Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Barack Obama Trying To Save His 'Blackness'?

Barack Obama's 'blackness' has been attacked by many. Yet other candidates, such as Hillary Clinton, have not had their 'whiteness' called into question.

Take Jesse Jackson, more recently, for claiming that Obama is “acting like he’s white" --in reference to Obama's weak support of the Jena 6 case--and that his mixed race status does not make him black enough.

Yet what would have happened if Obama had taken up the Jena 6 case, putting at the forefront of his campaign? What would happen if he began to mirror Jesse Jackson?

What would happen is that Obama would be too black, and his chances for survival would dwindle in comparison to even other democrats--who, although can be branded as radical liberals, will not face being radical liberals of color. Even Hillary, whose gender is under surveillance, is a bit safer because she is white.

People of color are too often portrayed as angry, emotional, and many times unreasonable. To run for president automatically presumes that the candidates are accepting the Eurocentric system of legitimacy for presidency--so those who choose to run know that they have to follow Anglo-American rules.

That means taming one's 'blackness' in Obama's case. Unfortunately, he is being attacked for something prescribed to him as a result of being what our citizens view as a legitimate candidate.

Yet Obama's 'blackness' has been attacked relentlessly, and now it seems he is abruptly trying to save his racial affiliation by jumping on John Tanner, the Justice Department official who recently made what Obama claims to be racist statements about minority voters.

Christi Parsons of The Swamp reports:

Tanner set it off in remarks to a national Latino group earlier this month, when he said that rules requiring photo identification for people to vote don't especially disenfranchise minority voters.
They may affect older voters, Tanner said, but they wouldn't have a disproportionate impact on minorities.

"Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do; they die first," he said.
"Numerous studies show that photo ID requirements have a discriminatory impact on African American and other minority voters," campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in today's letter. "Yet, in public statements like his October 5th remarks, Tanner continues to justify them with faulty logic. And it adds insult to injury to use tragic discrepancies in life expectancies for African Americans as justification for policies that would further disenfranchise them."

Tanner's statement in full clearly demonstrates outrageously flawed logic, and his claim about people of color not living as old as white people is a rotten egg. However, Obama has really grabbed this issue with a firm grib, and it appears he won't let it go. Is this an attempt to save his 'blackness' in front of voters of color?

Tanner's comments, although erroneous, are not equivalent to the Jena 6. So far this issue does not seem to have caught much media attention, but for Obama's sake, it had better stay that way.

It is just too random, too much of a lost cause, and too insignificant compared to the travesties people of color are suffering around the nation--from Jena 6 and racist criminal justice, to the forgotten inner-city schools failing our youth of color, and more.

Obama is stuck in a corner. While he is being debated over for his 'blackness,' Hillary Clinton is winning black female votes. Of course one shouldn't vote for a candidate because of the race/culture they identify with; they should be supported by their platforms.

But one also shouldn't target attacks on a candidate, such as Obama, on the basis of 'blackness' because such attacks will force him to put his platform to the side and try to restore his status by picking on random uninformed-racist remarks such as Tanner's.

So many of us keep saying to vote for the best candidate, not on the basis of race or gender, but on the basis of their politics, yet we punish Obama with harsh criticism for not acting the way we want or expect him to.

Too many of us are flooding Obama's campaign, even many of us who support him--and he's barely keeping his head above water.


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