Sorry but Obama is an American with a white mother and African father who happens to be Black . . .

It is not racist to point out that Obama is black or to reference that as FACT.  However, it does carry a hint of racism to assume that every elective accomplishment Obama had was the result of his race.

I would like to address a topic that is dear to my heart and was recently the topic of criticism by a fellow mydd diarist.  I would like to talk about Obama's "all things black" disease bestowed upon him by the MSM, Al Sharpton, some in the black community, non-black liberal skeptics, the liberal establishment and even some of our fellow peers in the netroots.

No one is fascinated with the idea of simply electing a black president and that includes members of the black community.  We all understand that the majority of the American population is predominantly white and an unfortunate side effect of that is a tendency to elect officials who look like yourself.  This extends into every facet of life where there is a single race that predominantly makes up that facet.

Take for example rap music and golfing.  Rap music is a predominantly black art form while golfing is populated by predominantly caucasian players.  However, one of the most talented and high selling rappers is white (Eminem) and one of the best golfers to come along in a long while is black (Tiger Woods).  I doubt that rap, which has been particularly harsh to white rappers until the eminem era, was looking to just buy a white rapper album.  Blacks recognize he was white but they also recognize that he was extremely talented and spoke in such a way that gave his music an inclusive feel that both blacks and whites could enjoy.

Tiger Woods is another classic example of someone who did not get to where he was because he was black.  We recognize his accomplishment considerably since there has never been a black to do it before him.  However, Tigers lucrative endorsements is the result of extremely hard work and talent that both blacks and whites recognize.

Barack Obama is a great candidate who happens to be black and not a Black candidate who happens to be great.  You may ask well what is the distinction. The idea is that our America did not go searching every Black citizen to find a Black candidate qualified for the presidency.  During the 2004 democratic national convention, America stumbled upon an unknown state senator who gave a riveting speech that shook the core of our democracy.  After the total domination of conservative values that followed Jimmy Carter's defeat, this single 2004 speech reignited the democratic soul that was thought to be buried under Ronald Reagan's legacy.  This speech sparked a longing for the kind of vision America wants from its next president.  The candidate that emerged from that longing happens to be Barack Obama who just happens to be Black.

When I listen to Obama during the 2004 DNC, I heard an inspiring AMERICAN presidential contender.  When I listen to Obama's 2002 Iraq war analysis, I heard an analytically thoughtful state senator who would make a great AMERICAN president.  When I listen to Obama debate Alan Keyes on the merits of pro choice, I heard an upcoming US senator who could cloak democratic values into the fabric of mainstream arguments and thought to myself, "gosh he would make a great AMERICAN president."

Obama is not a light weight, empty suit, substance lacker, magic negro, halfrican, empty rhetoric, dumbo looking, black enough, white enough, general platitudes spoutin', stand for nothing, bipartisan compromiser that the MSM, non-Black liberal elitists, and some of the netroots blogging community try to make him out to be.  We only recognize that he is Black because of this.

Ultimately, when we as a people stop looking at the black book on the shelf as unreadable material do we then find that the contents of the book makes for great reading.

I just finished my last one and it was entitled, The Barack Obama presidency.

Tags: Barack Obama, black, president (all tags)



Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

Well said, I thoroughly agree that Obama is a great candidate who happens to be black.  

I do, however, believe that it would be extremely naive to think that race does not affect his candidacy. His multi-racial background creates both opportunities and obstacles. If he can win the support of a substantial majority of the African-American vote he has a very real chance to win the nomination.  

He also faces perceptions that make it a more difficult journey.  A few are bothered by his race and will say so.  More are bothered, but will say nothing, he simply faces a tougher road to win their votes.  Some will hesitate to vote for him because they fear he is not electable. Others will have their judgement of his candidacy influenced by assumptions and even by sub-conscious stereotypes.

The meme about "the only reason he is in the race is because he is black."  Seems to be based on racist assumptiions.  If Obama wins, I believe it will be because he is so strong a candidate with such a timely message that he can overcome the barrier.

by upper left 2007-05-12 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

Tough to read post but regrettably very true.  I am confident that if there is anybody who could do it, it would be Obama.

by lovingj 2007-05-12 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

I also believe that it is more important that he win a substantial number of the white American vote to have a significant chance of winning.  I strongly believe that whites have reservations about voting for him because of two reasons.  First reason is that I believe that this group may feel that a candidate of another race may not entirely share their core of concerns and values.  Finally, a bigger part of their reservation relies on the big unknown of "those other whites" who we believe will just not vote for a black candidate.  Unfortunately, this reservation is the most damning because it is used as a justification not to vote for him.  Ironically, not voting for him based on this justification essentially makes you part of the justification itself.

These are all my personal feelings on the issue and obviously not based on fact.  I think the trickly down effect of all this is that there are Blacks who would not vote for him because they think whites will not give him the time of day.

The whole problem is that everyone is relying on assumptions of other groups and/or individuals.  Barack Obama's greatest asset, however, is the ability to get those who hear and really listen to think in their own box.  Ultimately, if enough voters do this then he will put off the greatest feat in American history.

Call me naive but I am in the group that thinks it will happen and my vote in the 2008 primaries will reflect that.

by lovingj 2007-05-12 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier
some won't vote for him because they think he is unelectable bacause of his race.
However, to assume this is what will keep him from being electable.  If people would just go with who they want and not overthink things, they may find he is very electable.
Ilinois is not a completely blue state. It's more purple.  But he won 70% and is very much supported here.  All groups support him.  it's stupid to assume and then pass on a good candidate rather than work to get him elected.
by vwcat 2007-05-12 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

I share your enthusiasm and totally agree with your argument.  I just hope that its contagious and until the democratic nominee is picked, I am going stand by my assumption that it is true.

by lovingj 2007-05-12 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

What is true.  Yours or my argument?? lol.

by vwcat 2007-05-12 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

Yours because I like it better.  Yours is more optimistic but I wanted to try to be objective in addressing upper left's concerns.

I think, as most supporters have found out, that when you really listen to what the guy is capable of, you go into state of colorblindness.  Naive or not, race should not be a factor in anyone's vote.  The two of us saying this is not naive because we are leading by example.

by lovingj 2007-05-12 07:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier
I have found that many white people are not as racist as is thought.  Yes, there are still many as evidenced by the Secret Service detail but, most white I know, at least, are not racist.  
We voted in 1990 a Black mayor and he won overwhelmingly.  He finally retired as the only way not to keep getting reelected.  He remains very popular.  Voting for black politicians just is not a big deal.  I think the media is making it so.  Whites do not sit in the voting booth and think "mm, do I really want to vote for this guy.  he's black afterall"
by vwcat 2007-05-12 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

The idea that he is unelectable because he is black (which some of my friends have argued) is silly.  People who would not vote for a black person are people who are not inclined to vote for a Democrat anyway.  Same for Hillary- people who wouldn't vote for a woman probably wouldn't vote for a Democrat in most situations.  Mitt Romney is facing a different problem, because protestants, who make up the core of the Republican Party, are more likely to discriminate against Mormons.  For example, here in Oregon we have a Mormon senator and a Jewish senator, and the faith of either of them is almost never brought up, and isn't an issue.  Oregon also has the lowest church-going rate in the country, IIRC, so I'd say it's because we don't give a shit about what religion anyone is of.  So Romney will have a hard time with his base, I would predict, and a harder time in an election than Barack or Hillary because the people who are more likely to discriminate are more likely vote Republican.  It wouldn't hurt Barack or Hillary, but it would be difficult for Romney to hold onto a Christian base some of which doesn't even consider him a Christian.

by jallen 2007-05-12 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

Good argument.

by lovingj 2007-05-12 07:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

very true.  good observations.

by vwcat 2007-05-12 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

It is a good argument but there were some discouraging results in 2006. Many of the narrow House defeats, including several districts I was confident about, were lost by Democratic women. There were diaries on Kos and elsewhere that evaluated it, with some speculation that people were less likely to vote for women in competitive races during a time of war. Maybe I'm overly concerned about it because I watched three narrow defeats here in Nevada -- Tessa Hafen, Jill Derby plus Dina Titus in the gov race.

by Gary Kilbride 2007-05-12 11:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier
Democratic women running against Republican men tend to lose.  We experienced this in Oregon in 2002, when 5 or six Democratic women ran against Republican men in state house races, and all of the women lost.  It is something I would worry about, but it looks like Hillary is a strong candidate against the particular Republican men, who all have potentially fatal flaws.
  1.  Rudy Giuliani is too authoritarian for the blue states and too liberal for the red ones.
  2.  John McCain committed political suicide when he tied Iraq around his own neck.
  3.  Multiple-Choice Mitt is a slick big-city New England liberal, and a Mormon.
  4.  Fred Thompson is a generic Republican, and generic Republicans are losing 52-37 right now.
by jallen 2007-05-12 11:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is great, but he does face a barrier

Of the assumed people who will vote based primarily on race. Will their be more voting for Obama or against him?
George Will and Stephanopous brought this point up today and agreed more would vote for Obama due to his race than against, because it will make them "feel good". Wow! I thought. Not that those two have much cred in speaking for the 'people' but the comment on the Sunday show was indicative of a major paradigm shift in 'ms' perspectives.

I can't imagine Will ever, for any other candidate, ever, suggesting people voting pro black would out number opposition to a minority president. But he just did. And I suggest it's because Will percieves Obama's political acumen as eclipsing his color.

by fisheye 2007-05-13 07:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry but Obama is an American with a white mo
You simply amaze me with your writing.  You have said it all in very gifted words.
I find the argument that people are supporting Sen. Obama because he is black.  only.
This is like saying all women are fascinated by Hillary and she is only a candidate because she is a woman.
I am white.  I have no guilt.  I like what my sentor has to say, the way he says it and the way he makes people want to be involved.  I like many things about this candidate who happens to be very qualified to be president.  He knows and respects the constitution, civil rights, and is far more gifted than other politicians.  He has a powerful intellect and is thoughtful enough to think things through and not go off like the idiot in the White House now.  He isn't going to just bomb away to show he is tough or pander or posture.
The man who was a state senator and is now a US senator and the presidential candidate that some say would not be a contender except he is black, is the same one who wrote and delivered that stunning speech in 04.  
by vwcat 2007-05-12 06:47PM | 0 recs
Excellent Argument

I can hardly add anything more because you covered it all as well as others who responded. You are indeed, an amazing writer. If I were to add anything, I guess it would be wvcat's rejection of the notion that people vote for Obama based on his race. I am a Black Female and I can assure everyone that I did not struggle within my soul trying to decided between Hillary ( Woman ) and Obama ( Black ). My choice was clear. While all democratic candidates will be talking about the same thing , I trust that Barack Obama will keep the promises he makes on the campaign trail. It's trust, not race or gender that determines who I support.

by ObamaEdwards2008 2007-05-13 06:03AM | 0 recs
I have to disagree...

I think his race has played a part in his becoming a major candidate.  I think that most people when they eventually decide whether or not to vote for him will decide based upon other issues, but he has been so intriguing to many people based on the fact that he is black.

The comparison of a presidential candidate to a rap artist is one that makes sense, however a presidential candidate cannot be compared to golfer.  Both rap and politics involve public perception, "votes" even, rappers need people to buy their music and politicians need votes.  A golfer just needs to be good at what he does.

I don't think it is a bad thing about Obama that he became a major candidate because he is black.  If that was the only thing he had going for him that would be a problem, but it isn't.  I also don't think that it is necessarily a bad thing that Clinton got a boost off of her husband.  Both candidates will have to, and have, gotten past that being their appeal.

It is unrealistic to say that either of the two top candidates got to where they are today without the aid of something rather superficial, it would be equally unrealistic that either could be nominated on those grounds.  If either Clinton or Obama receives the nomination it will be through their own hard work.

by Obama08 2007-05-13 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: I have to disagree...

"but he has been so intriguing to many people based on the fact that he is black."

As opposed to non intriguing black people? \

His race is a novelty for his stature but the fact of his stature is not due to his race.

Elvis wasn't so famous because he was white. His race was just a novelty to his lyrical prowess.

by fisheye 2007-05-13 07:47PM | 0 recs
You miss the mark for two reasons

1) Obama is relying heavily on the African American vote.  His speech in Selma was a biggie and South Carolina is looking like a must win for him.  If he allows HillC to stay remotely close in the African American vote, he is toast.

2) While some of may seperate the candidate from his race, others will not.  Whether it is certain activists on the Democratic side or the likes of people who Harold Ford had to tangle with ("Call me"), race is an issue.

by dpANDREWS 2007-05-13 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: You miss the mark for two reasons

"Relying"? Or he wants their votes like every other candidate?

by fisheye 2007-05-13 07:43PM | 0 recs
You miss the mark for two reasons

1. So are they all.

2. Most who will tend to vote against him because of his race wouldn't vote for a Democrat anyway. Most who might tend to vote for him because of his race would probably have voted Democrat anyway.

So what was your point?

by Mystylplx 2007-05-14 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry but Obama is an American with a white mo

Simply having a black or female president would do a  lot of good for this country in my opinion.  

In many ways the president is the figurehead of the country and the image of the president shapes the country somewhat in my opinion.

However Obama is simply an exceptional candidate.  

by sterra 2007-05-13 05:22PM | 0 recs


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