Recently I listened to a podcast by NPR Talk of the Nation on Obama and the Black Vote. (If anyone out there is a podcast listener I suggest downloading 1-31-08) The forum was held at Morgan University and the panelsist were excellent. Here are some highlights I thought were insightful, controversial, and/or just worth sharing.
1. Voting based on your interest and not your race
Many Blacks are voting for Obama because of his race not knowing any of the issues he represents or his resume (which I must say is quite extinsive. Don't sleep!) And many Blacks who are voting for Obama it is assumed that they are doing so because he is black. Not gonna lie it helps but there are a few states where he does not have the majority of the black votes and states where he has a nice amount of the white vote. I personally believe it is important to remember your beliefs and interests when you vote and not to be fixated on color or name for that matter. Many blacks are voting for Clinton simply based on name recognition and that is not enough. A lot of women are voting for Clinton simply because she is a women. I think it is important for all voters regardless of color and race to DO YOUR RESEARCH!
2. The Hip Hop Generation vs. the Civil Rights Generation
Many people in the C.R. generation are concerned with the what's really going to happen if Obama actually gets the presidency. Many people of the C.R. generation don't want to pass the torch, hold resentment towards Obama, believe he is uppity and hasn't paid his dues. "He thinks he is too good with is Ivy League education" "We like the Clinton. We know they are for Black folk and she knows what she is doing". WOW! For real?! God forbid there is a qualified, conscious, and able BLACK man to run for president. Did the world stop turning? MLK was leading the Civil Rights Movement with a doctorate at 26 and everyone was okay with that! One woman from the C.R. generation brought up a great point. There are many Barak Obama's in our communities that just don't get recognition. We are proud of these young men so why are some Blacks particularly older ones anti-Obama.
Then there is the H.H. generation which I believe often forget about how far we have come and because are so far removed do not fully understand how big of a feat it is for Obama to have even gotten this far. The further black generations get from slavery we do not perceive issues as black issues anymore just issues. Racism isn't as apparent say some. The question was also posed can young blacks really make a difference because we never had to fight for anything so we are not motivated enough to do it even in this election where more youth and blacks are heavily engaged. I believe young black Americans are contributing and have been. Vote or die, the immense support for Russell Simmons voting forums are just a few examples of how young black voters are being cultivated.
3. Why can't we be proud to be Black?!
A Morgan university student put it very eloquently. Blacks can publicly support white candidates and praise them for what they are doing until they die. But if blacks do this for a BLACK candidate, HOLD ON AMERICA! They tryin to take over. It was the same way during the Black Power Movement. It scared White America shitless. The question was also posed, will an abundance of black advocacy for Obama hurt him in the long run? Do believe that the conversations blacks are having about this in private vs. in public are different due to the fact that some don't want to come off too supportive because that looks as if we are just planning a mass takeover.
4. Why should I feel obligated to vote for the black candidate? Why shouldn't you just feel obligated to vote PERIOD?!
So it was said in S. Carolina people were going into hair salons and asking black women if they are voting based on gender or race? What the f*ck is that? One of the panelist posted the question, "Are they going to white barbershops and asking white men if they are voting based upon gender or race?" No they are not and they probably don't plan to. Why does it matter as long as we vote! This is actually a triumphant election for blacks because for the first time a lot of us are torn about who we are going to vote for. To have two candidates on the Democratic ticket that are looked so highly upon by the black community is part of the dreams that people who came before us had. SO why do so many blacks feel that we all have to line up and follow suit and do the same thing?
5. Who played the race card first?
Before Bill went and erupted the race issue, yes it was more than apparent that Obama was black (duh) but it wasn't much bigger of a deal than Hillary being a woman. So no one is playing the race card, to me, in Obama's campaign. But let's not fake the funk, race plays a huge part and is the undertone of American culture in everything. A white democrat called in to NPR yesterday and said he is voting Republican because he won't vote for a woman or a black man. There's your proof! I mean c'mon! And then blacks have the nerve to come along and say he is not black enough or he is a suck up. What a bunch of sh*t. He is just as black as any other noticeable black person whether he wants to be perceived that way or not.
These are just a couple of my thoughts. If you can check out the podcast! There are many podcasts that tell you about the candidates and the issues. Don't be too lazy to get truly educated people!