The Subject of Race: A Personal Perspective
by LadyEagle, Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:17:06 PM EDT
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.