"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Sunday, August 24, 2008

If Obama Loses Racism Is The Only Reason McCain Might Beat Him.

There is no question that the major issue in this Campaign is RACE! It really doesn’t matter what other issues the McCain Camp wants to raise or frame; they are all designed to give racists talking points about town to savage and disparage Obama without being caught as downright “Closet- Klansman-type” RACISTS.

I mean just face it; put it face up on the table and let’s deal with it, or are you shadowy racists too embarrassed to have an open dialog…that maybe you would look absolutely stupid?

King speech to Obama speech: A dream realized?
The Associated Press - Aug 22, 2008
But in the 4 1/2 decades since King's speech, questions about the prevalence of racism in American life haven't abated, with blacks and whites deeply ...

The faith in his dream
Ottawa Citizen, Canada - Aug 23, 2008
"A lot of what King was saying has not been fulfilled -- racism and discrimination are still here -- but he was a leader who said what had to be said. ...

If Obama Loses | Racism is the only reason McCain might beat him.

By Jacob Weisberg
Posted Saturday, Aug. 23, 2008

What with the Bush legacy of reckless war and economic mismanagement, 2008 is a year that favors the generic Democratic candidate over the generic Republican one. Yet Barack Obama, with every natural and structural advantage in the presidential race, is running only neck-and-neck against John McCain, a sub-par Republican nominee with a list of liabilities longer than a Joe Biden monologue. Obama has built a crack political operation, raised record sums, and inspired millions with his eloquence and vision. McCain has struggled with a fractious campaign team, lacks clarity and discipline, and remains a stranger to charisma. Yet at the moment, the two of them appear to be tied. What gives?

If it makes you feel better, you can rationalize Obama's missing 10-point lead on the basis of Clintonite sulkiness, his slowness in responding to attacks, or the concern that Obama may be too handsome, brilliant, and cool to be elected. But let's be honest: If you break the numbers down, the reason Obama isn't ahead right now is that he trails badly among one group, older white voters. He does so for a simple reason: the color of his skin.

Much evidence points to racial prejudice as a factor that could be large enough to cost Obama the election. That warning is written all over last month's CBS/New York Times poll, which is worth examining in detail if you want a quick grasp of white America's curious sense of racial grievance. In the poll, 26 percent of whites say they have been victims of discrimination. Twenty-seven percent say too much has been made of the problems facing black people. Twenty-four percent say the country isn't ready to elect a black president. Five percent of white voters acknowledge that they, personally, would not vote for a black candidate.

Five percent surely understates the reality. In the Pennsylvania primary, one in six white voters told exit pollsters race was a factor in his or her decision. Seventy-five percent of those people voted for Clinton.

You can do the math: 12 percent of the Pennsylvania primary electorate acknowledged that it didn't vote for Barack Obama in part because he is African-American. And that's what Democrats in a Northeastern(ish) state admit openly. The responses in Ohio and even New Jersey were dispiritingly similar.

Such prejudice usually comes coded in distortions about Obama and his background. To the willfully ignorant, he is a secret Muslim married to a black-power radical. Or—thank you, Geraldine Ferraro—he only got where he is because of the special treatment accorded those lucky enough to be born with African blood. Some Jews assume Obama is insufficiently supportive of Israel in the way they assume other black politicians to be.

To some white voters (14 percent in the CBS/New York Times poll), Obama is someone who, as president, would favor blacks over whites. Or he is an "elitist" who cannot understand ordinary (read: white) people because he isn't one of them. Or he is charged with playing the race card, or of accusing his opponents of racism, when he has strenuously avoided doing anything of the sort. We're just not comfortable with, you know, a Hawaiian.

Then there's the overt stuff. In May, Pat Buchanan, who writes books about the European-Americans losing control of their country, ranted on MSNBC in defense of white West Virginians voting on the basis of racial solidarity. The No. 1 best-seller in America, Obama Nation by Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D., leeringly notes that Obama's white mother always preferred that her "mate" be "a man of color." John McCain has yet to get around to denouncing this vile book.

Many have discoursed on what an Obama victory could mean for America. We would finally be able to see our legacy of slavery, segregation, and racism in the rearview mirror. Our kids would grow up thinking of prejudice as a nonfactor in their lives. The rest of the world would embrace a less fearful and more open post-post-9/11 America. But does it not follow that an Obama defeat would signify the opposite?

If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth. His defeat would say that when handed a perfect opportunity to put the worst part of our history behind us, we chose not to. In this event, the world's judgment will be severe and inescapable: The United States had its day but, in the end, couldn't put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race.

Choosing John McCain, in particular, would herald the construction of a bridge to the 20th century—and not necessarily the last part of it, either. McCain represents a Cold War style of nationalism that doesn't get the shift from geopolitics to geoeconomics, the centrality of soft power in a multipolar world, or the transformative nature of digital technology. This is a matter of attitude as much as age. A lot of 71-year-olds are still learning and evolving.

But in 2008, being flummoxed by that newfangled doodad, the personal computer, seems like a deal-breaker. At this hinge moment in human history, McCain's approach to our gravest problems is hawkish denial. I like and respect the man, but the maverick has become an ostrich: He wants to deal with the global energy crisis by drilling and our debt crisis by cutting taxes, and he responds to security challenges from Georgia to Iran with Bush-like belligerence and pique.

You may or may not agree with Obama's policy prescriptions, but they are, by and large, serious attempts to deal with the biggest issues we face: a failing health care system, oil dependency, income stagnation, and climate change. To the rest of the world, a rejection of the promise he represents wouldn't just be an odd choice by the United States. It would be taken for what it would be: sign and symptom of a nation's historical decline.

Jacob Weisberg is editor-in-chief of the Slate Group and author of The Bush Tragedy.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2198397/

Is the World Ready for a Black American President? Contrary to European newspaper reporting, racism is not unique to the United States.

By Anne Applebaum

Barack Obama

"Will Americans vote for a black man?" I think I've been asked this question by foreigners of various origins a dozen times—or maybe three dozen times—since the U.S. presidential campaign began for real in January. Now we have the answer: Yes, Americans will vote for a black man. Which means that it is now time to turn this rather offensive question around the other way: Will foreigners accept a black American president?

I realize that this, too, may seem like a rather offensive question, particularly if one believes everything that one reads in the newspapers. Germany, to take one random example, is at the moment experiencing something like its own version of Obamamania. The press appears to see the Democratic candidate as what a Der Spiegel journalist calls "a cross between John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr."; the German foreign minister has already been heard chanting, "Yes, we can!"; and Obama T-shirts can be spotted in the hipper quarters of Berlin.

This sort of enthusiasm isn't unique to Germany, either: British, French, and even Polish newspapers splashed Obama and his candidacy on their front pages last week, most accompanied by laudatory articles that solemnly proclaimed that "America has changed."

But has Europe changed? And have Asia and the Middle East changed? I hate to put it so crudely, but—European newspaper reporting to the contrary—racism is not a phenomenon unique to the United States.

The situation of ethnic minorities in Europe and Asia is completely different from that of the United States, and in many ways our societies aren't comparable: Most nonwhite inhabitants of European societies are recent immigrants, not descendants of former slaves, and the particular situation of, say, the black Christian population in Arab-dominated Sudan is unique.

Nevertheless, it is safe to say that there is a distinct dearth of nonwhite politicians in Europe. The Indian caste system has an element of skin-color discrimination built into it. Arab societies have their own history of trading in black slaves, and the existence of anti-black-African prejudice in the Arab world is no secret. Periodically, African students in Moscow get beaten up on the streets.

Though certainly more severe in those countries that have large nonwhite populations, unreflective racism exists even in parts of the world that have barely any darker-skinned or nonnative inhabitants at all. Japan has been singled out by the United Nations for its racist treatment of foreigners. And while some of the stares that black Americans say they get on the street in Warsaw or Prague reflect simple curiosity, some, I'm told, also contain an element of hostility.

President Obama wouldn't have to worry too much about angry stares from people at bus stops, of course, and it is fair to assume that prejudices harbored by the odd foreign leader will vanish in the presence of the U.S. president. In the rosiest scenario, an Obama presidency—or just an Obama candidacy—might even force a broader international discussion of race. Last year, Andrew Sullivan wrote eloquently about the way in which Obama's face, just by itself, will help change America's image around the world.

By the same token, candidate Obama—merely by being who he is and looking like what he looks like—could begin to change European, Arab, and Asian attitudes about race. Millions of Africans would surely treat a U.S. president of African descent as "their" president, just for a start.

But in the meantime, do not be surprised if there is some backlash. A hint of what might be hiding behind those enthusiastic headlines emerged last week in Obamamanic Germany, where Die Tageszeitung, a Berlin newspaper, put a photograph of the White House and the headline "Uncle Barack's Cabin" on its front page.

The editors argued that their intention was satirical, but since the same newspaper has also referred to the current U.S. secretary of state as "Uncle Tom's Rice," it is clear that they understood the nastiness of the "Uncle Tom" connotation perfectly well.

Listen carefully, too, when foreigners start worrying about Obama's lack of foreign-policy experience. Though this is a perfectly legitimate concern, I do think I occasionally catch a racist undertone in this kind of conversation. "How could a black man possibly understand European/Middle Eastern/South Asian politics?" is what my interlocutors sometimes, in fact, seem to be saying.

The correct response, of course, is that plenty of white men don't understand European/Middle Eastern/South Asian politics, either. But not everyone, everywhere, is going to understand that. Foreign coverage of U.S. politics always reveals a lot about foreign countries, but never more so than in this election season.

Boston Globe
| The baiting of Ms Obama - Aug 20, 2008

Media coverage of Obama has packed a nasty racism-sexism combo that is quickly becoming a national disgrace. First a Fox News segment captioned a picture of ...guardian.co.uk

Fox News tags Michelle Obama as Barack's "Baby Mama"

The Great White Hype
Dissident Voice, CA - Aug 23, 2008
“Welcome to the murky world of modern racism, where most of the open animus has been replaced by a shadowy bias that is difficult to measure,” Charles Blow ...

Racist Attacks on Obama Growing More Heated | Hatewatch | Southern ...

Dozens of those posts are derogatory and employ all kinds of racist slurs. Others speculate that such an Obama victory would kick off a race war between ...

Hillary Clinton at Barack Obama's Convention (This is sort of like watching a NASCAR Race, Just Waiting For A Crash!)
U.S. News & World Report, DC - Aug 22, 2008
A new Pew Research Center poll shows a surprisingly high level of interest in viewership of the Democratic National Convention, compared with prior years. ...