Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama and race

So Geraldine Ferraro resigned from Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign because she said something people deemed racist, namely that he was where he was in part because he was black.

I picked up the Oregonian this weekend and saw an editorial (one of many similar editorials and opinion pieces around the country) calling Ferraro a racist and concluding "good riddance." There are some other articles (like the one at slate that spin the story claiming Ferraro is hiding behind the "they're unfairly calling me a racist" defense.

But few people actually look into whether or not what she said was racist. Are not people saying similar things about Hillary Clinton? That she's where she is in large part due to her formerly being a First Lady? Does noting that make someone a sexist? By noting that are you discounting her record in the senate? No, and it's disingenuous to say so.

Of course, being a white man, I can't "safely" say that Obama is where he is because he's black, so I'll point you to someone who can. I heard him on CounterSpin the other day: Glen Ford on Obama-Clinton. If you don't want to listen to the mp3, you can read an article by Margaret Kimberly (which sounds very much like what Glen Ford was saying on CounterSpin). I think the quote I put here is a good indicator of the article:
blackagendareport.com - Freedom Rider: Why We Write About Obama: "Not only did Obama praise Reagan, but he used racist, conservative code words from the GOP play book to do it."
Flatly put, Barak Obama is where he is because he is black - a white man/woman would never be in his position after the overtures he's made to the powers that be. And Obama is playing the race card at every turn. When Clinton made the remark about King's movement needing the support of Lyndon Johnson, she was vilified. The truth is, she was correct, but the Obama campaign (and the willing media) immediately played the race card.

As Glen Ford says in the CounterSpin piece, neither Obama nor Clinton are staying true to MLK Jr.'s vision because after the Civil Rights Act (heh, one of the "excesses of the 60's and 70's" Obama was referring to) King immediately began railing against the military establishment:

(from a BAR story by Paul Street):
"The evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together," King said, "and you really can't get rid of one of them without getting rid of the others."
And neither Clinton nor Obama have any designs on changing the militarization of this country, and as a result (in King's eyes), the inequities in this country will persist. You can kiss the promises of health care and education good-bye, Clinton and Obama will both keep spending all our money on the military.

1 comment:

Tze said...

Reminds me a bit of the old movie "The Candidate" where the Bill McKay character running for the Senate devolved from a person with opinions and ideas to a politician with none.
By the time he wins the election, he stands for nothing!