If He Wasn't Black

     For the first time in American history being a black man is now an asset? Ok, for the first time outside of an athletic event being a black man is a plus. I have been black a long time and I have witnessed countless instances when being a black man has been a handicap of epic proportions. I can even attest to the fact that just having a "black sounding" name has been a detriment. Now, I am suppose to believe that being a black man is somehow the reason Barack Obama is leading the nomination for President of America? I wonder if the people who are saying this line even hear themselves. I would like for them to go and tell this to the many young black men that are incarcerated in our nations jails and prisons who won't even get the opportunity to vote in this historic election or tell it to the many young black men who are unemployed standing around the corners of our inner cities.

    I have heard and read that blacks and specifically Obama supporters are too sensitive and are reacting to everything in racial terms. It appears that any criticism of Obama is cast in terms of racist intent. The race card is being played in reverse. Everyone that criticizes Senator Obama is a racist regardless of their previous record or support for civil rights. I agree there is a hypersensitivity on the part of Senator Obama's campaign, but I do not think that it extends to the candidate himself. One of the main reasons for this I believe is that we are at a place as a nation that we have never been before. And please don't talk to me about Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, or Al Sharpton. Due to our refusal in the past to honestly confront the issue of race in this country, no one really knows how to proceed in this area. This is especially true for most whites, particularly whites who have previously stood with blacks on civil rights issues. Talk that use to go on behind closed doors in liberal parlors are finally now being aired and I for one am thankful.

    The latest "racial attack" was perpetrated by none other than Geraldine Ferraro, the first women ever nominated for the Vice-Presidency by a major Party. Ms. Ferraro basically stated that if it were not for Barack Obama being black he would not be leading in the nomination for the Democrats. Now many took this to be another hidden reference to race being perpetrated by another Clinton supporter. I do not believe that Ms. Ferraro is racist and I would consider anyone who did to be either foolishly carried away by the campaign or deliberately using comments to further their agenda and both have no place in a serious discussion about the comment. So, if you fall into one of those categories you should probably not read any further.

She specifically accused David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's senior adviser, of using race as a tactical weapon and of implying that her remarks were racist.

Mr. Axelrod, responding in an e-mail message Wednesday night, said, "I never suggested that. I've known Gerry for a long time, and I don't believe that. But what she said was plainly wrong and divisive."

The same, she said, is true of the Obama candidacy. "Why is his candidacy historic? Can you give me another reason why it is an historic campaign? Why are we afraid to say this? I am absolutely stunned by this whole thing. I'm not saying he isn't qualified, never did I say that. He is very smart. He has experience issues, but if George Bush can learn to run the country, so can this guy." NY Times

    I do not believe that Ms. Ferraro is a racist, however I do take issue with her statements. I take issue with them not because of their racial tone, but something more insidious that she probably never considered. As a black man who has broken many social and employment barriers, the one constant has been the "affirmative action" defense used by whites who felt they could not have been bested by a more qualified black person. Their egos will only allow them to believe that it was because of an unfair advantage that a black man could be better in any given area outside of entertainment or sports. The comments by Ms. Ferraro echo those sentiments. Sure Barack Obama is intelligent, gifted, and qualified, but still if he wasn't black he would just be another also ran.

    Her comments are not racist, but they are in fact divisive. They smack of the affirmative action argument and there are only a few issues that are more divisive in America than affirmative action. So, I guess the only way that a black man could be elected President is through affirmative action? So the American electorate is trying to carry out the ultimate in affirmative action hiring by electing Barack Obama. Imagine how this sounds to the many blacks who have gained positions of power and prestige through hard work to be told once again that the only reason is because you are black.

    Ms. Ferraro has the right to express this opinion the problem for me though is that to give her statements credibility she should have also said the same thing about Hillary. That the reason Hillary is in this position is because she is a woman, because the truth be told the leading candidate should have been a white man like it has been for 400 years. So it is unfair to say Obama is in this position because of his race, but not also say the reason Hillary is in this position is because she is a woman. By not including what makes Hillary's candidacy historical Ms. Ferraro's comments can be construed as those from a sore loser. Why does the issue of gender in Hillary's case not apply, but the issue of race does apply for Obama? Is it because she feels that Hillary is so supremely qualified that it doesn't matter or is it that Obama is so under qualified that this is all he has going for him? If he wasn't black.

Many of us believe that wrongs aren't wrong if it's done by nice people like ourselves.  - Author Unknown

The Disputed Truth

Tags: affirmative action, Barack Obama, Democrats, Election 2008, gender, Geraldine Ferraro, Hillary Clinton, race (all tags)

Comments

11 Comments

Re: If He Wasn't Black

This is so last week.  

As the Democrats flail away with idnetity politics, the economy falls into recession or worse, the war continues, and real folks are hurting.

More and more, it looks as if there will be a President McCain.  That is sad.  

by TomP 2008-03-17 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: If He Wasn't Black

I guess the war is so last year?

by Forgiven 2008-03-17 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: If He Wasn't Black

Voters who can't buy milk and bread aren't really interested in Obama's tepid opposition to the war when he couldn't vote - especially since he voted with Repubs for 2 years to fund Blackwater and the war.

We have a choice of supporting Experience or an Experiment.

I'm supporting Experience - Hillary.

by annefrank 2008-03-17 06:12AM | 0 recs
This is last week.

And last year. But it is also this week, this year, and next year. Bias and prejudice and discrimination still exist, and need to be addressed in a straightforward manner. Not just prejudice against black people, but against other minorities, including women and homosexuals. I don't think Geraldine Ferraro is racist either, any more than I think Bill Clinton is. I think they were both expressing frustration, albeit clumsily, with the media having treated Obama with kid gloves early in the campaign because they were afraid that they would be called racist if they criticized him or disagreed with him. I can understand why black people would be hurt or offended by Ferraro's remarks. But I also understand why white people who are not prejudiced would take offense at being lumped together with people who are by Reverend Wright.

by georgiapeach 2008-03-17 06:25AM | 0 recs
Re: If He Wasn't Black

Sorry, but you are incorrect.  

I happen to be a Black man who agrees with Ms. Ferraro 110%.

First of all, Ferraro's comments would never have come to any significant light if it were not for the Obama campaign.  They were given in an interview to some paper in CA that no one has ever heard of.  So, right on cue, before the MI primary, the Obama campaign choses to blow this up.  Unfortunately, it is so typical of them to try to utilize race in order to gin up support among their base (the Black community and the elite, white Democrats).  So, who is really divisive here?  An aging stateswoman whom no on was paying attention to or a politicker looking to stir things up?

Additionally, I don't believe Obama would be as successful in this campaign if he were not Black.  His base consists of African-Americans who are justly proud to support the first (previously) viable African-American candidate and what I like to call the guilt-ridden, lily white elite who need to see a Black president in order to feel good about America.

Finally, of course it also matters that Sen. Clinton is a strong woman.  I would never deny her that asset.  But, this just proves how absurd and disingenuous and hypocritical the Obama campaign really is.  

by BRockNYC 2008-03-17 06:14AM | 0 recs
Re: If He Wasn't Black

Do you have any proof apart from your own rationalization that the Obama camp blew this up?

by marcotom 2008-03-17 06:21AM | 0 recs
Re: If He Wasn't Black

I could search for a link to the story, but according to Dana Bash, CNN, this story was brought to their attention by Obama's campaign.  She mentioned this on Wolf Blitzer's show this weekend.  Wolf, Candy Crowley, and Gloria Borger were all there and agreed that the story came from the Obama camp.

by BRockNYC 2008-03-17 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: If He Wasn't Black

I meant right before the MS primary.

by BRockNYC 2008-03-17 06:25AM | 0 recs
If Obama was white he'd be inevitable in December


If Obama was a white man, his political talent, charisma and skills would have sealed his nomination a long time ago. No doubt in my mind. With his elequance and ability to inspire the masses, Obama as a white man would have had the nomination locked by now and Clinton would have conceded.

The only reason Clinton is still in this race is because Obama is black. Look at the people who vote for Clinton, blue-collar workers and latino's.

As a black woman who is not with her head in "lala-land" there is no suprise that white blue collar voters and latino's don't want to vote for Clinton. Both groups are notoriesly rascist. That doesn't mean every blue collar worker and/or latino is a rascist. But many of them are. Tell me thats not the white rascism in play and is there any suprise really? Perhaps if your white and you have lived in lala-land far away from black issues and hurdles it comes as a suprise, but not from me.

I could have told you low-income blue collar voters would turn against a black man 10 years ago.

So if Obama was a white man, he would not have the anti-black sentinement among blue-collars and latino's to deal with. He would have won California and Ohio, and Clinton would have long been dissed as not having the talent to go against OBama.

by Obamagirl2327 2008-03-17 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Gerry Ferraro

Obama people keep blowing this up over and over.  You yourself said it wasn't racist.  Honestly if a woman with Obama's qualification (or lack thereof) joined the presidential race, she would have been marginalized faster than you can say Dennis Kucinich.

It's interesting Ferraro's comment was made over three weeks before Obama's guys blew it up in the press.  Why did they let three weeks go by if it were so important?  Probably because it took them that long in their research to find something they could twist into the racist card they like to keep playing.  That's the best they could come up with after three weeks, so they went with it and the MSM fell right in line -- without even mentioning it was three weeks old.  Also it was found in a local newspaper called the Daily Breeze.  Ever hear of it?  Probably not. But if the Obama researchers can't find something from the camaign trail itself to distort to their own ends, they'll search every last tiny little newsletter until they find something to pounce on.

by moevaughn 2008-03-17 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: If He Wasn't Black

Who said this:
"If he were white...he would simply be one of nine freshmen senators, almost certainly without a multimillion-dollar book deal and a shred of celebrity. Or would he have been elected at all?"

Geraldine Ferraro?

How about Obama himself, as reported in the Chicago Tribune back in 2005 and reprinted on Obama's own website,
 here

by PadraigPearse 2008-03-17 08:24AM | 0 recs

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