If He Wasn't Black
by Forgiven, Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 05:52:38 AM EDT
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