Saturday, September 13, 2008

Racism and Obama

Salon Article on Racism and Obama.

Here are the articles' most important points, in my opinion:

* Most people are familiar with 2 kinds of blacks: the type they see locally going to church and the type they see on the evening news carrying a stereo out the window. Obama doesn't fit into either of these categories. He's an urban, middle-class, cosmopolitan black, which just doesn't compute to some.

* Despite being bitter political rivals, so many people's thoughts of Obama are colored by Jesse Jackson.

* The assassination angle shouldn't be discounted. I'm not entirely sure why, but it's important and will pops up in lots of conversations about Obama.

* Even people that fancy themselves as progressive might not vote that way. I wonder what would happen if you polled everyone walking into Whole Foods on their voting choice and then tracked those people's actual votes once the curtain closed and they were all alone in the voting booth.

The reason I'm writing about this is a couple of incidents at work. I work in a very conservative office and normally it doesn't bug me. I end up eating venison sausage fairly often.

In recent conversations, some have discussed the assassination of Obama more frequently. I'm still trying to figure out exactly why.

But what really disturbed me was a conversation with a lifelong Democrat who was a union leader earlier in life. He told me he's voting for Nader, but I was curious why not Obama. He's said Obama's policies are probably going to be along the lines of Clinton's, he loved Bill Clinton, and he knows the Republicans are out to screw over everyone but upper crust stockholders. He's never voted for a Republican because of how he saw the unions treated in South Louisiana. He also believes that the only reason Palin was selected was because she was a pretty face and will distract people from McCain's policies and how McCain is now beholden to hard-right wing of the GOP.

Yesterday, he told me, "I'm not voting for a nigger. I know how that sounds, but I don't care anymore." Coming from someone else, I could have just brushed it off, but given his background and my respect for the man, it was like a punch to the gut. I asked him a little more, just so I could learn why and it revolved around the failings of earlier black leaders (Jesse Jackson, of course being mentioned prominently) and how blacks control the politics of most urban areas.

Here's someone who knows the political scene, but just can't bring himself to vote Obama because of the candidate's skin color.

I think Dr. King's hopes might have to wait a few more years.

1 comment:

Ray said...

People who say "nigger" don't bemoan the failure of earlier black leaders.

People who say "nigger" are just fucking racists.