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Thread: The discussion on race Barack Obama didn't want

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Default The discussion on race Barack Obama didn't want

    The discussion on race Obama didn't want
    POLITICO
    When the Democratic primary descended into a charged debate about black and white and Sen. Barack Obama's racially polarizing pastor last spring, Obama took the stage to address the question of race head-on.

    "Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now," Obama told those assembled at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center and a nationally televised audience in March.
    His campaign, though, didn’t follow his lead.
    Instead, his aides have steered clear of any explicit discussion of racial inequality or of his pioneering campaign as they try to woo swing voters, some of whom may be discomfited by the notion of the first black president.
    "The best time for a national conversation on race is when he's president," Bill Perkins, a New York state senator from Harlem and early Obama supporter, said Saturday, expressing a widely held view among Democrats.
    But the national conversation appears to have arrived. Racial considerations that have long been palpable in southern Ohio and other crucial regions are again in the foreground. A new poll that accompanied a much buzzed-about Associated Press article on Saturday appears to starkly quantify the cost of racism to Obama: 6 percentage points in the polls.
    And Friday's debate will bring the campaign to the Deep South and offer the symbolism of an integrated debate at Ole Miss, the scene of a brutal battle over integration a generation ago. That conversation creates a moment with risks for both candidates — though perhaps greater risks for Obama.
    Many Democrats see the explicit discussion of race and politics as almost unambiguously negative for Obama, a reminder to voters of fraught questions of identity and a distraction from the economic troubles that have dominated the headlines in recent days and could bury Obama's rival, Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee.

    "From [former Los Angeles mayor] Tom Bradley to [L.A. Mayor] Antonio Villaraigosa to [Massachusetts Gov.] Deval Patrick, non-white candidates have historically been successful reaching broader electorates when they've steered clear of identity politics," said Sean Clegg, who until recently was the top political adviser to Villaraigosa.

    That's exactly the model followed by Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, who has made a career of electing executives of color. The campaigns he has run for mayor in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, and for governor of Massachusetts have, like Obama's, relied on combining a group's quiet pride in its favorite son with a determinedly post-racial message of hope and unity.
    Axelrod’s outlook was manifest at the Democratic National Convention, where Martin Luther King Jr.’s son addressed the crowd, but Obama's speech accepting his party’s nomination, delivered on the 45th anniversary of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, never mentioned the slain civil rights icon by name.

    A Republican strategist, Todd Harris, also suggested the country's economic woes could intensify racial tensions in key states. "The tragic irony is that the more the economic crisis helps Obama among some voters, it could cost him as much as it helps in some key states because of heightened racism sparked by tough times," he said.
    But if Democrats hope to muffle a discussion of race, which polling and reporting have long suggested is a crucial factor in swing states, discussion of it also carries risks for the Republican nominee. McCain has largely steered clear of anything that could be interpreted as race-baiting, and the Republican Party earlier this year warned its officials to stay on message on the sensitive topic. "They're going to face an avalanche of criticism if they touch the race issue with a 1,000-foot pole," said Clegg.
    More subtly, the recent survey findings carry the risk that McCain’s candidacy could be cast as relying on racism. His supporters have objected vociferously to lines of analysis like that of a recent Slate article headlined, "Racism is the only reason McCain might beat [Obama]."
    Even the suggestion that McCain's campaign is reliant on racism could alienate some voters.
    "There are a lot of suburban moderates who want to turn the page in the biggest possible way from [President] Bush, and voting for Obama gives them a chance to not only make history, but to prove something to themselves about their own evolved feelings on race," said Harris.

    Aides to Obama and McCain declined to discuss the impact of the race conversation Saturday, a mark of its sensitivity. And virtually everyone involved recognizes that the impact of race is difficult to predict.
    "Some Americans out there will vote for Barack Obama, even though they disagree with him, because they would like to see America move beyond this," said veteran Republican strategist Alex Castellanos. "And there are some Americans who have not moved beyond this."
    The campaigns came closest to an open debate over race in late July after Obama predicted the GOP's attack plan would use it. "What they're going to try to do is make you scared of me," he told a crowd in Missouri. "You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."
    The McCain campaign swiftly rejected any suggestion that it was mining racial resentment and blamed Obama for bringing up the topic.
    "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck," campaign manager Rick Davis said in a statement. "It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."
    Obama may have stated his feelings, or at least his intentions, most plainly last year in New Hampshire, in the placid waters of the Democratic primary. Then, Time magazine reported, an "aging hippie" asked Obama if he would launch another "national conversation about race."
    Obama responded in the negative. "I'm less interested in a conversation about race in the abstract," he said. "All the self-flagellation, it's not useful. African-Americans get all riled up, and whites get defensive."
    The discussion on race Obama didn't want
    And yet some people still accuse Obama of playing the race card every chance he gets.

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    There is a need for discussion on race in this country. But I think electing a black president will go a long way to realizing we are moving forward. It is a discussion he can have after he's elected. I myself am not voting for him because I think it's time we have a person of color as president. I'm voting for him because I want Barak Obama as president. Actually, since I'm still a Canadian I won't be voting at all, but my husband, children, in-laws, and anyone I can convince will. I hope my paperwork will be ready for the 2012 election.
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    ^^You're right, that's a conversation that can wait until after he gets elected. If we even need to have it at all.

    But that's why I was happy that Obama and Hillary were running at the same time, because it forced people to confront their own personal issues of race and gender. And whether Obama wins or not, the one thing that he and Hillary both did was that they made the road a little easier for the next person of color or woman that runs for president. It won't be such a strange concept to people.

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    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    ^^You're right, that's a conversation that can wait until after he gets elected. If we even need to have it at all.

    But that's why I was happy that Obama and Hillary were running at the same time, because it forced people to confront their own personal issues of race and gender. And whether Obama wins or not, the one thing that he and Hillary both did was that they made the road a little easier for the next person of color or woman that runs for president. It won't be such a strange concept to people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    ^^You're right, that's a conversation that can wait until after he gets elected. If we even need to have it at all.



    But that's why I was happy that Obama and Hillary were running at the same time, because it forced people to confront their own personal issues of race and gender. And whether Obama wins or not, the one thing that he and Hillary both did was that they made the road a little easier for the next person of color or woman that runs for president. It won't be such a strange concept to people.
    This is something our country has needed to confront for a long time. I think it holds us back as a country. How can we be the best if we don't trust each other to do right by one another? I love the diversity of mankind; I really do, but I have not committed myself to either candidate and I have really had ask myself why. Could I, as a middle class white woman, have a problem giving my vote to a black man? While we have come a long way on racism, I think racism is more dangerous now than in the 60's, because it is much more subtle. If Obama loses it will be because of race for a large part.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ya-ya_sister View Post
    This is something our country has needed to confront for a long time. I think it holds us back as a country. How can we be the best if we don't trust each other to do right by one another? I love the diversity of mankind; I really do, but I have not committed myself to either candidate and I have really had ask myself why. Could I, as a middle class white woman, have a problem giving my vote to a black man? While we have come a long way on racism, I think racism is more dangerous now than in the 60's, because it is much more subtle. If Obama loses it will be because of race for a large part.
    I agree, racism is a lot more subtle than it was in the 60's, which makes it more dangerous. And while we've come a long way I still think there's a long way to go. All races, black, white, brown, and yellow, have a lot of hang-ups and baggage that they need to get rid of.

    As for racism playing a role in whether Obama loses or not, I don't know. I mean, Obama was asked that question on 60 Minutes, and he said if he loses it'll probably be for other reasons besides racism. He may have just been taking the safe route with that answer, but I don't think racism will play as big a role as people think. The fact that Obama has gotten as far as he has, is a sign that racism isn't playing a major role. But only time will tell.

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    Some people are already having those conversations, though.

    On my team at work I have a black boss, a co-worker from China, a co-worker from Vietnam, a co-worker from India, a co-worker who is half native American, and two who are white (myself and another man).

    We discuss race issues openly and without apparent consequence. I wish everyone could talk about it the way we do.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Guys, who cares about race.. did you know that John McCain was a POW?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!11!1!!oneone
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tee-ha-ha View Post
    Some people are already having those conversations, though.

    On my team at work I have a black boss, a co-worker from China, a co-worker from Vietnam, a co-worker from India, a co-worker who is half native American, and two who are white (myself and another man).

    We discuss race issues openly and without apparent consequence. I wish everyone could talk about it the way we do.
    Yeah, I've had conversations like that too with co-workers/friends of different races. And when people just sit back and discuss race, honestly, they can clear the air about a lot of things and have a better understanding of each other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I agree, racism is a lot more subtle than it was in the 60's, which makes it more dangerous. And while we've come a long way I still think there's a long way to go. All races, black, white, brown, and yellow, have a lot of hang-ups and baggage that they need to get rid of.

    As for racism playing a role in whether Obama loses or not, I don't know. I mean, Obama was asked that question on 60 Minutes, and he said if he loses it'll probably be for other reasons besides racism. He may have just been taking the safe route with that answer, but I don't think racism will play as big a role as people think. The fact that Obama has gotten as far as he has, is a sign that racism isn't playing a major role. But only time will tell.
    Which is pretty much the reason why if anyone brings up race or acknowledges a racially prejudice instance you get slammed and accused of using "the race card" There is no such thing as a 'race card'. What the 'race card' is a cop out for white Americans who don't want to discuss racial issues, period.

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