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Old 09-28-2008, 02:24 AM   #1
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The Race and African-Americans

How Does the Black Community Handle an Obama Loss? | Newsweek Politics: Campaign 2008 | Newsweek.com

Fascinating article from Newsweek about race and the race.

It's interesting that in an historic election, voters energized because of the candidates' race or gender seem to believe that race or gender is the make-or-break factor -- that is, they deserve to win because of their race or gender ("It's the ultimate glass ceiling!" was said by more than one female voter during Hillary's long spring, most notably by Hillary herself during her concession speech) rather than because of qualifications. For these voters, a loss would be because of discrimination based on those same qualifications. (Anyone remember the angry African-American woman on CNN who was in tears of anger and anguish after Hillary's speech at the DNC?) While there is no doubt that racism and sexism play a part in this race (and one could argue that they only have to play enough of a part among enough of the voters to make a difference), it is both notable and commendable that these forces have not been barriers to both an African-American man and a woman being considered for the highest posts in the land. However, it's also interesting that for disenfranchised minorities frustrated by decades of inequality, a loss may merely reinforce that those forces still exist.

While I find some of the comments in the Newsweek piece a tad hyperbolic (remember the hysteria in the spring about how if Hillary clinched the nomination there would be race riots? It was patently offensive to assume that African-Americans would reject anyone but Barack), it does bear wondering -- in a year and a race such as this, is it possible in the eyes of voters for an election or rejection of Obama (or, to a much smaller extent, Palin) to reflect anything but discrimination?

Race and gender have already played a huge part in this election as far as voter registration -- Newsweek points out the high number of African-American voters who are voting for the first time, presumably because there's an African-American at the head of the ticket, and it's without a doubt that Palin's presence on the ticket is due to McCain's attempt to galvanize similar support across gender lines. More engaged voters is certainly welcome in a democracy where every vote counts. However, if these voters are merely engaged because there is someone like them on the ticket, will a rejection of that particular candidate be seen as a rejection of them personally? And will that only deepen the divide that already exists in this country, and in this election? Will it only become easier to reject a president whose experience is so unlike your own, whether that president's skin color is white or black? If so, what will that mean the day after Election Day? The inability of the Republicans to reach across the resentment gap of the 2000 election is not one we can afford to repeat -- but is it even still possible to do so?

Just questions, I guess...
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Old 09-28-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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voting for someone simply because of their race or gender is different than the norm still fall short of dr. king's dream.
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Old 09-28-2008, 11:17 AM   #3
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Chris Rock on HBO last night said something along the lines of it is interesting to him how when white people vote for Obama it is clarified with a statement about an issue. While it is assumed that blacks are voting for him based on the color of his skin.
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Old 09-28-2008, 02:40 PM   #4
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i was at the new york shows that were part of that chris rock special
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