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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:34 PM
Original message
Who's afraid of Obama being a black man?
Barack Hussein Obama is a black man. Is that scary to read?

Supposedly, the fear here is that it's scary to other people. Paradoxically, it seems the fear of their fear has a lot of Democrats nervous. But racists aren't a big constituency among Democratic voters; they likely wouldn't vote for ANY Democrat. We lost that vote a long time ago (and much as I believe in a big tent, that's a good riddance).

This primary season can create a lot of constructive thought and discussion on race and gender, and I think it'd be good to get clear on some of these issues.

1. The idea of "injecting race into the race" or "making him the black candidate." Race is in the race, and he is the black candidate. I think what's meant by this is "racISM," and marginalizing or dismissing Obama based on his being a black candidate. That's an important distinction. There shouldn't be any discomfort about the fact that race is in the race (as is gender) and that he is a black candidate -- one who's come further than any other in our history, who has minorities excited and voting for him in huge numbers, and who may be the next president. Not only should there be no discomfort, it should be celebrated, proudly.

2. The name "Hussein" as a smear. Saying the name is not a smear, it's a fact. I think what's feared here is the implication of something sinister from the name Hussein. Again, that's an important distinction. There shouldn't be any discomfort about the name Hussein itself. It's a fine name with positive meaning. There's no reason for Democrats to act like there's something to be ashamed of or hidden.

3. The color of his skin, and his facial features. The hysteria over "making him blacker," supposedly widening his nose into something that looks (gasp!) "more African American" and "messing with his lower lip" is absurd to me!! Who on earth, persuaded to vote for him, would change their mind after seeing something that made him look "blacker?" Is there a threshold for blackness, beyond which it's unacceptable? I understand there are racists -- they aren't voting for him anyway. I also understand that darkening photos is a technique for making an image seem sinister -- but that's not the claim here. I'm not hearing complaints about "sinister," I'm hearing complaints having to do with race. (Need I point out that "black" and "sinister" aren't the same thing?)

4. The photo of Obama in traditional Somali dress. It was treated as though somebody leaked a secret hidden photo or photoshopped it to create something damning. Again, let's be clear that it's not the attire or the photo that are the problem. If there was something false that was being said, with the photo as false evidence, then the problem is about whatever false was being said. Let's not act as though there's something shameful about the photo or the visit or the clothing. There isn't.

5. Finally, on being Muslim. The fact is he's NOT Muslim, so it's a lie that should be corrected. But it's only damning as an implication tied to smears that he could be a closet terrorist or something. That is the issue. So while the facts about his religion should be corrected, the notion that he's anti-American is what needs to be fought against. "Muslim" is not synonymous with "terrorist" and we shouldn't act as though it were.

So, I don't think we need to protect Obama from the facts of his identity and experience.

The uncomfortable question is: Who is really nervous and afraid of Obama being a black man? Because it seems, far too often, that it's people who are on his side.

(I know the very subject makes people nervous and defensive, so I'm going out on a limb here. Not the first time. Flame if you must!)
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Lint Head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. Today my wife heard a democrat say he would not vote for Obama
because he was black. It is so sad there are people like this in our country in 2008 . :dem:
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Yes, it is. nt
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ourbluenation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. wow. no words.
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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. Very good points and you mirror my reation to many of those things.
It almost seems as though some are arguing that these things are "negative".
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sueragingroz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. Do you think that some folks don't think that a woman can be Commander in Chief?
This is so much hyperbole.

There are ignorant people everywhere.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:42 PM
Original message
Yes, I think some folks don't (and some folks do).
:shrug:
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Fovea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. I think the RW Smear Machine has taken too much oxyRush
and has become tone deaf. Too much time inside the bubble, too much snake handling amongst the Repug base.

I know what they are throwin. And it does not seem to be stickin.

Only the crap from our own side seems to stick. Though I think that there might be a brutal, candidacy ending backlash from Canada-gate.
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bigdarryl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. those idiots in Ohio 20% said RACE was more important in there vote
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Which idiots in Ohio?
Not sure what you're referring to.
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Kahuna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. See my post below. nt
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Kahuna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. The idiots in Ohio and Texas said that Obama was more electable..
Edited on Thu Mar-06-08 09:10 PM by Kahuna
so they voted for Clinton. :crazy: Face it. They must not want us to win. :shrug:
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islandmkl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
8. no, people on his side are tired of anything racial being used to diminish the abilities
of anyone...the 'racialization' of the contest is, on one hand, expected and 'part of politics in America',...

while, on the other hand, is so disgusting and revolting that Obama supporters are not 'afraid of his race'...

we are afraid of the manipulation of bigotry and ignorance that his opponents will stoop to...

TO SILENCE HIS VOICE, TO TURN ON THE NON-COLOR BLIND DEAFNESS OF MIDDLE AMERICA...

TO KEEP HIM FROM GETTING ELECTED....
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woolldog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. wait a minute
democrats in middle american from Iowa to Wisconsin to Kansas to Nebraska to Minnesota have voted for him.

So don't give all of middle america a bad name b/c of Ohio.
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islandmkl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. i'm from kansas...i wasn't alluding to anything like that...
i'm talking about the 'message' to the outright bigots and the 'uninformed' to sway opinion...

i tend to refer to the 'middle' and 'lower(?)' classes in our country as middle-Americans...

the mass stuck in the middle of all the shit....
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. That's being against RACISM.
Of course racism is wrong and should be fought.

But his race is not wrong, and shouldn't be tucked away as something shameful.
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latinolatteliberal Donating Member (123 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. Only if I decided to go gay for him
Otherwise, no, not really.
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Harry Monroe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
16. I'm more afraid of McCain being an old white guy
We've had enough of those as President. Time for a change!!!!
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Harry Monroe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
17. I'm more afraid of McCain being an old white guy
Edited on Thu Mar-06-08 09:15 PM by NotGonnaTakeIt
We've had enough of those as President. Time for a change!!!!

Sorry, duplicate post.
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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
18. Sorry, but I think your post is classic victim-blaming
It's like telling a person who is being bullied or abused that they need to "toughen up".
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. ?!
I can't even understand how you'd think that!
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
20. I tell people he is 50% white........n/t
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varelse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
21. Oh, I'm not afraid
just really really tired of seeing people hint (or outright say) that he's not as "electable" as a white candidate would be. That gets old.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. Again, that's racism.
I'm saying, basically, that we should separate racism from race.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
22. 20 years ago I remember my parents being afraid of minorities "taking power."
It made no sense to me then. I remember arguing with them, "Why would it matter if they became a majority or got elected to high offices or even president? They just want to be treated as equals, not rule over white people."

Now, the way I see it is that not only is it good for minorities to have positions of power for the good of their own ethnic groups, but it is also good for ALL of us, because that is the way that the country will put racism to bed. Once we actually have a black president who works for ALL of us, the last holdouts who fear it will finally see how stupid their fears have been. It won't be hypothetical anymore. They will have to look at the way our country is better for it, and even if they don't want to admit it, subconsciously it will seep in.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Agree
Breaking glass ceilings is more than symbolic.
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chitty Donating Member (918 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 10:33 PM
Response to Original message
25. I'm voting for
Obama because he's half white.

And he doesn't throw his opponent and his party under a bus.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
26. As a Black woman (of mixed race), your Op is wrong on
so many different levels, that's its not even funny.

You are saying that its ok to bring special attention to Obama's race and to his foreign sounding name because that's what he is and that's what he got.

So let me ask you, why should special attention be brought to things about him that he cannot help or has no control over?

What would make it a point of conversation in the larger scheme of things beyond the facts that this is his race, and that is his middle name?

What kind of conversation do you envisioned centered around these attributes?

What does it bring forth that can't be brought forth without simply treating and talking about Obama as though he is simply a man?

Why does his race define him in your opinion to the point of you feeling compeled to do a thread about him being protected from what he is?

It is not about protection, it is about why should it be a topic of discussion?

Pray tell.

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mrreowwr_kittty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Clearly, the OP means well
And all her points are correct, at face value. But it's also pretty clear that the people drawing attention to Barack's middle name, ethnicity, and family's religious history know full well the images they will evoke in much of the American public. Telling Obama and his supporters to not get offended by the obvious baiting is akin to a parent giving their child that bad old advice about how ignoring the bully or trying to reason with him will make him stop tormenting you.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. The op doesn't necessarily mean well.......
Because those questions I asked have not been answered.

What is good about focusing on attributes that one cannot change?

What would be the purpose?

When I'm having conversation with folks, I know that they are not looking at me saying....well, you know, she's got some Black in her....and her maiden last name is hard to pronounce. I'm hoping that they are listening to what I am saying.

The whole point is that during this entire campaign, we have been segmented and divided by the pundits.....watch the election returns and see this. Why is that? What does it mean to tell us?

If find the whole thing rather sickening.

Wonder if Pennsylvania is a state where White People don't want to vote for a Black President...since everyone says that this is a "Hillary" state.....which means exactly that White Working Class people vote for Hillary. I wonder if that is supposed to be something that we are supposed to be proud of? :puke:
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Wow.
I answered as soon as I saw your post, Frenchie.

I think you've completely misinterpreted my post.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. I didn't say "don't get offended by baiting."
I explained that the "baiting" is the problem -- not his middle name, ethnicity, or family's religious history. The "images they evoke" are what? That's the problem.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. I'm sorry you feel that way.
I'm not talking about "special attention." There's no need to create a special conversation. My point is there's nothing to hide. Saying he "can't help it" or "can't control it" sounds to me like there's something wrong. I don't think there is.

His race doesn't "define" him, but it is part of who he is. And I think the grounds to fight on are not about who he is, but about the biases and prejudices against who he is.

Hope that made sense.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. "it is part of who he is", And?
Being white is part of who you are, and?

What does that mean?

How can we fight this other than to, since we know he is what he is, not talk about it constantly?

He, like all of us, is many things.

But at the end of the day, in reference to a candidate for public office, it ain't about what you are, but about what you will do in office.

That's why Hillary frustrates me so. She's always talking about being a woman....like we can't tell. In fact, because it sways women to vote for her, she uses it all of the time...because, of course, women are a majority.

I don't understand what you are trying to say. Race has been discussed ad-nauseum during this campaign, and it is sickening.
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:29 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Why are you afraid of talking about it, Frenchie?
I'm saying that it's not something to hide as if it were shameful. I don't understand what's sickening or upsetting about it.

You ask, "How can we fight this other than to... not talk about it constantly?" I think we fight it by focusing on what we're fighting and being clear on that -- it's racism that's shameful, not his race. It's an implication that the name Hussein is evil, not the name Hussein. It's misuse of a perfectly fine photograph that's terrible, not the photograph.

I think not talking about it gives the attacks more power. It gives detractors something they want -- the appearance of something to hide, something to avoid saying.
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kwenu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
32. It's a good thing. Obama will force this country to confront its racial demons.
A President Obama will destroy one of the biggest moulds and vestiges of white racial superiority and that makes a lot people and a even some democrats nervous.

Get over it.

Go Obama!!!!!!!

YOU KNOW YOU WANT HIM!! JUST ADMIT IT!!!
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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-06-08 11:18 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. That's why breaking glass ceilings is more than just symbolic.
It does matter.
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