Obama, America, and Race


There are times when I wish Barack Obama could take off his white hat and put a black one on for a while, the way Bruce Wayne does when becomes Batman, the Dark Knight. Then he could make his enemies the villains. Kick a little ass and take a few names.

Or, if he was so inclined, he could take a walk on the wild side, and get to do what the villains do.

There's nothing like wishful thinking, but it doesn't win presidential campaigns - so I don't expect to see Obama traipsing around in a cape and a mask in the middle of the night.

I don't know why the McCain campaign even waited - they should have cut the pretense and hauled out the tried but true "race card" strategy from the beginning. It could have saved them a lot of cash - they would have had free campaign advertising every night for the last six weeks. Between this and the pundits like Sean Hannity, who have an innate ability to work O.J. Simpson's name into any discussion of Obama, I will expect to see everybody from Mike Tyson to Mike Vick paraded across TV screens in the coming weeks.

Race is still the biggest problem America has, so it’s no surprise that we end up talking about it a lot. But it is hard to talk about abstract ideas when I am actually living them, and harder still to say those unpopular but true things that need to be said to accomplish anything worthwhile.

And it doesn’t help that the few thousand people in New York and LA who control and produce practically all of the media imagery we see, who as a group are more mentally (and racially) homogenized than the last gallon of milk you bought, have absolutely no qualms in meeting mainstream America's need to be titillated, shocked, or riveted by a constant parade of reverends, rappers, and reluctant campaigners.

The few black columnists and pundits out there often spout half baked theories, honing them in front of other learned blacks and professional brown nosers (pun intended), until they have convinced themselves that they have unearthed a gospel truth explaining the actions of the black masses.

From what I can see, Obama is doing exactly what all of us who were smart but wanted to be "in" did - never let them see you sweat. We all downplayed how hard things were, how much effort it took, how little sleep you'd had, because the people you were trying to appeal to didn't want to hear it.

To assume, because Obama doesn't constantly use racially tinged rhetoric, that he can somehow "escape" how he looks, and how Americans are prone to feel about someone who looks like him, is one of the most ridiculous propositions our friends in TV land have debated for the last few months.

So far, Obama's been able to turn the good fortune smiling upon him into opportunity because he seems to be a guy who has always done his homework beforehand. But despite all of his campaign's careful planning and preparation, he will have to struggle with the racial consciousness of those Americans who used to blindly vote for the Democrat on the ticket all the way to the ballot box.

Senator McCain's campaign will make sure of it.









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2 comments:

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

As another blogger said, the only thing McCain has going for him is he's not the black guy.

Brown Man said...

That's a very big something in America.

But we already knew that.

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