Jack&Jill Politics: Are White Democrats Willing to Vote For Obama?

Jack&Jill Politics (9/23/08)

Are White Democrats Willing to Vote For Obama?

There are times when white people need to talk to other white people about the impact of racism.  In the case of Obama vs. McCain, Ben Smith over at Politico, shows Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, who “in an unusually blunt discussion of race, talks about the old-line white union Democrats who he says may not vote for Obama because he’s black.” Actually what he does is get real with another white person, pressing her to explain why she’s so very reluctant to vote for Obama. Trumka breaks it down saying,

“We need to get the message out that a worker who votes for John McCain is like a chicken who votes for Colonel Sanders.”

Huffington Post: From Start To Finish, Race Is The Issue

Huffington Post (9/23/08)

From Start To Finish, Race Is The Issue

And now that we are several weeks into the General Election, a daunting question is again beginning to take center stage amongst the pundits and nightly news media. A question that given the dire nature of our economy, the general distaste for the human and monetary costs of the war in Iraq, the record number of foreclosures, and the general and overriding belief that the nation is heading in the wrong direction, begs for an answer – is race the reason why Senator Obama is not at least 20 points ahead of John McCain in the polls?

I was at Invesco field when Senator Obama gave what was by all accounts an incredible speech. On the way out, as I followed the throng of people exiting the arena, I over heard a conversation between two white gentleman, who, after being suitably impressed by his speech and the flawless execution of the whole night, wondered aloud about the same thing:

“Man, that speech was amazing. That crowd was amazing. I don’t understand why we’re not up by 20 or 30 points in the polls”, said the first gentleman.

“It’s his race, pure and simple”, said the second. “It’s hard to believe, but there are still a lot of people out there that just won’t vote for a black man.”

Booker Rising: McCain, The Republican Party, And The Black Vote

Booker Rising (9/21/08)

McCain, The Republican Party, And The Black Vote

I just got off a Republican National Committee conference call for black-oriented media to discuss the political landscape leading up to November’s presidential election. The conference call featured Michael Steele, GOPAC chair and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor; Rich Beeson, the RNC’s political director; and Shannon Reeves, the RNC’s director of state and local development. Each man made comments, and then took questions from the media.

Mr. Reeves’ comments focused on local efforts. He stated that black Republican candidates are getting a benefit from the overall increased black voter registration and highlighted three such candidates on the statewide ballot in Texas: Michael Williams, chair of the Railroad Commission of Texas; Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, and Texas Supreme Court Judge Dale Wainwright. “We are reminding folks that Obama is not the only African-American candidate on the ballot”, said Mr. Reeves. He also highlighted Abram Wilson, the mayor of San Ramon, California who is running to become the first black Republican in the California state legislature since the 1930s (Mr. Steele is apparently stumping hard on his behalf).

USA Today: N.J. supremacist group passes out anti-Obama fliers

USA Today (9/23/08)

N.J. supremacist group passes out anti-Obama fliers

Residents in one northern New Jersey town received fliers over the weekend attacking Barack Obama’s candidacy on racial grounds, in what one national watchdog group is calling the first racist flier distribution against the candidate.

Roxbury Mayor Tim Smith said the fliers were dropped off at about 25 to 50 of the township’s 8,000 homes. He said nothing like it had happened before in the community of 26,000 residents.

“I’m sickened by this,” Smith said. “It’s not at all representative of our community. I want the world at large to know we’re not that kind of community — this is a place where people take care of each other and nobody cares where you’re from or what you look like.”

The flier shows unflattering photos of Obama, including a doctored one making him look like Osama Bin Laden, above text that reads: “Black Ruled Nations most unstable and violent in the world.”

The flier cites poverty, HIV, and unemployment rates in Haiti and South Africa, and warns: “The United States of America will be next! Why should we seal our fate by allowing a black ruler to destroy us?

Blog for our Future: Masters of the Universe Fight Back: The Race Angle

Blog for our Future (9/23/08)

Masters of the Universe Fight Back: The Race Angle

Well, write what you know, as the literary gurus says. And so, instead of debt-swaps, equity positions, derivatives, and the role of Phil Gramm’s Union Bank of Switzerland, let me write about the sewer through which are right-wing friends are navigating to try to win this election. Specifically, this: the right-wing crusade to blame the Negroes for the financial meltdown continues apace.

And by now, it’s getting into Protocols of the Elders of Zion territory.

Watch this clip of Fox’s Neil Cavuto. See him sandbag Hispanic congressman Xavier Becerra, pinning upon him and his swarthy fellows responsibility for the collapse of America’s financial system by “pushing for more minority lending.” Why didn’t people like him warn that “loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster”?

The pattern being drawn across the right—the Big Lie so notorious it’s hard to belief they’d even dare it—is that this financial mess is something black people have done to white people.

Why wouldn’t Obama be mum on the market crisis? It was all about, you know, swarthy people shoveling money and power to other swarthy people. You know how they do every time they get any power.

LeftinAlabama:AL-05: What Kind of Ad is This?

LeftinAlabam (9/21/08)

AL-05: What Kind of Ad is This?

What the heck is Wayne Parker trying to say with this ad?  I like weddings?  I like babies?  I like white people? ‘Cause there’s no substantive discussion of issues or attempt to distinguish himself from his opponent anywhere in the ad.  Just feel good pictures and “values.” 

Watch it.  Is there a single person of color anywhere in this advertisement?  The only person who even might be anything other than lily-white is one of the girls in uniform with her back to the camera, and she may just be dark-haired.

Is “Alabama values” the polite euphemism for keeping power in the hands of white folks — this year’s racist dog whistle?  Nixon taught the Republicans they could win in the South by appealing to the “cultural voters” who disapproved of the Civil Rights Act and black people getting all uppity.  It’s no longer acceptable to openly appeal to racism in pursuit of votes; are they doing it with a nod and a wink by mentioning Alabama Values or Conservative Values as Terry Everett did in a recent ad for Jay Love?

New Mexico FBIHOP: BREAKING: C de Baca Retains Post as County Chair (Updated x2)

New Mexico FBIHOP: BREAKING (9/23/08)

C de Baca Retains Post as County Chair (Updated x2)

As soon as I finished my last post on the increasingly tangled and convoluted Fernando C de Baca mess, I saw this tweet from Peter St. Cyr:

Breaking News: Bernalillo County Executive Board gives C. de Baca vote of confidence. Chairman retains leadership post. Audio to follow.

St. Cyr will have the audio up at his blog soon.How was this guy not relieved of his position? Unless they have agreed to let him resign on his own terms…

New Mexico FBIHOP: Damaging Audio of C. de Baca Emerges

New Mexico FBIHOP (9/23/08)

Damaging Audio of C. de Baca Emerges

While the full audio of Fernando C de Baca speaking to a BBC Reporter at the State Fair last week may never emerge, some damaging audio from a BBC interview has been broadcast on KSFR-FM, a Santa Fe radio station.Southern New Mexico blogger Heath Haussamen was the first with the audio, which you can hear to the right.

Here is what C de Baca said in the KSFR audio:

I feel strongly that Hispanics will not support, in my generation and the generation around my age, are not going to support the Democratic candidate for president primarily because there is a strong feeling that African Americans during the civil rights movement took advantage, full advantage, of all the benefits and programs that the government offered, that were supposed to be offered to all minorities. But we were left behind, we were left sucking air, and we resented that ever since the 60s, and I don’t see how a black president is going to change that.

StuffWhitePeopleDo: associate non-white people with pollution

StuffWhitePeopleDo (9/22/08)

associate non-white people with pollution

This common white reaction was recently clarified for me as a kind of unspoken (and even unthought) feeling by Kristen Myers’ book, Racetalk: Racism Hiding in Plain Sight. Working at various times with a total of sixty-three undergraduate student researchers, Myers compiled over six hundred examples of “racetalk,” which she defines as spoken language that contains “the vocabulary and conceptual frameworks that we use to denigrate different races and ethnicities in our everyday lives.”

Myers’ larger point is that instances of such talk are not mere acts of individual racism; rather, they help form a larger societal network or structure. The racism expressed in “racetalk” consists of feelings, thought, and language that help to maintain both divisive boundaries between groups of people, and the various institutions that oppress non-white people.

In a section of her book called “Pollution,” Myers provides numerous examples, gathered by her small army of student researchers, of language that indicates “how people believed that the contaminating effect of ‘otherness’ was contagious, and [how] they avoided being associated with it.”

Basically, this post is my effort to answer that same question. And many others that are just like it. With the help of Kristen Myers, I can answer that white people say things like that because of a feeling they have. This feeling is a common, subdued revulsion at the thought of non-white people. Especially the thought of large numbers of them (such the “hordes” of “Mexicans” who are supposedly “streaming across the border”). It’s an instilled, fearful conception of supposedly dirty people with supposedly dirty habits, who threaten to contaminate cleaner, “whiter” spaces, as well as the white people in them.

And then there’s Myers’ larger point, about how such “racetalk” and the feelings that provoke it help to maintain structures of power in society. I can just imagine how this contaminating part of the collective white psyche is going to manifest itself for a lot of people in November. That’s when American voters will be asked who belongs in another fantasized, highly symbolic space of abstract cleanliness—the White House.

ABCNews: Blacks’ Political Engagement Spikes, Though Racial Divisions Remain Deep

ABCNews (9/23/08)

Blacks’ Political Engagement Spikes, Though Racial Divisions Remain Deep

Barack Obama’s candidacy for president both underscores sharp racial divides in this country and offers avenues for progress: Political engagement by blacks is up sharply, Americans across racial lines think the 2008 campaign will change blacks’ self-image for the better and most see Obama’s nomination as a sign of broader racial progress.

Click here for a PDF with charts and full questionnaire.

Blacks split evenly, 45-46 percent, on whether they think of themselves first as blacks or as Americans (with black identity higher among blacks who’ve experienced discrimination). Hispanics divide similarly on the question – 42 percent think of themselves as Hispanics first, 50 percent as Americans. Whites are different: Ninety-one percent see themselves first as Americans, while just 4 percent profess greater racial than national identity.