Obama and race

Last night I was at a function here at the NATO facility where I work. Since the debate was a hot topic for the dya it came up in conversation. Many of my friends from various countries were interested in it. Some of my canadian friends were thrilled with the idea that that Barack Obama might actually be the first black president iof the United States.

I know that many people will have a “Who cares what them foriegners think?” attitude. I can only agree in small parts to that. We shouldn’t elect a prez on what anyone other than what the American people want…but to me it speaks volumes in the concepts of equality. I like Obama and I would agree with his stance on things if he were white or chinese or whatever. It was said in the debate by "talk the talk, walk the walk" (paraphrased by me). Well we say we’re a nation of wquals and we look beyond color, creed, religiin, etc…but we all know thats not exactly true. Maybe we need to step up and try as a nation to do the things we say we stand for. I’ll admit that just my opinion on it, but what I want to know is what impact it will have on the world if Obama is elected? Will it make a difference in any way in race relations? What do you think? I don’t want to start a REP vs DEM argument here, I just want to know how people think the reaction to a black president would be.

And for the record, I’m black, too, but I don’t support Obama because of race. My wife is not black, and she switched from McCain to Obama in her choice.

I think electing Obama would please the rest of the world for several reasons. It would look like a positive step for race relations. It also indicates some global thinking on the part of American voters, becaue Obama is further from the isolationist core typified by our other Presidents. Also, many are worried or fearful about the gullible religious trend in American thinking, which is often manipulated by cynical politicians. The present manipulation involves rumors about Obama’s not being Christian. Electing Obama would reassure the rest of the world that this gullibility doesn’t always determine elections. Finally, whatever the reasons are, the few polls I have seen about what non-Americans think say they prefer Obama.

For the record I’m an American male. I think, inside, that I am an independent; however I have voted against the Republican presidential candidate every time at least since Reagan.

Well said both of you…

I often think of how the world sees our [US] deeds, and what they think of us as a whole. I have two close family members who are not US citizens - one is a briton, the other is a briton living in South Africa. They are both hoping the US will elect Obama to the office, it will be the first time in a long time that we actually showed the nations of the world that we are not totally effed up. The ramifications will be felt around the world, I know here in the US there will be a lot of people breathing a huge sigh of relief.

I’m a 30-something white male who was not alive for the nasty 60’s southern integration debacles. I am not too jadded either to think racism is non-existent in the US. I think the main point is people see Obama as someone who is somehow above the politics of race, yet enmeshed in the cultural mores of it. He represents for the United States a moving on that will be refreshing. He could signify to the world that yes, the US is ready to move on…

I just can’t wait to see what he can do as our POTUS. Even if he does 30% of what he says it will be a landmark presidency.

Thanks again **Jolly **for bringing this up.

  • I sense a feeling in my home country of Denmark, as well as in Germany (those being the two countries whose news I try to follow a bit) that people want to align themselves with the US again. It’s hard for a European politician to sell cooperation with the Bush administration (and yes, that pretty much goes back to the Iraq war), but with Russia rattling the sabre a little bit again, most anyone can see that Europe-US alignment is logical.

An Obama presidency would make that tremendously easier. It’s perhaps mostly symbolic - I’m sure most Europeans would have a hard time listing substantial differences between the Obama and McCain platforms - but nonetheless, it’d be a clear mark of the end of the Bush Era. Lots of people really want to like the US, and this would be a huge accomplishment in their minds.

We are not a nation of equals. We do strive to be a nation of equal opportunity.
There is no evidence that either individuals or various cohorts are equally capable…

I believe the election of Senator Obama will heal more than it will divide. There may be a substantial iconic value in having a wide representation within our leaders, whether it’s at a local or national level, but in my personal opinion race per se is way over-rated as a barrier to anything in the US. We are much more likely to collect into groups based on class or education or profession or perceived intelligence.

I don’t think Mr Obama’s race category will mean much once he’s elected. A little sniping here and there by anyone embittered by a given policy; a little gloating here and there by folks who want to see someone they see as an iconic black in power. We all have a natural tendency to pull for someone we see as representative of our Clan–however we define that. I bet if you asked most people who self-identify as blacks, they’d say they are voting for Mr Obama based on his positions. Yet as a group blacks will vote overwhelmingly for Mr Obama–kind of a tough sell to say there’s not a Clan influence there as well as Position on an Issue.

Mostly though, he’ll just rapidly segue to The President. A hero today when he passes legislation I like and a demented incompetent nutcase when he passes legislation I don’t like. I think the race–or any other artifical grouping–of any given individual is rapidly becoming Yesterday’s News. Consider Condoleeza Rice: she’s the Secretary of State, not a Black Woman Who Did Really Really Good for a Black.

If Obama were a staunch conservative Republican, there would very few black people voting for him. In fact, I can see folks like my left-wing, anarchist mother having assassination fantasies.

I agree completely. I think race is over-rated, as I said. We all tend to put our own interests first, even before clannishness.

The gulf between Mr Obama and Mr McCain on positions that will affect the black community is not wide enough to explain the nearly unanimous black support for Mr Obama, though.

A better comparison might be if Mr Obama were white and Mr McCain were black. In such an event I think you’d see Mr McCain get less of the black vote than Mr Obama is getting now.

How many black votes did Alan Keyes get in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Republican primaries? How many black votes did Bill Clinton get?

Of course blacks will come out in force for a black presidential candidate-- that they can believe in, but they will not vote for someone just because he’s black.

Trivia: When Sen. Obama was running for the office, he was considered the favorite by a mile over the Republican candidate, Jack Ryan. (Not the Clancy character, the ex-husband of “7-of-9” actress Jeri Ryan.) After Ryan’s political career imploded, the IL GOP brought in… Alan Keyes, all the way from Maryland.

I thought about bringing that up, but it didn’t really fit into the white vs black political race I was looking for.

I had a discussion at work regarding my support for Obama. The gentleman inferred that I’m a racist, that my support is based on his race. He assumes that the issues aren’t important to me and that I’m secretly torn since Palin is on the Republican ticket.

Amazing ignorance from someone I believed was rational.

I was at the state fair yesterday and I saw an interesting cross-section of Virginia’s populace. There was a booth passing out confederate flag stickers (with the words I SUPPORT CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH). There was another booth passing out McCain/Palin stickers. Both were pretty popular.

100% of the people I saw who were wearing both stickers were white. None of the people I saw with Obama stickers (and there weren’t a lot of them) had any of that flag mess.

I admit it. Even though I’m sure most of those confederate people are nice folks, I felt discomfort every time they walked up to my booth (I was doing a demo on water pollution). And I don’t think it was quite irrational.

I don’t know about the world and their opinions about Obama and race. But I do know one thing. If Obama wins and serves honorably, many of those confederate flag wearers will be compelled to move into the 21st century. And that will be a good thing.

Yes, but Keyes is a nutcase (you’ve seen the footage of him debating Obama in the IL Senatorial race,right? If not, get yourself to YouTube for some of the most surreal political footage ever). I don’t know that it’s fair to take him as an example of how many blacks are likely to vote for a black Republican. (Not that I disagree with you in principle, either, though.)

As far as I can gather among people I know Obama’s race has nothing to do with how they would feel about his election. The main point in his favor is that he is not a Republican. Most Aussies I know are deeply suspicious of a party that is so closely associated with religious zealots.

That’s because it takes a certain amount of the crazy to be so against your own best interest. Sure, many more blacks will come out to vote because Obama is black-- good, but that nasty meme that’s been going around that blacks are voting for Obama because they are racist is a bald-face lie.They’re voting for him because he’s a Democrat. Like always.

I certainly hope so.

He’s getting support from unexpected places here in the south. These guys were up at Ole Miss on Friday.

I think the world will look favorably on Obama because he appears to be more reasonable than Bush. Another vote here for ‘race has nothing to do with it’.

Ha. I understand how you feel about the Confederate stuff. I didn’t grow up in the south, but it always makes me feel uncomfortable. When they started desegregation in my high school I was a freshman, and there were students wearing confederate style caps and passing out KKK flyers. They cornered me once in a stairwell and started the usual “what are you doing in my school, nigger?” crap. I wasn’t much of a fighter back then but I was a good runner. They chased me down a hallway and into a teacher that broke the whole thing up. Needless to say I didn’t enjoy my first year of High School.

During my first few years in the Army my unit was on an exercise in Oklahoma. (we were based in Ft. Campbell, KY.) I got lost running an errand to another unit in a CUCV but I had a radio. I called up my unit to ask for directions and they told me to stop and ask someone how to find the road I was looking for. The only people I saw were in a trailer park, in front of a trailer with a giant Confederate flage draped over the front. It was almost too stereotypical to believe. They were all wearing “wife beaters” and drinking cheap beer. I told the dispatcher I’d just keep driving. There was no way I was getting out of the vehicle. I’ll admit it I was afraid of what they might do if I approached them. (Hey, I was armed, but I only had blanks for ammo.)

I’m willing to say I was being prejudiced by what I saw. For all I know they could have been the nicest folks in the world. I am kind of ashamed by it, actually. I had the same kind of fear when I got lost in some little podunk town in West Virginia and my car broke down. But the folks I asked for help were the friendliest people I’d met. They bent over backwards to help me in reality.

Prejudice goes both ways. Before my wife (who is white) got out of the army she had a problem soldier in her platoon. (Ms. Jolly Roger was a platoon sergeant) The soldier (who BTW was black) and was always late, didn’t perform duties well, etc. When my wife wrote her up she claimed it was an Equal Opportunity violation and filed a complaint. The soldier was sure that she was only being picked on because she was black. Her commander, like all commanders, had to look into it. (EO complaints have to be looked into, the military takes it kinda seriously) I came over to her unit just to take her to lunch and met the captain while looking for her. He didn’t know who I was so I told him “I’m sergeant mrs. Jolly roger’s fiancee”. (we didn’t get married for about 3 months when that happened). According to my wife, that caused the matter to be dropped really fast. (I wasn’t privvy to any other details as it was really none of my business officially).

If Obama wins and is a good president (I think he would be) I think it would go well in smoothing other peoples conceptions. black and white or whatever. Maybe I’m just dreaming, but its a nice thought.

I’m not sure what you mean, I’m good at some things, lousy at others. There are plenty of people smarter than I am, but there are also plenty that aren’t. I don’t consider those people that aren’t as smart to be less than I am. I’m not accusing you of that, but I don’t know what you mean to say. I’m not trying to start an argument, I just want you to clarify that for me so I’ll know what you mean.

Yes, and since he was running against Obama, people didn’t have to choose between conservative/Black and non-conservative/White.

The nitwits who listen to Rush Limbaugh and read Pam Atlas are now saying that Barack Obama isn’t at all African, he’s really half-Arab, because his father was from Kenya.Yes, that’s how they’re explaining that.

I’m sorry if I’ve decreased anyone’s intelligence by posting that excerpt.

He’s not black. He’s even WORSE than black!