How many times did your parents read the Boy who Cried Wolf to you? Perhaps you read it in grade school when you were learning about myths and fables. I think almost all societies have a children’s tale about a child that cries out about something foul just to get attention only later to not be taking seriously when the foul actually happens because he’s just said it too many times to be believable.
Has the Obama campaign overplayed the race card yet? Has he yelled race-baiter one too many times? What will this mean, not only to Obama and his aspirations, but how will this impact black people who have legitimate experiences with racism but now face a cynical nation that’s been played one too many times?
Those of us that watched the Hillary/Obama primary unfold were horrified the day the race card was played on Bill Clinton. He was talking about Obama’s ever evolving positions on the Iraq War, he labelled them a fairy tale, and bam! There it was, the race card. President Clinton was charged with calling Obama’s life story a fairy tale– a story line clearly out of context and fabricated. Like many fabrications, enough repetitions and they become legend. Over and over we saw this pattern, some off the cuff remark by Geraldine Ferraro about Obama’s qualifications and resume and there it was again, the race card.
Each time we’d see the Obama campaign run to the press, demand justice, create a stir, then the, candidate would come out in a few days and say, well, I think this was a big misunderstanding. Folks, how many times will this candidate cry wolf?
This time we see it at play against McCain. When McCain uses images of Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton to imply that Obama is a media phenomenon, some one in the Obama campaign implies that it’s just one of those ads showing black men wanting young white women. Scary black men!!! Young white women!!! There it is again, that race card.
Then, in three separate speeches in Missouri, Obama tells his audience that McCain will try to frighten them because Obama doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency or his name is a little funny. There it is again, the race card.
First off, EVERY one knows that Ulysses is a household name. Didn’t you go to school with tons of boys named Ulysses? I know my daughters bring home guys with powdered white wigs like Washington’s all the time.
Second off, some one should tell Obama that he’s about as scary-looking as Steve Urkel.
Finally, there are some real racial injustices in the world and I’m afraid they are going to get lost because of all this. When folks starting talking about racism, I’m beginning to think that no one is going to listen any more. If Obama keeps playing the race card every time he faces criticism, I swear, this is going to prevent any true dialogue about racism.
I had thought that this tactic would go away after Obama had solidified African American votes during the primary. After all, it was a tactic that pulled the southern states out of the Clinton column. However, what is the strategy now? Portray McCain as a racist for the benefit of white liberals? Most of the latte liberals are in his column any way, what particular good does that do? How does this benefit any one at this point?
I teach seminars in economics. Part of what I do is to try to get my students to think critically about promises candidates make on the economy and what is and isn’t possible. I teach in New Orleans. I have many black students. I’m now completely self-conscious about discussing anything on the candidate’s economy policies now because I feel that any criticism of Obama’s positions or his judgment are going to be taken wrong. Believe me, if you sit in my class, I run EVERY politician up the flag pole. I’m an equal opportunity critic. This is the first time in over 20 years of teaching I feel constrained. I can’t discuss even the issues because any criticism surrounding Obama might be labeled racist and create a wall between me and the students I’m trying to serve. I feel like I’ve lost a tool from my tool box. This is impacting my ability to relate to people.
So, what do you think? How many times can Obama play the race card and his campaign label folks as race-baiters before it is no longer taken seriously? Am I the only one that worries about race relations because of this campaign tactic?
Update: This is so cute, I had to add it.
I’m a white woman living in the ninth ward of New Orleans. I teach at a city university with many many black students. We turn out more black university graduates than any university in Louisiana. (Although I will add this was pre-Katrina and life has changed radically for us since then.) I also have been in relationships with black men. I have voted many times for black candidates. My city councilman, my state senator, my state representative, my congressman, my mayor are all black. I have voted for each and every one of them at one time or another. I’d never be able to vote if I felt uncomfortable supporting black candidates. I have many close friends that are black women. These are not just casual friendships. Our children played together. They have keys to my home and I have keys to theirs. I am the minority in my community.
I now feel the need to lay all that out like I have never needed before because the first attack I have to fend off in my nonsupport of Obama is racism. This mostly comes from young white men, for some reason. But, anyway, I’ve laid it out for you so you know my world.
When I need to understand a viewpoint in the black community I read the Black Agenda Report. The site is listed directly below. This is the latest in a series of articles criticizing Barrack Obama. I just would like to suggest you read it all. I’ve shared the lead-in with you and what I consider the most critical part.
|Obama Insults Half a Race|
|Wednesday, 18 June 2008|
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The Black man who wants to be president spends Father’s Day at church in loud and general denunciation of Black males. For added insult, he describes them as “boys.” Barack Obama’s primary audience isn’t the conservative Black Pentecostal congregation, but “white social conservatives in a race where these voters may be up for grabs,” says the New York Times. In America, even the “Black” corporate candidate runs against Black people. How did such madness come to pass in 2008? Blame the Black “progressive” misleaders who failed to challenge Obama when they had the chance. Now it’s too late, and African Americans are reduced to objects of derision.
And to me, the most damning part:
“Can one imagine Obama or any other presidential aspirant repeatedly hectoring any other ethnic group on moral issues? Singling out Jews for excessive materialism? The Irish for excessive drinking? Of course not; that would be unfair and politically suicidal. But there are large regions of the white body politic in which it is not only acceptable, but damn near required, that politicians demonstrate their impatience with the alleged moral shortcomings of Black people. Barack Obama trolls for votes in those foul waters, at the cost of Black people’s dignity.
Obama’s two young daughters were seated in the church, upfront, to hear their father call other Black men “boys” with no sense of responsibility. Ironically, a key Black rationale for supporting Obama is that he is a great “role model” for Black children. Imagine that: an ethnic role model, whose ostensible purpose is to make The Race proud, yet who with great fanfare periodically sneers at the supposedly debased morality of his own people. That’s close to the definition of sick.”