Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is A Black President Ready For America?


In the past weeks, I’ve been plagued by the question of ‘Is America Ready For A Black President? With racism raising it’s ugly head since Barack Obama entered the race, the most appropriate question ‘Is A Black President Ready For America?’

Initially, Obama’s campaign was viewed as insignificant until he won Iowa. Once it was understood that Obama is a player in the game of presidential politics, as said in street vernacular “it was on.”

Obama was running a campaign that transcended race. During the South Carolina primary, Hillary & Bill Clinton decided to play the race card. All of a sudden, Obama became the Black candidate, instead of, the candidate who happens to be Black. When the race card wasn’t working as effective as anticipated, then the religion card was put on the table……”is he Muslim? Oh better yet, we got these Rev. Jeremiah Wright tapes, let’s make him Christian and play the 3 second loop over & over & over. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

You can’t help but notice how all the rules changed when he became the frontrunner. As with Jackie Robinson, who broke the color-barrier for baseball in the 40s, Obama has had to prove that he is the not the “Angry Black Man” that he is constantly being equated to based upon his membership to Trinity and the sound bites played by the media of Rev. Jeremiah Wright & Father Plefger.

Although, the media has veered away from the possibility of him having Muslim ties, it is unfortunate that the Republican pundits are still toying with the Muslim aspect. Recently, two women were told by Obama campaign that they couldn’t sit directly behind and in front of TV cameras because they wore head scarfs. Of course, Obama was not aware of the incident at that time, but has since apologized. Regardless, the Republicans are now trying to flip the script by implying that he is not impartial to Muslims. Funny thing, these are the same people who jumped all over of the photo where he was putting on a Ghanaian headscarf.

Now that the general election has officially started, the ‘Politics of Fear’ has begun. This includes the fear of race and the fear of change.

Do you remember David Duke? David Duke (proud member of the KKK from Louisiana) ran for President in 1988 and Governor of Louisiana 1991 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Duke) was recently quoted as saying that Obama is paving the way for “David Duke as president.” He further states that “this is finally going to make whites begin to realize it’s a necessity to stick up for their own heritage, and that’s going to make them turn to people like me. We’re the next logical step.”

Even some media outlets are playing into fear-mongering. Roswell Beacon, a weekly newspaper published in North Fulton, Georgia, has a photograph of Obama in the crosshairs of a rifle, which seems to imply an assassination attempt. Although the accompanying article is not offensive—it’s a cautionary piece that details how local law enforcement is responding to death threats on Obama made by White supremacist groups—the artwork has drawn loud complaints amid accusations that it does suggest assassination. Also Daily Kos, blogger, recently posted an inflammatory image of its own. Supplementing a post about Republican attack ads that target Michelle Obama, the site ran an illustration of her being tortured by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The image, which has since been removed, depicted Michelle Obama hanging by her wrists from a tree, surrounded by Klansmen on the verge of branding her with an iron that reads “Uppity Liberal.” (Remember, “Elitist” is code for uppity.)

Ralph Nader has now thrown his two cents worth in the race pot. Nader said, “there is only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He’s half African American. Whether that will make any difference. I don’t know. I haven’t heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Paydays loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn’t want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We’ll see all that play out in the next few months and if gets elected afterwards.”

Although the Republican party will not use overt racial references, they will present ads that will stir voters’ doubts with racial subjects. It is likely that the ads will link Obama with Wright’s anti-American remarks, question Obama’s patriotism, and general stereotypes. Remember that the ad Former Sen. Jesse Helms (R) North Carolina ran when opposing Harvey Gant (D) African-American opponent……the ad showed the image of a white man’s hands crumpling a letter informing him that he had lost a job he deserved to a minority. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIyewCdXMzk)

With all the racially overtone statements, gestures and innuendos that are circulating regarding Senator Obama’s presidential candidacy, it can be presumed that maybe “America Is Not Ready For A Black President.”

As we look at the challenges the next president has to face with a declining economy, foreclosures on the rise, gas prices peaking and shabby healthcare system, it is understood that this will be an ordeal and a huge job for anyone to undertake. If you reflect on the history of African-Americans as slaves, they were innovative in working smarter than harder with overall success in achieving remarkable results. History shows us that contributions from Garrett Morgan (traffic light), George Washington Carver (peanut butter) and Charles Drew (blood plasma)….just to name a few…..reveals that when faced with obstacles, African Americans have always prevailed once given the opportunity. With that said, “Is A Black President Ready For America?”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Is Obama Black Or Biracial? 06/11/08

While working the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania, my canvassing partner, Sophie (a 20-something white female) asked me ‘why does Obama identify himself as Black'. At that very moment, I realized that there is now a generation that is not familiar with the one-drop rule or maybe doesn't even care. Although we are moving towards MLK's dream where people are judged by the content of their character and not by the color their skin, race still seems to matter. Racial identity is still important especially with how the media and government categorize us. In the American psyche, identifying by one race is a focal point, but as society continues to blend culturally, this is becoming increasingly complicated for those who would like for us to check just one box. So, why is it significant that Obama chose to check the Black box?

Obama Makes History, What's Next? 06/04/08

Last night AMERICAN history was made. As I watched Obama's speech, I couldn't help but think that my grandparents would be proud and that MLK never could have dreamed this back in August 1963. At that very moment, I couldn't control the emotions and tears of joy that ran down my cheek. This nomination means so much to this country and the world. As the political commentators kept noting the division of the voters......young vs. old, I thought that maybe, just maybe, the prejudices and discord of the older generation (65+) is losing ground. For the first time in a very long time, I'm hopeful for the future of America. GOD Bless Senator Barack Obama and GOD Bless America.