2008-05-15

Will America Ever Truly Be Ready For A Black President?



I was reading this article about some of the experiences Obama's campaign workers had with racism in the midwest, in particular Indiana and Pennsylvania. One particular quote stood out from the rest:

Documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said she, too, came across "a lot of racism" when campaigning for Obama in Pennsylvania. One Pittsburgh union organizer told her he would not vote for Obama because he is black, and a white voter, she said, offered this frank reason for not backing Obama: "White people look out for white people, and black people look out for black people."


Is this mentality still hold true? I can say from my personal experience yes. Some black people, especially in the work place seem to have this mentality. I guess it is because we do know or at least feel the odds are against us in corporate America, so we feel obligated or it is assumed a black person of power will help others in the workplace advance or get promotions. I have had this experience many times. I have heard the "we have to look out for each other, no one else will" line more times than I care to admit. I assume whites do the same. Heck my husband's uncle has this mentality on our last visit with them. We were talking about his grandparent's rude neighbors who had the habit of letting folks park in their driveway, blocking cars in when ever they had a party, and would play loud music late into the night. His rationale is that they did it because they were hispanic and no one would do anything because the grandparents were outnumbered by hispanics in the neighborhood and there were not enough whites to "look out for them". It was very much an us vs. them mentality in effect. On a national scale is this still the case? If Obama is elected president, what will these people do?

We always want to think racist come from a low income, uneducated background, but in the article even a Mayor was spreading misinformation about Obama and declaring they could never vote for him:

In a letter to the editor published in a local paper, Tunkhannock Borough Mayor Norm Ball explained his support of Hillary Clinton this way: "Barack Hussein Obama and all of his talk will do nothing for our country. There is so much that people don't know about his upbringing in the Muslim world. His stepfather was a radical Muslim and the ranting of his minister against the white America, you can't convince me that some of that didn't rub off on him.

"No, I want a president that will salute our flag, and put their hand on the Bible when they take the oath of office."


Others were offended at the fact he was a "half breed".

How are race relations ever to improve if people have this mentality. If there are people who feel the only good president can a white, Christian president. How can Obama have a fair run in the White House, if he indeed does become president? No one is calling Obama the possible first biracial president, they refer to him as a black presidential candidate. He has publicly denounced Wright and has told the world he is a Christian, but he is still touted as a racist Muslim.

Apparently black is something to not desire, but just accept, and only in special circumstances:

Pollsters have found it difficult to accurately measure racial attitudes, as some voters are unwilling to acknowledge the role that race plays in their thinking. But some are not. Susan Dzimian, a Clinton supporter who owns residential properties, said outside a polling location in Kokomo that race was a factor in how she viewed Obama. "I think if it was somebody other than him, I'd accept it," she said of a black candidate. "If Colin Powell had run, I would be willing to accept him."


The more things change, the more they stay the same.