Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Let's talk about something non-controversial.

Let's talk about race.

Specifically, is America ready for a black president? I've noticed something surprising about this question. White people say yes, America is ready. Black people say no, America is still too racist to elect a black man to the White House. While this certainly isn't scientific, I haven't heard anyone suggest they couldn't support Obama because of his race. His inexperience and vague promises, yes, but not his skin color.

On the other hand, I've not heard one black person speak optimistically about Obama's chances.

And I wonder which is right? And why this split? Are white Americans deluded about how far we've progressed? Or are black Americans so used to seeing racism that they think it's more pervasive than it is?

About 15 years ago, I saw a list of the 100 things that could happen to a white person and we would never think it's because of our race. Things like being denied a loan, or passed over for a promotion, or being stopped by a cop. All those things could happen to me, a white man, and I'd never think it was because of my race. But if I was a black man, of course I'd think of it, even briefly.

If we elect McCain or Hillary, will white America realize that racism is more virulent than we thought? And what will it mean to blacks' preconceptions if Obama is elected?

Interesting. As usual, I have no answers, only questions. Feel free to jump in.

4 comments:

The Nephew said...

I'd like to know, are people ready for another old white dude as president? WTF? How's their track record been?

I'm waiting to see McCain arm in arm with the man leading the charge for the US to get busy with a little torture.

Now that's fine leadership.

Graham Powell said...

I support McCain's policies, but I would not be upset to Obama as President. If it was Obama vs. Huckabee I would definitely vote for Obama.

Incidentally, I wish that Stephen Colbert had continued his campain for President, just to see him get quizzed about his work on "The Ambiguosuly Gay Duo".

Beneath the Carolina Moon said...

My two questions for the next poll are: How many will vote for McCain only because he is white, no matter what else? How many will vote for Obama only because he is black, no matter what else? Perhaps racism doesn’t reside where we’ve been told it does in this country? Would Katie Couric report the results on the CBS Evening Views.

Jim Winter said...

I want Obama because he doesn't seem to have the same baggage everyone else is carrying. People like that don't run for president often enough. Race has nothing to do with it.

I'll tolerate Hillary because I like the package she's selling. I don't have to like her. I just want her to do the job right. Gender has nothing to do with it.

I can live with McCain because he's not going to have a rubber stamp Congress, but he has enough cross-aisle connections to make policies I don't like work in my favor anyway. Party has nothing to do with it.

Huckabee should not be president. He should be Stephen Colbert's regular guest host or rhythm guitarist for my nephew's band. Likeability has nothing to do with the presidency.

It really grinds me that the media insists on making this about race and gender. We're down to three candidates. Race and gender have become irrelavant.

Some people may not like that. Fine. It's my turn to say "If you don't like it, get the hell out of my country."

(Not that I haven't been saying that for a long time already.)