Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Black Anger and White Resentment: Obama and the "Race" for the White House

I don't really want to nit pick Obama's speech in an attempt to poke holes in his sincerity or analyze his message, however I did only read the speech and did not watch or listen to it. I only read it because I wanted to hear the words in my mind and not through my ears, in other words I wasn't interested in the flowery deliverance. To me Obama speeches are like your favorite band that never switches it up for some variance, he definitely sticks with a rhythm and frankly it grates on my nerves. I will never vote for Obama. Not because of this current fiasco, but because of his politics and nothing more. However my take I will give and here it is.
The speech was well written. That being said I was disappointed that Obama threw white Grandma under the bus and tried to save black "uncle". He states "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe". I thought that sucked. White Grandma and his mentioning of her was unnecessary and in very poor judgement. She will forever be the racist white grandma of Barack Obama. Not cool.
Also, I am not a big fan of the "denounce" trend from so many in the media. Everybody has to be a "denouncer". Sean Hannity is the KING of reading a quote to an unsuspecting guest and then following up the comment with "denounce it, denounce it!". I don't get the whole "say it sucked! say it sucked!" this is a band-aid to the crap people spew from their mouths. Is the denounce plug some sort of public outcry? So they denounce it, who cares. We weren't born on pancake day (heads full of batter) Americans can tell when someone says something whacked, but feel free to alert us of the phrases that need to be "denounced" formally and then we can get back to our regularly scheduled programs of brain trash. So now Obama has denounced Reverend Wright, strenuously denounced, affirmatively denounced, absolutely denounced and unequivocally denounced his mental burps and farts in church. But Obama, he said that white people created AIDS for the sole purpose of infecting black people to kill all of them, "Yep I know Nikki, but next week his sermon will be about Jesus and helping people and we can do that churchy stuff next week".
I did like the line "It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams". This is essentially the message he was trying to give. I believe him to be sincere in wanting to Unite America. But, must we insist in "guilting" white people into supporting a half black/half white man? Are Hillary supporters racist because they prefer her over Obama? No. His "new blood" approach is getting old. He is also a politician with an agenda and a pandering rhetoric that is bought by his supporters. Other democrats that choose Hillary are no smarter, no more racist, no less a stupid democrat (just kidding don't freak out) because they prefer her over Obama. Obama has played the victim as he admonished many black people in his speech NOT to do. Every comment about race is immediately pounced upon and dissected as a big "OH NO racism!" and it always played out in his favor. He even mentioned Geraldine Ferarro in his speech. She was taking us back to the days of slavery with her comment. I highly doubt that the Don Imus's and Geraldine Ferarro's of the world are sending us back to pre-civil right decades because of their comments about race. Get real please.
He does mention political correctness, he says "anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism". OK I am conservative and this doesn't feel so comfy to me. Political correctness has to take some blame in the ridiculous hyper-sensitivity by so many minorities. It says "you should be offended". It gave license to be a victim. And I have issues with the term "reverse racism". Racism is racism whether you are black, white, pink or purple. Why is it reversed if it isn't a person of color. Intellectualizing race terminology was an appeasing effort by the academia elite in my lay opinion, and it sucks.
Obama gave a good speech that fell very short of easing any tension. He walked a fine line and fell to one side. To me he should have spoken to white people. White people were the ones that were fired upon. Instead he lectured about the plight of black people and the frustrations that still exist. He touched briefly on how things have changed but spent most of the time reassuring his black base that he indeed felt their pain. Whites were a second thought and we need to be more understanding. Perhaps this is true. So take it in the chute, gut it up and tolerate some white hatred. I am not sure this speech helped him. I suspect it did not. But he will still win the nomination and McCain will win the General. Like my friend Maria said "A black man for president? I’m not going to say, never. But it’s NOT going to happen in 2008. Why? Race is too STICKY an ISSUE in America. It’s still a TABOO topic." She was right and example exhibit A is right in front of our faces.


DB said...

My favorite part of Obama is how he riles up the righties out there. I think the irony of all this is that there are countless more people so over-the-top anti-Obama (yourself included) than over-the-top Pro-McCain. The right will be voting AGAINST Obama rather than FOR McCain in November.

Either way, the left has won this one, even if it is in small increments like McCain. If McCain wins, the Republican's are justified in their move to the left rather than to the right. Hell, the "conservative" candidate in 2016 might even be pro-rights. Or, gosh, pro-gay rights!

I, for one, will just sit back and watch the righties in their frustration. It puts a smile on my face to hear and see the conservative talk fellas getting so angry.

namaste said...

hey nik, wow! i got quoted, huh? thanks for the mention. ;)

ok, i had to read obama's speech this morning, which took a couple of hours, before i could comment on this post. *sigh* where to begin. i can't really, i'm gonna have to do a post of my own about his speech, there's so much to cover.

i definitely don't think this speech helped obama. i was hopeful that it would be a great speech, bringing together all the divided people his campaign has been trying to unite. alas, however, my hopes were dashed! (can you see me with my handback to my forehead, another hand over my heart) ;)

if anything, he lost a signnificant number of white voters who were with him until he started asking them to embrace and understand the anger and bitterness harbored and sometimes demonstrated by blacks. ya! that's gonna happen! and he spent wwaaaaayyyyy too much time defending and explaining the words of rev. wright (6 pages of a 10 page speech).

but nik, i must correct you on something you said re ferraro's comments about obama. you said, "she was taking us back to slavery with her comment" according to obama. the only thing obama said of her comment was "her recent statements, harboring some deep-seated racial bias."

on another point, i must say you're right, this speech was definitely written to appease and garner points with the black community. it was NOT about bringing the races together. it was about asking white america offer themselves up to blacks for group therapy sessions so that we can move forward as a united country. sappy, romantic, and completely unrealistic.

that's my two cents.


Nikki said...

DB...I am anti-democrat and he just so happens to have the better material right now so he gets the brunt, Hillary has gotten her share of trash talking on this blog. I am sure the lefties will find something to whine about this election like they always do, perhaps it will be the over the top Obama hatred...but in reality McCain is sufficiently socially conservative, anti abortion, anti gay marriage etc etc....no need to convince conservatives to vote for a candidate that hates their guts but wants to unify them into his value system. no need we'll stay on our side of the aisle thanks anyway. It gives the left such great blogging material too, so its a win win!! thanks for the comment :)Nikki

Maria, your point is well taken about Ferarro, perhaps I overstated my point, I tried to use sarcasm to state it was unnecessary for Obama to even mention it...he didn't need to drag an insignificant comment into a racially charged topic, hence his minister. But I failed to make that point, you are right he didn't mean the overblown comparisan I used. I will be interested to read your take on the speech, I really had so much more to say but I already felt like I was writing too much. thanks for the great comment and I will check out your blog for some further analysis!! :)N


I think the dems could run a poodle with pig-tails for president and still win! We shall see!! I just know ONE thing....whether it be Hill, Obama, or the "cheating on wife" McCain, I just CANNOT WAIT to flush the toliet and wave goodbye to "W!"

Mike said...

I thought the speech was pretty good. I don't think Obama was throwing his grandma under a bus. He said that she was kind and loved him but was not perfect. The same with his former minister. The guy is overall kind, etc. but expressed his frustration inappropriately from time to time.

I thought he addressed white folks when he explained how some blacks feel that they are still dealing with an unjust and unfair system, and that sometimes that anger gets vented as an issue of race. Then he told black people that whites sometimes do the same thing, though their reasons may be slightly different.

His main message is solid. We're all in this together. We can't expect to advance as a nation if we only elevate one group or another. We have to work to elevate all groups.

And seriously, "I'm here because of Ashley." If you took all of the semi-coherent statements W has made over the past 7 years, they don't equal that one line.

DB said...

"I am anti-Democrat"

Sounds fair to me, as I feel the same way about conservatives on most issues, especially the couple you mentioned ;-)

Nikki said...

Mike it is amazing how we can have different views of the same speech, but all in all I think the speech was good, I just didn't feel he reached out to the wounded party enough....but you make some great points. thanks for your perspective....:)N

DB....it makes for interesting conversation and blogging that is for sure...I think the social issues are as touchy as the race issue. I have blogged about abortion but not gay marriage...and I don't think that subject will be tackled here...at least not yet...thanks for the comment :)N

MsToOHollyWooD said...

Hi nikki! I must say your post is, as always, an interesting take on things. I agree with you, he definitely took one side (black) and neglected the other (white). What's helped contribute to Obama's achievement of becoming the first serious Black presidential candidate was that he didn't play the race card. He didn't really focus on color and didn't take the "woe is me, the white man is keeping us down" stance that some of his predecessors have. Now that the race is becoming tight again he seemed to feel the need for a shift in focus.

This speech had the potential to be really great but fell short of my expectations. He just dug himself into a deep whole by excluding whites with his poor black man against the big white meanies speech (lol). I've never liked that kind of stance. I don't think this is going to work out too great for him.

Nikki said...

thanks for the comment ms. too...I think you are right, as soon as this campaign became about race, is when it became an uphill battle for Obama. I do believe he has acheived a remarkable task in that he has indeed transcended race, up until recently, and it is too bad that he didn't distance himself from this sooner, I don't know maybe it would not have gotten any legs and would have died in the forest.....but such as it is, I am afraid his persona is damaged. thanks for the comment....you are a bright girl!!! :)Nikki

VillagePeeps said...

hi, i found your blog while googling 'black anger, white resentment' while watching hannity & combs in between watching the final four. my comment: why is it that the media, and by extension the public, need to make anyone of color running for President accountable to the black community and therefore doubly accountable to the white community? obama successfully avoided the race issue by transcending race, until the clintons (who are simply practicing anyway) and now the republicans brought race into the discussion against obama, who of course had to respond and defend himself sooner or later. after he won iowa, the issue was whether he was black enough to win black votes. then when he won the black vote in south carolina, he became characterized as the 'black candidate'. if we're gonna call it as we see it, let's do it - reagan was the 'white candidate'. bush was the 'rich man's candidate'. hillary is the 'woman's candidate'. each of these people advocated more forcefully for their core constituency than obama has (hillary's tears and finding her voice was a clear appeal to women, no question who reagan represented -he who vetoed making MLK day a holiday, refused to levy sanctions against south africa, he who was the first to refuse to meet with the NAACP, only to be embarrassed by jesse jackson when he negotiated the release of our pilots from syria (something reagan couldn't do). no need to talk about W's constituents - haliburton, KRB, blackwater, bear sterns, enron, blah blah blah. so with that kind of precedent, why should obama, who is both black n white (oh i forgot, it's america, forgot to use the 3/5 rule. thus, he's now all black of course) be held to a higher standard? reagan got elected with his race-baiting talk of taking back america from 'the special interests' (wonder what would have happened if he had been black and said the same thing? a 2nd jimmy carter term!).

if obama loses, guess who else loses? white americans, who will have to swallow their illusion of enlightenment and tolerance that they have been insulating themselves with since the 60s, and face themselves in the mirror. black people will be pissed, but not as upset, since such a loss will be business as usual for them in america. obama and his followers, who are mostly white in actual numbers, will have to face the reality that america has not yet matured to the point where they can see past a person's skin without harboring bias and malcontent, and thus not ready for the good things obama (or anyone with his vision in the future) can bring to our hopes and dreams we have for america as a whole. and one of your commenters is right - this could be more a vote AGAINST obama than a vote FOR mccain for what he brings to the table. thus, they both lose, too.

is this really the direction our country needs to go in?

Nikki said...

Hey villagepeeps, thanks for checking out the blog and leaving so many comments... love it! Unfortunately Obama as the bridge builder of the racial divide has discredited his futuristic message with mud from the passed. Not to mention whites who genuinely want to be seen as racially "sensitive" and not racist. If the only way for whites to prove they are not racist is to elect a black President then this country is indeed NOT ready for a black President because he will be as Geraldine Ferarro said... an affirmitive action President. I don't think THAT is good for anyone. Rev. Wright is the one who shouted this topic to the front pages not the conservative media, they just aired the goods. Typical white media I suppose... thanks for reading the blog :)N

VillagePeeps said...

you're welcome nikki. i find your blog interesting commentary and stimulating indeed. i also enjoy politics, so debate on issues is a good thing. i get the sense that your blog is part of a college course perhaps with the professor who responded to some of your posts and has his own blog. is that true? anyway, thanks for your comments to my comment.

btw, i agree with you (as i alluded to in my first comment) that if obama is elected to massage white guilt over the racial history of this country or to make black people feel good about themselves then we're all losers by electing an affirmative action candidate. whites, blacks and all colors in between would be better served by a candidate who is passionate, serious and affirmatively committed to making america a better place (which is why i like john edwards and -if she ever ran - carolyn kennedy schlossberg). what would be great to see is a female republican candidate who can reach over the aisle to all peoples. i think mike hukabee tried to do that in his campaign, but the money class (a problem in both parties) was opposed to him as a threat to their well-being. unfortunately that is more of a problem for the nation as a whole than race.

Nikki said...

hey thanks for returning villagepeeps...I am afraid I am out of college and much older than Anthony from the 7-10. He is a fellow blogger and indeed a friend. Though our blogs are very different we like to see what is happening on one anothers blogs and of course mix it up on different political subjects...he has been blogging much longer than I have and has given me some advice on how to improve my blog, since his is awesome and award winning and all. Feel free to come around and I will check out your blog!! Thanks for thinking I am a college student! I am just an old cranky MOM haha :)N