Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is Obama Black Enough?

Is Barack Obama black enough to be elected president?

This, with slight variations, is the question that is being asked and rather presumptuously answered lately.

Word has it in a new survey today that whites think Barack's black enough while blacks don't think he's black enough.

And of course by "black enough," we don't just mean color but cultural orientation as well, Barack's baggage set, his alliances, allegiances, audience, syntax, demeanor, composure, vocabulary, accent, fashion sense, family, family tree, piety, charisma, character, bulletproof-ability, steadfastness, place in history and long haul legacy.

Case in point: some still insist, however earnestly or in jest, that Bill Clinton was the first "black president," so it is cultural orientation that matters more than mere color.

Is Barack black enough? Meaning is he loyal to his people? And are "his people" just African-Americans or a mixed majority of Americans or, best case, ALL Americans? Jesus, is Hillary Clinton woman enough? Is Bush connected enough or incompetent enough or dumb enough? Is Al Gore man enough or personable enough? Is Rudy Giulliani conservative enough or Middle American enough? Is John McCain his own man enough or young enough? What a bunch of made-for-TV blather!

Many of the conversations shroud all this with concern for a candidate's electability, but let's be straight about this: racism is involved in the larger picture of divisiveness and tribalism. Is a candidate "one of us" or "one of them?"

The question is Racist with a Capital R. Petty and profound and parochial at the same time.

In his "I Have a Dream" speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Perhaps petty controversies remain for the small and backward minded, but enough time has passed, and enough progress has been made, I believe, that the content of a person's character matters more than anything else. And millions of eager and progressive people of all colors calling for Barack Obama's charisma and candidacy prove the point.

It all comes down not to talk but to VOTES. Or should. If only people were brave enough to cut to the content of a person's character and vote "yea" or "nea" we'd ALL be better off. The world would be better off. Thing is, many in the electorate, perhaps a majority, are not very good judges of character, especially not a revved up for 24/7 TV ad-driven world. And this is the biggest challenge for democracy.


At 3/02/2007 5:41 PM, Blogger roadriderob said...

Black white republican democrat male or female it doesn't matter to me as long as it makes sense - Obama has my vote !


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