The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

As painful as it is, one cannot live in the USA and not talk about race. Whether we like it or not, it is either the elephant in the room or is smouldering beneath the surface. As a black professional who happens to be a Hillary supporter, I have few black friends who understand why I support Hillary. I mostly talk politics with my children or some of my white friends. My daughters have married men from all races and we speak openly about the subject.

A few years ago my secretary was mistaken for my boss just by virtue of our skin color. I have been called every name in the book because of something I cannot change. Recently I have been looked at in strange ways because I support a candidate who I think is more experienced. I am not against someone I am for someone. It has gotten so bad that I am now considered a "negro" because I am beholden to "the white man."

Racism is not going to go away any time soon, but for every white person that has been mean-spirited, belittling and racist to me, I have found ten who are not. There are also prejudiced people within my race. When one of my daughters started dating a white man, whom she later married, one family went ballistic on how we were denying our race. My daughter was considered an Oreo cookie.

We onced lived in a predominantly white neighborhood where my husband and I were constantly stopped and harrassed by the police because we didn't belong. I have no blinders on about our culture. I happen to think that America is the best place on earth, but there are times when I do believe that it is with "liberty and justice for some." This is not just a black problem; it is an American problem. People who are black, poor or immigrant are sometimes treated as less than human or down right invisible. This is entrenched in the very fabric of our make-up, and if we do not treat it as a festering boil than needs to be lanced and purged we are going regress much farther than we were before this primary season.

There are some who believe that Sen. Obama does not deserve to be POTUS solely because he is black. There are others who feel that it is okay to vote for him because he is not really black because his mother is white and his father was not born as a black man in this country. Both premises are incorrect. There are some that think that Sen. Clinton deserves to be president because it is her turn, or because she has been through a great deal, or because she is a woman.  Some think she should not be president because she needs to pay for the sins of her husband. These are also false premises. Each candidate should rise or fall on their judgment and their experience, and the will of the people.

It is an inherently fallacious argument to say that race and gender should not be a part of the election discourse when both candidates embody race and gender. The dilemma we face is how to approach the issue without alienating each other. This election season has made it patently clear that we are not one people, nor are we a melting pot. Some of us are trying to reach those lofty goals. We are just not there yet. I do believe that we have more that makes us cohesive than that which divides us.

The pain of racism lives with me like a bad dream. The pain of being pre-judged because of what I look like and not who I really am. However, I have made great friends and business associates of all races and colors who give me great hope for our future, knowing that someday even if it is not in my lifetime this conversation will seem like a relic.

For those who wish to comment on this diary, it was written from a personal perspective. I don't presume to be arrogant enough to speak for all black people. I will be willing to answer questions on the issues I raise to the best of my ability. I will however ignore insults to either candidate because this diary is not about divisiveness, it is about healing. If anyone takes issue with any statement that was made please frame your comments or questions in a respectful manner so we may have meaningful dialogue. I will be able to start answering questions in about an hour from the posting.

I was asked what I thought of Sen. Obama's speech. I think it was a very good speech that was done from the heart, but I do think I still question why he remained at that church for the length of time he did. His pastor was always controversial. The part I disagree was when he tried to equate the Gerry Ferraro issue with his own. That, in my opinion was totally disingenious. Both are two totally different issues. One can argue that Ms. Ferraro could have said it better, but he had a twenty year relationship with this pastor. Apples and orange.

Tags: gender, Politics, race (all tags)

Comments

14 Comments

Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  

by TomP 2008-03-18 12:20PM | 0 recs
This is a beautiful diary

and I think you speak from the same feelings I have.  Thank you for sharing this!

by cjbardy 2008-03-18 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

Great! I will recommend this diary...you sound like a courageous woman who gives people the benefit of the doubt...remember that there are two kinds of people in this world: decent and indecent!

by client8 2008-03-18 12:25PM | 0 recs
Great diary and thank you for sharing

My family is mostly white, Irish and French but we have black cousins-in -law and I have a Korean grandson. I think that is more the norm than not.

Racism is alive and well even in day care centers as another child told my grandson he had banana eyes and it devastated me. But other asian people have also said odd things to his adopted mom. My cousin married a black guy and has 4 boys yet her dad is still un-accepting yet most of the family love the guys.

I think the more a person lives in a diverse community the better things are between the races, but it's still seems one step at a time.

I have chosen Hillary because I feel she is ready. Barack has always been my second choice as both candidates will empower vasts groups of people who have never truly been empowered. I do wish Barack would wait until the next cycle as I honestly believe a few more years as a good senator will be better for him and the rest of us.

by roseeriter 2008-03-18 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

Thank you for sharing. I felt the sincerity.

by latinfighter 2008-03-18 12:28PM | 0 recs
Today...

Has without a doubt been the best day of diaries here in a very long time.  I really wish more of these kind had managed to make the recc list.  

by Brillobreaks 2008-03-18 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

Please write more, LadyEagle, much more.

I'm curious as to your thoughts on Obama's speech earlier today?

by OrangeFur 2008-03-18 12:49PM | 0 recs
Nice diary!

by lombard 2008-03-18 01:37PM | 0 recs
Very sincere and well-written. Thanks for posting.
by sricki 2008-03-18 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

OrangeFur,
In answer to your question  I think Sen. Obama did the best that he could do from both a political and personal point of view. I do think he has opened up a great dialogue for the many, both black and white, who are still struggling with the issue of race.

Having said that, I think he should have followed the example of Oprah and other folks who left because of the way Rev. Wright preached. So although it was a good speech I think it was made because the polls showed his favorability rating going down.

by LadyEagle 2008-03-18 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

Thank you for a thoughtful diary.  

While I'd love to have a woman president (or a minority president or a gay president, etc.), I didn't always want Hillary to be the one.  When I started to look into platforms, experience, and temperament of all the candidates, to my surprise I found myself in favor of her.  It's critical for me to know that I'm supporting her because she would make the best president, not simply because she is a woman.

by Montague 2008-03-18 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

My sentiments exactly. I started off with Biden and when he dropped out I did one of those find your candidate surveys. it turned out that Hillary was my candidate and I am sticking with her and praying that she wins the nomination.

by LadyEagle 2008-03-18 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

I think this is a great diary.

A very heartfelt diary, Thank You.

by nikkid 2008-03-18 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective

We need to keep the conversation alive. MLK said that if we don't live together like brothers we will perish together as fools.

by LadyEagle 2008-03-18 07:07PM | 0 recs

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