Obama on Race

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by welsh, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. John Uskglass

    John Uskglass Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Aug 29, 2003
    Racism doesn't exist in a void. When compared to situations outside of our country, there are worse. Both Welsh and I brought up Europe because Racism is pretty much a mainstay of racially diverse societies. Other than Canada.

    I'd be the first to admit America has racial issues a-pleanty. Chicago is one of the most segregated cities on the continent for crying out loud.

    That doesn't mean that we are much worse when compared to other countries, or that we warrant specific attacks from societies with the same problems.

    You are looking at it from a Euro perspective trying to look at it from an African-American perspective. Sorry. I know more about the African-American perspective than you do.

    I think as much/more work needs to be done in the white community to help unite the country than in the black community. African-Americans generally understand whites, whites don't usually understand African Americans.

    He attended Wright's church in an effort to connect with the African American community. His speaking style is modeled on African American preachers. His wife is African American. His children are African American. He lives in a very diverse part of the city (that I lived in until recently) that has a huge African American population.

    Why on earth do you think he doesn't connect? And if he doesn't, why is he getting 90%+ of the African American vote against Hillary?

    Then why has Hillary lost the African American vote so dramatically? Why did Bill compare Obama's win in Mississipi and Virginia to Jesse Jackson's win there?

    They have been hemherogging African American votes. For a good reason; there is a viable black canidate.

    Same is true for both of them, though Bill did it with style.

    There is a famous book out here called Liberal Fascism that compares the Clintonite super-technocratic, super-partisan style of politics to Fascism. I think it is silly. Doesn't mean I think Clintonism is a good thing.
  2. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Feed that bullshit to someone who'll buy it. You both went "oh yeah, as if Europe isn't just as bad". welsh almost said that literally. You were making excuses by making comparisons, that's bullshit.

    Now drop it. It's off-topic.

    Do you, white boy?

    Wow, great reasoning there. "But yeah, you can't know what you're talking about anyway". What's next, are you going to kick up dirt and call me a poopyhead?

    Please note that when I said "white perspective" that was to indicate the angle you were taking with your arguments. Not a personal attack, unlike this bit of comedy of yours.

    Okay, and that relates to my view of Obama how, exactly?

    Racism I guess. Why would anyone vote for someone based on the colour of his skin, I dunno.

    Does he connect to the African American community better than, say, Hillary? Of course. But there isn't some blank point where you're either a part of one community or the other, unlike what rhetoric suggests. For Obama, this has always been about searching, not about finding. And that's cool, but as a guy born with a golden spoon in his mouth and given pretty much everything growing up in a white community, do you think his colour somehow turns him into an expert? Do you think his search of identity ultimately makes him "one of us", with his background?

    If you compare it to Bill 's presidency(aka not Hillary), well, you end up with this. Hell, Bill's approval rating amongst blacks was about 90% when he left office.

    Uhm, Hillary is not Bill? And Bill's status as back-up is under contention from everyone, not just African Americans.

    Bill's certainly gone off the deep end. It's almost like he wants his wife to loose.

    Don't we all?

    You think it's silly but you won't shy from mentioning the rhetoric?

    Wow, that's...so typical.
  3. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    Hey BN-

    I think John is making some pretty good points above.

    The thing Obama is that he offers a chance to unite races for a change. You're right, race is odd in the US.

    I think this is valid.

    The problem is that we don't talk about race- not in the US and I don't think Europeans talk about it much either. And when Americans bring it up, Europeans are very defensive.

    Obama brings up the times his white grandmother made some racial slurs. Well, I remember when my grandmother made similiar slurs (and they were Europeans). My in-laws in Brazil have said some choice things on race that made me cringe. The countries I study that are ethnically heterogeneous have these problems. A noted Swedish anthropologist notes that in Mauritius, you avoid issues of race.

    The question is whether you wish to discuss them or not. I think Obama should be commended for reintroducing the topic as part of an agenda of social reform. It's time to put the issue of race behind us and move on. Ignoring it won't work.
  4. whirlingdervish

    whirlingdervish Brahmin Cavalry Commander

    Jul 3, 2007
    I'm of the opinion that Obama didn't really overcome anything by taking a stand and discussing the race issue that others have paraded around him waiting for him to bite on.

    As I saw it, it was more of a well executed action of self defense than an attempt to overcome racial division, and by lowering himself into the debate about which color he is and such, he's just feeding the fire.

    Overcoming racism, which would be Real "change" to me, is not giving people the time of day that think they can judge his political views based on the racist opinions of another black man who is not running for president but who happens to know someone who is.

    Shutting down the people and the media who thrive on stereotypical "guilty by association" lines of thought, by disregarding their nonlogic for what it is, seems like a more reasonable response, and one which in the long run might cause people to stop thinking that "race" is as important as political agenda and past experience in an election.

    By addressing his race and his affiliation to the black community, he's officially made it an issue when it didn't need to be and never should have been.

    There are much more important things for American politicians to be focusing on right now. (like the war, immigration, social welfare and plenty of other causes that actually need fighting..)

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that people ignore racism.
    People should just ignore racists until they realize that nobody takes them seriously anymore, and focus on more immediate issues and ones that might actually reach a solution during the course of a 4 year term.
  5. Murdoch

    Murdoch Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 24, 2003
    I disagree with the idea that Obama made race an issue in this campaign. The media and his opponents made it an issue and forced a response to it. For him to continue ignoring a grenade as destructive as race was becoming would have been political suicide.

    But given the comparisons between crazy people like Hagee and Obama's pastor, I continue to observe and be amazed at the hypocrisy of our discourse. Given the incendiary remarks by Hagee, Wright's remarks are downright tame.

    And yes, Welsh, I proudly voted for Ventura, and would do so again. Even given his faults and issues I still prefer him over our other choices of the year: the bland Hubert Humphrey Jr and the now Senator and continued blowjob Norm "party-switching, backstabbing and spineless" Coleman.

    And to your next question: you're damn right I'm gonna vote for Al Franken. MN has a long and distinguished history of electing colorful politicians. It's one of the reasons I love the state. :D
  6. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    I tend to agree, Murdoch. Race was always an issue in this campaign. Its just people didn't want to talk about it openly, although they still managed to do that.

    Ideally, it shouldn't matter and I think for most Americans it doesn't. But for a few it will.
  7. Jabu

    Jabu It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Mar 5, 2008
    (Sry for being kinda late. Again.)

    I think Obama's one heck of a Hypno toad, sly as a salamander fox. Did you see what he did, how he flipped the whole thing round? The "scandal" was about the revelation of the existence of crazy extremist preachers of both colors in America, we kinda all knew that already. It was the fact that Obama had been a member of this nut's parish for some 20 years, and was even wedded by him. This guy attended his sermons for God's sake. And nothing.

    He gets up there on the podium. Serious and composed. He won't be pulled into the "immature" race-argument. Yes, the reverend said bad, nasty, "divisive" things. Yes, they were anti-American, and yes, he condemns them. But, he says, you must understand the attitudes of many black people, how they have been oppressed, how many now live in poverty or separation from whites, et cetera... The same goes for some white people. Kids who develop a resentment to blacks who got into university because of favorable treatment as a minority group, some guy doesn't get a job because yadda yadda yadda...
    And so super hypno toad turned the affair on its head.
    He used the race card, whilst making it seem as though it was the rest of us. He made us feel guilty, childish. Whilst he stands proud, the unsuccessful victim of a racial attack.

    Its just that the problem with the preacher was not his skin color but what he preached. Obama kinda forgot what the whole thing was about, and turned the whole situation 180 degrees, in his favor.
    Here is a man beyond the racial divide. A man that can take America from living in its past, to tommorow's tommorow. A man that can bring change, and unite the good, but confused, people of America. A man who with his very racial constitution is a symbol of unity in diversity.

    :clap: Hooray for Hypno Toad!!! (and his running partner)
  8. Plissken

    Plissken It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 5, 2007
    There's nothing "racist" or "anti-american" about what Rev. Wright said. To whites, it may seem like a racist rant because "well meaning whites" who "want to move on" like to think that racism doesn't exist anymore just because of Dr. King's speech. Overt racism and covert racism (ex. institutionalized racism such as redlining and ingrained subconscious thought) is still well and alive in America today. Well meaning whites who want to "move-on" like to think they are color-blind and want people to be color-blind when what they should be doing is embracing culture and diversity in America instead of telling everyone to assimilate and become American.

    Obama HAS TO reject what Rev. Wright said because he wants to separate religion and politics and he wants to keep his message of hope and unity intact.

    Everytime well meaning white who feels everyone should "move on" feels guilty and the issue of race comes up, he starts yelling, "RACE CARD! RACE CARD! OMG GET THE FUCK OVER IT YOU WHINEY LITTLE BLACK/RED/YELLOW MAN! MAN, WHY CAN'T I CALL YOU PEOPLE OFFENSIVE NAMES BUT IF I SAY IT I GET FIRED OR CRITICIZED BY THE PUBLIC! IT NO FAIR!"

    Well, NO SHIT. "Whites" (remember, race is a social construct...dark skinned people in the caucus mts. are caucasians!) have had a history of oppressing people not just in America but all over the globe: ALL OF Africa, India, Australia, imperalism in China, and hundreds of years of slavery in the United States, which in a sense continues today with the mass incarceration of black men and youth.

    I personally don't like Rev. Wrights message. I acknowledge that America's fucked up but like Obama said, Wright offered no hope. I do think there is. There are whites who really do understand the race issue in America and I'm not talking about well meaning whites here.

    My 2 cents. but also...

    Don't know who made the post above, but I think another poster is right in saying racism is worse in other countries, especially homogenous ones which is pretty much every country except Canada and any other diverse countries I don't know about. National pride gets pretty damn ugly...
  9. Jabu

    Jabu It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Mar 5, 2008
    I don't know whether you were referring to my post when saying that there was nothing "racist" about Wright's comments. I didn't say that (though I kinda mentioned him being Anti-American). I personally think Wright is the worst, not too harmful, and there are a tonne more "racist" and anti-american "extremist" preachers out there. I can see where he's coming from in many of the things, like saying that the current Islamic terrorism agaisnt America is in many ways a consequence of the US's own actions. His views on the "evil" white man "bringing down" the black man, are a bit more dubious, at least in the epidemic proportions he describes it, but of course there still is a great deal of racism and inequality (though now, I believe, on the more individual scale). However, the stuff he said about AIDs, and occasional excessive spitting on America, wasn't that great. But I understand its all connected, and I guessing he's not an inherently vile person, just a victim of racial injustice.

    Nonetheless, Obama "rejected" the reverend because of the overall divisve (which is a nice word, because it can be strong from one side, and rather petty from another) tone. But the problem was not that Obama had gotten support from Rev. Wright, but that he had known Wright and been a part of his parish for n-ty years. Of course there are wackos, or at least people with strong controversial view points, nothing wrong with that, its even a good thing if there's a few weirdos here and there. But should the president of the United States of America be affiliated with one?
    That's my gripe with the whole affair. Obama did NOT adress this. He talked about the reverend not as a long term (spiritual) counciler and friend, but as somebody loosley related to his person simply brought up now in the wake of his campaign effort.
    What I think he shoud've done, though this would have probably been political suicide (as it would be easily misconstrued or manipulated), was to confront the accusations, and perhaps say that yes some of the things said were extreme though out of context, and explain what these, at first sight, words of anger and hatred, actually meant, were refering to.

    Either way, what I didn't like was how he completely twisted what the all the brouhaha was about. It would have been hard to politically manuveour out of this otherwise, but he was "supposed" to be the "sincere", non "smoke-filled room", straighface candidate of change. Though I never thought much of that myself.


    Having personally been affected (in other countries) I must partially agree, to the extent that the nature of that racism is different than the black/white "dilemma" here (in the US of A). In the US there's generally a greater tolerance for "new", "different" (ethinically) people, less nationalistic pride-that is not to say less patriotic pride. I'm not one to say whether the racism in (in my case) Europe is "worse" than what blacks "deal with" here, having never experienced it as a white person myself. But again I do feel that at least they are not the same.