to vote for another white guy.

I think there is something to the "magic Negro" analysis of how white supporters view Obama. His support was definitely not grounded in people reading policy proposals--as one person told me, "There is an 'it' and Obama has it."

On the other hand, negative stereotypes about black men no doubt create a minefield for Obama. One conversation I had while canvassing in December really drove this home for me.

When I've watched Obama in debates, and on the two occasions when I saw him speak in person, I've been struck by how low-key he his. He has a very different energy than Edwards or even someone like Biden. He doesn't sound particularly passionate when he speaks.

While I was canvassing, an undecided (white, female) voter in my neighborhood told me she liked Edwards, and also mentioned that when she listens to Obama she thinks he sometimes comes across as "too brash."

Too brash? Compared to Edwards? You have got to be kidding me. That "angry black man" stereotype is alive and well.

Maybe Obama is naturally low-key, and maybe it's always been his main priority to bring people together, but after that conversation with the woman in my neighborhood, I started looking at Obama's strategy differently.

Maybe this peacemaking, conciliatory persona is his best defense against stereotypes about black men.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-17 03:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race is a double-edged sword

I see negative stereotypes of black men as a reflection of the fact that Obama can never appear to be black according to the way  some white people (again not all) stereotypes of blacks are. When i discuss the magic negro syndrome, this is at its core what its about.  the dehumanization of blacks. that all our problems are to be solved by electing one is not about helping black people. that obama must be and do certain things. you are right. this maybe what he is anyway. but the problem with race and its something i would like to know is whether this is what he feels he must be in order to assure white liberals that he's the okay one. i dont think anyone does it intentionally. i've been guilty of this. i will sometimes be quiet and nice to not be perceived as the trouble making black guy when i am in corporate america. the fact is being a black professional i see this all the time. thats some of what i am trying to get at here. nice post by the way, and i am glad to see others getting my points.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race is a double-edged sword

I don't know what you're talking about with "dehumanization." Black people aren't all one thing.    Obama is what he is.  His race is a part of that, but it doesn't define him.  He defines himself.  And as a political candidate, he presents a powerful vision of a brighter future in this country.  If enough people accept that vision, nothing else really matters.

by davey jones 2008-01-17 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race is a double-edged sword

I can understand where you're coming from but you need to also realize corporate America doesn't like the trouble-making guy period.  It definitely doesn't like the trouble-making black guy, but you are not alone in having to be nice and quiet.

Reality is more multi-layered.  Strip away racial prejudice we will still have economic prejudice which is often what is really at play.

But to get to the point, you raise a fear which is specific to Obama which sorry I frankly don't see.  I can understand you saying what you do if we were talking about Clarence Thomas here, but where in any of his policies do you think he's playing it safe at the expense of helping the Black community?

by Piuma 2008-01-17 04:10PM | 0 recs
I agree to an extent

but I would argue that a black professional has to be more careful to avoid being seen as the trouble-making guy.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-17 04:37PM | 0 recs
i think it is a double-edged sword...

and i'm not surprised at all that people think obama's (mixed) race is a plus in their minds.  

what i find so interesting is how obama and his race transcends so many of the problems we face.  having a black man in the white house who is completely (and publicly) devoted to his family dispels notions both about black men and democrats.  having a black man in the white house completely undercuts osama bin laden's ideology of america as oppressor.  etc.

generally, you hope to get one of these, but not a bunch.  obama represents a bunch of counter-intuitive notions that force people to take a new look at the democratic party.  i do find it amusing among my own circle (family and friends), it's the republicans in that personal group who are more likely to vote for obama than the democrats.

obama IS a map-changer.

but there is a lot of resistance to this.  i will again repeat my long-standing observation that obama isn't running to win in 2008, but 2012.  i've had to climb down a little, because he's been more successful than i'd imagined, but i still suspect it's true.  

what is interesting about obama is how he's been able to navigate a whole bunch of landmines in order to succeed.  coming from chicago, obama is able to work with the democratic machine there without being a member of it.  he definitely plays both sides of the fence, and his ability to go across the aisle isn't just about bipartisanship, it's also within the democratic party.  this is a person who really does understand the political climate in which he operates, and he's accomplished things that no one else could.  he's not easily pigeonholed, which is both a plus and a minus (for those who need stereotypes to help them decide things)...

by bored now 2008-01-18 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

"Maybe this peacemaking, conciliatory persona is his best defense against stereotypes about black men."

That's the thing about Obama.  Its not a "persona."  Its who he is.  When he's asked in a debate what his biggest weakness is, he tells the truth.  He doesn't transparently dress up some positive trait as a weakness.  I think that there is a genuineness to his optimism that sets him apart from all the other candidates, democrat and republican.  And that, I think, is what attracts people to him, even those on the other side of the political spectrum.

by davey jones 2008-01-17 03:16PM | 0 recs
maybe that is who he is

I have no idea.

We all have aspects of our personality that can be played up or played down, depending on whether it's advantageous to our situation.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-17 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

This reminds me of the true story about the fancy golf club in Westchester County, NY that claimed it did not discriminate because it had one black member: Bryant Gumbel (when he was the host of the Toay Show).

"Special cases" are merely an extension of the old crap.  You are so right.

by David Kowalski 2008-01-17 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

So let me get this straight.  Barack Obama is Bryant Gumbel and anyone who votes for him is the Country Club.  Did I get that right?  Is that what you think as well, Bruh?

by Piuma 2008-01-17 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

i honeslty at this point dont know to say to someone like you. i've repeatedly said this isn't a generalization about all white people. its to understand a subset of behaviors, including quite frankly, now yours. the overreaction that i get from you for merely bringing  up the subject. the need, for example. to talk about people 'perceiving' racism was out of place. if you had bothered to ask, rather than assume, i would be the first to say that percepton of racism is indeed a real problem. hence my diary on the dark side of identity politics, which if you had bothered to read, you would see this came up and i pointed out how i've been wrong about racism.

but this isn't about my perception being wrong. this about your need to turn when i say "some white people' into "all white people." when i repeatedly make the same statement over and over again that I said "some" and I make it clear that the phrase "magic negro" isn't a right wing frame, and make it clear i am not referring to everyone who votes for obama who happens to be white- then i got to conclude you are coming at this with baggage other than the topic i am discussing.  its really that simple.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

Wow, now that's quite an overreaction.  I asked do you see the supporters of Obama akin to a Country Club letting in a token black - which is what this guy said.  

Instead of trying to argue with me, how about dropping your anger and your suspicion and respond to my post on Obama being mixed.

by Piuma 2008-01-17 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

Half right.  Barack Obama (in this) is Bryant Gumbel.  People who vote for him because he is not like other blacks are proving nothing, in fact, they may be proving they are "tolerant" phonies if that is their reason. Not everybody who votes for Obama feels that way, of course.  But the ones who do are the country club's mentality.  Tokenism?  remember that, Piuma?

by David Kowalski 2008-01-18 07:16AM | 0 recs
the token vote...

is how obama drives his mandate from 52% to 60%, as it were.  if that's all he did, was get whites to vote for him to ease their conscience, then he'd be a failure (in my book).  barack has to win them over, time and again, to his point of view and build that consensus behind what he's trying to accomplish that's important...

by bored now 2008-01-18 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

Hopefully you can have a discussion on this issue. Here in GA the issue is more overt in a lot of ways.

I do, unfortunately, think that SOME Obama supporters think that if he wins an election all the problems that blacks have will dissipate. If he loses it could make things way worse.

by Ga6thDem 2008-01-17 04:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

And you base that on what?

by Piuma 2008-01-17 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

You really don't get it, do you, how many white people believe that if we elect Obama it means they never have to hear about racial issues again.

by Steve M 2008-01-17 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

I have seen no evidence of that.  Have you?

by Piuma 2008-01-17 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

Absolutely.  I mean look, it's creepy, but it's real.

by Steve M 2008-01-17 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

Well, I don't know what you have experienced and I've spoken to a lot of Obama supporters and I have never got that sense at all. At all.  I think there is an element of belief that the symbolism of having a Black President can be a positive force, but far from a panacea.  You take the myriad of problems in the inner city from education to drugs to incarceration to broken families and the one thing you hear under all of them is the feeling of utter and bitter hopelessness.  And that's the hardest thing to fix.  We can put in a bunch of well-intentioned and often even mildly successful programs but this root of hopelessness keeps gnawing away at the successes.  An Obama Presidency and the image of Michelle, Sasha, and Melia playing together on the White House Lawn will not erase that, far from it, but at least, I think, it will inject a small dose of hope into a very difficult situation.  It will be something positive.  I'm not suggesting that's the reason to vote for him above all others, but it is something.  It is something.

by Piuma 2008-01-17 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's race problem

People aren't going to naturally tell you this. You have to probe motivations to understand the dynamic.

I have a friend- his sister is in Ohio. She's white. She's voted GOP forever. She's thinking of voting Obama because he's not like the other blacks.

Over a D kos, when I asked several why they were supporting Obama, and delve deeper one said that they supported him because they think once he's elected it will mean its better for low income black people. The symbolism of electing him alone would do it. Not policies, not changed positions on race- the vote for him itself. Another said that they thought it really would mean we live in a color blind society. What I love is when some attacks me (not you someone else) for saying no we don't live in a color blind society.

There are a lot of assumptions that a lot of different people make, some good, some not, and you really need to understand that they aren't always going to be on the surface apparent. I didn't get that until I started to ask.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 05:08PM | 0 recs
Piuma, one of my high school friends

was elected president of our senior class. He is black, and my high school was only 1 or 2 percent black. He is a great guy, and I'm sure that most people who voted for him did so because they liked him.

But was there a subset who liked the idea of a black class president, because it "proved" that my high school was not racist? I think there was.

by desmoinesdem 2008-01-17 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Piuma, one of my high school friends

If there is a "subset" who support Hillary because it "proves" that we no longer view the place of women in our society as the kitchen or the bedroom, what does that mean?  Nothing.  People don't always base their votes on rational reasons.  That's life.  Its a waste of time to pretend that there's any sort of logical basis in irrational thought.  That doesn't relieve the rest of us who can see past that from making the best choice based on the facts at hand.

by davey jones 2008-01-17 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Piuma, one of my high school friends

I don't think anyone is saying that you shouldn't support Obama just because some other people support him for creepy reasons.

However, I don't think there are many men, at all, who are supporting Hillary because they think it will confirm the end of sexism in our society, which in itself is food for thought.

by Steve M 2008-01-17 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Piuma, one of my high school friends

as I keep saying, this isn't about you. One of the more frustrating things I face when discussing race is the fact people treat it as an accusasion about them. That's your stuff, and not the point I am making at all.

by bruh21 2008-01-17 05:02PM | 0 recs

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