Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's Hope I'm Wrong

Here's a quote from me from a post on January 19, 2005:
Why is there only one black senator? There are one hundred senators and only 1/2 a black person. Until there are more black senators, there ain't never gonna be a black president. Write that shit down. Barack could single-handedly capture Osama bin Laden and balance the budget and that negro would still not get elected president.
I just thought I'd bring this back to light in the hopes that I'm wrong. At the very least he's got as good a shot as any other Democratic candidate, perhaps better.

Relatedly, here is Side Bar's comment to my post:
"Barack could single-handedly capture Osama bin Laden and balance the budget and that negro would still not get elected president."


Actually, though, I disagree. I don't think there is enough blatant, out and out KKK-type racism to preclude a black guy from getting elected President (i.e., not enough guys going, "fuck that, I agree with that guy on most issues, but screw it, he's black"). Racism as it exists today is much more subtle - a black guy with baggy pants and corn rows can't get a home equity loan at his local bank as easily as I could, minorities have a harder time getting a cab, etc.

This is the problem with success stories like Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Barack Obama and the like. These leaders are used as evidence to support the claim that there is less racism in the country. That's bullshit. There's plenty of racism, it's just that a very few prominent black politicians have overcome it, and achieved positions still disproportionately held by whites.

Americans would embrace Obama the same way they would have embraced Powell (he was polling in the 40's in 1996), but I don't think that such an outcome would signal the sort of watershed moment in race relations that most pundits will announce.
PS - After a bit of a rest period for me, the Daily Show has once again become required viewing in this election season. It just does not get better.


Side Bar said...

I also hope you were (are) wrong, and stand by my original position.

Although the inability of Obama to close the deal in the primary versus Clinton, and his inability to pull away from McCain in the general election may lend a bit of credence to your point, and may call mine into question.

Open Bar said...

WTF are you talking about, Side Bar? He didn't "close the deal" on Hillary? He fucking won, didn't he? Deal closed. And, I remind you, the fact that he won at all (regardless of "deal-closing" nonsense like that) is pretty goddamn staggering, considering what he was up against.

And what's this "inability to pull away from McCain" shit? There's still two months left to go. And he's WINNING. He just chose his VP. He just had his convention. Give the man a chance before you go all Chicken Little.

You're a smart dude, but that was some seriously ignant shit.

Side Bar said...

I didn't think it was ignorant. He did not "close the deal" with Hillary, in my estimation, because even when it was beyond all reasonable doubt that Sen. Obama would win the nomination, Hillary was still racking up double-digit wins in white, rural states. See, e.g., West Virginia.

As for the current contest, the two are, right now, polling in a statistical tie despite overwhelming dissatisfaction with the current, Republican, administration. I didn't say he won't pull away, but he hasn't yet (especially in rural, white areas where a white Democrat, like, say, Hillary Clinton, might be doing better).

Taken together, those two observations might lend credence to the theory that a black candidate will have a harder time getting elected. That was the point of Chuck's original post, to which I subsequently commented.

You can disagree, but it was hardly ignorant (and, in fairness, it was hardly original. A lot of people have been making similar observations lately).