Is America too racist to elect Obama?

Is America too racist to elect a black president?

That’s a question raised by a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, which said 30 percent of Americans admit having feelings of racial prejudice. In a previous poll, only about two-thirds of whites said they would be "entirely comfortable" with a black president.

Barack Obama seems to think his race will be an issue, recently saying of Republicans: "We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’"

Will prejudice decide the presidency? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the RedBlueAmerica columnists jump into the fray.

 

JOEL MATHIS

It’s unlikely that the one-third of Americans who acknowledge prejudiced feelings is actually racist. Some probably are, and some are probably honest and good-hearted people who recognize their feelings of prejudice, but don’t give into them. Polls typically don’t allow for that kind of nuance.

But the Washington Post-ABC News poll is still cause for concern. After two elections that have been decided by just a few hundred or few thousand votes in critical states, it’s not hard to see that three-in-10 number and think it looks very big. And it’s likely that number might actually be too low — because many Americans wouldn’t want to break a taboo and admit racism, even to a pollster.

So what’s Obama to do?

Basically, what he’s been doing: Appealing to the better angels of the voters’ consciences. Sure, there are people who think that any discussion of racism’s lingering effects on society is race-baiting — but they’re wrong. Obama can win by challenging Americans to be their best selves, to judge him on the content of his character and policies, instead of the color of his skin.

 

BEN BOYCHUK

So much for Barack Obama, the "post-racial" candidate — if indeed he ever existed. Obama’s remarks at a Jacksonville fundraiser the other day were far more revealing than his ornate speech in Philadelphia on race in America just a few months ago. "We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run." We do? With the exception of Hillary Clinton’s deplorable race baiting during the primaries, no candidate has played the race card more brilliantly than Obama.

The vast majority of Americans are arguably more post-racial than Obama and his Hyde Park neighbors, or his amen corner in the press. Take that Washington Post-ABC News poll. The pollsters assembled a "racial sensitivity index" to gauge Americans’ "racist feelings" and "perceptions of discrimination," the Post reported — which are highly subjective.

Evidently, one would score high on the index by hewing to the politically correct line on race. Many Americans of all races might beg to differ.

Besides, Republicans would be foolish to make Obama’s race an issue when Obama insists on making an issue of it himself. The issue isn’t Obama’s race at all. His policy prescriptions on a range of issues — from health care and Social Security to the war on terrorism and nuclear proliferation — would all but guarantee higher taxes, bigger government, a diminished private sector at home and declining prestige abroad. Those are meaty issues for a presidential campaign, and they represent a clear contrast between McCain and Obama.

You might even say the difference is black and white.

 

(Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis blog daily at www.infinitemonkeysblog.com and joelmathis.blogspot.com.)

Comments

  1. Sandra Price

    You can have her. She is a pain in the ass all over the net. It is always a diversion away from the subject. If that is what you want I’m certain she will fill your mind with facts that come from a vast encyclopedia. We need politics here. We are running out of time before the election. Since she spends so little working, maybe she should have her own intelligent web site.

  2. DejaVuAllOver

    I think Flapsaddle raises the average quality and intelligence of this site by about 328%. Thanks anyway, Sandra.

  3. Sandra Price

    Flapsaddle is a chronic label maker. Everything must be right/left, religious/atheists, and comes from a very Archie Bunker script. I have never heard a single intelligent statement from this poster. Everyone is simply one or the other of any debate. Yawn!

    I believe that America is tired of labels and would rather give a little here and a little there just to stop the ridiculous people like Flapsaddle.

    America from someone who only want to divide instead of locating a solution. Go home Cissy

  4. pollchecker

    MORE PROPAGANDA FROM FOX NEWS

    City Vehicles Spray Painted With Racial Attacks

    They are going to keep this up as long as they can ESPECIALLY since they have nothing else.

    Since this is Florida, it’s probably some Republican political operatives that work for them. Don’t forget the phone scam in the Northeast in 2004 that blocked the Dems phone bank.

    The lie and steal REpublican Genuises of Propaganda will not stop until they control EVERYTHING in America, the media, our lives, our children, life and death, etc..

    These neo-cons and their enablers are the TRUE TERRORISTS!

    TERRORISM — 1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
    2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
    3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government. Dictionary.com

    Couldn’t fit better if I tried to make it fit. The ironic part is the for some reason, some people seem to think that McCain would keep us safe from Terrorism.

    The terrorists are going to keep us safe from Terrorism. Yeah, right!

    Alice, we are in Wonderland.