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January 27, 2008

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Interesting discussion..

Personally, I am being driven to vote for the candidate, not the race or gender. I'm not trying to sound so "high and mighty, enlightened" yada, yada...I have to say that this is the first time in my life that I've been watching political coverage and really educating myself long before the PRIMARIES! I think that the issue for some, or many, is not that Obama and Hillary are white/black/male/female...it's that they are LIBERAL in some people's eyes. Obama, to me, appears more level-headed, and more willing to work beyond his Democratic title...he inspires people...While some may see and hear his speeches and policy as full of shit, I am actually moved and inspired....that is something I have never felt in regard to a political candidate. And we shouldn't push that aside as a fantasy. Because we need hope...we need to be inspired. My gawd, I find that I am hoping for a better future at night rather than being afraid for my daughter's future, as I have been since she's been born---with someone like George Bush as president. Of course, the same country now debating the next election also allowed George Bush to be elected for president. Twice. I just hope we can all come out of our fog this time around.

I wrote about this issue recently. It might be of interest to you to get the perspective of a black woman that is not supporting Obama.

http://www.thesoccermomvote.com/the_soccer_mom_vote/2008/01/on-king-obama-a.html

The early suffragists were very upset about the idea of a black man getting the vote before a white woman would get the vote. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Hilary Clinton is tacky, and she suffers more for that than anything else. Eleanor Roosevelt, who actually ran the country for a time would have more class than to run for the president after being a first lady.

I still don't think Obama will win. There are many more silent Republicans than vocal Democrats in this country.

According to my kid Payton, who is probably smarter than 95% of the population, there is NO black and white.

We're peach and brown in Payton's world.

I like his world. I think I'll go there more often.

I can overlook the fact that Hill stayed married to a skirt-chasing womanizer. After all, JFK (an over-hyped hack) was screwing another woman when his wife gave birth to a dead baby.

But I cannot overlook the fact that Hill stayed married to a man accused of rape. I find it hard to trust someone who tries to appear sensitive to "women's issues", when burying an accusation of RAPE, of all things, seems so, I don't know, "old boys club Republican".

Blaming the victim and denying one's husband's nefarious nature seems a bit too much like political aspirations meant more than handling things properly. After all, if he was innocent, then why the need to cover it all up?

As far as Obama is concerned, his emotion-driven campaign full of "hope" is full of something I'd rather not mention. If he does win, all of his promises will go over like a lead balloon because there's a method to getting things done in Washington that the American people are kidding themselves if they think Obama is gonna just snap his fingers and make disappear.

So I think there is a huge "media spin" on all of this. It's a huge drive for your sympathy. A weepy-eyed plea to make you think that no one will vote for the poor woman or the poor black man, when the reality is that they just might not be qualified. And what are our other choices?

Maybe one or two other semi-qualified candidates littered in with a bunch of religious nuts.

I'm a woman, but I'm not voting for Hilary in the primaries because her politics aren't my favorite. And honestly? It makes me feel guilty as a semi-feminist to NOT want to vote for the woman. How's that for gender-neutral?

And then there's religion. We've had all of ONE non-protestant president, yeah? I want Romney to win the Republican nomination just so we can see SOMEONE different in the whitehouse - a woman, a black man, a non-protestant.

It'd be nice to see change. But I digress.

I haven't made up my mind, but I will be going for the candidate that has the strongest and most unapologetic stance on global warming and the environment.

I'd really love it if the Green Party could have a viable running chance at it....but I think right now it's still at grassroots and local/state levels.

I could care less about their race and gender....I just want muscles on the issues.

I think about half of Hillary's 'problem' with male voters isn't the fact that she's a woman--it's that she's married to BILL.

And AMEN to Jaelithe down there who said it's mainly the media that's responsible for all the focus on race and gender. It's like nothing else matters sometimes!

http://www.vote-smart.org/index.htm

(interestingly they seem to take the same stand when voting...)

then

check out the newyorker.com --- has an interesting article debating the Obama/Hillary choice. experience, personality, style....

and how we americans vote.

I agree with you. Very well put and oh so true.

I mean this half tongue-in-cheek, half not: wouldn't it be wonderful if we could NOT SEE the candidates prior to voting?

I will stay out of my political beliefs here, but I do think that Scifi Dad is spot on.

I find it frustrating that one voting for someone other than Hillary is voting based on her private parts. I think she can both win and lose based on her policies. It seems to me the discussion based on these primaries has been, "Oh, they voted for him b/c he's black, they voted for her b/c she's a woman, they voted Republican because they are hateful."

Perhaps there are a majority of people (who vote in their primary) who genuinely BELIEVE in their respective candidate. Just because your person lost doesn't mean it was because everyone else was bigoted.

Obama's my guy. He's passionate; He's smart; He's articulate; He's in possession of a set of morals I abide.

Race and gender matter in the overall picture. But in my mind? He could be green and hermaphroditic. i wouldn't give a shit.

Good point, Sci-Fi Dad.

I agree entirely that 81% of black voters is a VERY high percentage. I just wanted to clarify that Barack Obama had plenty of support from white voters, too. The white vote pretty much split three ways between the three candidates, with Clinton and Edwards being favored by older white voters over Obama, while Obama secured much of the young white vote.

The fact that Obama was popular among young white voters in South Carolina, and highly educated white voters in South Carolina, leads me, personally, to consider this question: Were more black voters voting based on race, or were more WHITE voters voting based on race? The voters who did not vote for Obama were mostly older, middle class white people.

In the south a good portion of that specific demographic tends toward, ahem, certain views.

I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, I definitely agree with your point that ALL voters ought to be focusing on the issues more than the appearance of the candidates. And I'm really angry at the mainstream media for MAKING their coverage of the primaries so much about race and gender. The media is CHOOSING to make that a main issue for voters. I nearly wanted to hurl watching the first ten minutes of the Nevada MSNBC debate, when Tim Russert (whom I'm normally cool with) kept asking question after question about race and gender, instead of, I dunno, asking the candidates HOW THE HELL THEY PLAN TO RUN THE COUNTRY.

Blech.

What is interesting to consider is how the coincidental timing has turned the Democratic leadership race into a political powderkeg for the US. Realistically, either candidate stands a good chance at defeating the Republicans, so the Democratic race is effectively presidential (arguably). Instead of it being an historical moment, something of pride for a country that is still generalized as being controlled by white men, it has turned into a no-win. Clinton wins? US is still racist. Obama takes it? US is still sexist.

Too bad, really. It could have been a good story. Instead, two discriminated minorities are poised against one another.

Although I think both race and gender play a role, I really don't believe that for *most* people they are the determining facter. Maybe I live in some fantasy land, but I have to hope that people are not that shallow.

sorry, I'm not a math person and I obviously can't read.

However, 81% of the black vote is um, still pretty damn high? And 24% of the white vote, split between Hills and Edwards is TINY.

What these numbers say that he's a STRONG favorite with black voters. White voters are hugely split.

So, again, race is playing a huge issue here. Add up Hillary and Edwards' numbers and that's 55% of the white vote -- still more than half of what Obama got.

Kristen,

It is not true that 81% of the votes for Obama were from blacks. The actual statistic is that 81% OF BLACK VOTERS voted for Obama. Obama also secured 24% of the white vote. The rest of the white vote was pretty much evenly split between Clinton and Edwards.

Among young white voters, aged 18 to 29, Obama actually won a clear majority.

Obama won in the majority of districts, including in some of the wealthiest districts that were dominated by white voters.

So, basically, in South Carolina, Obama leads among black voters, but he also leads among young white voters, highly educated white voters, and wealthy white voters (who vote Democratic).

There is no way that Obama could have taken the state at 55%, running against two other popular, well-qualified candidates, if he had only been supported by black voters.

I am sorry, but for me it is all about Hillary herself and not that she is a woman. I wish any other woman had run because then I would be a whole lot more likely to vote for that woman than I am to vote for Hillary.

I think this is both eloquent and well-informed.

Interestingly, in an AP poll in SC, more people said they believed the country was ready for an AA president than a woman. Not by a lot, but by enough. I'm not entirely sure how to take that, but I think there are men very very threatened by the notion of "answering" to a woman - despite the fact that a zillion countries have beat us to the punch by decades. (Remember Maggie Thatcher?)

I fear that either an Obama or Hilary candidacy is going to bring out some shadowy sides of our country. Maybe that's what we need though to get past them.

Silver lining, I know.

I think you are completely right and it's really sad. Now having said that, if I was voting tomorrow and had free choice, I'd vote for Obama as President and Edwards as Vice. I truly like Edwards, I just don't think he has enough pull to make it through. Not that I wouldn't want to see a woman president. Not even because I don't believe that Hillary could (and possibly will) do a good job. But, because I've listened to them both and read up on both of them and I agree with his politics more that hers. But you're right, most people know more about Britney Spears right now, than the state of our country.

Course, I'm just one white middle class chick, so my opinions on it may not matter. Black, white, male, female, it's truly has never mattered to me. It matters who can do the most good for this country. But I know I'm in the minority on that. The majority of people in this country, only know and believe what the news tells them. Or worse, People magazine.

This time around though, I'll say one thing. I don't care if a butt load of African Americans vote for Obama just because he's black, or if a ton of women only vote for Hillary, because she's a woman. Just so long as it's a Democrat. I used to think differently on that, but the last 7 years have proved me wrong.

PS. Kristen, don't sell yourself short, this was just as good of a post as Liz's was.

I think you make a valid point. Of course it matters and of course it's THE factor for people. I also agree that we are, at large, fairly uninformed. I am probably more informed than many but still count myself as not knowing enough. After a political post I wrote last week, an alert reader sent me additional information about a candidate's educational policies.

Eloquent.
Well put.
TRUE.

I think if the best man is really a man -- then so be it.

But I'd hate to think about how many people are just discounting Hillary based on her vagina without even looking at what she stands for.

And many psychology folks would say that even if many people say "It's because of her policies that I don't like her" her female-ness (in our male dominated society) still comes into play.

Way to get all deep on a Sunday morning.

It's a valid fear, M -- unless the black voters come out to play.

And they most certainly did in South Carolina.

What if the best man for the job really IS a man?

It pains me that in a year of a woman candidate and an African American candidate that I'm voting for a white guy. But Edwards is really the best guy in MY book, so how can I not?

That being said, when one of the other two gets the nomination, I will happily support them.

My fear is that the South won't elect a black man. Men won't vote for a woman of whatever color. So the republicans will win again by default.

My husband's conservative stepfather, who voted for W. the first time, is so disgusted by the current administration and the GOP that he is going to vote for .... HILLARY.

I was on the fence, but reading more about her, I just may be supporting her, as well. That is, if Bill can keep it together and stop acting like it is 1998. He could be a major problem for her if he keeps acting up. And Chelsea needs to open her mouth. She isn't 13 anymore.

But as for the woman herself? I think she is very, very prepared. She was my senator in NY and she worked hard for my region, which was traditionally Republican. She won overwhelmingly in my area both times, because she recognized that we had particular needs that weren't met by our previous representation.

Plus, I've met her personally, and my impression of her was very favorable.

OK. Done now.

I'm with you - how can it NOT matter?

It mattered that JFK was Catholic.
It mattered that Reagan was old.
It mattered that Ferraro was a woman.
It mattered that Lieberman was an Orthodox Jew.

Polls indicate that people are more likely to vote for a woman or an African-American than an atheist.

Thank you for the compliments and the link-love, but I've still got a lot of homework to do. And since it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press. Gotta go get bizzay with my boyfriend Tim.

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