Saturday, September 20, 2008

Acting White: The Elephant Lives!

In between postings and my day job, I read and write about race. It is those efforts that barely have me lift an eyebrow when a poll, like the one undertaken by Stanford, suggest that Obama is pushing a racial boulder uphill to win the White House.

While it is amazing and a testament to progress that he has gotten this far, we see that this country has a long way to go in resolving issues of race, and with it his campaign for the highest office. Leaps of progress are great, as well as are persistent baby steps, which might in this case have to suffice. Obama’s nomination may be more on par with Deval Patrick’s gubernatorial win in Massachusetts, and may simply reflect the distance the country still has to travel around race. America may be ready to elect a black man to high office, just not the highest office just yet.

Now if the Stanford poll was saying that Obama faces a challenge on issues within his control that would be one thing. However, what the poll is saying is that it is not the man as politico, but the color of his skin that turns off a significant percentage of white voters. And turns them off to the point where they will vote for a white candidate whom they otherwise oppose, except for his skin color.

Furthermore, those whites who can’t pull the lever for Obama are haunted by images of blacks as lazy, complaining, and violent, among others. To vote for him would separate them from these images they live out every day through the disparities they see. Disparities they can only explain crudely and with historical bias and ignorance. Some of that disparity reflects their own complicity, while a good deal of it sits squarely on the shoulders of blacks themselves. But in any case, Obama the man-candidate, and his bid, gets to be today’s vessel of the message that we are not yet ready (perhaps) to declare knowledge of, or victory over, racism.

But, I think we all know this – so I keep reading and writing.

James C. Collier

HT: Field Negro


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Mark Presco said...

This is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

This article also says this:

“On the other side of the racial question, the Illinois Democrat is drawing almost unanimous support from blacks, the poll shows, though that probably wouldn't be enough to counter the negative effect of some whites' views.”

I predict that the black vote will be almost entirely racist, upwards of 80% as it usually is in these situations.

The group that is the most racist in this country will be demonstrated by which group most votes their race, because everyone is a racist who wants their own race in power.

Anonymous said...

As a white male I can understand why in this case so many blacks will vote for a guy that sort of is one of theirs. To me this whole affair simply shows that mixing different cultures is by and large a bad idea. Obama wants the US to spend 50 billion dollars a year fighting poverty around the world: now that is insane.

The US is broke. We cannot save everyone on the planet.

Anonymous said...

I predict that the black vote will be almost entirely racist, upwards of 80% as it usually is in these situations.

This only makes sense if you ignore that, for the past few decades, Black voters have supported White candidates overwhelmingly, including the 2004 Democratic primary in South Carolina where Al Sharpton (a black man) came in a distant third behind John Edwards and John Kerry, respectively. If what you say is true, then Sharpton would have done a lot better in thats state because every Black voter would have voted for him. But they didn't.

To put it another way, Democrats ALWAYS get the lion's share of Black voters, whether that candidate is Black, White, Hispanic, or Asian.

And just for clarification, what "situations" are you talking about anyway? As far as I know, this is the first presidential election where a minority has the nomination of either major party.

"The group that is the most racist in this country will be demonstrated by which group most votes their race, because everyone is a racist who wants their own race in power."

If this is true, then that must mean that White Republicans are the most racist of all groups, because unlike Democrats, Republicans almost always nominate only white male candidates, which means that Republican voters know that they will always have someone white to vote for.

To put it another way, your logic on that point is entirely flawed, but I digress. To say how flawed it is would take a lot more space than I have on this blog.

James C. Collier said...

Heavy D: thanks, you said it./JC

Anonymous said...

Im not sure Id take this poll to read what Yahoo news says it does.

The poll itself revealed that 1/3 of "white Democrats" hold a negative view of blacks.

The reporter then translated this into "1/3 of white democrats wouldnt vote for obama because he is black!"

Did the poll itself ask about Obama? I tend to doubt it. It would bias the results.

The fact is Obama has spent a good chunk of his campaigning alienating middle class white men in general. How come this isnt being reported as "Obama once again annoys second largest voting block in america!" And instead its a "white men are racist and wont accept a black president"

I am quite certain that racism can and will play a role in the votes of some people, men and women. But how many people are willing to elect a man who insults, degrades and generally ignores thier interests at every opportunity? In short, whos gonna vote for an ass, no matter what the color of his skin?

John III

Anonymous said...

I've already commented on how impressive your blog is. I've noticed two things since I posted that comment: The HT at the end of each post. What does HT mean? Also, I notice that you sign each of your prints. Are these digitized photos or hand drawn. They appear to be digital; but they are quite excellent.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone mentioned that this survey was of white DEMOCRAT voters? The 'racial boulder' is not even analyzed on the Republican side. It's 1/3 of white DEMOCRATS that have 'negative reactions' to black people, according to the Associated Press.

maybe those are the bitter, bible and gun clinging people who hold on to their 'antipathy to folks who aren't like them'.

I'm not sure why the AP didn't reveal what Republicans said, if they were even polled. Perhaps those answers weren't what the AP wanted.

But if they were polled, you can BET that far less than 1/3 of white repubs have 'negative reactions' like that.

Since the early '60's, when Republicans got the Civil Rights act passed in spite of Democrat filibusters, it's been true and largely ignored that most overt racism is on the left.

Dave in Texas

James C. Collier said...

CordieB: HT is Hat Tip, or tip of the hat, a thanks/link to fellow blogger who sparked the post.

The drawings are mouse/hand-drawn in a modified stipple style. Each drawing is 15K+ individual, shaded dots. Glad you like./JC

Anonymous said...

Interesting reactions. I go with Heavy D on this. I am from South Africa and now working and living in the US. We all know our history in South Africa. But I am shocked how deeply rooted racism is in the US. Truly shocked. It is sometimes hidden and sometimes not. But it is alive and well in the US.

I see how people react on streets. The looks. The stereotyping on television. Hidden name calling. Sometimes a "them" mentality. Sometimes subtle and sometimes not.

Just an outsider perspective who have been here for 2 years.

Now people say that African Americans are sensitive about these issues... Well. That's pretty obvious. Just look around you and ask yourself why not?

Some of the subtle approaches of more "typical" Republicans are very much in line with "I don't have a problem with blacks as long as they are X, Y and Z". I.e. more like me and how I want people to be. Yeah. That's tolerant. That's open. No, that's racism you don't even see.

Just saying. I am sure some "anonymous" reader might criticise me and tell me to go back to Africa. Just one thing. I am "white".

Just saying what I see.