Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"How We Are Getting Racists to Vote for Obama"

Excerpt from a recent racialicious blog written by guest contributer SuzeNYC, a white woman. Please Read the full blog post here.
She writes:
I knew these people were intimating that they were having trouble with Obama’s race but I couldn’t figure out how to approach this.

The answer came in the form of an amazing guy I’ll call Stan. Stan’s daughter answered the door. She had long blond hair and looked to be about 15. She said her Dad was across the street at the garage where he works and he had not decided who he was voting for. My canvassing partner Kevin and I crossed the street to find Stan who was sitting with his co-workers having lunch, so we had quite an audience for what was to follow.

Stan said the usual stuff. Democrat. Doesn’t like McCain. Worried about the economy and then he was hedging around the fact that he has some problem with Barack. I looked him in the eye and with a relaxed smile on my face I plunged into the water and asked, “So, are you having a problem with the color of his skin?” He said he was. I asked him why and he said some non-sensible things like, “I don’t know. It’s just not right, you know? Something feels wrong about it.”

I asked him, again in a relaxed, non-judgmental tone, “Do you think you are a racist?’ At first he said, “No.” Then he said, “I don’t know, maybe.” I said, “You know, Barack’s mom looked a lot like me. And Barack and Michelle just finished paying their student loans last year. I wish that you would take a closer look at this man and try to see deeper than just his skin color. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are regular people who will never betray the middle class. That isn’t who John McCain is.” He agreed. At this point we could feel him relaxing and Kevin and I really stared connecting with him. I think he felt relieved that the cat was out of the bag and we weren’t giving him superior attitude or stomping away. We talked with him and listened to him talk about taxes and how Obama will give tax breaks to everyone making under $250K and we talked about the war and oil prices and how hard it has been to pay the bills."
Again, please read the entire blog post here.


Anonymous said...

While the statement that "Barack and Michelle just finished paying their student loans last year" may be true, it is intentionally misleading. I believe their joint income in 2005 was over 1.5 million dollars and in 2006 just below one million. I may be mistaken but I believe this to be essentially due to recent book sales. Regardless, Barack and Michelle are likely to be in the highest tax bracket for the rest of their living days; they are by no means struggling to pay back any loans. Misleading voters is wrong even if it is for a good cause. I realize that this is an excerpt from raxialicious's blog, but I felt the need to point this out here because it is where I am a reader and I would appreciate your opinion on the matter.

Anonymous said...

I think the fact that they have college loans in the first place is significant and shows their economic roots. I don't think Bush ever had to worry about paying a college loan. I could be wrong about that one. But it's a hunch...


butchrebel said...

Hi 'aurelius:" Yes, I thought that part of SuzeNYC's blog was interesting too -- that's a question you should pose to her on the racialicious blog -- I think it's a very good question.

I don't know if she views Obama as a wealthy man (which he most certainly is) *or* if she deliberately ignored his economic status in order to connect with a man who found it difficult to cast a vote for Obama because he is a black man.

I, however, am under no delusion that the Obamas are middle-income earners -- they are upper-upper class people, that's for sure. Obama is a millionaire -- though I wasn't aware that his millionaire status was a product of his booksales. I thought he was a millionaire once he became/after he became a Senator.

It also think it is important to note that Barack Obama *did not* grow up wealthy -- he is the son of a single mother and grew up poor. I believe that growing up poor is one of the many experiences that *might* -- just might (we'll see) -- make him a different kind of president (if elected) than than the vast majority of presidents and contenders for presidential office before him.

George Bush, Jr -- our current president -- didn't have to work a day in his life. He did work -- at being the owner of an oil company, at being a Governor -- but he didn't *have to* work. He didn't even have to work hard in college -- it's a well known fact that he was a big party goer in school, and prolific cocaine user before he "found God" and graduated from Yale (which he got into as a "legacy student" -- because his family members -- including his father and former president, George Bush, Sr. -- went there before him. In the past and present, "Legacy students" are almost exclusively white because of universities/colleges history of discriminating against people of color -- folks of color falt out couldn't get admitted to the vast majority of white colleges prior to the 1970s -- and when people of color were admitted to white colleges there number was horrifyingly small. That's one way present day upper class white folks benefit from racism/the racist oppression of people of color. Some scholars, activists etc., consider "legacy" enrollments "affirmative action" for white folks.)

Anyway, George W. Bush, Jr -- our current president -- was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was inordinately wealthy when he became president. He will leave office excessively wealthy as well.

John McCain is the 3rd richest man in the Senate (!) He was also born into a wealthy family and has benefited from that privilege (as well as white/male/heterosexual) privilege his entire life.

I agree with "J" that the fact that the Obamas at one time *had* to pay off their college loans is important -- it means that their experience is similar to that of most middle class people *and* a minority of working class and poor people who beat the odds and make it to college.

Thank you for reading/your comments!

Anonymous said...

Agreed. As a note, although I believe McCain comes from a line of high-ranking military officials, most of his wealth comes from the fact that he married into one of the most powerful families in the nation.