Friday, February 8, 2008

I'm voting for Barack on the issues I tell you!

I have a question that has been brewing for quite some time. I have been hoping that a columnist or blogger would answer this question for me. But thus far no one has. My question is; why are so many African Americans not willing to say they are voting or going to vote for Barack Obama because he's Black?

Recently in the Nevada Primary Mitt Romney a Mormon (who as you know is no longer in the race) won 90% plus of the Mormon vote in that state. I have seen and read time and time again White women saying they are voting for Hillary Clinton because she's a woman.

None of these groups, Mormons or White women seems to have any problem stating for the record that they are voting for a particular candidate because they resemble them in some way.

So why are so many African Americans saying to anyone who will listen that they are voting for Barack Obama because of his message or on the issues but not because he's Black? Are we, African Americans, just so much more politically mature than White women and Mormons?

And do you think that Irish-Catholic Americans didn't vote for JFK because he was Irish-Catholic?

Is this like the case of the only two Black people at a party avoiding speaking to each other for fear that everyone else in the room will think that the two are speaking to each other because, well because they are both Black?

Why is it a bad thing to so many African Americans to vote for Sen. Obama because he's Black like them?

I am not, for the record, playing Devil's advocate. I really don't get it.

Also as many of you know I am still undecided but leaning toward Sen. John McCain. Just in case anyone thinks I'm trying to convince people to vote for Obama.

So I ask you;

why are so many African Americans so reluctant to say publicly that they support Barack Obama because he's Black?

28 comments:

Los Angelista said...

I believe in independently investigating the truth and seeing what someone's about so that I can vote with a clear conscience. I think it's stupid to vote for someone just because of their race. There are plenty of black folks that do not share my values or my outlook on the world so how dumb would I look to potentially elect someone who I disagree with politically? Would I vote for Puffy or 50 Cent if they ever ran for office? Heck no!

Yes, some white people have done this forever but one of the beautiful things about the human race is that we don't have to blindly imitate the wrongs of the past.

Also, I've been told so many times in my life that I only got something because I'm black even if I am qualified and offer something unique. I know I'm not alone in that experience and I'm sure Obama has had it happen to him a million times. So again, I felt like I owe it to him and to myself to actually see what he's about and whether or not his viewpoints align with mine.

Jackie said...

Excellent Question, MDC. I honestly think that if Barack was white with the exact same message and delivery, I guess I'd feel nearly the same about him. His being black is important to me. I love that. But perhaps we have had to vote for white candidates so long, we've learned to look beyond that. There are matters of trust for us, always regardless of color. So we say yeah he's black but that's not the only reason I vote for him. We have never been able to afford to vote for someone, just because.

Lady Di said...

I'm never surprised to see/hear/read just how many Blacks are afraid to BE BLACK. Keep puttin' it down MDC.

justjudith said...

my guess is because many people who are not Black accuse us of always sticking together, even when people are wrong, we support them. for instance, bill maher believes Blacks will ignore the issues and vote solely for barack because of his race like we blindly supported o.j. simpson. that's HIS theory. i knew a lot of Black people who thought mr. simpson did it. and i think the same was said about people who supported the jena 6 -- but many people thought they were culpable in that situation, also. i think many Black folks want to be given credit for picking the best candidate, not voting blindly. that's my take, anyway. it is insulting every time bill maher says that. for me, the best candidate just happens to be Black and i don't wanna be accused of just following the crowd. but maybe you're onto something -- however, i also know folks who have no love for barack and aren't supporting his campaign and they're Black. i wonder if you are saying something about yourself by NOT voting for him if you're Black? great post.

New Black Woman said...

I've actually heard a few comments from blacks who say they are voting for him because he's black (but that wasn't the only reason).

There's always a racist suspicion made by some whites that blacks only like him (and other black politicians) because he's black. It's assuming that blacks only vote for candidates because they are black and not because of the issues.

I have white friends who are proud to say they support him, but I'm always hesitant to even admit I like him. I guess it's a defense mechanism of some sort.

wisdomteachesme said...

i think it may be for several reasons....one many that are up to date of how to chose a canidate and how to sift through the issues they support don't want people to see them as just voting for him because he is black -but for his issues and his outlook for the country.

others maybe don't want everyone to know their business- and
how many black people are being asked that question by someone that Will print/report their answers?

and does it really matter if black people don't follow for once behind whites and others?

Homeland Colors said...

I think the issue is that people don't want to come across as racist, or race loyalist. I gotta admit that Barack being culturally African American is a big part of my voting for him. But even for people who are voting for him because he is Black, there is, on some level an agreement of ideas. After all Alan Keyes runs for president every election and doesn't get a lot of support from African Americans, and Barack had to fight for support. His culture is a part of it, and we may lack the ability to articulate why we support him, but for the most part, I think most Blacks aren't just voting race.

Anonymous said...

Because black people asked to be treated by the content of our character.

kayoz said...

dear mdc,
as i am no african amercian voter i can only speculate on this...
but as i mentioned before, i'd rather vote for someone because i agree with his/her political program, attitudes and way of perception than because of his physical characteristics...

...content weighs a lot heavier than form...

if it is of any comfort to you: if i had the chance, i would vote for Obama, too...and that although i'm 'white' and female...laughs

Don said...

Mes, I am ashamed @ you. lol.

Clearly no one votes for a politician simply based on the color of their skin.

It's all about the issues.

The issues.

*trying my best to play it off*

Danielle said...

I'm voting for him because he's black AND I also like his platform. I was on the fence for a long time, but the more I see him, the more he has me convinced he can do the damn thing.

I have his 64 page Plan For America that I'm going to read from cover to cover this weekend. He inspires and gives alot of folk hope that they'd lost in America.

Some folks blow hope and inspiration off, but never underestimate the power of symbolism.

I think some people feel, that White Mainstream America will accuse them of playing the race card because when white folks vote for their own they are "racist".

It's sick and twisted, but there it is.

Fat Lady said...

Honestly, I think that part of Obama's appeal is that there are so many good reasons to vote for him beyond the fact that he's black.

People who voted for Jessie Jackson did so because he is black. People who voted for Al Sharpton did so because he is black. And most people I know who voted for each of them said that flat out - admitted that if they weren't black - they wouldn't vote for them.

But the people I know voting for Obama would vote for him even if he weren't black - the fact that he's black just makes it that much better.

His messages of hope and change are accentuated by his ethnicity - but his ethnicity doesn't completely define those messages.

I would vote for Obama if he were white. I would NOT vote for McCain even if he was black.

I just have to ask what part of McCain's platform or message makes him a viable candidate for you?

Lady Di said...

Maybe this is a bad way to look at the most historical Presidential election thus far in my lifetime, but I'm on the fence still. See, we could, GOD FORBID, have a major event during th summer that would revoke everything being said RIGHT NOW. So, I am waiting until oh say, the summer to really see where we are as a country and where we are as a world as well. In terms of what GWB will leave the new administration, in terms the whole political arena and the closing of the races AND how we are a humans on every issue - seen and not seen.

JMHO

Tami said...

MDC,

I have heard a LOT of black people say they are voting for Barack Obama because he is black. In fact, on several episodes of the Black Women's Roundtable, black female panelists were castigated because they wouldn't blindly support Obama because of his race. As a former John Edwards supporter, believe me I heard it from both sides--women who questioned my feminist bonafides and black folks trying to revoke my black card.

Personally, Obama's race played no factor in my current support of him. I will be thrilled to see the first African American president, but if Obama's platform did not reflect the issues I think are important, I would not be voting for him.

Lady Di--Are you saying that not supporting Obama because he is black is evidence of someone not wanting to be black?

Anonymiss said...

I'm one of those ppl that isn't voting for Barack because he's Black.

This is gonna be all over the place so try to stay with me.

1. I guess some of us think it's shameful, foolish, and uneducated to vote based on race.

2. I think some of us feel that we have to validate our reasons for supporting Obama because it's already assumed that we're doing so because we're Black. In the minds of bigots or out-of-touch White liberals, Black = bad hence the need for validity.

3. There's nothing wrong with being White, therefore, it's acceptable to express your support for someone who looks like you. Meanwhile we've gotta provide web links, periodicals, videos, and the whole nine to validate our reasoning because Blks are still seen as feeble-minded degenerates.

It's really messed up how White men don't have to answer to anyone about anything.

Mango Mama said...

Because we're tired of being painted broadly as a monolithic bunch.

Now, I want to hear more about you voting for McCain. You know I think he may be the original Manchurian candidate. Lord knows what happened to this man while he was a prisoner of war? Also, what about his proposition for staying i Iraq for the next 100 years?

Regina said...

I think people all have very different ways of rationalizing what they do or don't do. For example my son said he is not voting for Obama because he is black, so when I asked him why he said when the world gets more screwed up I don't want them to blame black people.

Personally, I would have voted for Edwards had he not dropped out, but now my choice is Obama partially because of the issues and partially because I DO NOT LIKE HILLARY!!

But for your question I think everyone has their own reasons and agenda and it can't be answered as a blanket question, because the possible answers would be endless...

tasha212 said...

I know alot of people who are voting for Obama because he is black. Alot of people have their hopes pinned on him. Some people think that he will heal the racial divide. It's kinda difficult because none of the candidates are really discussing the issues. I don't care for Hillary, but I'm not won over by Obama so I don't know who I'm going to vote for. I'll probably know by November.

theblackactor.com said...

Goodness. I just remembered you gave me an NPR link to check out. Ooops. I'd almost forgotten. Ima check it this weekend.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Liz,

"I felt like I owe it to him and to myself to actually see what he's about and whether or not his viewpoints align with mine."

That's really interesting. I've haven't heard anyone put it like that.

_____________________________________

Jackie,

"But perhaps we have had to vote for white candidates so long, we've learned to look beyond that."

Excellent point; I think that is great analysis. Maybe having to vote for others so long has matured us more than we think.
___________________________________

Lady Di,

I think there are those who are.

___________________________________

JustJudith,

"i wonder if you are saying something about yourself by NOT voting for him if you're Black?"

Well as I said I'm not sure who I'm going to vote for. But my vote possibly going to McCain has to do with an overall feeling that the Democrats take the Black vote for granted.

I just don't think it’s wise to put all of our collective political eggs in one basket.

Also I haven't ruled out voting for Obama. I'm still refining my position.
___________________________________

NBW,

"I have white friends who are proud to say they support him, but I'm always hesitant to even admit I like him. I guess it's a defense mechanism of some sort."

That's what I mean. Why do some of us have that defense mechanism?
___________________________________

WTM,

"others maybe don't want everyone to know their business"

I think that might be a reason.

___________________________________

HC,

"people don't want to come across as racist, or race loyalist."

I think that is a valid point. I just wonder why?

So often we talk about Black unity and here is a chance for it. And yet so many reject the chance to express that.
___________________________________

Anon,

I suppose that's true.
___________________________________

Kayoz,

".content weighs a lot heavier than form."

I agree and I think that many people are feeling that way.
___________________________________

Don,

Lol, keep trying.
___________________________________

Danielle,

"That White Mainstream America will accuse them of playing the race card because when white folks vote for their own they are "racist"."

That's a good point. It's sort of a defense mechanism like NBW mentioned above.

By the way how did you get Obama's Plan for America? Can you order it online?
___________________________________

FL,

As far as McCain goes it has to do more with rejecting the Democrats who take the Black vote for granted.

But things could change by November.
___________________________________

Lady Di,

I totally agree, there is a lot of room for error between now and November.
___________________________________

Tami,

I wish I had tuned in for those podcasts. I am very interested in the dynamics of choice in this race.
___________________________________

Anonymiss,

Wow you really summed it up from every angle. Thanks for that comment it has really made some things clear to me.

And I agree with your analysis.

___________________________________

Mango Mama,

Actually I always thought of George Bush as the Manchurian candidate.

I'm going to post about my reasons on Monday. Bur mainly I'm sick of the democrats taking my vote for granted.

___________________________________

Regina,

"when the world gets more screwed up I don't want them to blame black people."

Wow; that is an amazing thought. I had not even considered that but I bet a lot of people do see it that way. Very interesting.
___________________________________

Tasha,

I'm not sure about healing the racial divide. His candidacy might actually make it wider come November.
___________________________________
___________________________________

Janie said...

Hey MDC,

I believe it is hundreds of years of hearing, internalizing and believing that we are less than. Black is not smart, right, or best.

I remember years ago, when my grandmother, a black woman from the south, was sick with cancer. She was scheduled to go to the doctor and she informed several of us that she was NOT going to no black doctor!

I believe that we have internalized the double standard fed to us by American society. Everyone else can vote for their folks, BECAUSE. No explanation is needed or required. But we have to explain and just because he is black does not seem to be an acceptable response.

I voted for Barack. Because he is Black, intelligent, "right on" and married to Michelle.

Hope you are well!

Mes Deux Cents said...

Janie,

Thanks for breaking it down for me. That explains exactly what I wanted to know.

I'm doing well I hope you are too!:)

Fat Lady said...

I'm interested to hear more about how your dissatisfaction with the Democrats has led you to considering voting for McCain. Because, while I understand not being happy with the Democratic Party taking Black people for granted - I can't help but ask just what have the Republicans done for you lately?

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi FL,

Okay, I'm going to post about it on Monday! :)

Ensayn said...

MDC I can't wait to read what you have to say bout considering McCain. I am unable to comprehend how people could be for Barak who is about change, but if he's not the nominee then they are looking to vote for McCain. McCain represents the exact opposite of what people are saying Barak represents.

SheCodes said...

Yes, I think that is't because we are more mature in that respect. We are too used to dealing with racial bias and racie based-privilege to stand up and look like hypocrites for speaking against it in the past.

And I really DO think that a lot of black folk are looking at the issues.

Lady Di said...

Tami - no but you don't know how many people who are Black that are saying stuff like:

1) "I'm not voting for Obama b/c he's black b/c that is expected of me/us" and that's the end of the line

2) I'm AM voting for Obama because he is Black and we need a change. Hillary is too close to the.... and she is white. We need a Black person in office...."

To me both of those represent people who are afraid of their Blackness. No sorry.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Ensayn,

Okay, make sure you tune in on Monday morning! :)

_____________________________________

SheCodes,

You make a good point about us facing bias in the past and not wanting to be biased ourselves.
___________________________________
___________________________________

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron