34
   

"Just Because He's Black"

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 07:50 pm
Our family is divided on partisan lines, but all the other conservative can really be proud of what happened here, the history that is being made. While much of the carnivale going on in DC is over the top, I am very deeply moved.

I have one relative who can not be excited about Obama's win. She says if it was a conservative black man, she would be. She feels that appreciating his election 'just because he's black' would in and of itself be racist (I know we have plenty of people here who share her sentiment). While I understand where she's coming from, I know in my gut that it isn't a truism.

Can anyone help me sort it all out? It has to do, in my mind, with the imbalance of power and the long hard history that got us where we are now. It's not just because he's black, it's because we, WE, came together and voted for him. And we did that less than one lifetime away from the passage of civil rights.
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:03 pm
Colin Powell gave a talk on this today. It is on CSPAN if you're able to view it. It's 33 minutes.

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/watch.aspx?ProgramId=HP-A-40257

It addresses your query specifically about 18 minutes into it. (Happen to be listening to it again as I type.)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:07 pm
I don't understand what you want here, Li'l Kay--i would say that he was not elected "just because he's black." I'd say he was elected because the electorate thought he was the best choice. He won just a sliver of a tenth of a percentage point less than 53% of the vote, with well over 60% of eligible voters casting ballots. Why does his race have anything to do with that? Do you think people voted for him in order to render historic justice to blacks? Did you vote on that basis?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:11 pm
@littlek,
The Republicans failed. They are at a low ebb politically here and the public wanted something other than they. Any reputable Democrat was almost certain to win. I believe Obama got the nomination mainly because he carried less baggage than his closest competitor, not because of his skin color. There are certainly those who voted for his color, but not in sufficient numbers to carry the day.
0 Replies
 
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:11 pm
I think a real smart A2ker once said
Quote:
It's not just because he's black, it's because we, WE, came together and voted for him. And we did that less than one lifetime away from the passage of civil rights.


Joe(and she got it right)Nation
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:13 pm
We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude...

TJ
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:17 pm
@littlek,
It's kind of a tough one, really.

I think it sort of depends on how terrible one believes a person will be for the country, I suppose.

I think it ought to be relatively easy to separate the symbol of progress from the actual person, and recognize the value of the symbol...and, as you say..celebrate that the country got together and did it.

But...if you really feel he is a Bad Thing, I think it would be hard to celebrate.

I guess an analogy for me would be the nuance of reaction to Maggie Thatcher's election.

Some feminists took the view that it was a Good Thing, even if she was a horror...others that it was silly to celebrate the election of such a person, even if she was a black, disabled lesbian.

For myself, I could appreciate the symbol while deploring the choice....but could not really celebrate...

It's a bit like, I guess, the thread Lash opened years ago accusing any "liberal" who was not cheering Condi Rice's appointment of being racist. (Though an appointment is less relevant to your point than an election.)


I was pleased to see a black woman in such a position, but was not able to celebrate the appointment, for a lot of reasons, really.

I do not think it racist to be pleased to see a black person elected to such a position, because there is such a genuine history of terrible trauma and discrimination.

I DO, however, think it racist to vote for someone, or celebrate their victory, ONLY because they are white.

That sounds really weird, but I think it has something to do with the real power whites have exerted re black people in the USA (and elsewhere) historically.

Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:19 pm
@littlek,
I get why some people say that. Whether or not being black helped or hurt him initially is debatable. I think the initial buzz about him wouldn't have been the same if he were a more typical candidate overall (including color), but at the same time he faced prejudice over it as well.

To me, I'm not sure whether or not his race helped or hurt in the grand scheme of things, and I'm certainly not going to minimize his victory by saying that's the only reason why he won. He's one of the more skilled politicians I've seen in my lifetime. But early in his candidacy I too wondered if he'd have been there if he looked like the average politician. How well could he have campaigned on change if he were typical.

I'll never know, but I do think it helped him initially, but don't think that's the only reason he got where he is. If someone thinks that he won just because he was black then ask if they think that any random black person would have won.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:20 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I don't understand what you want here, Li'l Kay--i would say that he was not elected "just because he's black." I'd say he was elected because the electorate thought he was the best choice. He won just a sliver of a tenth of a percentage point less than 53% of the vote, with well over 60% of eligible voters casting ballots. Why does his race have anything to do with that? Do you think people voted for him in order to render historic justice to blacks? Did you vote on that basis?


For me it is not that about electing him because he is black (which I agree was not the case, and which I think would have been a nutso thing to do if one thought him to be a bad candidate)...it is about him not having been NOT elected because he is black...that is, racism did not PREVENT his election.

THAT, I think, is a damn worthy thing to celebrate.
Diest TKO
 
  3  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:20 pm
@littlek,
littlek wrote:

Our family is divided on partisan lines, but all the other conservative can really be proud of what happened here, the history that is being made. While much of the carnivale going on in DC is over the top, I am very deeply moved.

I got a phone call from my ultra conservative friend today. He's super excited for the innogoration. I think that many people outside of the traditional democrat crowd feel good about things.

It is a carnival here too. That much is true. I'm moved too, and that's why I can't wait for all the campy **** to end. "Yes we can" is not a bumper sticker, it's a promise, I hope others realize their part in that promise.
littlek wrote:

I have one relative who can not be excited about Obama's win. She says if it was a conservative black man, she would be. She feels that appreciating his election 'just because he's black' would in and of itself be racist (I know we have plenty of people here who share her sentiment). While I understand where she's coming from, I know in my gut that it isn't a truism.

No, it's not a truism. The history of non-whites oppression is real, and the relief and hope that it brings to people to see us elect a non-white person is real as well. It's not a trivial matter, and it's not racism. Hell, it's not even about him being black! Seeing Obama elected gives hope to more than just the black community, but all minority communities. Forget how the media frames it, we're free to feel how we want about it.

Forgive me, but had your family member told me this, I would have promptly told them they were off base. Those that think that this kind of jubilation is inherent racism don't know **** about racism and have never been on the business end of racism either. Racism is the suppression of a group not the promotion of one. The celebration election of a half white, half black man is far from the oppression of anyone. In short: I think your family member just doesn't get it.
littlek wrote:

Can anyone help me sort it all out? It has to do, in my mind, with the imbalance of power and the long hard history that got us where we are now. It's not just because he's black, it's because we, WE, came together and voted for him. And we did that less than one lifetime away from the passage of civil rights.

littlek, don't burden yourself too much with this. Remember this, despite what many said about him being defined by race, in the last day, in the voting both, we both are probably pretty sure that the votes cast for him were based on his politics, not his skin. Certainly, his racial identity played into his life and the development of his character even his understanding of the world, but the end product we voted for was defined by the merits of the man.

MLK didn't want a black president necessarily, he wanted presidents who were judged by the merits of their character. Obama was not the first black man to run for office, he was the first to be elected.

This was not a consolation prize.
K
Obama really wants to lead us.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:23 pm
Reading all your comments with interest.

Please continue ....
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:29 pm
@dlowan,
Quote:
. . . it is about him not having been NOT elected because he is black...that is, racism did not PREVENT his election.

THAT, I think, is a damn worthy thing to celebrate.


I agree completely
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:30 pm
To expand on that Miss Wabbit, in the words of Mr. King's "I have a dream" speech, he was elected on the content of his character.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:36 pm
@littlek,
littlek wrote:
Can anyone help me sort it all out?

Let me answer your question with a series of counter-questions: How would you have felt about a vice president Palin? Could you be excited about her? Would you have felt that appreciating her election just because she's a woman would itself be sexist? And, in this hypothetical scenario, would your aunt buy it if you made these arguments to her?

Still, even if you wouldn't find a vice president Palin cool, it does make America a little bit cooler that even the Republicans can now put a woman on the ticket.

Not as cool as the election of Obama did, though.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:39 pm
@dlowan,
What she (Dlowan) said. Good stuff, and I think it goes right at what you were asking about?
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 08:52 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

To expand on that Miss Wabbit, in the words of Mr. King's "I have a dream" speech, he was elected on the content of his character.



Yes...and racism didn't prevent it.

Kaloo kalay, oh frabjous day!
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:01 pm
@dlowan,
I'll second what the wabbit said!
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:06 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
I'll second what the wabbit said!

Msolga, thanks for my new sig line.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:08 pm
@Thomas,
My pleasure, Thomas.

What a wise bunny!
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Jan, 2009 09:20 pm
@littlek,
littlek wrote:

She feels that appreciating his election 'just because he's black' would in and of itself be racist. . . .


I think she's wrong. If she meant it we voted for him just because he's black, she would be right, in my opinion. I am proud of my country voting for him on our perception of what is best for the country. Is this what Deb said, in a completely different way?

I didn't vote for him, by the way. There was not a candidate out there that I thought would be really good for the county, so I voted for the one that would not have a majority in both houses of the legislature.
 

Related Topics

Obama '08? - Discussion by sozobe
Let's get rid of the Electoral College - Discussion by Robert Gentel
McCain's VP: - Discussion by Cycloptichorn
Food Stamp Turkeys - Discussion by H2O MAN
The 2008 Democrat Convention - Discussion by Lash
McCain is blowing his election chances. - Discussion by McGentrix
Snowdon is a dummy - Discussion by cicerone imposter
GAFFNEY: Whose side is Obama on? - Discussion by gungasnake
 
  1. Forums
  2. » "Just Because He's Black"
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 06/14/2021 at 12:50:29