8
   

Fear of a Black President

 
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 07:58 am
The only thing similar that I have experienced as a white person is when I realized that latinos were growing in huge numbers. This had NOTHING to do with race or economics, it had to do with the fact that they trend toward being highly religious and conservative. It didn't take long for me to shrug it off.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 09:23 am
I ain't askeert a no Obama . . . bring 'im on, i'll kick his butt . . . bring on his brother, too, i'll kick that sissy's butt . . .
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 09:25 am
http://www.mattbors.com/strips/400.gif
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 09:37 am
woiyo wrote:
I am not black nor white, so to me this is more racist jive.

Translation help is available:

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/zaidenwinters/airplane7a.jpg
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 09:42 am
I have said before, and it is still true for me, that I don't want a 'black' President, i.e. somebody who gets elected BECAUSE he is black any more than I want a 'white' President who gets elected BECAUSE he is white. Most of those supporting Obama have said they would not support a conservative black person and they also pooh pooh or condemn criticisms of Obama leveled by black writers/pundits/commentators whatever even as they frequently look for ways to attach the 'racist' label to white critics of Obama. At the same time I believe all who are opposing Obama have said they would have no problem voting for a Colin Powell or other qualified black candidate.

This suggests that racism may actually be finally fading from the American psyche; but the fact that the conversation continues along these lines shows that there is a consciousness of race that lingers and, unfortunately is too often made an issue.

I think many white people do resent Obama playing the race card which he does more often than most of his supporters will admit. It is irritating to have to be 'careful' in how you criticize a candidate lest you be charged with 'racist' language.

Shewolf and I are probably miles apart in ideology, but she nailed the crux of the problem here. We are all either black or white or some other shade or a mixture of all and that should not be an issue any more than hair color or eye color or genetic heritage. We should be allowed to set such inate (and unimportant) characteristics aside and deal with the Presidential candidates on equal footing with no holds barred. If Obama can stand up to that kind of campaign, he deserves to be President. If he or his supporters use race as a means to protect him from certain scrutiny, then he very well might not deserve to be President. At least we won't find out until it is too late.

I want to be able to treat everybody alike. There are some elements of society who will not allow me to do that and who seriously condemn my point of view about that. If there is any 'fear' of a black president, it is only dread of having to walk on eggshells for four to eight years. I do wish we could get beyond that.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 09:47 am
I think that we know the answer from the exit polling from the primary.....whites of certain classes from certain geographic areas will resist voting black strong enough that the vote for Obama will be depressed enough to be detected. I assume that many more will prefer that he were white, but will not feel strongly enough about it to stay away from the polling place or to vote for McCain because of race. Because we elect by electoral collage it may be that the racial component will effect the outcome, as regional variations are played up by the electoral collage process.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 09:49 am
Foxfyre wrote:

This suggests that racism may actually be finally fading from the American psyche; but the fact that the conversation continues along these lines shows that there is a consciousness of race that lingers and, unfortunately is too often made an issue.

We are all either black or white or some other shade or a mixture of all and that should not be an issue any more than hair color or eye color or genetic heritage. We should be allowed to set such inate (and unimportant) characteristics aside and deal with the Presidential candidates on equal footing with no holds barred.


Racism will never die. There are cliques and castes in every group of people on this planet. Race is simply another.

Foxfyre wrote:
I want to be able to treat everybody alike...I do wish we could get beyond that.


I don't believe this is possible; it's a pipe dream. Even in your own world, you treat people differently. You may not think you do, but I'd bet that you do. We all do. And that doesn't make it wrong; it just makes it a fact. Certain people you would never invite to a party, for example, or socialize with. That's discrimination, but not necessarily a bad thing. Just a choice. It doesn't make it wrong.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 09:59 am
Mame wrote:
Foxfyre wrote:

This suggests that racism may actually be finally fading from the American psyche; but the fact that the conversation continues along these lines shows that there is a consciousness of race that lingers and, unfortunately is too often made an issue.

We are all either black or white or some other shade or a mixture of all and that should not be an issue any more than hair color or eye color or genetic heritage. We should be allowed to set such inate (and unimportant) characteristics aside and deal with the Presidential candidates on equal footing with no holds barred.


Racism will never die. There are cliques and castes in every group of people on this planet. Race is simply another.

Foxfyre wrote:
I want to be able to treat everybody alike...I do wish we could get beyond that.


I don't believe this is possible; it's a pipe dream. Even in your own world, you treat people differently. You may not think you do, but I'd bet that you do. We all do. And that doesn't make it wrong; it just makes it a fact. Certain people you would never invite to a party, for example, or socialize with. That's discrimination, but not necessarily a bad thing. Just a choice. It doesn't make it wrong.


In my value system, if I didn't invite somebody to a social gathering because s/he was of a different race or a different sexual orientation or a different religion or a different political party etc., that would be a bad thing and it would be wrong. Consequently, social gatherings at my house usually include a pretty eclectic group.

I don't invite people that I considered to be 'a-holes' or 'scumbags' or ' 'socially inept idiots' or otherwise unpleasant company. I defend that kind of discrimination and it has absolutely nothing to do with race, religion,etc.

I honestly do try to treat everybody the same as they deserve to be treated. In my world, a person's race doesn't determine how he or she should be treated. His/her behavior does. And somehow, I would guess that you are more like me in that respect than not, Mame.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 10:08 am
Well, I guess if you've always felt a sense of security and social power, because the head honcho in the White House looked like you, you might feel a tad uncertain about your place in the scheme of things if the Big Guy were black, or of mixed racial heritage.

But, I doubt that that transient sense of unease will last very long. The same thing might have troubled that man if Hillary Clinton were the candidate. I'm sure he wants equality for women too, but an actual female Commander-In-Chief might have left him a little unsettled and less secure in his sense of his masculine power.

Change, as exciting as it can be, also generates anxiety, for all of us. Fear of the unknown, having to readjust one's perceptions, reappraisal of how we think of ourselves and others, etc. All change is disruptive, to some extent, even if very minor, so we just feel more comfortable with the status quo.

As a female, I've never had a President who really looked like me. Obama still looks more like every other President, to me, than Hillary Clinton looked. In terms of social power, at that level, gender overrides race in my mind. Even though I'm white, I've never felt like a member of the ruling class. A black man also sat on the Supreme Court long before a woman joined that group.

What had been a predominantly White Anglo-Saxon Protestant country, with WASP leaders to match, has undergone changes in the various corridors of power as our national social structure has evolved. When JFK ran for the presidency people were nervous about where he would place his alligiance. As a Catholic, would he answer to the Vatican or to the American people? Would the Pope be calling the shots on our foreign policy? Even though Kennedy was Christian, he was a different kind of Christian. When Adlai Stevenson, the first divorced man to run for President, was on the ballot, people were nervous about what the ex-wife of a President might say or do, some opposed a divorced man on religious reasons, and still others were just nervous about putting a divorced man in the White House because that was something different. We no longer get hysterical about the thought of a Catholic in the White House, and the current Republican nominee is a divorced man. As such things become more familiar, our anxieties about them decrease.

In the case of Barack Obama, not just his skin color, but his name and his background is generating (or feeding) anxieities i.e. is he a Muslim? His name, Barack Hussein Obama, is so different and foreign when compared with the more usual Tom, Dick or Harry names our Presidents usually go by. Does this mean he's unpatriotic or he's Un-American, i.e. not really "one of us"? Was he really born in the United States?

As voters get to know Obama better, and focus on what he is saying, I think these other, irrelevant, and superficial, issues will just fade away for most people.

Except for those who truly harbor racial prejudice, I'm not sure Obama will lose many votes simply based on the color of his skin. I also, personally, do not think he should get any votes simply based on the color of his skin.

But, this is an historic campaign. If Obama is elected, our President will have a slightly different look than his predecessors. Since that does reflect our social progress as a nation, it is something that most of us will feel quite good about, even if some feel uncomfortable with it at first.

Howver, because of the cancerous pockets of racism in our society, and the vehemence of that hatred, I am deeply concerned about the possibiity of an assassination attempt on Obama. I lived through the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. I am always aware that it could happen again--particularly to those who are seen as threatening the social order. It is a thought I find deeply unsettling and troubling. Only last year, we had a rash of nooses suddenly appearing in various parts of the country, as a threatening statement of racial hatred. There are those who will never accept a black man as President, and they are the ones I really worry about.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 10:09 am
Mame wrote:

Racism will never die. There are cliques and castes in every group of people on this planet. Race is simply another.
.


No, there is not a need (rational or irrational) to categorize by race, we choose to do so and can choose not to do so. The Ottoman Empire is an example from history that proves that your argument is false. For more info See:

here
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 10:14 am
Sorry, but I'm not interested in reading 10 pages. Would you summarize it for me?
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 10:17 am
Snood wrote:
White people of A2K: Please read and respond as honestly as you can to this blog by a writer named Seth Grahame-SmithÂ…


I agree with the author right up to the point where he states he's scared of a black president.

It is easier to be white in the US. I'm damn aware of how lucky I am that a) I was born in the US, b) I was born into a middle-class family, c) my mother didn't drink or smoke while she was pregnant, d) I had a decent upbringing, and e) that I'm white.

I've listed that in what is my opinion of the order of their importance.

IMO socio-economic status opens a lot more doors than race. Among people of equal socio-economic status, being white makes things easier.
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 11:01 am
I'm not familiar with Mr. Seth Graham Smith, the author of the piece Snood used to introduce this topic. However I do believe he indulged in some rather extreme acts of projection, implying that he was uniquely able in this piece to accurately describe the inner motivations of many others, as the relate to the present moment and the Obama candidacy.

While his writing of it was descriptive and skillful, I found - even after a good deal of introspection - that very little of it applies to me, and that he is himself indulging in some of the same stereotyping that he criticizes. This may merely confirm some of the prejudgements of others, but I ask them too to think twice about the matter.

I am the son of poor immigrants from Ireland whose parents left that country during a period of revolution and civil war and came here with nothing but themselves (and lots of young children). In growing up I never felt identified with the "white establishment" in this country: WASP was an epithet that we clearly knew did not apply to us. The image of the historical slave-owning class in the South, with all its pretensions of aristocracy, was uncannily similar to that of the hateful absentee English landlords who constituted the "oppressor class" in the mythology of my upbringing.

I also grew up in an ethnic stew populated with easily identifiable Irish, Polish, German, Italian, Jewish, Syrian (as we called them then - later I discovered they were Iraqis), Greek, Chinese, and Negro (that's what they were called then) people, as well as a growing group of "hillbillies"- transplants from Tennessee, West Virginia & Kentucky seeking jobs and prosperity in the industrial city . Surrounding us all were "them" - the ubiquitous, but rarely seen, WASP ruling class. No one I new answered the question "What are you?" with "American" - instead it was always one of the above labels (except for the hillbillies).

There was lots of clannishness and tribal intolerance; epithets of various sorts for all other groups were commonly used; and occasional gang fights among the young. It didn't go very deep however, and little of it lasted through the subsequent generation. The problem was, in my view, qualitatively the same for "Negroes", but deeper and more lasting. I put that down to the simple physical fact of skin color and the ease of identification for both sides, and to some social pathologies involving family structure and crime that began infecting Black culture in a strange but extensive way in the 1950s. The result, I believe is that a transformation that took a generation (or at most two) for others, will take three or four them (and we are at least half way through it now).

Ultimately the transformation involves the recognition and acceptance of the observable facts that we are all human beings with the same set of strengths & weaknesses, that the similarities among the various groups far outweigh the differences, and that the differences among individuals of all groups far outweighs the supposed differences between the groups. In short, that the labels don't really matter much.

I believe that a central part of Obama's political appeal is that in his rhetoric and in his public behavior he manages to evoke this elementary truth in a very persuasive way - the labels just don't mean very much, and the important issues before us affect us all more or less equally. ( No doubt his candidacy is, in addition, particularly exciting and satisfying to Blacks - just as was the candidacy of John F. Kennedy to Irish Catholics a generation ago.) However, I believe the central appeal, noted above, is a rare thing in American politics and the central reason for his remarkable appeal - among both Blacks and Whites. I find it very persuasive and appealing as well.

I also find myself rather put off by his embrace of the more or less conventional doctrines of the left wing of the Democrat Party. Example: He is all for investment in elementary & secondary education for everyone (something I support), but, sadly, adheres to the political demands of a corrupt educational establishment, led by the NEA and the American Teachers unions, that accountability for teachers and schools based on objective measures of performance be flatly rejected. Similarly I find him unfortunately a prisoner of the foolish prejudices of various environmental lobbies: his argument that permitting the development of petroleum deposits offshore and in Alaska "won't reduce gas prices for 15 years" is flatly deceptive and false. Even in the analysis provided by the environmentalists it WILL reduce prices in the 16th year, and I know that the prospect of it will alter market behavior well in advance of that. I could go on...

So I will probably vote against Obama. However, I will do so for these reasons. At the same time I recognize that he represents a very good thing in the ultimate resolution of the racial divide that affects America. (a phrase that is a bit misleading in that we are one of the few countries in the world that is actually trying to overcome this aspect of human behavior).
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 11:11 am
I think Seth's piece hits so close to home for many whites, and especially men, that you will not or you cannot admit it. Or, as he says, it's in the DNA. Too deep to acknowledge. On more than one level.

You will overcome. Smile Got my fingers crossed.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 11:18 am
eoe wrote:
I think Seth's piece hits so close to home for many whites, and especially men, that you will not or you cannot admit it. Or, as he says, it's in the DNA. Too deep to acknowledge. On more than one level.

You will overcome. Smile Got my fingers crossed.


Laughing Dare to hope!
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 11:37 am
eoe wrote:

You will overcome. Smile Got my fingers crossed.


<grin>
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 12:26 pm
eoe wrote:
Or, as he says, it's in the DNA. Too deep to acknowledge.

Anyone else see the irony of blaming racism on DNA?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry, frankly.
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kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 12:36 pm
snood wrote:
kuvasz wrote:
snood wrote:
I don't know about anyone else's experience kuvasz, but the blacks I talk to about Obama's candidacy don't see him as bougeois at all. The impression I get is that he is seen as a strong, family-oriented black man, and quite frankly a breath of fresh air.


you're educated, aren't you big guy, and circulate within that realm? try talking to the working class and poor black men and women with whom i come in contact. they don't call obama a Tom, but they suspect that if push comes to shove obama will side with the current economic powers as opposed to them, and not simply because he is a half-white-black man but because he is a part of the economic elite.


I'm in the Army, and the blacks I see on a regular are not all what one would tend to refer to as educated... I talk to all kinds of folks - the housekeeping crew, and the black LTC (lieutenant colonel) who is temporarily serving as chief of his section - all kinds. My perception is that Obama is overall well thought of...


yes..... "a real credit to his race," but on whitey's side when you get down to the lick log. and that is what white people fail to understand when they bash him with subtle strains of racism. actually, he is on the side of the economically enfranchised, not the economic underclass which blacks populate in percentage in far excess of whites. as if his recent stances on NAFTA and FISA aren't par for the course.

frankly, like michelle obama i am really proud that we have a person of color with superior intellect within grasp of the white house, but i don't think it will be nearly that important if he acts without recognizing the special circumstances that face black men and women in the country. he might well be president but that doesn't mean that if puts on a basaball cap and drives a car through central georgia at night it will prevent him from getting "stopped while driving black."

we, as a nation still have a long way to go, but it is a fine start, finally.

and thank you for your service to the nation.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 01:18 pm
Quote:
yes..... "a real credit to his race," but on whitey's side when you get down to the lick log.


I think that's a mischaracterization - at least of the opinions of those I've talked to and know. And it's certainly not my take on him, either.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jun, 2008 01:20 pm
eoe wrote:
I think Seth's piece hits so close to home for many whites, and especially men, that you will not or you cannot admit it. Or, as he says, it's in the DNA. Too deep to acknowledge. On more than one level.

You will overcome. Smile Got my fingers crossed.


generalization.
0 Replies
 
 

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