Saturday, October 18, 2008

"It's Because He's Black, Stupid"

The election is only a few weeks away, and there are still "undecideds." What are they waiting for? And how can they be torn between these two guys. They're so different. They are offering voters a very clear choice. Besides, what more could the undecideds possibly hope to learn or see about the candidates? Is Obama finally going to gain a few pounds? Is McCain finally going to stop saying, "My friends?" What is taking these people so long to make up their minds? Well, when it comes to some of them, to paraphrase a famous political saying, I'd have to say, "It's Because He's Black, Stupid."

Now before you start angrily typing to me, let me make a few things clear. I'm not suggesting that everyone who dislikes Barack Obama and plans on voting for John McCain is doing it because of race. I'm not saying that all of the people who are still undecided are racist. What I am suggesting is that we have to look at and wonder about those voters who agree with Barack Obama on issues that are very important to them and disagree with John McCain's positions, yet are still thinking about voting for McCain. Why? Could it be race?

Lately, political pundits have been talking about "The Bradley Effect." This refers to the 1982 California gubernatorial contest in which Tom Bradley, an African American, was ahead in the polls but lost to George Deukmejian. Some experts feel that some white voters were embarrassed to tell pollsters that they really planned to vote for the white candidate, and others who favored Bradley just couldn't vote for the black candidate once they got in the polling booth. There is some feeling that this may happen again in the Obama-McCain contest.

But I think there's also something going on that I'll call, "The Who, Me? Effect." This involves white voters who don't consider themselves anti-black. They may live among or work with African Americans and would certainly never use a racial slur. But, well, they just aren't completely embracing African Americans. They feel uncomfortable, weird, and awkward about the whole thing. When they're having a public conversation in a restaurant, etc., they always seem to whisper the word, "black" (like some people always whisper the word, "cancer"). If someone called these people bigots or said they were prejudiced, their response would be a shocked, "Who, me?"

But they agree with Obama on all the issues that are important to them, yet they're just not sure about voting for a black man. So they remain undecided. And they are desperately searching for some reason, some excuse, some rationalization for voting for McCain that doesn't involve race. Apparently, they couldn't convince themselves that eight-year-old Barack Obama was a radical member of the Weathermen, so they're still looking for some reason not to vote for Obama without feeling guilty.

When you combine "The Bradley Effect" with "The Who, Me? Effect," the numbers could be quite significant. A whole vocabulary has evolved to help the "Who me-ers" rationalize their opposition to Obama. I can help with the definitions:

"I don't like him because
he's arrogant" really means, "He's black."

"He's inexperienced" really means, "He's black."

"I know he's not a Muslim,
but how can I vote for
someone with a name like
that in these times?" really means, "He's black."

"His speeches are too fancy" really means, "He's black."

"How did a guy with his
background end up at Harvard?" really means, "He's black."

"I like his ideas, but
there's just something
about him" really means, "He's black."

"I don't like his wife" really means, "He's black."

One good thing about America is that you are not required to justify whom you vote for. If you want to vote for someone because you like his eyes or the way she dresses, you may do that. And if you don't want to vote for someone because of the color of his skin, that is your right. I just hope that not too many people exercise that right.


  1. Ok, I've never commented before on your articles, but this one is just too much.

    "He's inexperienced" really means, "He's black." What? What kind of stupid statement is that? He really is inexperienced and quite naive about many important issues. His lack of experience have nothing to do with his race. I would have voted for Alan Keyes if he was a viable candidate and had won one of the major party nominations. Not because he is black, but because I like his views.

    Also, Obama's economic and health care plans are about as socialist as they come. We are not a socialist nation, don't want to be and hopefully never will be. Notice he won't say that his views are socialist, he knows full well that the American public don't want to be socialist. Redistribution of the wealth is not an American view. If you want to do better economically, then get out there and work for it like the rest of us. Yes, we should help those who are disadvantaged for various reasons, health, education and so forth. But if all you want to do is drop out of school and work minimum wage, then you should reap what you sow.

    Besides, he's not really black anyway. Half white, mostly Arab for the rest with less than 10% black from his ancestry. So we are not voting for the first "black" candidate, we voting for the first half white, mostly Arab candidate.

    Look at the issues, let your morals and values guide you, but stop saying that just because I disagree with Obama that I must be racist. At my work, the people I talk too who are most against Obama just happen to be about the blackest people I know. One guy can trace his ancestry to a freed slave here in America. He hates Obama and hates how the "race" card is being used to bludgeon white people into voting for him. As far as he is concerned, Obama is a terrible candidate, has an extremely liberal platform and will be one of the worst Presidents ever if elected. He at least can look beyond race, and actually judge the candidate on the issues.

    You should do the same.

  2. Too much LA smog for Lloyd. Obama is a socialist... he wants to redistribute wealth. He is dishonest about his associations with Ayers and Wright... he has long standing associations with people who dislike this country and by words and actions have acted against this country... that is his prerogative..just don't deny it. Still want to vote for Obama ..that is your choice ... race will not be as much a factor in people not voting for Obama as age is for young people not voting for McCain.

  3. Lloyd wonders why there are still “undecided's” in this election. He thinks the answer is racism. That’s an odd conclusion. Have you ever met a racist who was undecided about their opinion? Me neither. Racists by definition are decidedly decided. They aren't open to being swayed. They don't sit around picking petals off flowers wondering aloud “I love people, I love them not. I love people, I love them not.”

    So what are some of the real reasons someone could honestly be undecided?

    1)The Hillary Effect. There is a contingent of women voters who ideologically align closer to Obama yet hold bitterness that he did not at least make Hillary his V.P. They were very vocal that they would consider Mc Cain and his female running mate. This may be a tough decision for some women but it doesn't make them a racist.

    2)Inexperience. Some voters struggle with the fact they like Obama but they think Mc Cain with his decades of experience would make a better leader. They think Obama would make a good president someday, but he needs more experience. Are they racists for still mulling over who to pick?

    3)Moderation. Most of America is moderate. Moderate Republicans. Moderate Democrats. They have a lot in common and they don't like the extremes of even their own parties. So they can all easily find Obama appealing in some areas yet still be wary of the fact that he is the most liberal voting member of Congress. It’s enough to make them undecided, but it doesn't make them racist.

    Being undecided doesn’t make you a racist for not already picking Obama anymore than it makes you an ageist for not already aligning yourself with Mc Cain. It’s an important decision. Take you time. Vote wisely.

    People's Republic of Santa Monica

  4. Lloyd, you lost me with this one. I'm not voting for Barack Obama. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with the content of his character. To see you equate "He's inexperienced" with "He's black" tells me everything I need to know about your political judgment. In effect, you just called me a racist. I'll not hang around for more of that.

  5. ridiculous, just ridiculous

  6. I am not a 'who me?' kind of person but I do have issues with Obama. I was a strong supporter of Hilary, and the fact he didn't do the wise thing of selecting her to be his vice (which would have united the democratic person) made me lose some respect for him. Furthermore, despite being quite left wing, in recent economic discussions, I've felt McCain has taken the favourable approach. This has led to a little dilemma as I would feel very guilty to support the Republicans but at the same time, this election campaign has raised doubts over Obama as a president. Am I a 'who me' person? No. Am I racist or remotely prejudiced on issues of race or background? Far from it. Am I sure I support Obama? No sadly not.
    Where does that leave me?

  7. You forgot:

    He's Arab = He's Black
    Powell endorses Obama because He's Black
    He isn't from the "real" part of America = He's Black.
    He's a Socialist = He's Black
    He's a Communist = He's Black
    He's establishing a welfare state = He's Black
    He has radical ideas = He's Black
    Tony Rezko = He's Black
    ACORN = He's Black
    William Ayers = He's Black
    Not the "right" kind of Christian = He's Black

    Those who think this is just about politics try this little experiment. Place an Obama/Biden sign in your front yard or better yet - an Obama bumper sticker on your car and see what happens.


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