Saturday, May 31, 2008

Barack from Counterpunch

"A taster from Kevin, on “Why Blacks Keep Quiet About Obama”:

“Black people always have to navigate race fear; the long Democratic primary season has just underlined that. Joking, comedian Jon Stewart asked Obama, if elected, “Will you pull a bait and switch and enslave the white race?” Kinda funny. Except that’s precisely the sentiment that underlies white race fear. I’ve heard the same thing said in seriousness by more than one white person. “If Obama gets the White House what will they want next?” Or, “if Obama wins, blacks will think they’re running things.”

. . .Give a listen to the corporate media, and it’s pretty clear what tune black voices are supposed to be singing. Obama is constantly called on to swear allegiance to America – to prove he isn’t swearing allegiance to blacks. The other way to say that is he’s supposed to swear allegiance to white, not black, America. Meanwhile, the back end of that deal is that black Americans are required to substitute Obama for real structural racial progress. As in, “You got your nominee. See, we’re not so racist or bad after all. Now shut up!”"

I really don't see that, or, actually, I see it a different way. Barack in my opinion is one of the whitest black politicians that have been out there, making it hard to see a fiery black nationalist in his statements. In fact, he voluntarily, not with prompting from the media but voluntarily, has distanced himself from radical black ideas that before he was elected to Congress, as a Senator, he may have supported. He's a uniter, not a divider.

But you know, he's running for the President of the United States not the President of black America. If he wants to be a real President he'll have to appeal to all Americans, not just black supporters who will vote for anyone black who's to the left of Alan Keyes and rich white Yuppies who listen to NPR and are liberal to the point of idiocy.

*on edit: it looks like there are two contradictory things going on here: Obama being a really white Black politician and him not connecting with white people although he's been straining to broaden his appeal there. The solution is that the white folks that Obama has been reaching out to aren't regular people but the upper middle class yuppie set that reads the Daily Kos. While he's done a lot to prove that he can order complex espresso drinks with the best of them he hasn't done anything to prove that, yes, he would possibly have a beer with a shot of whiskey or something. He seems to be sacrificing one of the traditional legs on which the Democratic Party has stood since FDR: organized labor.

If Obama really wants to promote racial reconciliation in America and a new progressive politics he should work on bringing African American voters and Union people together, not relying on blacks as a sure thing bloc and reaching out to whites who already agree with him.

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