30
Apr
08

On air: Is Obama’s skin colour harming his presidential campaign?

It’s taken almost seven weeks, but Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has finally distanced himself from his former pastor after a couple of recent speeches. Rev Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for 20 years, the man who married him and his wife and baptised his children, claimed back in March that the United States had brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism” and the government had invented AIDS to kill black people.

Originally Senator Obama denounced his comments as “incendiary” and “completely inexcusable”, yesterday his tone changed, “They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced. And that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally today.” Here are a couple of blogs with their own views.

But this goes beyond Rev Wright’s comments. Race, specifically Barack Obama’s race, is an issue that has been bubbling away in the Presidential campaign for weeks now. Looking at exit polls from the Pennsylvania primary, pollster John Zogby said “Let’s not pretend, some of it is race.”

Last weekend Senator Obama admitted that he had to fight harder to win over white working-class voters, who have so far stubbornly stuck with his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

So is Senator Obama’s race hurting his chances of becoming the Democrats’ presidential nominee? Or is it helping, as Clinton supporters have suggested? Is America ready for it’s first black President? Or does race have nothing to do with this contest?

Worth a read of this editorial in today’s International Herald Tribune by Colson Whitehead, he doesn’t think skin colour is helping Obama. But Bill Clinton says Obama used race against him.

Tell us who’s right.


213 Responses to “On air: Is Obama’s skin colour harming his presidential campaign?”


  1. April 24, 2008 at 13:54

    It’s hurting him and helping him at the same time. It just depends which ‘side’ your on. There are of course people who care about that stuff, and there are those that do not.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. April 24, 2008 at 14:35

    its not about skin colour
    [its about the die-bold voting machines [noting exit poling had obama 5 percent up [that turned into a ten percent win to clinton]

    [if clinton gets in its been bush clinton dynasties for 24 years [quater a century[a two family two party farce]

    see reports from philli news papers about the machines mal functioning

    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/politics/18002279.html

  3. 3 George Wills Bangirana
    April 24, 2008 at 14:42

    It is simply behaving like the proverbial ostrich burrying one’s head in the sand.
    Denying facts does not change them. I am no American but I have had private discussions with Americans who have said that they would rather not have a black person as commander in chief.
    Ideally it would be that Hillary and Barack should run together otherwise Mccain will carry the day.

  4. April 24, 2008 at 14:44

    If Obama skin is a major issue in the USA, this means racism isn’t over yet in this country seeking to export democracy to other countries, especially the Middle East where there is argument that democracy isn’t a mass product. It should be implemented according to the specificity of each society.

    Obama, supposedly, the victim of his skin, is a striking example of the failure of the US cultural and educational system to eradicate racism after the eradication of slavery, which still continues to be a black part in American history.

    But it’s too early to judge as the race for the candidacy to the presidency isn’t over. With Hilary, he represents a dichotomy between sexism and racism. who either wins will be a triumphant over the prejudices associated with them.

  5. April 24, 2008 at 14:47

    Surely the fact that Hillary is a woman is giving her an advantage amoungst female voters?

    Ultimately the biggest benefitters in this race is John McClain who is consolidating his position of power.

  6. 6 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 14:47

    Hurt him? To tell the truth, he wouldn’t be the front runner except for his skin color. His politics are no different than any other democrat, if he were white, he’s be like John Edwards, who dropped out. There would be no special thing about him, his not being white is to his advantage, otherwise he would have just been like all the other white male democrats that have dropped out of the race. If you look at all the candidates, there’s no difference between them except their genders and races, so he wouldn’t be where he is right now if he were white, because he would have been just like everyone else who was running. Let’s not pretend this isn’t the case, you know it’s true.

  7. 7 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 14:48

    PS: It’s also like if Arnold Schwartnegger were allowed to run, which he isn’t. He would probably do well because he has an accent and is an actor.

  8. April 24, 2008 at 14:48

    Its a real pity how so many Americans are ignorant of identifyig the human quality.Race should never be discussed as an issue9(determining factor). Further to that just check out how families keep on being elected in Democratic America,and nobody notices the bread going to the same basket.Whereas the lengthening of a Presidential term in Africa creates havoc,condemnation,sanctions and all the hullabaloo!!
    Togo Kasoro
    KAMPALA-UGANDA

  9. 9 Des Currie
    April 24, 2008 at 15:00

    Let’s be real here. America is as racist as the worst of them and they would rather have a white woman than a black man. Does not bode well if the Democrats take the presidency.
    A white woman, OK, fine, but Hillary?
    Lol.
    Good luck America.

    Des Currie

  10. 10 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 15:05

    @ Des

    Give me a break. You know all Americans and they’re all racist? Please, Obama wouldn’t even be in the race still had he been white, he would have dropped out like all the rest of the White males did from the democrats. Their politics are all the same, the only difference was skin color, even their personalities are all the same. Him being different is what is his advantage, so stop with the race card. If you don’t get wha tyou want, then it must be becuase of racism. If hillary doesn’t win, then Americans must be sexist, etc, come on, it gets old, and it’s insulting.

  11. 11 gary
    April 24, 2008 at 15:24

    Of course color makes a difference. Folks judge everything, and using visual cues rather than actual thought processes appeal to lazy minds. So, “you’re very tall,” or “You wear odd clothes,” or “Your skin is very dark,” are all used to make life and death decisions. Sort of silly, isn’t it?

  12. 12 John in Salem
    April 24, 2008 at 15:37

    Well, duh!!??!! No rational person is going to say race isn’t a factor for Obama. Many American’s are uneasy and some are terrified at the thought of having someone of color in the White House. When they think of the racial divide they think of the wide difference of reactions to the OJ Simpson verdict where there was almost a total split of opinion between blacks and whites and they cannot comprehend the reasons for that.
    Rational or not the fear is real and that is what Obama is up against. He can’t address black issues without being labeled as “the Black candidate” and being seen by many as having a “black” agenda. We need to transcend the issue to move ahead but it remains to be seen if America is ready to do that.

  13. 13 Anthony
    April 24, 2008 at 15:44

    It’s actually helping him. I’m on the front line of America’s stupid youth, and I hear all the time (in bars and other social gatherings) that people are voting for him just because he’s “black”, and “cute”. I know why I want Hillary to win, but when you ask a young Obama supporter, they have NO idea about his policies or plans, and will quickly change the subject.

    Post Script: Everyone, imagine Obama as an average white man, but still with his personality and ideas. Now, imagine how many votes he would have gotten. Not many in my book!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  14. 14 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 15:56

    @ Anthony

    There is no difference in the policies of Hillary and Obama. Don’t forget, these people who want Obama to win because he’s “cute” aren’t likely to actually go out and vote. The election will be on a Tuesday. They’ll be hung over, have classes, etc, too busy partying. They won’t vote in large numbers. And Yes, if Obama were white, he would never have become this superstar sensation.

  15. 15 VictorK
    April 24, 2008 at 15:59

    @ Abedlilah: and slavery isn’t a ‘black part’ in Arab/Muslim history?

    Yes, I’m shocked by the virulent racism of America that has led to Obama going to Harvard, being elected to the Senate and now leading the race for Democratic nominee. Is there any other country in the world apart from the USA in which a member of a minority group could even dream of such a thing? If that’s racism’ then we need more of it.

    And let’s not allow ourselves to be stampeded into thinking that racial considerations are always wrong and inappropriate. Obama was exposed as a member of a church headed by a racist, America-hating pastor. It was really from that point that his juggernaut started to slow down. Aren’t people entitled to wonder whether they aren’t in danger of voting for a man who claims to transcend race only to have elected a man whose views are no different from those of a race hustler like Jesse Jackson?

    If McCain had been exposed as a member of a church whose pastor was a white supremacist and expressed hatred of African-Americans his campaign would have died instantly and been buried under universal public contempt. But Obama continues to be the Democratic front-runner. Race and white guilt are helping him to an extraordinary degree: he is an eloquent political lightweight with no track record yet finds himself a Senator and running for the highest office in his country.

  16. 16 Will Rhodes
    April 24, 2008 at 16:01

    I don’t know who reads my blog but I have said that she [Hillary Clinton] has pulled the race card more than once.

    OK – you did the best in wording the question, Peter – but let’s be really honest, “Is the fact that Obama is black harming his presidential campaign?” is a more honest wording – even using race, racism would work.

    The fact is it is – but he is the only one who has brought it into the public domain and it was quickly swept under the carpet. Obama wants to talk about it – Clinton doesn’t – and certainly not McCain.

    So let’s get it out in the open – let’s be much more honest about it and say what it is.

    Yes, because Barack Obama is black is hurting him – but with who? Look at the demographic of those who will not vote for him, those who have said they won’t vote for him even if he beats Clinton they will vote for McCain!

    The demographic? Working-class white men, the much older white vote; especially women and the predominantly uneducated.

    Is racism real in American politics? Yes, it obviously is.

  17. April 24, 2008 at 16:15

    Hi Ros & WHYS!

    I am not sure if the answer to the question, as it is posed above, is as simple as might be suggested by a yes or no response.

    The truth is that race in America, like other places in the world, is very much a reality that must be contended with in its myriad manifestations and complexity. Regardless of heritage, gender, nationality, etc., we are all not the same even if we do come from similar experiences and backgrounds. Thus, if Senator Obama’s (skin) colour/ race is the basis of his ultimate political destiny, then ,it is a deeply unfortunate comment on America and its political culture and history. This is in the sense that whites will only vote for whites and blacks for blacks and Asians for Asians, etc. If this becomes the case, then, surely there will be little, if any unity.
    This ultimately spells trouble for all!

    Senator Obama’s call for change and hope, as underlying pillars in his campaign, are noble objectives for a political process yearning for a needed boost to jumpstart the next phase of its development. These are obviously part of his own experiences as American, politician, male, African-American, father, Christian, human being, etc. It is, therefore, neither true nor realistic to suggest that colour is the only variable in these elections, though it certainly forms a major part of how some of the core issues are viewed, unfortunately.

    ‘Blackness’ is neither a monolithic identity, nor are all women the same. The also applies in the case of non-black identities as well as masculinity. Indeed, women also support Obama and African-Americans support Clinton. Ideas about how people identify vary, as a result, from person to person, society to society and across experiences, age, culture, race and religion, etc., notwithstanding certain basic similarities between them. Thus, I am not even sure that Senator Obama is either being helped or harmed by his racial politics, as represented by the colour of his skin.

    It would be more appropriate to say that Senator Obama effectively embodies the contradictions of the American society, currently. On the face of it, his skin colour immediately sets him apart from the traditions of a sort of white, elitist, patriarchal tradition that has underlined American political culture. However, he simultaneously speaks in many of the registers and embraces many of the values that govern the (so-called) ‘typical American'; dare I say even, the ‘typical American politician’.

    It would be more useful, then, to examine Senator Obama’s politics for what it is; not for the colour of his skin! These types of positions do very little to advance debate in any meaningful way on the crucial matters. After all, our skin colour and or biology are factors over which we have very little, if any, control at all. We have to be more critical in our analysis of these issues, as a result.

  18. 18 Mohammed Ali
    April 24, 2008 at 16:16

    to some extent Obama’s skin color is actually affecting his campaign.If Obama were a white, it would have been no contest between him and Hilary Clinton. However, I applaud the Americans for even accepting the idea that a blackman can vie for the highest or most powerful office in the USA and the world.

  19. April 24, 2008 at 16:40

    To VictorK,
    Slavery is a shame for the human race, regardless of geography or ideology. Racism in the USA is the result of slavery because the abolition of slavery was the result of the defeat of the South of the USA during the session war. The whites in this part had to bear grudges against the blacks which they consider as the source of their woes.

    It’s true Obama is an example of the fulfilment of the American dream, being the son of a Kenyan immigrant. The US society provided him with ample opportunities. But his colour is still a key factor for many voters. They look at him as a black candidate and not as Mr Obama with a Harvard education.

    P.S: Despite my Arab name, please don’t take me as a token for the Arabs or the Muslims. On this blog, I speak just for myself. I have no authority to represent any Muslim or Arab. To me, people are the same until proved otherwise.

  20. 20 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 16:50

    @Abdelilah

    Racism isn’t just limited to blacks and whites. There are other races that don’t like each other too. Please don’t forget that. It’s quite common knowledge in the US that blacks and hispanics do not get along very well. Lots of gang war stuff, ways they vote (Obama does poorly in hispanic districts), etc. Some people don’t like asians, some asians don’t like other people. Racism isn’t just limited to whites, so please don’t make it seem like it is.

  21. April 24, 2008 at 17:05

    NO _

    Indeed, the PHRASING of (this) provocation is the RUB here. His “skin colour” is irrelevant. It’s American racism that’s the problem. You may argue semantics after I present the reality:

    AMERICA needs its RACISM.

    Indeed, unlike Britain, America does not have a real class structure – there are no gentry to groom. No more well-bred townsmen. There is no application of philosophy or intellectual interaction amongst its citizens. There are only penal-colony-like regulations and stolid rules, laws.

    America is an old British colony that is rogue. It was left shorthanded and its founders NEEDED slavery to help it build. They needed TYRANNY to compose a government. The smoke hasn’t cleared on slave-trading as yet, mates. Even South Africa had it’s confessional hearings after Apartheid — the USA never experienced this stage of development. Their strategy is to absorb and assimilate the past … never to redeem! Can you say: barbarous …?

    (less u believe – I actually like the USA!)

    But > Do you really think OBAMA can survive all this??

    The odds are better that a snowball survives hell.

    XX

  22. 22 Janet T
    April 24, 2008 at 17:05

    I don’t think it is harming him at all-quite the contrary-
    what I find interesting are the numerous shows that have gone out and conducted a “man on the street” type interview and it appears that women (black and white) are voting for Obama and men (black and white) are voting for Clinton.
    We went to see Obama when he was last in Oregon- it was like a rock concert atmosphere- we took our teenage daughter and 3 of her friends along, all huge supporters- again I think they were somewhat swept up in the frenzy, and not 100 percent clear of his policies. So when we started asking them “why Obama?” They weren’t sure of his in-depth positions, they just like the catch phrase messages. He does give a great speech-but I always want to ask – who is going to pay for all of this??

  23. 23 VictorK
    April 24, 2008 at 17:07

    @Abdelilah: racism exists in every country of the world, including the US. The US has done more to challenge it in practical ways than any other state. Slavery, likewise, was a near universal human institution: it was abolished in the USA by American efforts, and abolished in Africa and the Muslim world (where it existed for far longer than it did in the US, and with no opposition to it as there had always been in the US) by colonial regimes. Slavery still exists in Sudan, Mauretania and Niger, and quasi-slavery in other parts of Africa.

    Africans and Muslims on this blog are very fond of misrepresenting and overemphasising slavery and racism in their campaign to vilify the US (and the West), even though the record of their own societies in tackling these problems doesn’t bear a moment’s comparison with the US’s (or the West’s).

    And don’t forget that prejudice operates in more than one direction in the US: for that minority of whites who won’t vote for Obama there is a solid majority of blacks who will never vote for a white Republican (and hasn’t race been more of an issue for blacks casting their vote for Obama than it has been for whites voting for Hillary?). And as I said before, Obama is the only one of the three remaining contenders for the Presidency who is compromised by ties to a known racist.

    It’s not all black and white.

  24. 24 Janet T
    April 24, 2008 at 17:10

    @VictorK
    ***************************
    If McCain had been exposed as a member of a church whose pastor was a white supremacist and expressed hatred of African-Americans his campaign would have died instantly and been buried under universal public contempt*******************

    Good point- is the bar lower for Obama because of his color?

  25. 25 Rashid Patch
    April 24, 2008 at 17:11

    Yes, of course. In fact, for Obama, his race is an advantage – as it was with John F. Kennedy’s being Irish, there is a reaction against historical racism in the U.S. that will gain him support without considering any other factors or qualifications.

    It is unfortunate that elections in the U.S. are dependent on such factors, and “sound bite” battles, with little serious consideration of pressing issues, and little real diversity of views.

    For example, all the candidates are vetted on their answer to, “What should the U.S. do if Iran attacks Israel?” None are even asked, “What should the U.S. do if Israel attacks Iran?”

  26. 26 Scott Millar
    April 24, 2008 at 17:19

    Obama, dear. Black, dear. Me, dear. No, dear.

    Yes, dear they would like us to believe Obama is receiving no support because he is black. This intellectual dishonesty has turned the otherwise apathetic into the resentful. Race deniers through their lack of objectivity have indeed turned race into a larger factor. Had they only been honest upfront and said “Yes, Dear race could be a factor in our support.” There would be less of a kerfuffle.

    -Portland, Oregon

  27. April 24, 2008 at 17:23

    @Janet

    “If McCain had been exposed as a member of a church whose pastor was a white supremacist and expressed hatred of African-Americans his campaign would have died instantly and been buried under universal public contempt”

    This is not accurate. American politician, former klansman was actually ELECTED after revealing he was a leader in that fine organisation. Yes, it would have sparked conversation and earned Perez Hilton another million hits, but that’s about it!

    This would not have hurt McCain in any way.

  28. 28 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 17:25

    @ Rashid

    When Israel starts talking about wiping Iran off the map, then you’ll have a point. Until then, you don’t have a point.

  29. April 24, 2008 at 17:29

    To VictoK and Steve.
    Thanks for your responses and clarifications about racism in the USA. I think you agree with me that race is still a big issue in the USA when it comes to the presidency. The USA is a melting pot. Each racial group tries to assert itself. But I think as the USA is a leading world power, it’s time for the races to come together and judge each other on merits. Racism is nothing but a form of tribalism.

    Racism is considered as politically incorrect, but it is still a potent force. If not how come that Obama made a speech talking about his origins and his opponent published a photo of his wearing Somali dress?

    The USA still needs time to consider racial differences as an enrichment of its culture and not a card to be used for making or breaking a politician aspiring to get to the highest office in land.

  30. 30 Andre
    April 24, 2008 at 17:30

    Obama’s race is gifting him the votes of over 80 percent of African-American (black) voters. Now, since most African-American voters have historically voted Democratic since the 1940s and 50s – this has been a great help to Obama in the Democratic Primary. Had Obama been a white person, many of the states in the South that Obama won may have gone to Hillary Clinton. Remember, former president Bill Clinton was very popular with African-Americans, in fact one of Bill Clinton’s nicknames is the “first black president”.

    In the general election, it is possible that Obama’s race will hurt him. It is unknown what proportion of non African-American voters will actually refuse to vote for an African-American. The polls on this question are encouraging for Senator Obama – BUT, many people lie to pollsters (Koppelman, A. , Jan. 24, 2008; Will whites vote for Barack Obama; http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/01/24/white_voters/print.html)

    Overall, I think that Barack Obama will have considerable trouble overcoming a vestige of distrust about a black leader that a significant minority of Americans still hold. That DOES NOT MEAN that he cannot win – it does mean that he may be running three to five percent below what the polls state.

  31. 31 VictorK
    April 24, 2008 at 17:33

    @ Janet T: you asked if the bar was lower for Obama because of his colour – yes, I think so.

    You’ve already mentioned his vague policy positions. He’s a mesmerising speaker but ‘hope’ and ‘change’ aren’t enough, and his claim that ‘we can fix the world’ suggests a combination of naivety, unreality and arrogance that could prove disastrous.

    He’s held to lower standards out of goodwill and a wish to see an African-American do well because of past injustices. And though the sentiment is to the credit of white Americans, isn’t it at the same time a very unflattering kind of of ‘positive’ discrimination? It shows a deep lack of respect for Obama when he is held to lower standards than a white man. Can the US really take pride in an affirmative action President?.

  32. April 24, 2008 at 17:42

    @ Steve
    I disagree i think Rashid does have a point.

    He is arguing that the questions being asked of the candidates are leading for only one direction of a complicated issue. Yes America does have complicated links with Israel, but that does not mean that it can’t deny Israels part in making conflict in the Israel/ palestine/ iran region.

    Its interesting how the candidates havent been asked about what they would do to promote peace between israel and palestine, or what they would do to stop israel preventing further progress in the peace talks by repeatably invading the Gaza strip.

    From a british perspective the candidates appear to be constantly asked the same questions, and deliver the same sound bites. Not really a way to learn details about their politics.

  33. April 24, 2008 at 17:47

    @VictorK

    My God man! (You) write the typical American sentiments that we all dread! :) Can Americans ever get smarter? This constant ratiionalising, bull-headedness amongst (white in particular) Americans is all rather boring. Its starting to infect mother England, for chrissakes …

  34. 34 viola anderson
    April 24, 2008 at 17:58

    The people who are of mixed race, as Obama is, understand that the issue is not race, although there are plenty who will vote for or against him on account of the color of his skin. It’s ironic that a person of mixed race will always be considered to belong to the darker-skinned side of his racial heritage. Should he get the nomination and win, the white racists will then point to his whiteness as the reason for his success.

    I feel, for better or worse, that Obama, as a man has a better chance of attracting white male voters than does Rodham-Clinton simply because women do not vote as a bloc in the U.S. for women candidates, as do black men and women and as do to a lesser extent, white men.

    An Obama-Rodham-Clinton ticket or a ticket with Obama and a strong white male running mate would stand an excellent chance of winning and no problem with race at all, as Americans have seen in Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and others that black people with education and intelligence are as capable as comparably gifted white people.

  35. April 24, 2008 at 18:43

    Yes!!!! Of course!! Anyone who doesn’t think so is ignorant about what America is really like.

  36. April 24, 2008 at 19:12

    I believe it did not affect earlier becuase people did not think that obama will get that far. As the reality ids dawning on people they are beginning to go white. I therefore believe in the ultimate Hillary will win the final nomination when it comes to convention

  37. 37 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    April 24, 2008 at 19:28

    Frankly, I despair upon reading some of these entries. For the simple reason that the issue as I understand it, is not whether Obama could exist outside of the colour of his skin (race) – a clearly impossible task if ever there was one. Rather, it is whether Americans are prepared to rise beyond these limited labels and barriers to unity and hope and acknowledge their common humanity, regardless of specific racial, gendered or familial circumstances? This has been done before, so what now is the reason for reopening these old wounds going forward. That race matters in this election is obvious simply because there is a black candidate whose physical identity sets him apart from the traditions of those who have come before him, at least in terms of appearance. However, is this all that politics is about – what candidates look like? It is sad if the answer is yes.

    Indeed, I am aware Ros asked us a few weeks ago whether it matters what our politicians look like? My answer then was yes, however, I addressed the importance of being groomed and properly attired for the occassion, among others. I now wish to change my response, albeit slightly. The real issue is not what you look like and whether it matters in the political arena but how does that “look” – whatever this is, is taken for granted to the extent that it translates into real political power. We are only forced to consider the implications of “look”, in other words, only when women and non-white peoples enter these traditionally white, male domains.

    Consequently, the implied bias that the only suitable candidates for leadership are those who share a common heritage of race/ gender, etc., is unmistakable. This is to the extent that we only think about what sets (so-called) suitable leaders apart from other people (only) when we see examples like Senators Obama and Clinton . It is unacceptable, therefore, that we take the position – implied or otherwwise, that Senator Obama should not expect opposition and that part of that opposition is about the colour of his skin/ race. Indeed, race is more than the colour of our skin. Hopefully, we bear this in mind while we argue here.

    Additionally, let us not loose sight of what is going on here – Senator Obama is fighting to become the DNC nominee and quite likely the President of the US. He has the added burden of having all that he says parsed and systematically reviewed in greater and more microscopic details than the average person, or politician. Obviously, when it comes to the point where race begins to be used as one of the ways of disqualifying him, or anyone else from the position, it tells clearly what is going on – a rabid invocation of the Orwellian philosophy that “all animals are equal, however, some are more equal than others”. This is just as bad as saying one does not have any, or enough “experience”, or that you are “too young”, “too smart”, “too good looking”, “unelectable”, “does not appeal to a white demographic”, etc., etc.

    When will we get it? The issue is not whether race and racism intersect in this debate but whether we have the wherewithal to get around these in order to face up to the real challenges that beset us (like the housing crisis, the increasing price of energy, global warming and the war in Iraq)?

    Are there real chances of seriously challenging the privilege which makes us feel that only certain people can rule going forward? My money is on Senator Obama on this one, as that sort of privilege has to be challenged in various ways, often very directly, for there to be either change or hope. If we do not have these what do we have?

  38. 38 Syed Hasan Turab
    April 24, 2008 at 19:47

    Over all results of Penselvania are correct & true view of diversified & ethnic USA. Now question arises is USA fit in Democracy or Democracy is forced to fit in USA, an assesment need to be done by an impartial body.
    If we talk to white politicians those are sitting in Congress & Senate there answer will be ” NEED MORE SACRIFICE & STRUGGLE”, which is not an healthy answer for any democratic society.
    After all USA is an urgent need of a ” COUNSIL OF COMMON INTREST” to resolve the ethnic issue. Popularity of Hillary among blue USA is holding back USA from essence of Democracy or Democracy is commiting sucide or USA is not appropriate for Democracy.
    Infact Blue USA is a termite and is responsible for injustice & double standard of law by way of appearing in Jury Trial as Juror or serving in Police & Justice Department of USA.
    For sake of USA & Democracy openion of Blue USA need to be segragated for investigation & prosecution by special tribunal or by ” COUNSIL OF COMMON INTREST”.May God bless USA.

  39. 39 Joe R. Manley, III
    April 24, 2008 at 20:28

    I have a dream that the color of Obama’s skin will have nothing to do with his current form in the election primaries,but rather the desire of the american populace, even his skin color are voting against him. We must not raciailize the issue of Obama color, but wish him well.

    I accept the fact that his skin is a factor, but not a decisive or fundemental point to create a bridge to his reaching the White House.

    Come the final whistle, we will see that his failure to reach the White House will only be counted on his vote collected and not the issue of skin.

    Joe R. Manley, III
    Monrovia, Liberia

  40. April 24, 2008 at 20:31

    My opinion is it is wrong for a party to nominate two candidates and go for preliminary elections and there after Nominate a candidate for election proper.It is noted that both Clinton and Obama are havig a free for all in attacking each other,rightly depicted in the wresling match. Finally when one is nominated he or she has to support the candidate sawllowing the vituperative Remarks made. After all they are also human, (they may become inhuman while in power to attack another country under various pretexts.) you cannot expect them to support the candidate without remorse.Further they are playing into the hands of the opposing candidate by giving enough ammunitions to condem the democratic candidate by quoting chapter and worse fom the verbal attacks so far made by each other. Even the voters will be confused.
    My contention is the party should field only one cadidate decided by the party executive committe or by the deligates.

  41. 41 CarlosK
    April 24, 2008 at 20:50

    Hi WHYS Bloggers,

    Yesterday the On Air question fueled a Muslim/Islam bash fest and VictorK was in his “ackee” as we say in Jamaica. In his “ackee” means he was having the time of his life- pigging out.

    Today the topic posed is fueling an Obama bash fest. And once again VictorK, is in his “ackee”.

    Your question is rather provocative. It sounds as if you’re blaming the man for being Black. What can he do about his blackness but be proud of it? The problem is not with Obama. He is the best thing that has happen to America in the last 5 years. He is America’s last hope for spiritual and ethical revival.

    But let us be honest. Obama is too good for America. And America knows it. He will not become president because America doesnot deserve him. And after the opportunity is lost and they start to suffer under McCain they will long to see or hear a word from him but it will be too late.

    Barack Obama please migrate to Jamaica- to a more civilized country where people are not judged by the colour of their skin but the contents of their character.

    Secondly, when since did the rabble – uneducated masses effect any fundamental change in society? The change agents in society are the middle clases – this class is represented by the college educted whites and blacks. Working class/blue collar white will side with the upper class whites and keep America backward. This has happen in the past and it is happening again.

    It will take a miracle and determination for the progressive middle class/educated whites and blacks to win the day and I hope they are the majority.

    Poor, pitiful and blind America. It is time to wake-up and see the on-coming train.
    Carlos, Jamaica

  42. 42 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 21:30

    I just got through with a short walk here in Washington, DC and I saw a bunch of white tourists (with their kids) wearing Obama tshirts and pins. Are they being sexist against Hillary?

  43. 43 steve
    April 24, 2008 at 21:39

    @ CarlosK

    It’s funny to sit here and read you bash my country, at the mere PROSPECT who you want to win might not win. You immediately assume if Obama doesn’t get the nomination or win the Presidency, then the USA must be a racist country. You sound rather elitist, everyone who doesn’t agree with your choice is poor and uneducated. “Working class/blue collar white will side with the upper class whites and keep America backward.”

    Keep America Backwards? I know plenty of people from Jamaica that come to the USA just to get proper medical care. Pot kettle much eh?

    I take it someone is only progressive in your eyes if they vote the way you want them to vote?

    These comments here are just disgusting. You should be ashamed of yourself: “He is America’s last hope for spiritual and ethical revival.

    But let us be honest. Obama is too good for America. And America knows it. He will not become president because America doesnot deserve him. ”

    So by saying because Obama is America’s last hope, there will never be another black candidate ever again? Last hope?? Too good for America? That’s a shame, becuase he’s American, so If you asked him I doubt he would say he’s too good for America. You really sound lik eyou need to get over yourself, and it would be HILARIOUS if you eventually had to come here to this horrible, backwards nation, to get medical care one day.

  44. 44 Shakhoor Rehman
    April 24, 2008 at 22:17

    Clinton will be the presidential candidate. Draw your own conclusions.

  45. 45 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    April 24, 2008 at 23:07

    @ Steve/ CarlosK

    Again, I despair when the discussion in this forum sinks to such levels, as it is my fervent wish that we would be able to rise above who seeks medical attention where and whether that is an indication of “backwardness”. For surely, there is more to being backwards, according to CarlosK and Steve, than a simple matter of economic resources. Indeed, there is no doubt that Jamaicans have long since thronged to the US to seek medical as well as other forms of attention. In fact, some have gone just to escape into a new reality but so have Americans come to Jamaica. It is a two way street. What, then, are such Americans to be considered “progressive” because they decide to come here to live or to do whatever? Or, are they just as “backwards” as the place from which so many escape in the interests of seeking medical attention?

    Please let us not loose sight of the discussion – is race an issue in the American elections? Yes, it is! Is it the only issue? No it is not! Is Senator Obama’s campaign being threatened by his “blackness”? We would hope not! We would also hope that the quality of his character and the integrity of his vision, whatever these are, are more important and salient matters on which Democrats will focus in terms of making their selection for a candidate. If that happens to be Mrs. Clinton, then, more power to her. Not my favourite, but such is the nature of these things. In fact, I am not even American, though I share in the importance of the discussion. So the matter is moot, really.

    Now, does that mean that there are not smart Americans with the savvy to recognise that biology is not our destiny in terms of who is selected to be the candidate for the DNC? Sure there are! However, it remains to be seen whether we wish to acknowledge these prejudices as well as how they define our realities in terms of how we discuss these issues and act accordingly.

    Indeed, I would be so forward as to say that I have not been very comfortable with some of the things which are said about race in this forum, as well as about blacks, women and now, obviously, Jamaicans. Is America racist? That is a more complex question, because there are pockets of it in greater and lesser degrees as one moves across the map, regardless of race, class, culture or creed. What does that mean? Is America a homogeneous grouping of people? No. That is easy.

    So, can we get over it and move on to the real issues? How much of Senator Obama’s candidacy is about race and is it the only factor in the campaign? In response to the last question the answer is a resounding NO!!!! We know this, so why do we focus so much on the question of his “blackness”, as if by so doing he is to be regarded as being a lesser human being? Does his blackness, such as it is, diminish his other atributes? It most certainly does not! I would even add that it enhances and deepens the qualities of his passions and fervency, from what I can see. What is the problem with being black, anyway?

    I would also proffer that it is precisely because we are all so caught up in these physical and limited modes of identity why we seem to forget there are other dimensions to peoples’ personalities/ characters. That, I think, is precisely the context in which this discussion is lodged. Are we able to rise above these and recognise the value of our various contribitions? YES WE ARE! So, let us get on with it already! ENOUGH of the nationalist bashing and provocative speak aimed not so much at eliciting meaningful information but at casting aspersions on others. What is the deal with all this?

    I am proud to declare my “Jamaican-ness”, notwithstanding the problems we face as a people – and there are many I assure you. However, that does not take away from this conversation. I am very disappointed in Steve’s remarks, especially.

  46. 46 steve
    April 25, 2008 at 00:24

    My remarks? Calling out someone for all these insults towards a country because the person he wants to win, who he cannot even vote for, may or may not get the nomination, and hence is backwards since it’s not sure thing? Okay, whatever.. If everything isn’t the way you want things to be, then something is backwards, I see. I have a good idea, why don’t you mind your own business on who the democrats nominate, and who wins the election? It’s not like you’re going to give us financial aid depending on who wins or doesn’t win.

    In short, Carlos said: “to a more civilized country where people are not judged by the colour of their skin but the contents of their character.”

    He also said America was poor, pitiful, and blind. And the funny thing was I think he was basing this all of VictorK, who isn’t even an American (based upon his British spelling). If you’re going to knock america, at least base your irrational hatred upon Americans? I know, use me? I’m telling you my country isn’t backwards, blind, poor, etc, and certainly not because of who gets democratic nomination. This WHYS is getting silly now… Such silly reasons for these strong conclusions, based upon what the idiots within ONE political party are doing? Come on.. Get a grip!

  47. 47 selena
    April 25, 2008 at 01:05

    It deeply saddens me that we can talk about skin color and the “uneducated masses” in this day and age.

    Haven’t we come to our senses yet and realized that “education on paper” is not the be all and the end all?

    Just think for a moment about what we would do if someone did not come and collect the garbage, if someone did not take care of the water supply, fix the roads, construct the buildings, farm the land, fish the oceans… those “menial” jobs that in the final analysis are what keeps us all fed, housed and clothed.

    There are no uneducated masses! There are people who do not choose to attend institutes of higher learning. I can guarantee you in case of an emergency it would be better for you to live next door to my rural neighbor who has no education than to live next door to me. My neighbor knows politics too. He has a kind of wisdom that does not come from reading scientific studies. Rather his knowledge comes from studying the seasons, the land, the ever changing climate and from observing politicians.

    Let us never forget that good food, sanitation and clean water have done more for the health of people than all the modern technology combined.

    If Obama loses because of the color of his skin, we are lost! If he loses it may be because he does not understand that we really are all equal.

  48. 48 CarlosK
    April 25, 2008 at 02:48

    Hi All

    @Steve

    Ros, please send Steve my rather lenghty piece entitle: Barack Obama – America’s last hope. IRos, I am very disappointed that you chose not to print it. I think it would have served to open the eyes of the psychologically blind or as they say in American visually challenged.

    Steve, I don’t need to travel to America to access proper health care because it has always been available here in Jamaica. And just recently the government made it FREE, FREE, FREE for every man and woman, boy and girl. That is something that is not available to Americans. Yes Sir Free healthcare is available in my country. And not only free but quality healthcare.

    I am sorry that you’re offended by the TRUTH. But I will say it again here and in any other forum, even in American. Barach Hussein Obama is too good for America! And that is why he will NOT be elected president. The man is a gentleman. He’s a committed family man, he has integrity. He is compassionate, articulate and intelligent. Not to mention Patriotic and I could go on and on and on. Only a mortally blind set of people would deny such a quality and qualified individual as Barack Obama the opportunity to serve his country in the highest job available – the president.

    I can’t blame you for being patriotic , I commend you for it. Because I am extremely honoured to be Jamaican and not to mention the fact that I adore my blackness but if you’re and honest person (which I believe you’re), you must admit that America has over the years squandered many golden opportunities to make the world a better place. But America’s greatest sin is that of Slavery. Because America’s continuatoin of slavery after independence proved that she was no better than the British colonizer and in fact she was worst because she demonstrated contempt for her constitution which stated that “all men are created equal”

    America fixation with skin colour is a great mystery to all wellthinking people worldwide. It is something that we cannot fathom. How can an intelligent person come to an conclusion on a persons character base solely on the most superficial part of the body – the upper epidermis, otherwise, call the skin. This defies all logic. It is in fact the epitome of stupidity. And it makes me shudder to think that such an influencial country, the only superpower, has within its borders simple minded influencial people who not only ascribed to this view point but actively promote it.

    The world will always be in great danger has long as America the only superpower continues to facilitate division base on skin tone. But I should not be surprised about the simple mindedness of some Americans because look who they elected their president.

  49. 49 Alan
    April 25, 2008 at 03:23

    To Steve:

    McCain IS affiliated with a bigot. Not only that , His party is chomping at the bit to put racial issues into the campaign. Please spare us the “privelge” propaganda,
    I’m sure the 2000 people who died in New Orleans did not feel special, especially when their government was too busy ignoring them

  50. 50 Alan
    April 25, 2008 at 03:29

    To Steve

    A politician in America just mentioned wiping Iran off the face of the Earth. Rashid has a point now.

  51. 51 Alan
    April 25, 2008 at 03:31

    Obama IS too good for America, and the ad campaigns against him prove it. That is most likely why he will not win: Americans are not worthy of a candidate like Obama.

  52. 52 Alan
    April 25, 2008 at 03:37

    None are even asked, “What should the U.S. do if Israel attacks Iran?”

    Mr Rashid asks the wrong question. It should be “what would the US do WHEN Israel attacks Iran”?

  53. April 25, 2008 at 04:31

    How come, after a huge winning streak, ‘skin colour’ suddenly comes into question when Obama loses a state?

    Since you already have two famous Americans writing in this blog (I’m assuming James Baldwin and Oliver Stone are noms de keyboard), I am forced to adopt the persona of H.L.Mencken, and make the following highly reasonable argument:

    Whenever Obama loses a state, the Democratic electorate in that state are predominantly racist. Whenever Clinton loses a state, the Democratic electorate in that state are predominantly misogynist.

    Thus, those who vote for Clinton are predominantly racist, and those who vote for Obama are predominantly misogynist.

    The Democratic electorate are therefore mostly either racists or misogynists.

    Democrats who are both racist and misogynist will have no choice but to turn Republican, in which case they would be joining the pro-war anti-Islamist voters.

    The majority of the American electorate are thus either racist, misogynist, or pro-war anti-Islamist.

    All other American voters, who are neither racist, nor misogynist, nor pro-war anti-Islamist, will vote for Ralph Nader.

    In drawing these astonishing conclusions, I acknowledge my heavy indebtedness to pollster John Zogby.

  54. 54 VictorK
    April 25, 2008 at 11:11

    @ CarlosK (any relation?): mmmmm… delicious ackee!

  55. 55 Roberto
    April 25, 2008 at 13:57

    I am forced to adopt the persona of H.L.Mencken
    ———————–

    I’m going to resurrect one of the most brilliant, notorious, absolutely most evil, that politician, military tactician, and futurist well known as Adolf Hitler, aka Adolf Schicklgruber.

    He leveraged a ridiculously tiny lot of miscast characters into a plurality rule/power sharing party in a democratic country. That’s how he started. What he provided the voters was a vision of fear, and a vision of future without that fear.

    People will always vote their fears or their future. Politicians know this. Very few politicians astute enough to combine both visions. Race only relevent if the politics place in that context. Obama a brilliant politician has done a good job placing race in context that benefits him.

    Hillary not as good a politician, has the experience and grip on party powerbrokers does not have the burden of race to contextualize, but rather sex, both her own AND her husband’s.

    John McCain, not a natural politician, but more of a fighter, has had to remake himself into a politician. He was famously skewered in the 2000 primaries by race when spurious TV ads appeared on the eve of the South Carolina primaries that he had no answer to. Ended of his campaign.

    Hundreds of millions from powerbrokers around the world to pour in the US in advance to create these PAC orgs that run spurious ads that the candidates seldom have control over. Rest assured, fear and/or hope to be featured but not reasoned factual content. Facts don’t get you elected, The buttons to push that get you elected are fear and hope. Race just one of many attributes attached to those buttons.

  56. 56 Alice
    April 25, 2008 at 14:26

    No. His sitting the fence and not stating his goals are the problem for me, as well as his very liberal views.
    I feel his color is actually helping him, because no one seems to care what he says besides, “change”. What change? A partial quote used as an internet headline caught my attention long after I had decided about him: “The U. S. is the greatest country in the world. Help me to bring about change.”

  57. 57 VictorK
    April 25, 2008 at 14:33

    @ Alan: who attacks whom of Israel & Iran, the US should do nothing. Israel s perfectly capable of defendiing its interests.

    What does it mean to say Obama is ‘too good for America’? What is his record of achievement as a politician that justifies that statement? What major legislation has he sponsored in the Senate to make him worthy of such a claim? Obama is a wonderful rhetorician and an insignificant politician (Hillary is the reverse).

    Republican propaganda campaigns have destroyed people like Mondale and McGovern simply by portraying them as out of touch liberal elitists. Obama will be presented as a leftist, as a closeted Muslim, as a friend of and apologist for a racist, as a man who holds ordinary white working people in disdain, and as the husband of a woman who hates America. And expect those pictures of him in Somali dress to start doing the rounds again (perhaps in juxtaposition with images of the remains of American soldiers killed by Somali militiamen), as well as lots of television footage of relatives and sympathisers in Kenya saying sincere but naive things like ‘It’s time for a black man to be in charge of America. The whites have had power for too long…etc’. Politics can be a dirty game and Obama is the kind of candidate the Republicans pray for every 4 years. If the Democrats are going to be happy with a moral victory of the Mondale or McGovern kind then they should go for Obama (who I predict will not carry more than five states). If they are serious about regaining the Presidency then the apaplling Mrs Clinton will have to be their choice.

    The ‘Obamaniacs’ need to get a grip on themselves and on reality.

  58. 58 steve
    April 25, 2008 at 14:57

    I really resent and hate this election. If I don’t vote for Hillary, I’m a misogynist. If I don’t vote for Obama, I’m a racist. Meanwhile, people are saying it’s completely okay to discriminate by age, that Mccain is too old. Rep. Murtha came out and said that Mccain is too old. So it’s okay to discriminate by age. I’m sure all of the older workers on WHYS would agree with that? Perhaps we should make you retire, or not hire you due to your age, right?

    As I’ve always thought, politics brings out the nastiest aspects of humans. Or maybe the nastiest humans get involved in politics? I don’t know, but this is filthy, and I’m still not planning on voting in November. Maybe I’ll write in someone, like my friend’s dog.

  59. 59 jade
    April 25, 2008 at 16:30

    I am wondering whether the books written by the candidates made any difference in judging whether one may be more suitable than the other? Normally, politicians write memoirs before they retire. There is much courage in revealing thoughts, feelings, strategies before going to war.

  60. 60 Alan
    April 25, 2008 at 17:15

    To Victor:

    I have yet to see anyone address the race issue with any degree of honesty in America, as Mr Obama has done/. When America can realistically address the issues that Obama has put out in his speech, then America will have gained enough merit to say that they are dealing realistically with race. At present eveyone (including many on this board) are in denial about the problems of race, and have not made any changes to that effect. Therefore. Mr. Obama has proven, just like Martin Luther King that he is much more progressive about race and other issues than most of America.

    If Americans cannot accdept this, then they will learn what I say: Obama is too good for America.

  61. 61 steve
    April 25, 2008 at 17:17

    Obama has been a senator for a couple of years and has already written memoirs. You don’t get much more narcissistic than that.

  62. 62 steve
    April 25, 2008 at 17:43

    @ Alan

    Are you saying race is the most important issue in America? Do you even live here? If not, how would you know what the most important issue is? And if everyone doesn’t agree with you, then Obama is too good for America? right..

  63. April 25, 2008 at 17:50

    Alan
    A politician in America just mentioned wiping Iran off the face of the Earth. Rashid has a point now.

    http://thoughtsfromrva.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/clinton-if-i-am-the-president-we-will-attack-iran/

    It’s funny you mention that, I was a little upset myself and blogged about it. That is unless your talking about one of the other many many politics which has expressed interest in ‘getting rid’ of Iran.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  64. 64 Jester
    April 25, 2008 at 18:04

    Steve,

    The question that you need to ask yourself is that : Are some White Americans patriotic to the nation or to his or her race? The formation and history of the USA is based on racist and apartheid democracy: government of the White people for the White people. Otherwise, the Indigenous American Indians would still have their nations. And, without going into details of the centuries of slavery, the Chinese Exclusion Act of May 6, 1882, Wounded Knee in the 1890s, Jim Crowism — skin color, ethnicity, and religions determined a person’s status and fate in the US history.

    Remnant of that history in alive today beacuse on ‘Hard Talk’ with Chris Matthew on MSNBC yesterday, Matthew reported that in this election, skin color matters to 75% of White Americans.

  65. 65 jade
    April 25, 2008 at 18:10

    steve, you miss my point. questions: did you read the book about analysis and HOPE? what do you think about the ideas and grounding intellect, not about the writer or writing style? cynicism is a reflection of prolonged disappointments, if not despair. here is one that could offend: election in a democracy is like selecting a spouse – one gets what one deserves. I am sorry but based on observation, this may be true. and, Alan, I agree with you.

  66. 66 VictorK
    April 25, 2008 at 18:48

    @Alan:over the past half century the US has spent billions, if not trillions, of dollars on programmes to help African-Americans. Added to this is affirmative action, which endorses legal discrimination against whites and in favour of blacks. No country in the history of the world has done more to tackle discrimination. What more is expected, that white Americans should commit mass suicide as a collective apology for slavery? Obama showed that he was a fraud on race – not the great Messiah – when he was exposed as a member of a racist church. He has no credibility whatsoever on the subject.

    @ Jester: the ironic thing is that many African-Americans are race-firsters, with little sense of patriotism towards America, a country that quite a few of them seem to hate (like Obama’s pastor and wife, or the Nation of Islam, or hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton). America is not a democracy: it’s a constitutional republic with limits on the power of the federal government. African-Americans seem to desire solutions to their problems via means that are wholly at odds with the American political tradition: more and greater centralisation, re-distribution of wealth, group entitlements, reparations for slavery, striking down the constitutional rights and responsibilities of states where these conflict with their race-based agenda. In other words, a centralised socialist state. It is better that those problems (assuming that they are all real) are never solved than that they should be solved at the price of destroying liberty, free institutions and constituional government. Race matters at least as much to African-Americans as it does to whites.

    A question I always wonder about: if America really is the hellhole that people like Pastor Wright think it is for African-Americans, why don’t they simply go and live in a better country or at least one they would find more acceptable?

    Re the mention of New Orleans: a majority black city, with a black mayor, that had been run by black administrations for a quarter of a century. But somehow whites are still to blame for what happened there!

  67. April 25, 2008 at 19:37

    No. Barak is smart and has great potential, very likeable guy.

    Colin Powell could have easily become President. He only needed the fire in the belly to have both liberals and conservative vote for him. He has proven to be smart and a great leader.

    The problem Barak has is he has no real record other than he is smart, a good speaker, and very likeable.

    It is his politics that are in question. What are his real values. What has he contributed regarding leadership and ability to stand out in the U.S. Senate?

    Does he just look and sound good or is he able to be effective. That is what makes him questionable.

    Hillary really has no experience either…..just everyone knows her, because she is the wife of the former President who was wronged by a rather worthless, nice guy President. He had no background to cause him to be effective against the gathering storm of terrorism forming during his 8 years. Hillary also has no military education in her building blocks of her being. Anyone who wants to be a leader of the United States must have a military background and understand the issues that face us.

    Hillary and Barak are both peaceniks who think that the issues that face us are George Bush’s fault. That if you just stop being war-like…..all enemies of America and our allies will just fade away and we can spend all our money on domestic issues.

    Great theory, but very naive.

    troop

  68. 68 jade
    April 25, 2008 at 19:51

    what is the meaning of “America is not a democracy: it’s a constitutional republic with limits on the power of the federal government.”? Is this the tested model we want other countries to adopt? what is the democracy that works in a universal context?

    where would native americans or african americans go? this is a native land for some, while others are still tracing where their ancestors were taken from.

  69. 69 Jester
    April 25, 2008 at 20:56

    Victor K

    African Americans whose blood and lives were scarified to build America? When you mean patriotic Victor, do you mean patriotism in accordance to some Whites’ definition of the word? Patrioitism to certain White people? Who gets to decide, you?

    Regardless of who one is, the best kind of loyalty is Patriotism to the truth in order to prevent history from repeating itself.

    By the way, which slave ship were your ancestors packed and chained on?

    Just one more thing, America is a represented democracy with a brilliant check and balance system. In a democracy, people have the right to freedom of expression.

  70. 70 ALAN
    April 25, 2008 at 21:12

    To Victor:
    Here we go again! Let us justify our great sacrifices that we have made in the interest or race. Of course, your Affirmative Action (which the Supreme Court gleefully struck down) means that blacks can be left to drown in New Orleans: they can be tortured in West Virginia, and they can be shot to death as they have done over 300 times!!!

    If Obama is a fraud by your definition, then the Republican Party is a major scam since they have been race-baiting for the past 15 years!!!!

  71. 71 ALAN
    April 25, 2008 at 22:03

    To Victor

    Maybe you should listen more to the BBC news. Many African-Americans have left the US, and to a person, I know of no one who will come back to the US.

    I must ask you:

    Did Mayor Nagin,

    stop the Canadian Emergency Services from coming to New Orleans?

    dump refugees onto a toxic dump?

    dump refugees into armed isolated camps?

    run through the streets of New Orleans hunting black people?

    shoot over the heads of people to prevent them from walking out of New Orleans?
    Since Nagin (according to you) did all these things, then I am sure you can prove it.

  72. April 26, 2008 at 05:38

    I have loved this debate from the get go, especially as Steve’s apparent denial about some of the key issues herein seem to surface with much regularity in this forum. Steve, for what it is worth, trust me, it is not really about being American, or even living there or not living there. The reality is that race in America is a very troublesome issue as is evidenced by the tone of this discussion – which, incidentally, has been going on in various ways in the course of the last two weeks.

    More to the point, the issue of the American elections is steeped in racial rhetoric. This is not to say that race is the only issue, but that it is a mjaor part of the discourse on modern American political culture and how that impacts the rest of the world. So, while the other issues of misogyny and ageism are also very real, the focus of these discussions have not, necessarilly, really been about that. Indeed, I would add, they have not been about that at all.

    The question is – why is that so? Could it be that, among the other issues in the American elections the one that features most prominently is race? Why would that be? I sincerely hope that this forum, in some ways, allows us to interogate some of these ideas, in appropriate context. It is really sad, therefore, when we start narrowing the focus to name calling and other such like because we do not wish to address the real concerns. My view is that race in America, or anywhere else in the West – and here I include Jamaica, is a very difficult issue for most people to talk about, let alone acknowlege.

    As you are aware, race is never really just about skin colour so much as it is about the ‘colour’ of our ideas (about the world and the people who live in it). In a world where racial stereotyping is synonymous with power one has to acknowledge that an argument, sound or otherwise, which foregrounds this as amongst the critical tensions within the political system out of which it comes and, consequently, calls on it to ‘change’ has to be a most interesting, if not altogether inspiring. The reality is that the issue of race and its problematic politics; that is, in terms of how access and privilege are awarded in the global political economy, is a deeply emotive and insidously rooted part of the modern West.

    Developing from as far back as the days of the Mercantilist expansion of (Western) Europe, with the eventual extension of Empire through Colonialism into the (so-called) darkened and feminised regions of the Orient-cum-‘the Global South’, race has been with us forever. It was further entrenched as a space/ place of privilege by the science of eugenics and, later, Social Darwinism with its “theories” about ‘the survival of the fittest’. The reality being that because the peoples of the Orient/ South were considered to have smaller brains and, therefore, more closely akin to being animals and, thus, closer to the earth it would be easy to exterminate and starve them into extinction. Often this was done under the guise of “legitimate scientific experimentation” (Read the story of Saartje Baartman, as one example).

    History is replete with the numerous examples of these types of atrocities – the extermination of entire peoples, based on these supremacist and destructive ideas, which aimed at keeping the world divided along racial lines. It is in this context, therefore, that I interpret the politics of change that is so crucial to acknowledging the multiple ways in which race works as a political institution which excludes too many, even in America today. It is absolutely important, therefore, that we acknowledge how these ideas have informed how America and many other countries in the West see the world. This is why so many of us feel invested in these elections. Indeed, Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison argues that the American Novel is constructed around these very ideas about freedom and access, premised on the history of racial violence in that country. It is, therefore, hard not to see a value in discussing this subject and looking closely at America’s history in this regard.

    American foreign policy is to be contended with by most people, whether directly or not. It could even be argued, therefore, that the war in Iraq has impacted the world food crisis with the sharp increases in the price of wheat and rice; that is, insofar as the costs of moving these food items across the world and how these have translated into unaffordable prices for many at the lowest levels. Steve, I am not sure if the intentions are to say that America is backward. Surely, if that were so, then, this would all be moot. It goes without saying that that is nonsense!

    Is Barack Obama too good for America? I don’t know but I am willing to edge my bet that he will be given especially stiff opposition, if for no other reason than that he is a black man – and we have not yet even reached his political agenda. Is that unique in politics; that is, in terms of politicians being opposed for who they are? No! But, is it unique that we should make an effort to at least hear and decide for ourselves before key decisions are made in this regard? Absolutely not! That should be a matter of course!

    How much of what Senator Obama says about race and change and the economy and war and American foreign policy is being heard in the ways that they are intended, separate and apart from the colour of his skin? The answer to this one, I think, is the deal breaker!

  73. 73 VictorK
    April 26, 2008 at 11:59

    @ Jester: you were the one who asked if some whites were more ‘patriotic’ to their race than their country; I simply pointed out that a much larger proportion of African-Americans put race first. You haven’t denied this.

    Patriotism should certainly respect the truth, but you can only be patriotic to a country, not to the truth. People should love their country, even while acknowledging its faults: many blacks seem to think that American patriotism should consist of hating America because of its treatment of minorities (even though it has a better record than most countries in the world).

    You are presumably aware that less than 5% of slaves sent across the Atlantic ended up in North America? The bulk of them ended up in Latin America and the Caribbean. But somehow 100% of the ‘black rage’ over slavery is directed at the USA, and none at all at Africa which was just as guilty as anybody else for its role in the slave trade. What’s the real agenda here?

    @Jade: America’s founding fathers made many references to democracy, always to condemn it. The government that they established originally included lots of bulwarks against democracy: a President elected indirectly by an electoral college; equal representation of states in the Senate; Senators appointed by state legislatures; and a House of Representatives for which states could and did impose a property qualification for electors. America’s founding principle was not democracy but a constitutional, federal republic, and even amendments to its constitution have not obscured its fundamentally republican character, where good government and the preservation of liberty derive from the character and self-reliance of the people.

    @Alan: please tell us in which jufgement the Supreme Court overturned the general practice of affirmative action? I’d rejoice if that were indeed the case, since it’s a monstrosity. The sheer incompetence of New Orleans’ black administration (remember the school buses under water?) meant that people died who need not have. And the inability of those left behind to organise themselves properly (this is why they are described as an ‘underclass’) or at all didn’t help either. If in your view African-Americans can never be responsible for anything that happens to them, then how does your position differ from that of the White South in the 1950s when it argued that ‘the negro’ was not yet ready to be granted the same rights as the white man? The unfortunate thing about New Orleans is that it does tend to support that view.

    Please be more specific with your West Virginia and 300 shootings references; I can’t refute you unless I know what you’re talking about.

    The difference between the Republicans and Obama on race is that only one side ever claimed to have ‘transcended’ the subject, which makes Obama a hypocrite as well as a fraud.

    Do you have figures for the number of African-Americans leaving the US? I bet they’re dwarfed by the number of Africans and Caribbeans coming in to it.

  74. 74 Shuttie F.N.Libuta
    April 26, 2008 at 17:44

    Hey! What’s the bickering all about? I could’nt care less who wins the votes because that is what Americans want for themselves. If skin color is the issue here, then I must sadly say that you folks are still five hundred years backwards in your thinking. Even in our enslavement, we, as black people have come to realise the hard way that the color of the cat does not matter as long as it catches mice. So, having said this, who you choose for president will entirely remain your issue of choice and it will be like they say” You make a cup of tea, you drink it or you lay a bed, you sleep into it” In my part of free world, I still will courageously advise you lot to vote for Sen. Barrack Obama. Never mind the experience issue because nobody was born a president. We all have to learn and start from some point. God clear and bless the minds of these misguided Americans. Time to wallow in racial orgies is up.

  75. 75 Jester
    April 26, 2008 at 18:34

    Victor K

    Didn’t Whites put their race first and possessed America for the Euro race/ethnicity for centuries? The Indigenous Americans Indians, the real peoples, whose land and lives were butchered is barely mentioned.

    Can you acknowledge history from the oppressed people’s perspective? You talk about agenda, which race’s agenda is US and US history all about? Who gets to write it and say it is the truth?

    Ackowledging the truth is a sign of strength and helps start the healing process between peoples. Importantly, it should not mean guilty by association. Persons who are not involved in a wrong cannot be held accountable or be punished for something because some within their race comitted a wrong. This is collective punishment — it will simply unacceptable.

    People need to get out and think outside the box. Bottom line, we should get to know one another if we truly love a nation.

    As for me, I have, long ago, given up on a racial identity. Not that believing in one’s race is wrong. But, when believing in it patriotically, race begets racism, as we have seen repeated endlessly in history.

  76. 76 VictorK
    April 26, 2008 at 21:41

    @ Jester: so you are sore about what some white folks did centuries ago?

    ‘Whites’ (a bit of a generalisation, that?) certainly took the land from the Indians.That was a sad chapter in history. But it’s history and there’s nothing that can be done about it today. And since just about every people on earth have committed injustices against somebody or other (the Normans took the land from the Saxons, didn’t they, the Zulus from the terrified tribes that they attacked and killed, etc?) I’m not sure that ‘whites’ are any more worthy of condemnation than other groups.

    I’d rather think about all the good and positive things that have come from that inital act of wrongdoing. One of those good things would be all the advantages that blacks today enjoy, since African-Americans live in the most advanced country in the world, with a higher standard of living than blacks anywhere on the planet.

    Keith Richburg, an African-American, wrote a book, ‘Out of America’, in which he visited several African countries. His conclusion was ‘thank God for slavery.’ He rejoiced(!) over the slavery that brought his ancestors out of Africa where, if they’d remained, he their descendant could have enjoyed a life of impoverishment, malnutrition, subordination to the whim of despots and petty bureaucrats, death from various curable diseases, or from one incurable disease, ethnic racism so vicious as to lead to his being pillaged, tortured and slaughtered for the crime of belonging to the wrong tribe, non-existent infra-structure, and life opportunities determined not by merit but by nepotism and corruption. Few African-Americans, if they are honest with themselves, are genuinely sorry that the British (not ‘the whites’) took possession of the land and gave birth to the American nation.

    The US is like other countries in its failings; but it is almost unique in its strengths and achievements. African-Americans should feel honoured to live in such a fine country.

  77. 77 Jester
    April 26, 2008 at 22:38

    Victor,

    Your last paragraph, particularly your last sentence says it all. At this point, I feel it is counter productive to further discussion on this topic. Let’s just agree to disagree.

  78. 78 Samuel George
    April 26, 2008 at 23:33

    Am from Ghana. No i dont think that the skin colour of obama is a problem. But the truth about it all is that he is not a presidential material.Obama is just an activist fighting for civil right and not a presidential material and should remain in such job rather than coming up for presidency.I see no stuff in him as to what he is tring to claim about change, He keeps critising his fellow washinton men calling then washinton game players while he is still among them.I think critising the war in Irak AND Critising bush admintstartion and should never be the criterials for some one with out any police to be An American president such critising should have some limtitaions if he have policy . John Mc Cain is the man for Ameriucan for now.I think he Obama is just fighting hard to break world record as the first black American president at the detriment of America as a nation and American people. When a black presidential material will come up in the history of American then this skin colour sentiment will be found no where.

  79. 79 Shuttie F.N.Libuta
    April 27, 2008 at 12:21

    I don’t think I like the sentiments of this Ghanaian because his ability to disqualify Barrack Obama is quite questionable. If he has been hosted by some Americans of the preferred race, then he can just keep on boot licking instead of criticising or rating someone who is more inteligent than his own self. He can’t even construct a sentence without making a spelling mistake and who is he to talk low of our super star”little Barry”? Certainly, I forgive his infuriority complex. I would rather he confined himself to the issues of the Gold Coast because the Obama issue may be above his thinking capacity. Look at him answering to the names of Samuel George while Barrack Obama has proper roots as a Kikuyu. He is in an African country with no fixed heritage. I dislike fellow Africans who just want to open their mouths for the sake of it. What is at stake in the history of America cannot be handled or understood by humans whose IQs are below minus. Obama is a man of all seasons because never in his speeches have I ever noticed any sort of predijuce of any group of people. He is very ready to show the world that all people are important in God’s eyes regardless of color. He is just too smart to dwell on race issue since he is of mixed race himself.Please, Samuel George, check your ranting style.

  80. 80 selena
    April 27, 2008 at 15:21

    Shuttie F.N.Libuta,

    Are you attacking Samuel George because he asked us to think?

    I don’t believe John McCain is the man for America but others who do should be permitted to have their say, don’t you think?

    As an English speaking person, his English is perfectly fine for me. His post certainly did not sound like a rant.

    Wouldn’t it be better to listen to people rather than belittle them?
    :-)

  81. 81 VictorK
    April 27, 2008 at 15:46

    @ Shuttie: an excessively personal response.

    Samuel George had a view and expressed it. Because you disagree is no reason to insult him. Is it because he is writing from Ghana, is presumably black, and is therefore obliged in your view and for no better reason than racial solidarity to support Obama as ‘one of our own’? As I have said to others on this thread, for all their accusations of ‘racism’ it is blacks who are far more likely than whites to unnecessarily conceive of things in race-based terms and to express loyalties based on nothing more than racial likeness.

    At least Samuel George has the ability to consider a question like Obama’s presidential bid and not make race the overriding factor in his argument. And Obama’s Kikuyu heritage is more than matched by his white American heritage, especially since it was the second in which he was raised, not that of his dead-beat Kenyan absentee dad.

    Nothing is ‘at stake’ in the history of America as you seem to think. The election of a black or female president would be historic, but whether or not it happens is still unimportant. America is, fortunately, not the kind of banana republic whose destiny can be changed by having an African-style ‘big man’ (or woman) at the helm. Whether a Benazir Bhutto had come to power in Pakistan or whether a Robert Mugabe stays in power in Zimbabwe are life and death issues for countries of that description; not so in a land of laws and institutions.

    p.s. I should think that Samuel George is writing English as a second language. He can be forgiven whatever faults of grammar and spelling he may fall into, since even those of us for whom English is a first language are prone to such ‘mistaykes’.

  82. 82 Shuttie F.N.Libuta
    April 27, 2008 at 17:36

    Never mind the absentee father because the world over is strewn with such ones and that is regardless of their colour and creed. Whether he, Barrack Obama relocates or moves to the North or South Poles, he shall still remain genetically an Obama child. As for thinking for one moment that I can be a racist, that is far from it at all because the folks who helped me shape my destiny are white British and they’ve done much more than my fellow blacks could ever attempt. Please, I’m not a racist, but only racial conscious. For all I care, any able bodied man or woman can of any race can run or rule America, but giving a chance to certain categories may prove worth while at the end of it all. So, Obama’s Kikuyu heritage is more than matched by his mother’s? Is that the new version of biology? Even test tube babies do still florish in their fathers’lineage I should think.I personally would not wish to absorve certain theories just to be accepted by left or right wings groupings.
    By and large, each of us has an entitlement to their own opinions or views as long as they do not end up hurting fellow humans.
    Long live the peoples of great America and vote wisely.
    PS: Every nation under heaven has its own dishfull of woes even though they may not be compared to some countries such as Zimbabwe. I’m a Zambian and our motto is “Zambia the real Africa” We rejoice in being peace makers.
    ONE LOVE.

  83. 83 jade
    April 27, 2008 at 18:32

    VictorK: I suppose your ‘America’s founding principle was not democracy but a constitutional, federal republic, and even amendments to its constitution have not obscured its fundamentally republican character, where good government and the preservation of liberty derive from the character and self-reliance of the people.” is a product of history & much deliberated by leaders with intelligence, wisdom and integrity, then would it mean 2 things:
    1. People (with upper cap P) have to deserve democracy: that they are aware of their decisions, understand the impact of their decisions; then to make their collective decision work, they choose to be responsible for the self, the society and the environment
    2. Democracy is an evolved system over time, cannot be exported or imposed upon another culture

  84. April 28, 2008 at 07:59

    Hi Ros,
    I am terribly disappointed in the US presidential race. No wonder President George W. Bush is poking fun at all the candidates.
    The hope was that a black American could deliver on international issues where white men failed, but that is a gross misjudgement. .
    Obama or Hillary must first go through the works, in the case either wins, and come out as the unblemished aegis of US supremacy, material superiority, war and everything else which desigates the American to the outside world.

  85. April 28, 2008 at 09:23

    The black skin has always been considered inferior to that of the white man so it dosn’t surprise me that race is an issue that works against Obama.

  86. 86 VictorK
    April 28, 2008 at 12:34

    @Jade: I agree with both your points. On the 1st, I’d simply add that people – if they are to have a stable political life – need to develop the kind of government that suits their nature and circumstances – ‘democracy’ is something that not all people are competent to develop or necessarily suited to.

  87. 87 selena
    April 28, 2008 at 13:35

    Did anyone listen to Jeremiah Wright’s (Obama’s pastor) speech on CNN last night? CNN was so impressed by the man that they preempted Pamela Anderson and replayed it in its entirety a second time. Has that ever happened before? :-)

    I found the speech entertaining. Dr. Wright seemed to be telling it like it is in America. However, for me, it lends credence to Samuel Goorge’s opinion that Obama is better suited to be a Black activist than President.

    This is because Obama has apparently been schooled under this pastor for decades, so it is safe to assume that he liked the ideas of the man.

    Those ideas are not designed to bring people together but rather to expose a clear separation.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the speech was divisive.

  88. 88 John Smith
    April 28, 2008 at 13:35

    Why must we constantly revisit the race issue. Who cares..it is the media who highlights the views of a minority of the population and causes much furore about such things. The electorate for the most part don’t really carte about such things, until they are FORCED to address them by the mass media. Come on guys, give it a rest and let the election take its course.

  89. 89 Riccardo
    April 28, 2008 at 15:39

    Hi!
    I’m Italian, so the last person who can talk about oddities in politics. But I think that America is not yet ready for the “black-man”; neither for women.
    I talked about some American academic people, last January and every one should vote for Mr Obama. They described Bush politic as the worst America could face. But… there’s a but! The same people told me that America is not ready for “black-man” at the White-House. I don’t think that the problem is the colour of the skin, but simply that McCain (who, from my perspective, will win the election) shows more and more safety to people.
    Bye all

  90. 90 steve
    April 28, 2008 at 16:07

    Riccardo:

    Having a conversation with several people doesn’t give you the ability to determine what a nation of 300,000,000 people wants or doesn’t want. Should I base my opinion of all Italians off of what 5 Italians say?

  91. 91 steve
    April 28, 2008 at 16:08

    @ Israel

    “The black skin has always been considered inferior to that of the white man so it dosn’t surprise me that race is an issue that works against Obama.”

    Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

  92. 92 viola anderson
    April 28, 2008 at 16:25

    You could as meaningfully ask if Clinton’s femaleness is harming her campaign. No, to both. Whichever one is nominated will then have to address the issue if it turns out to be an issue.

    If Obama’s race is an issue it is best to totally ignore it or risk alienating voters who are tired of hearing the “race” card used in America.

    I still believe Clinton has to make a superb speech to address American fears regarding women in positions of power, with something in it also about power in general.

    PBS, Detroit, had a program on which a member of a panel discussing the ongoing Democratic nomination process said that if Obama once more enlists Oprah’s help, then it means he’s in trouble. Good one.

  93. 93 David
    April 28, 2008 at 16:52

    CarlosK

    I totally agree with your comments – “Barack Obama – America’s last hope. The man is a gentleman. He’s a committed family man, he has integrity. He is compassionate, articulate and intelligent. Not to mention Patriotic and I could go on and on and on. Only a mortally blind set of people would deny such a quality and qualified individual as Barack Obama the opportunity to serve his country in the highest job available – the president.

    The world will always be in great danger has long as America the only superpower continues to facilitate division base on skin tone. But I should not be surprised about the simple mindedness of some Americans because look who they elected their president”

    Some of the biggoted people may tell you that no black person will go to heaven because of their colour!!

  94. April 28, 2008 at 17:44

    Personally, the most important thing is what the person wants for the country. After seeing all of this bickering over race and ethnicity, I am voting Libertarian.

  95. 95 CarlosK
    April 28, 2008 at 18:43

    Hi All

    @VictorK

    I find your psychological warfare/mental slavery tactics facinating. The infamous Willie Lynch slaveowner from Jamaica who migrated to the USA has nothing over you. On a visit to Virginia he was appauled by the sight of so many slaves hanging by the “cruff of the neck”. Not out of simpathy for his fellowmen but because it was capital going down the drain!

    He taught the slaveonwers of America how to control theirs slaves. This is what he taught them, divide and rule them by every means possible- by colour of hair, eyes, skin, tone of skin, texture of hair , those who work in the field and those who stay in doors etc. If you do this he said, your capital (slaves) who go to waste (hanged) will remain enslaved forever.

    Now finally at last, the truth is being expose that whiteness of skin is not an index of superioty. The dismantling of this falsehood has alarmed racist and they are panicking but the “horse has alread bolted the gate” and the white man will never enjoy the same level of worship that he hitherto enjoyed in previous years. Once upon a time the children of Jamaica sang “three white men” when refering to the birth of Jesus, now they sing “three wise men”.

    The coloured world has been educated and is being educated to the knowledge and the fact that white skin is only an accident of geography and is not an index of superiority. Like a wounded cat the racist have entered this blog and are flaying their claws wildly in a last ditch effort to keep simple minded coloured people mentally enslaved but “truth pressed to earh must rise” and Truth is rising and nothing will stop it from escaping the clutches of racial hell.

    @ VictorK

    Your vicious attack on the integrity of Barack Obama reminds me of the vicious attacked launched against Daniel of old testament fame. He was prime minister of the Persian Empire and his colleagues (non-hebrew) dispised him. But because he his integrity they could not find anything to use against him. So they concocted a plan that everyone should worship the King for 30 days or face death by Lions. Daniel paid them no mind and continued worship the true God. They caught him and threw him in the Lions den. I have said this to say that, nothing that the racist have thrown at Barack Obama have stucked. The only thing sticking is the blackness of his skin and they are using it against him because they can find nothing else to discredit him.

    Like Daniel who lived to see his enemies thrown to lions and destroyed, Barack Obama and other people of colour will live to see racist burned in the pits of hell.

    Barack Hussein Obama is too good for America.

    Carlos, Kingston-Jamaica

  96. 96 Tita Lenz
    April 29, 2008 at 10:44

    It is will be very childish to look at the skin colour of some body to determine his creditability in ruling a country.There is a say that u do not read a book from it cover.A leader should be a person who have his country at heart and can bring change in the country when the country is in need of and can save his people with the fear of God.With all this few creditability of a good leader! I see no reason why hansom Barack Obama is legible to be the right ruler to rule America.

  97. 97 VictorK
    April 29, 2008 at 10:45

    Interesting piece from a Washington Post journalist about a recent speech by Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/roughsketch/2008/04/obamas_pastor_reignites_race_c.html

    Skin colour isn’t harming Obama’s campaign, but his past association with someone as demented as Wright is.

    Surely Pastor Wright understands how damaging his speaking out is to the Obama campaign (there’s also footage of him sabotaging Obama’s presidential bid in a speech to the Detroit chapter of the NAACP – catch it on Youtube). Hell hath no fury like a clergyman scorned, it seems. What does it say about Obama’s judgement that he could ever have called such a man his friend or attempted to defend him?

  98. 98 Tita Lenz
    April 29, 2008 at 10:46

    It is will be very childish to look at the skin colour of some body to determine his creditability in ruling a country.There is a say that u do not read a book from it cover.A leader should be a person who have his country at heart and can bring change in the country when the country is in need of and can save his people with the fear of God.With al this few creditability of a good leader! I see no reason why hansom Barack Obama isn’t legible to be the right ruler to rule America.

  99. 99 jade
    April 29, 2008 at 20:55

    I think the speech to the NAACP was trying to highlight how culture influence social communication, expression & leaning, since learning often occurs in a social setting. for example, if we travel across continental Europe by train, and we visit the different compartments on the train, we may notice the different manners of how passengers settle into their temporary environments. some unpack & spread out their things, relax, talk loudly as if they are at home. some talk softly & privately, some just read their books & keep their thoughts to themselves, even when they pass through interesting towns. there are ethnic or cultural traits to a people because of respective common upbringings.

    if we look pass the ways messages were conveyed, we can focus on the contents. the speech was prompting people to diffentiate between being different (NOT political) and being deficient(political). we were all unique when we were born, and it takes some work for each of us to become superior, or interior.

  100. April 30, 2008 at 00:18

    Well, well, well …BBC’s steady stream of racism is most obvious in Canada, where the obvious is dismissed distractingly.

    About Reverand Wright? “Airing topics far removed…” Well, I guess BBC news writers don’t attend Catholic Mass regularly. No surprise. The good Reverand is not as colorful as some of our best, here in the Holy Rosary Cathedral. Not even close.

    Suffice to say that religion for many IS LIFE. Every ounce of humanity that drags us in the dirt is fair game on any Pulpit. Even for Reverands daring enough to bring Church into (his very words) “HATE HOUSES” to deliver sermon.

    Dah! Wash your mouths with soap, eh!

  101. 101 Erin
    April 30, 2008 at 14:22

    Obama being black doesn’t hurt him in the slightest – it is the people he associates with/marries that are the problem. Rev. Wright is a nutcase. It is very hard for a lot of voters to disassociate Obama with the good Reverend, whether they need to or not. This guy has been in your life for the past 20 years and all of the sudden you are realizing that he is a crackjob filled with hate? Doubt it.

    Obama’s wife hurts him too – I think when the race began, everyone looked at Michelle Obama and saw her as the epitome of successful black woman. The reality is she has a chip on her shoulder the size of Rhode Island. When I heard her give a talk in Youngstown where she told a gym full of students that they shouldn’t go to college because it costs too much money, I was floored. Way to go, Harvard graduate, successful woman, for encouraging others to NOT do anything. She and Obama are so out of touch with the black community, it isn’t even funny.

  102. 102 Cheburet John
    April 30, 2008 at 14:31

    Yes, it’s hurting his campaign. But, those will change their allegience from Obama to Clinton because from Pastor Wright’s comments are defeatist, who are admitting that they cannot rise above racial prejudices. This is a great opportunity for Democrats to show the world who they truly are. Whether they stand for ‘real change’ or the ‘status quo’. Let’s wait and see……

  103. April 30, 2008 at 14:39

    Hullo WHYS,
    It may not be about skin colour but there still exist a feeling among some white people(like prof Watson) that africans are somewhat inferior to white people. Some people in America, I beleive can not imagin having a black man as their president.

    Walter in Entebbe

  104. 104 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 14:48

    Does anyone else feel uncomfortable that Obama was personal friends with, and a parishioner of such a racist for over 20 years? I realize he tried to distance himself, but after no doubt 20 years of comments like those, he did what he did yesterday out of political survival, not out of personal conviction.

    Is Obama hiding something? IF he were to get elected, would suddenly an angry, bitter, chip on his shoulder appear like with reverand Wright, or are we wrong to associate the beliefs of your pastor with yourself? Don’t forget, there are some pro abortion people that go to catholic churches and obviously don’t agree with the doctrine of the church, but still go anyways. But that’s a bit different than basically preaching outright hate and conspiracy theories.

  105. April 30, 2008 at 14:57

    You have to realize what black Americans have put up with all these years. In the wonderful town of St Augustine just a short trip from my house in Jax they had separate water fountains just fifty years or so ago. Not far away is the American beach. The only beach that blacks were allowed to use on this coast. Blacks have a right to be angry. Native Indians should also be angry. It is all too easy for white supremists to deplore Rev White. They listen to hateful Fox talk radio which we would not allow in the UK. It is Enoch Powell gone crazy. Boortz and Limbaugh and Hannity spill out hatred and control middle America. They operate the slide controls to stifle the opposition view and contort any diversity. They are all clones on such things as abortion and gays and lefties and the war. At least two of them spout ‘God’. They suppose to be Christians but their guests are awful. A regular, Ann Coulter said ‘we should bomb Iran until they cannot build even a transistor radio’ and no thought at all for lives lost. I feel sure that biblically they would not object to the annihilation of Palestine by the Jews as being ‘ordained’. Read about what happened to a soldier who came out of the closet and stating he was ‘atheist’. He feared for his life here. Talk radio was ‘who’ turned against Hillary over her humane suggestion of licenses for the undocumented in NY. They could at least eat until a solution is found for the immigration problem. The radio hosts organized her failure. They are asking their listeners to vote fictitiously for Hillary to prolong the Obama contest. They feel it will help McCain. This blatant corruption of the voting principles gives you an idea what Obama is up against. They have turned the public against Obama using his pastor. Who needs religion on that basis. Talk Radio is specifically stating that no one in the pews of that church is electable. They round on the fact that Obama’s wife has stated that she only now feels proud of America. Well if Rosa Parks was running she might feel the same. Would she be unelectable also because she has known a bigoted racist America till now? Rev Wright is to America what a football referee is to the English working classes. Someone to vent on. Someone who vents for you. Someone who allows you to rid yourself of your anger and then to go forward and accept the life you have endured. Rev Wright is doing black and white America a very useful service. Only the white bigots don’t see it that way. It takes a Brit in Florida to see it how it is. A worldly view rather that the narrow one that prevails so often. Google ‘patrick lockyer’ to see my rants.

  106. 106 Andre
    April 30, 2008 at 14:57

    Senator Obama is currently being gifted the vast majority of black (“African-American”) Democratic voters because he is the first person with significant black African ancestry to have a serious chance of winning the presidency. In many ways he has become a symbol of the level of African-American acceptance in American society as a whole.

    During the General Election, Senator Obama’s color may hurt him. Many non-African-American independents may find it difficult, when they are in the voting booth, to vote for a man who is perceived to be black.

    In summary – race will benefit Senator Obama in the democratic primary but may (and I stress, MAY), rebound against him in the General Election.

  107. April 30, 2008 at 15:17

    Of Course it is, And Hillary’s Feminine appearance is harming hers. John McCain’s age is harming his. People have time to watch dancing with the stars and vote on that. They have time to play golf, surf sports statistics, and a bazillion other self serving activities. They don’t have time to research the policies and the possible effects of those policies of their leadership. As a matter of fact it is actually taboo to talk about these subjects.

    So they base their opinions on stereotypes and negative marketing campaigns. Then they wonder why nothing ever changes and problems are never actually solved just put off a generation or two.

    That nasty odder you smell s the gas you just passed. it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you.

  108. April 30, 2008 at 15:17

    No, Obama’s racial features are not harming his campaign. What’s harming his campaign is that he just doesn’t look the part. That is, his general features are harming his campaign. He doesn’t convey an impression of strength and capability, and is too concentrated on appearing as a nice guy.

    Clinton’s racial features are also not harming her campaign. What’s harming her campaign is that she often sounds shrill and, well, a trifle hysterical. She also gives the impression that she might be quick to obliterate entire nations with different racial features.

    So, sadly, the person who comes out looking best is war-hero McCain; sadly, because, if the democrats lose, it will be because they failed to put a credible candidate out there; someone at least as effective-seeming as Al Gore.

  109. 109 Muthee Mwangi
    April 30, 2008 at 15:23

    Hi WHYS,
    The skin colour of Sen. Obama is an outright disadvantage in American politics. Lets not beat about the bush about that fact.
    The people in Ohio and Pennsylvania refused to endorse him not because his policies are impractical as Hillary Cl;inton Has tended to portray him, but primarily because of his skin color.
    Lest we forget, Not many white Americans regard Martin Luther King Jnr(who Obama likes to quote) highly, even though they cannot be said to have hated him. this is because i think the race issue is mostly subliminal in the minds of most Americans.
    What Al sharpton or Jesse Jackson could not attain, i don’t think any black person will be doing that any time soon.

  110. 110 Dee in Chicago
    April 30, 2008 at 15:30

    For me, Obama’s skin color is a non-issue. I am a white woman living in an urban area. I voted for Hilary Clinton in the primary, however, if Obama wins the nomination I will vote for him. Racism is certainly an issue in our country but I honestly don’t believe this will be a major factor in this election. I hope I’m not being too naive.

  111. April 30, 2008 at 15:33

    @Will Rhodes

    I think you nailed it right on the head!

    The simple answer is YES, his skin color which I must remind people contains the DNA of both a black man and a white woman has everything to do with who does and does not vote for him. The ultimate litmus test that will reveal the true colors of the American people particularly older white “ethnic voters” is whether or not Obama wins the nomination. If he doesn’t then America will always wonder what if? As an Obama supporter I must admit that if he doesn’t win he will become even more powerful in the minds of those who have strongly supported his cause.

  112. April 30, 2008 at 15:34

    I presume your talking about Obama’s preacher because that is the only thread of reality on your account. 911, I am sure that the people who flew those planes were not the owner of their own minds. They were radio orchestrated.

    The African crises including the on sought of AIDS my answer is as follows. The African countries all are being ransacked. The riches of Africa are taken by uncaring people from it’s beginning. Mutated Disease come forth from segments of viruses embedded in fungus of living flesh and emerge as new virus stains.

    The loss of adequate health care and starvation has brought on this world many new viruses. Security concerns of medical viral research the containment of such viruses in many areas have been breached and many communities have come down with the very type of disease.

    The negroid race have been exploited, enslaved and pushed unto subservience. The Caucasian structured civilization was not contributed to by the negroid and is alien to their nature because two worlds are being balanced. A pecking order surfaces and it is instinctively applied.

  113. 113 Rudolph in Antigua
    April 30, 2008 at 15:37

    it might not be out in the open like some other countries but its still there under the carpet. racisum is still in america. the only way i see the democrats wining the elaction is by allowing both candidats to run because american people do not want a black man or a woman as there commder in chef. its a sad reality when u think of it because the state is trying to do things in other countries n all this crazyness is happing right in their living room.if the two candidates combine it will be a lot better for the democratic race.and to [one under god] its not about two families running the country for so long its the people, they vote for who they think can make things better for them. and it just so happend that the two families are in politics for so long that they have earned the trust of the people. and in a domocracy it is wat the people want that matters,not an indiviual.

  114. April 30, 2008 at 15:39

    @Dee in Chicago

    Sorry but you might be a little naive to think that. I know of people who have said to me in my face that they would rather die before a n***er rules over me. As a black man I was obviously offended but what I found interesting was that he made it sound like he was associating the presidency with some sort of royal position.

  115. April 30, 2008 at 15:41

    @Muthee Mwangi

    I think you are absolutely right!

  116. 116 CarlosK
    April 30, 2008 at 15:41

    Hi All

    @ Steve

    If we take you extrapalation to the hilt of absurdity we would have to blame all Catholics for crimes against humanity committed against the innocent boys and girls rape by Catholics priest and prelates and we would have to also blame all Germans for the crimes against humanity committed against Jews. Get my point.

    Please stop flying the “Obama is just as guilty” kit/red herring because he attended a church pastored by a angry and apparently imbalance black man. If this is the new yard stick for accountability them don’t stop there lets take it to the lenght of absurdity by finding all caucasians guilty of the crimes against humanity committed against Africans during slavery, colonialism and now globalization.

    Personally, I hope Obama withdraws from the race. As I said before he is too good for America and as a matter of fact any black man with Obama’s qualities is too good for America.

    Closeted white racist have destroyed America. There is no coming back. I think black people should take a hands-off approach from the presidency. Let white men finish the work of destruction they started.

    Kingston, Jamaica

  117. 117 Nick in USA
    April 30, 2008 at 15:42

    I’m in agreement with Brett on this one. It helps and hurts him. Since the small number of voters judging him based on race will even eachother out, it doesn’t matter. America does have racists, but I don’t think they have big enough numbers to really affect the voting. I’ve spoken to so many people about the election and I’ve not heard one person say that they would vote for him or against him because of his skin color.

    As noted by VictorK, Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright will have the biggest effect on him. Whoever dug that up for Hillary’s campaign deserves a raise.

    The only reason we even have issues like this is because these two candidates don’t have enough political differences to make news. That’s why we talk about skin color and gender. There’s nothing else to talk about. They’re not individuals they just represent 1 of 2 parties. Instant runoff voting would give us some new characters, so we wouldn’t have to waste time with issues like this. We could instead talk about differing opinions involving presidential decisions and duties. I doubt this will happen though, we’ll just keep talking about Hillary’s pant suits, and John Edward’s haircuts.

  118. 118 Janet T
    April 30, 2008 at 15:44

    ok- slightly off topic but I don’t see how Obama’s association with Wright is any worse than the right wing cozying up with the preachers who say things like Hurricane Katrina was punishment for the decadent New Orleans lifestyle and god sent gays AIDS. These are the really horrible statements, based on hate and fear.- and the media just glosses over them

  119. 119 Angela from Washington D.C.
    April 30, 2008 at 15:53

    Steve,

    I am from Georgia and I have a lot of racist friends and family; however, I am not racist. I understand why people feel the way they do because of their own personal experiences. Whomever one supports, I think it is silly to think that because they are friends of extremist that they themselves are extremists. I have friends from many different ethnicities and if they met some of my racist friends, will they think that I am racist also; although, I have never said or implied that I think like them. The race is a huge issue in the US and it will always be. All American are not racist but some are and we cannot change our history and pretend like nothing every happened.

  120. 120 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 15:56

    Muthee Mwangi

    Do you have any basis for your claims that Obama lost PA because of his race, and that most whites don’t like MLK? Is this one of those 90% of statistics are made up on the spot?

    Let’s not forget that Jesse Jackson in 1984 referred to Jews as “hymies” and NYC as “hymietown”, but I keep for forgetting, only whites can be racists. silly me.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/frenzy/jackson.htm

  121. April 30, 2008 at 16:01

    Obama’s skin colour can be harming the principle of democracy in the USA if his race and colour become a major issue instead of his ideas. What matters in a fair election race are the tone and the colour of ideas and not the fair skin of the speakers.

    Obama, as it is evident, has to battle on two fronts: first to prove the credibility of his ideas in confronting Hilary Clinton camp. The second is to convince the voters that colour shouldn’t be an issue as what matters is the person behind the colour and not the colour making the look of a person.

    His opponents will try to play down the race issue. The fact of some insisting on his past try implicitly to emphasize his black origins. The fact that he severed ties with his former pastor the Rev Jeremiah Wright is an indication that he wants to forcefully show that his allegiance to the country is more important than that to a particular church, which forms a small minority and a platform of attacks on the whole of the US policy. Perhaps Obama’s move to sever ties with his pastor is aimed at limiting controversies around him. After his apparent hesitant remarks about the Rev Jeremiah Wright that he couldn’t disown him, now he directly announces his completely separation of him in an attempt to unite more voters around him.

    It can be easy to turn a new page vis-à-vis the Rev Jeremiah Wright. But it will be hard for him to change his political views 180° without paying dearly for that. The church membership can be seen as personal matter, but politics is an issue that interests every member of the society.

  122. 122 Nick in USA
    April 30, 2008 at 16:04

    @ Muthee

    Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most highly regarded people in the history of our country. Nearly every city has a street named after him. He is highly regarded by both whites and blacks. I’ve never, in my entire life in the USA heard someone say something bad about him. Nearly every american can quote parts of his speeches. Blacks make up 12% of the population in the United States. Do you think Martin Luther King could have become so famous with 12% of the population supporting him? How can you possibly argue that he is not highly regarded by whites? And the nail in the coffin….. The Gallup Poll –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallup%27s_List_of_Widely_Admired_People

    That’s right, MLK Jr. is the number 2 most widely admired person in the 20th century. Right above JFK. I have this funny feeling that they may have polled 1 or 2 white people during that 69 year period.

  123. 123 gary
    April 30, 2008 at 16:06

    Very few people are entirely unbiased. Many people will vote for Mr. Obama because of his skin color, Some who may vote for Mr. Obama, would not want a person of his skin color to move into their neighborhood. Others will vote against him because of it. A few of these will also harbor intense animosity because of it. Pretty much the same sort of thing may be said of any of the other candidates: Ms. Hillary seems a bit whiney, Mr. McCain a bit hawkish. We are not objective creatures. Selectivity demands discrimination based upon observable characteristics, and so we make our choices. We do this every four years and then half of us say, “Oh my, another useless twit.”
    I say: Let’s establish a pool including all eligible voters in the country and select every, elected governemntal position by random drawing. The fact is, while I may imagine one of the current candidates is the most capable, I have no objective test for this, other than a four-year long experiment. Might just as well test Joe the barber from Bellelville, Illinois (Apologies to Joe, if he exists. He probably has better sense than to want the presidency anyway.)
    g

  124. April 30, 2008 at 16:12

    It does not matter if he is white or black, his policies are disastrous. He is a flaky and a phony perosn. All these people following him are doing that like sheep. They don’t know what he stands for. He is just a big liberal. America deserves much better.

  125. 125 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 16:15

    Wow, Hillary Clinton finally got a pass! The governor of North Carolina endorsed her yesterday, and tried to make a rocky balboa parallel, then insult, he said that “hillary makes Rocky seem like a pansy”. Any gay people offended by those comments? Nobody thought to pick up on it, even though it was a jab at gays.

  126. 126 John Smith - Jamaica
    April 30, 2008 at 16:16

    In the past I viewed WHYS as a meaningless attempt by the BBC to engage the world in matters of importance. Nowhere is it more evident than in this debate…what benefit is it to the world if his skin colour affects his chances at being elected. There are more pressing global issues which can engage the world in constructive dialogue and hopefully bring about change.

  127. 127 chi primus
    April 30, 2008 at 16:19

    Anybody who thought that Obama’s skin colour wouldn’t harm his campaign was being naive! All the other candidates are attacking it, although quiet subtlety. Worst still his fellow democrat Clinton is playing the racist card.

  128. 128 Anthony
    April 30, 2008 at 17:12

    I think we already covered this, but his skin color helped him. I will say this with all the confidence in the world. OBAMA WOULD NOT BE WHERE HE IS IF HE WASN’T BLACK.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  129. April 30, 2008 at 17:32

    @ John Smith – Jamaica

    Sorry John but I disagree with you. This topic has everything to do with whats going on in the world today and is an issue that bleeds over into so many other political issues that are affecting the world.

  130. 130 Scott Millar
    April 30, 2008 at 17:42

    To All Those This-Issue-Naysayers:

    + Who decides what issues are important enough to discuss? Its relative. There are always more pressing issues somewhere—someplace. But, this is the place we are at now. Tomorrow may be different, it may be grand, it may be real. Batten down the hatches and ride the storm out. The deeper, substantive issues will come.

    – Portland, Oregon

  131. 131 Marsha
    April 30, 2008 at 17:48

    It’s not his skin color that’s causing the problem … and there is a problem … the problem is that there are many people who have sat in the congregations of churches like that of Rev. White who buy that us and them rhetoric. The problem for Obama is not his skin color pre say but that people of similar skin color who have been “indoctrinated” with the “us and them” thinking … now think “one of us is in a power for position so we (who are like him) should be able to take advantage of that to further our cause / agenda/ attitude /etc. I have been telling my friends this was coming and they all said no, Obama would not be subject to being pulled this way or that by “racial favoritism”. Well, here you go folks. It has already started. Wright was trying to run his junk through Obama’s audience with the world which forced Obama to have to put him back in his place. Now watch and see the back lash from “their own people”. It’s not over yet.

  132. 132 Kim
    April 30, 2008 at 17:53

    “The people in Ohio and Pennsylvania refused to endorse him not because his policies are impractical as Hillary Cl;inton Has tended to portray him, but primarily because of his skin color.”

    I’m sure it had nothing to do with his refrerring to them as heavily armed, bitter xenophobes…

  133. 133 eric in california
    April 30, 2008 at 18:10

    Yes, Obama’s race is everything to him.

    Condoleeza Rice? fine.
    Colin Powell? fine.

    They have outstanding qualifications *and* are black.
    Obama is just black.

  134. April 30, 2008 at 18:12

    His skin color is hurting him terribly. If being black were such a big advantage in being elected president, don’t you think we would have had several already? Obama is the front runner because he is showing us that politics can be different than the way it has been of late.

    Tom, Oregon

  135. April 30, 2008 at 18:15

    To be sure, Rev Wright has made some ridiculous statements, but his general message is correct…race is still an issue in this country and minorities are angry and this needs to be addressed…Sadly, I know several people who, when it comes down to it will not vote for him because he is black…I for one think he is exactly what the US needs…I am sick of Rich,Fat,Old white men who have very little knowledge of the people and how most Americans live running my country into the ground!! and from my point of view Hilary Clinton is such a party stooge that she qualifies as an Old, Fat White Man

    Mason
    Park City, Utah

  136. 136 matt
    April 30, 2008 at 18:16

    obama is not a “black” man. if anything, he’s mixed – black father and white mother. americans would not make this a race issue if the media (including the bbc) would stop calling him a “black” man.

  137. 137 Carrie
    April 30, 2008 at 18:16

    The Wright “controversy” is a contrived story being fed by the media machine. It’s a non-issue, and is in no way a reflection of Obama’s judgement. Nobody is talking about the spiritual leader that has endorsed McCain such as with Rod Parsley of World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio. The republicans are never given the same litmus test.

  138. 138 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 18:17

    The professor is a clear case of a self loathing liberal. It’s funny to hear him speak.

  139. 139 Thea Winter - Indianapolis
    April 30, 2008 at 18:17

    I do not think his skin color is an issue. It is his associations with controversial public figures. I think he finally made a great dissension with his speech yesterday. However, it took him too long and I think that will harm his. I also believe that his statement made in San Francisco about people clinging to their guns and the Bible during times of stress was a big mistake. All of these things put together is enough for me. He make make a good president some day but I do not believe he is ready now. It is not because of his skin it is because of his inexperience.

  140. 140 Joanna, St. Louis, MO
    April 30, 2008 at 18:18

    I agree with Steve.

    The fact of the matter is that the only reason Obama is where he is right now is because of the black voters for the most part. Everyone keeps saying that the Clinton’s have made race an issue. I find this an ignorant comment. The majority of blacks are only voting for Obama becuase he’s black. Many blacks are always complaining that everything is about race in the U.S. and then they go and vote for a guy just because he’s black, some 90% of blacks. I find it extremely hypocritical. Obama speaks in complete generalizations and presents no real solutions. He doesn’t have the experience. I’ll be very disappointed and embarrassed for us if he is our demorcratic candidate because he was not voted in on merit. I’m not racist, put Colin Powell on the ticket and I think we’d see completely different results.

  141. April 30, 2008 at 18:20

    Barack Obama is the first serious candidate that has a real chance to be President of the United States. Anyone can clearly see that Rev. Wright’s comments are having a negative impact on his chances. Why would a Rev. that preaches against such action, now be taking such action?
    Kelly Davis
    Cleveland, Ohio

  142. April 30, 2008 at 18:20

    On the surface it looks like it might have been a vicious stab in the back, by a racist, idiot, ego maniac.

    However, the way Barak responds to it, proves he is on the higher level and of great character. He really looks quite Presidential…..the way he parries the bad luck of a bad break really does prove he is a melting pot of the races. Attitude is actually a very real part of bearing and internal happiness. Rev Wright has not achieved maturity and or happiness.

    McCain should take the opportunity to compliment Obama on his character and the idea that he is a very worthwhile contender to be President. McCain should also point out that racism is a two way street and not just a matter of whites holding to unfair conclusions about blacks. Blacks with arguements like the Wright thing, being wrong, is actually a keen reminder of why race is an ongoing matter of where we want to get to. That would be a mutual realization, that people have not fully grown into our melting pot of mutual respect and wonder of easy acceptance of the average American of whatever race.

    troop

    Nehalem, Oregon

  143. 143 Carrie
    April 30, 2008 at 18:22

    Why is it so difficult for white america to understand that any other race may have a different perspective on America?

  144. 144 Laurence
    April 30, 2008 at 18:22

    Reverend Wright is irrelevant in the Presidential election. Case closed. Drop it. Obama unequivocally denounced Wright and his beliefs.

    The Republican Talk machine is attempting to Swift Boat Obama, and the rest of the media is following suit. There are equally crazy statements coming out of the ultra-conservative Fundamentalist Christians who are in bed with the Bush administration and many in Congress. Why didn’t the media skewrer THem?

  145. 145 Rory
    April 30, 2008 at 18:24

    As the professor states, Rev. Wright is a distraction. While I don’t agree with what he has said, he has been quoted out of context. If you listen to the entire speeches as I have you would understand that.

    But why aren’t there clips of Pastor Hagee whom John McCain actively sought an endorsement from continuously played and quoted by the media, a man who called Catholicism the great whore, said Jews deserved the Holocaust, and that Hurricane Katrina was god’s punishment for the people of New Orleans?

  146. 146 Anthony
    April 30, 2008 at 18:26

    Oh gosh, so Hitler was an entertainer, and got people thinking, he wasn’t a good person!! His pastor was saying things that were WRONG. I don’t see why people are defending Rev Wright so much??? The only reason people are defending him is because he’s black, if it was a white guy saying that blacks are evil, and that blacks invented this and that to kill off whites, and G.D. America, he would have been totally screwed over!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  147. April 30, 2008 at 18:26

    whoever drew obama into what pastor wright said – which is right – intended to use race against him.

    Prince Pieray Odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

  148. 148 selena
    April 30, 2008 at 18:27

    If Rev, Wright did anything to Barack Obama, Barack Obama did the same to him yesterday.

    There is no change evident in that type of attitude.

  149. 149 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 18:28

    @Laurence

    Nice try, if anything, the Hillary Clinton campaign is behind this. The person who invited Wright to speak at the Press Club was part of the Clinton Campaign, unless the radio reports have been lying to me. YOu don’t think HIllary would stop at nothing to win?Seems believable to me.

  150. April 30, 2008 at 18:28

    Rev wrights statements are divisive, but how is he different then any other preacher who preaches his ideological vision and tells his “flock” to vote a certain way…the problem is that religion plays far too large a role in American life and politics.

    Mason
    Park City, Utah

  151. 151 L. Walker
    April 30, 2008 at 18:30

    so three sound bites come back to bite wright later in his life? destroy his career?

    sounds like his own chicken’s have come home to roost.

    i have to admit, he reminds me why i don’t go to church.

    it’s cute, though, that obama and his comrades have an army of translators to tell us what they MEANT, after they speak.

  152. 152 Jester
    April 30, 2008 at 18:31

    Victor,

    Since you brought it up, slavery is also a ‘black’ part of Jewish history. They underwrote slave ships and made a fortune. Nonetheless, it is egregious to put the blame on an entire race, whether White, Black, Semite, or others. Collective punishment is equivalent to collateral damage.

    As for the presidential race, skin color is definitely an issue. However, the demography in the US is changing with the Latino population growing rapidly. This will make for an interesting equation in America’s current and future political landscapes. Regardless of skin color and gender, I’d vote for the best qualified American, who treats all Americans and others equally.

  153. 153 VictorK
    April 30, 2008 at 18:31

    Listening to your (black?) guests makes me wonder if there shouldn’t be another question: can an African-American be trusted with the Presidency of the USA?

    The sense of grievance, entitlement, resentment of whites, and dislike of America is unmistakeable. If this impression is in any way indicative of African-Americans generally then it seems reasonable for most white American voters to have doubts about whether Obama has sufficient love for and loyalty to the country he aspires to lead. His wife, his pastor, and many of the black voters who have been supporting him don’t, so why should anybody expect Obama to be any better?

  154. 154 Thea Winter - Indianapolis
    April 30, 2008 at 18:33

    One of your guest just stated that the most segregated hour is on Sunday Morning. That statement is very wrong. My church in Indianapolis is seen in the community as a WHITE church but we have all races, from all economical areas. My church runs two buses for children to come to church and they are coming from all over Indianapolis. If fact we started a Hispanic service. So she is just stating the same thing as Rv. Wright.

  155. April 30, 2008 at 18:34

    Bethwel Jackson Kaino, Kenyan student at the University of Bucharest, Romania.

    It is saddening that Rev Jeremiah Wright is coming up with such comments at this hour. His comments should however be taken as his personal opinions and should not be used to undermine the political campaign of Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. I am sure such comments do not portray the wishes of the black Mr. Obama has stated his position over the matter and there is no need for his political opponents to use such statements to criticize him.

  156. 156 John Smith - Jamaica
    April 30, 2008 at 18:34

    @ Chidi in Minneapolis

    The United States of America is one of well over 100 countries in this world. In many of them, women, ethnic minorities and the perceived underprivileged have been elected to positions of highest leadership. I place very little value on whether or not America is ready for a black President because it only adds to the drama. I say let the election take it course and afterwards we can review what went right or wrong. By overplaying this topic, we begin to raise fear and anxiety among a population which would otherwise have voted on the real issues, and instead focus their decision on whether a white man, a white woman or a black man is better suited for the role.

  157. 157 Bill in Portland, Oregon
    April 30, 2008 at 18:35

    We don’t have to guess if race is helping or hurting Obama. Look at the exit polls from Pennsylvania:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21226004/

    Toward the bottom of the page, the polls ask “Was a race a factor in determining for whom you voted?”

    15% of white voters said that race was important, and they voted overwhelmingly (76 to 24%) for Clinton. That equates to a 9%difference in the vote overall, which was Clinton’s margin of victory.

    Keep in mind, that it is impolite to report yourself as a racist, so we can assume that self-reporting would give us an underestimate.

  158. 158 Stephanie
    April 30, 2008 at 18:36

    I am saddened by Barrack Obama’s recent statements distancing himself from Rev. Wright. I am a white woman, living in the States, and I am not at all surprised or offended by anything the Reverend has said up to the this point. Why? First, because he’s an American and its his right to speak his mind, regardless of how unsavory some of his ideas may be to others. Second, I happen to agree with Rev. Wright about his statements about the US waging war and terrorism around the world and reaping what we sewed on September 11. Third, if you know anything about Martin Luther King, you know that the ideas conveyed by Rev. Wright are not that far afield from one of our national heroes. I wish that Mr. Obama had simply acknowledged that he has some differences of opinion with Rev. Wright but confirmed that Rev. Wright has the right to his opinions. He shouldn’t shun him; he should instead continue to use this as a way of talking about race, class and politics in this country. The media isn’t helping, of course, because we keep getting the same sound-bite driven analysis and conservative pundits are having a field day demonizing both Obama and Wright. Too bad we’re missing yet another opportunity to talk to each other about race and class. These issues are fundamental to everything we are as Americans and yet we continue to repeat all the same bad behaviors rather than communicating and learning from our mistakes.

    Stephanie
    Cleveland, OH

  159. 159 Sarah
    April 30, 2008 at 18:38

    It’ll be an issue for all those who will not listen and understand for themselves (Sadly that is a big number of people), and the neo-cons, plus the HRC people, will make sure that the take it more and more out of context and put emphasis on it and on issues like where he was taught at the age of 5, or what the pasture at his church had said (as if that is exactly what Obama thinks -does that mean everyone in that congregation believe the same? If you think so, then I think you should go and talk to the people there…)

  160. 160 Bill in Portland, Oregon
    April 30, 2008 at 18:43

    In my opinion, the elephant in the room is religion. Please note that in our Constitution it is written that “there shall be no religious test” for public office; however, there is a de facto religious test for public office.

    In interest of full disclosure, I am an atheist.

    There is no way that a professed atheist could make a serious run for office; however, a majority of people either don’t go to church regularly or fall asleep in church when they go.

    No one other than Barack Obama has been held accountable for the words of his minister.

    I think that there is a significant number of people who don’t view the black church in America as legitimately religious.

  161. 161 archibald
    April 30, 2008 at 18:45

    I believe that what is hurting Obama the most is the negative focus on his inflammatory former pastor. It happened to Howard Dean in the last election with a 5 second sound byte of his exuberance, which the media ran into the ground until every idiot with a tv thought he was a madman. OPB was doing it yesterday for hours, then wondering if it will have a negative impact on his campaign for another two hours…………..Ladies and Gents….we are all being played and it goes far beyond race, although there is no doubt that the USA is a RACIST nation. The problem is that the racism is being perpetuated by a media that seeks to inform by conveniently packaging deep seated stereotypes and beating us over the head with them until the majority surrender, leaving the rest of the PC conscious masses to fight it out with themselves until they either leave the country or give in to mediocrity, trusting that the chance for prosperity is more worth it than fighting for the truth………….
    Obama is a chance at a change, the powers that be will stop at nothing to prevent him from upsetting this wonderfull sheep farm they call the USA………..RACE is the easiest card to play and play it they will…….but , you do not have to listen.

  162. 162 Kim
    April 30, 2008 at 18:45

    Bethwel, Obama went to Wright’s church for 20 years. If he didn’t agree and/or wasn’t listening, why did he bother to go? Why not find a church or pastor that more represented his beliefs? If I was a KKK clansman for 20 years, then told people I didn’t know what the group was saying or never heard them say anything negative about blacks, would you believe me? Or would you say, “Well, you know, the KKK has a point we should listen to?” Such idiotic racism from whites AND blacks.

  163. 163 Aleta
    April 30, 2008 at 18:46

    This is all wag-the-dog politics.

    There is no way to reach the future if we pretend the past is not still with us.

    Barack Obama is someone who is capable of bridging the gap between the choices we have made in the past – that no longer serve our well-being -and the choice we all would make for a better future. Of course he knows people of extreme opinions… don’t we all?

    This is a time of extremes. But in the end we will only end up with the future we are willing to work for.

    The more games the status quo plays to maintain the illusion that the ship is not sinking – the surer I am that radical change is all that will save us.

    Aleta – Portland Oregon USA

  164. 164 Nick in USA
    April 30, 2008 at 18:46

    The south american guest is is exactly right. Sally’s point was true. It’s not right to associate Obama with Wright’s statements because Obama didn’t make them himself, but Wright didn’t help him out at all. Those sound bites sink in, and people just end up associating them with Obama.

  165. 165 Thea Winter - Indianapolis
    April 30, 2008 at 18:47

    Again Sally is taking an issues that was not public to the members of the church at the time when it happened. I do love my pastor and the difference is my pastor does not use the poppet to be anti American and D*** America. The popppet is never to be used in that manor. Lets stay with the issues!

  166. 166 drosenfeld33
    April 30, 2008 at 18:48

    I don’t think Barack should have distanced himself so strongly. What’s so wrong with saying that America reeps what it soes? It’s in the bible. Obama should know that our disastrous and brutal foreign policy for centuries has led to ill will toward Americans. We have used and abused third world countries for all of history. This should not be such a far-off concept for Barack to understand. My guess is he agrees with much of what Wright says. What I want is to scrutinize every White Christian preacher like Jerry Falwell (RIP) and Pat Robertson and Rev. Hagee for their racist statements about gays and jews, none of which Wright has ever made to my knowledge.

  167. 167 LaMonte Shelton
    April 30, 2008 at 18:50

    I am a native Black American and have watched the media CONSTANTLY shoving the issue of Senator Obama’s skin appearance.
    He IS a man of BOTH Balck African and WHITE mother…………His skin color is of NO consequence to me as a voter and as a Black man. I agree with the commentator who says this issue is being used to distract the REAL ISSUE, how the American public is being robbed of tax dollars, lives and political capital by an unjust war.
    Lastly, we are the only western country of substance that has NO PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM for workers.
    If Barack Obama is not the candidate of the party, I will vote for change……not McCain. Thank you

  168. 168 Kay
    April 30, 2008 at 18:57

    I am a 55 year old woman for Pennsylvania and I resent that everyone is assuming that I am a racist because it did not vote for him.

  169. 169 Angela from Washington D.C.
    April 30, 2008 at 18:59

    VictorK ,

    I can understand that some of the blacks on the show may have different ideas. I went to school with many whites that believed that slavery should have never ended and thought blacks were stupid and dumb. The resentment some blacks feel have to due with their own personal experiences. I don’t believe all whites are bad people and should not be trusted. However, I have seen instances of immense injustice against blacks, especially with crimes. I have known blacks sentenced to years in prison for a crime a white person got parole. Even when the white person was a repeat offender and the black person was a first time offender. Some blacks may feel a resentment but understand that every white person is not the same.

  170. 170 Dr. M. C. Clement
    April 30, 2008 at 19:00

    The media is obsessed with race not the electorate.

  171. 171 viola anderson
    April 30, 2008 at 19:01

    Race is an issue because patriotic Americans have to know that Obama is a patriot before they can accept his candidacy and it can fairly be said that his mentor, Pastor Wright, and his wife, Michelle (I think that is her name), do not express patriotic attitudes.

  172. April 30, 2008 at 19:08

    It doesn’t matter what colour Obama is anymore, he’s the only hope America has left

    Banks,Amsterdam

  173. April 30, 2008 at 19:08

    It appears that for white people in American, discussing ‘race’ means calling someone out as a racist. This is sad because race is so much more complex and frankly we all have racists views in such a racist society.

    Diepiriye
    A Black-American in New Delhi

  174. April 30, 2008 at 19:09

    The fact that Barak Obama has had to distance himself from a reverend who in many ways spoke the real truth about the New York attacks, essentially that they were a natural response to years of aggressive US imperialism, is less indicative of a racial slant to the election and more of the sad state of denial the US population now lives in. Obama cannot side with the truth because the US doesn’t want to hear it.

    Douglas,
    Victoria BC Canada

  175. April 30, 2008 at 19:09

    What is hurting Senator Obama regarding his skin color is the media. It’s your fixation with it to the exclusion of the issues I and many others care about that so inflames the emotions and numbs the minds of Americans. It’s an obfuscation that I am beginning to think is deliberate.

    Michael

  176. April 30, 2008 at 19:10

    There is a big difference between Obama and other member in the Wrights church. And there is a HUGE difference between Wrights church and what was happening the catholic church. If my pastor had demonstrated the anti-American behavior of Wright I would have ran not walked out of the church and challenged every member of that church.

    skip

  177. April 30, 2008 at 19:11

    I believe that once again the media will decide this election. Just as it destroyed the campaign of John Dean it will destroy the campaign of Barak Obama.

    Linda
    Portland Oregon

  178. 178 Amy
    April 30, 2008 at 19:12

    My grandpa recently said, “Hell no I ain’t votin’ for no n*%ger” but he has no problem at all voting for a woman, and will May 20th. He’s from the old school immigrant working class, is 79 years old, and born and raised in Portland, OR. I’m for Barack all the way, and find my grandpa’s comment totally sociologically fascinating.

    Is the US further along in gender equality than it is in race relations? I’d venture to say yes, and for that reason fear that Barack up against McCain will be a harder win for the dems than it might be if Hillary were the candidate. Not that I’d change my vote, no way.

    I’m a white 25 year old female in full support of the hope Obama brings to our country, and I believe this would trickle outside our borders and hopefully do a little good in repairing our international relations. He’s the best shot we’ve got with the mess that we’re in.

  179. April 30, 2008 at 19:12

    to single out the US for being racist, why hasn’t the UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand ever had a black Prime Minister before? Can someone tell me why the USA is being singled out?

    Steve
    USA

  180. 180 Scott Millar
    April 30, 2008 at 19:20

    + Mr Obama’s race and Mrs Clinton’s sex are relevant in that they are new, they are historical. This is also politics, not generally a place of altruism and equality. People analyze every aspect from policy specifics to the superficial. A scream, was enough to end the race of Mr Dean.

    + The public along with the wonks create a synergy of intense scrutiny. If race is a factor in the negative or the positive should we hide this elephant in the room, just because it is unfashionable or impolite conversation? The statistics show it will clearly have an effect on the nomination, it would be fraudulent not to discuss it.

    – Portland, Oregon

  181. April 30, 2008 at 19:26

    Only a black junior senator with but two years in government service would think himself entitled to run for the highest office in the country. Obama supporters are entranced by his MLK like rhetoric

    Dr. Mark

  182. 182 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 19:29

    @ Amy

    Could you tell us what constitutes this “hope” you and Obama talk about?? Let’s be honest, what “hope” or “change” or whatever makes you want Obama to win. Can you tell me any way that Obama differes from Clinton or even John Edwards other than race and gender? I don’t think you can, the only difference between Obama and Edwards is their race. Does one’s race make the determining factor in how you normally vote? Say if Obama were a conservative republican, would you be voting for him? There’s a possibility Michael Steele (and African american, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland) will be Mccain’s running mate. Isn’t that change? Or does it have to be far left liberal and black for it to be “change”??

    Please tell us what this “hope” is, and Banks from Amsterdam, can you pleaes explain to us how Obama is America’s last chance, and what will happen if the US doesn’t elect Obama?

  183. 183 steve
    April 30, 2008 at 19:31

    @ Dr Mark:

    GWB proves that any idiot can be President, so I don’t buy the inexperience argument. HOWEVER, but for his race, Obama wouldn’t even be on the radar screen. There are are people just as socialist as Obama, like Kucinich, who didn’t get the nomination, yet are no different politically. Obama is where he is becuase of his race. Had he been white, he would have dropped out like every other white male democrat has done.

  184. 184 Kim
    April 30, 2008 at 19:31

    If anything, in this election season, it’s blacks that are showing to be more racist. 90% of blacks back Obama? Yet a large portion of whites (perhaps 50% and in some states much more) back Obama even though he is black. Which group seems to be more fixated on the race of the candidate?

  185. 185 Viva
    April 30, 2008 at 19:48

    Let me state, I am a black woman, and I have felt all along that Barack Obama is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and he has the majority of liberal America FOOLED! I am glad this business with his long term minister has finally surfaced. Let’s get real… how can Obama claim he was not aware of Jeremiah Wright’s hate mongering and anti-American stances when Wright has been his pastor for 20 years?

    Wright himself has asked that very question when Obama began to distance himself from him. See today’s New York post at http://www.NYPost.com

    Reverand Wright’s church has given an award to Minister Louis Farrakhan, a man who is a radical black Muslim and refers to Caucasians as “the devil.” Wright says American government is responsible for the AIDS virus as a means to harm people of colour. He blames America for the the 9/11 attacks. How on earth was Obama not aware of any of these views?

    Obviously Obama was aware of Wright’s views and continued to be a member of that church. Sure, it’s possible Obama may not have been at those particular services, but come on… how can you know someone for that long a period, consider them your spiritual mentor and not know their general philosophy? That is impossible.

    It concerns me that Obama claims he’s all about change and bringing the country together, yet behind the doors of his church, he is being immersed with the vitriol of an angry and ignorant minister. Do you want someone at the helm of this country whose spirit is nurtured by divisive rhetoric? I don’t.

    If John McCain or Hillary Clinton attended a church where KKK doctrines were preached and divisive sermons were the norm, there’s no doubt all Hades would break loose once that was unveiled. There is no way one can attend church regularly for such a long while and not be influenced by what is taught. Obama is presenting one side to the public and very likely embracing different thoughts and actions in private.

    I’m a McCain supporter, but if the only two running for office were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I can tell you’d I’d go for Hillary. At least I feel she is patriotic and has faith in her country, though I’m no fan of her’s”, either.

    I really feel Obama has an agenda, and it won’t be fully unveiled until he hits the top spot. It is something those who have supported him along the way and are charmed by his snake-oil charisma will regret for ever putting him into office should he get there, and I hope to God he does not. For a split nano-second, I was charmed by him too, and even considered voting for him.

    I also have significant reservations with his wife; Michelle Obama. I am not at all surprised Michelle has not felt proud about this country until recently. It’s obvious she’s been brainwashed after listening to Rev. Jeremiah Wright all this time. She’s been immersed in anti-America rhetoric for all these years. America has made mistakes, has horrid scabs on her history, but has also been there for others when everything has hit the fan. All in all, this is better place to be than just about anywhere on this planet. Hate it so much, leave… no one is forcing any one to stay.

    My family and I have had and continue to enjoy tremendous opportunities from a great education to excellent business ventures that I doubt we’d be able to attain in many other parts of the world. All of this is due to the freedoms and opportunities afforded us in this country, and I am grateful for that. I expect the president of this country to be grateful for the same things.

    How can Obama claim his good judgment makes up for his lack of experience? What does his judgment reflect when he has chosen this anti-American individual to be his long term pastor? It’s time for Democrats, Republicans, Independents and all those who have fallen victim to Obama’s charms to wake up and realize what’s really happening before it’s too late.

    Oh, let’s not forget Obama’s long term friendship with a well known terrorist who takes pride in his past attacks against America.

    No, I don’t feel Obama’s skin colour is an issue in this race. If nothing else, I thought it may have been a boost for him this time around. Many people have been calling for General Colin Powell to run for president and Condoleza Rice. These people very likely would have had a strong candidacy as they are extremely experienced and well respected across party lines.

    I cannot say the same for Obama. I find him to be an elitist and more interested in the “Chardonnay and Brie” crowd with very little respect for the blue collar worker. Oh yes, wasn’t it Obama who said the blue collar worker is bitter and clings to God and guns in his bitterness.

    Well, I’m far from blue collar, well educated and God is a major part of my life every day; good, bad, indifferent. Yes, I also cling to my Glock pistol having been a victim of a near rape several years ago and a stalker, too.

    Barack Obama has some maturing to do. Regarding Rev. Wright whom I prefer to refer to as “Rev. Wrong,” if you lay with the devil, you wake up in Hell. I think Obama is finding himself in such a place right about now.

    Rev. Wright is a man who like to hear himself talk. He strikes me as a vindictive man and I’m sorry for Obama, but this man will not go away quietly and will likely rear his ugly speech for the duration of Obama’s campaign.

    I also wonder, why did it take Rev. Wright’s performance at the National Press Conference before Obama decided to come out and denounce him? Wright said nothing new, in fact his statements had been repeated numerous times. Obama still defended the man and said he could not distance himself from Wright the same way he could not distance himself from his white Grandmother. Why now, Obama? Wright has said nothing new.

    Obama is suffering from his poor judgment regarding his choice of friends. This is not a man whose judgment I will trust to run my country. Trust me, race has nothing to do with it.

    FYI: Of the many black churches I have attended, I have NEVER heard such divisive, hateful speech delivered such as Reverend Wright’s. So please, do not think Wright is representative of the black church or for blacks overall. He certainly does not represent me.

    Thank you. I really needed to have my say.

    Viva
    Richmond, Virginia, USA

  186. 186 jade
    April 30, 2008 at 19:52

    I heard it was HC’s camp that posted Wright’s videos on YouTube that brought the race issue to the limelight. If so, I understand why people say she’s divisive figure.

  187. 187 VictorK
    April 30, 2008 at 19:59

    Jester wrote: “As for the presidential race, skin color is definitely an issue. However, the demography in the US is changing with the Latino population growing rapidly. This will make for an interesting equation in America’s current and future political landscapes.”

    The political consequences of demographic change is a subject that deserves to be treated on WHYS. Underlying your comment is the very unwise maxim ‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ In this case your enemies are, I think I’m correct in saying, whites.

    You are clearly unaware that the relationship between African-Americsans and Hispanics is a very difficult one. Wherever the two groups have come together in certain neighbourhoods, schools and prisons the result can only be described as ‘race war’. In a city like Miami, which has had an Hispanic majority for some years now, African-Americans are cowed and silent, having been decisively beaten on that front of the Black-Hispanic race war. Hispanics, of course, have voted for the white woman rather than the African-American in the on-going contest.

    The Hispanicisation of America will be an unmitigated disaster for American-Americans (and it probably won’t be very good for America generally). But I suppose African-Americans won’t mind as long as they think it’s hurting white America too. That attitude explains many of the problems afflicting African-Americans (and Africans and Afro-Caribbeans too): making a priority of everything (such as hatred of whites and sentimental rage over colonialism and the slave trade) except what’s practical and in their best interests here and now.

  188. 188 janet bratter
    April 30, 2008 at 20:12

    The question of whether or not Obama’s skin color helps or hinders his campaign is really a no-brainer. If you ask yourself whether or not a young inexperienced white man would have received the attention that Obama has gotten then the question answers itself.

    It’s unfortunate that race is still a significant factor. But that is the current reality. It is wishful thinking to say otherwise. Once that is acknowledged openly and honestly efforts can be made to transcend the remnants of our racist past.

    Without Obama being what in centuries past would have been defined as “mulatto”, (half white/half black) he would be just another bright, young, unseasoned politician. It is his racial background that sets him apart and has gotten him the attention he needs to match his ambition.

    Obama is not being honest when he claims that race is not an issue in this campaign. If race was not an issue would everyone accept it as a given when he receives the vast majority of the black vote?

    Martin Luther King was so far ahead of his time when he envisioned an age when we would be judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. Barack Obama has gotten to where he is more on the former than on the latter.

  189. 189 Jester
    April 30, 2008 at 20:28

    Steve,

    I cannot agree with you more. The media have failed to equally expose Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia, and other nations’ racist past and tendencies.

  190. 190 Jackie from Brooklyn, NY
    April 30, 2008 at 23:00

    When did “World Have Your Say” stop asking where people are from? Clearly, most of these responses are not from Americans.

    Racism exists everywhere. In my country, it is more evident because we are a more pluralistic society and because we have a long, nasty history with slavery.

    Obama became the front runner after winning in Iowa, a state that is over 90% white. He spoke out against the war in Iraq when it started and does not have the kind of baggage Clinton does.

    Yes, he is benefiting from the overwhelming support of African Americans in the primaries and he will loose some support in the general election due to his race. But ultimately most people will vote on his policy positions regarding our faltering economy and the “War on Terror”.

  191. 191 Thomas Murray
    April 30, 2008 at 23:02

    Not really. The weird part is that Replublicans would rather vote for Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton.

    The median age in the states is maybe a tad over 36 years. Of that, the percent of voters between 18 and 36 is maybe a little over 6.1 percent, and I’ve found from off-hand comment on the street, that is splits down the middle in favor of the Republican candidates: One woman who’s working for a senatorial candidate down the mall favors Obama; another I commiserate with at the library likes Hillary.

    Though we’ve been conditioned by two strong black presidents on TV and the movies — Dennis Haysbert in “24,” and Morgan Freeman in “Deep Impact,” pundits warn of a Bradley Effect — named after a black candidate (& former LA mayor) who ran for California governor.

    A majority favored him on opinion surveys, but voted for his opposition at the polls. The reason is that they wanted to sound more publically liberal than they really are.

    –Regards. Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  192. May 1, 2008 at 01:00

    Wow. The begots of the world have such a short memory.

    When Bill Clinton’s pubic hair “found themselves” on Monica Lewinsky’s skirt and subsequently discussed in the public market place, ladies and gentlemen, guess who was invited to the White House to offer prayer and support the then Mr. President 1) Jesse jackson and Yes
    2) Jeremiah Wright.

    This man was also invited by the Clintons? Yes he was.

    Check out this photo “O ye bigots of short memory and little faith”

    http://weblogs.wgntv.com/news/politics/blog/2008/03/bill_clinton_rev_jeremiah_wrig.html

    Race could be a factor if the bigots of the World have their say and deny America this unique opportunity to repare the damage of unilateralism. Mc Cain represents the past and the cold war, the Clintons (like the Sopranos) are interested in making deals with the crime bosses, Obama is the future, he is so needed at the time when leadership is needed to navigate the waters of change in the World (emergence of India, China which now could shoot satellite down and lend money to the unjust war efforts) and help America make friends and not enemies.

    I cannot articulate the relevance of a good and sound leadership in this hour of change than Fareed Zakaria
    in his new book “The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria (Hardcover – May 5, 2008)”.

    Just like England, the American Leadership will be very soon (if not already)in jeopardy if America does not adapt to the changing world.

    I may add that diversity is part of that World where bigotry and racism that once took advantage of (if still not taking) other people of the world will soon see their demise.

    Black and White can not just be together at times like 911, they also have to see merit in one another. It is clear that Mr. obama stands above Mr. MCain and Hillary not only intellectually, but also as a human being with vision who has enough class to stand above race and religion.

    Obama is Black, but he is an American who could appeal more to the other nations of the world (African, Arabs, Asians etc…) at the time when America’s military might cannot bring food prices and gaz prices down. Even the oil-rich American-sponsored dictatorships of the world can not help.

    America needs to embrass change in Mr. obama just like it did with Mr. John F Kennedy. The bigots would have you believe that they do not vote for Mr. Obama because he has no agenda. The gentleman has clear policies that only bigotry can ignore.he even has a better vision that Mr. John kennedy had.

    One thing I would agree with, Obama symbolizes a schism within the black community. He reflects the views of the generation that says “tired of waiting on the 40 acres and a mule (promised by the US government and never delivered – yes Mr. viktor, it is documented), we only want equal opportunity” and not
    the views of some of old civil right nostalgic who have achieved a lot (and whose shoulders black and white are standing on).

    Please join the ban wagon of change, or simply fold and leave, also take some nachos with you.

  193. 193 Bobimwo
    May 1, 2008 at 01:18

    When JFK ran for president he had 80% of the Catholic vote. It was explained as pride swelling Kennedy’s support among Catholics. Kennedy also had only 38% of the protestant vote. Why is it so difficult to see the black vote as probably having some pride mingled with belief in his principles? He is afterall a democrat, a party that has traditionally enjoyed black support. Obama is not the first black presidential candidate so no black voters do not flock to just any black candidte. We have had Allen Keyes and Al Sharpton in the last few races. I did not see all blacks flocking to vote for them.
    There is a difference between a pride vote and saying I will not vote for someone because of the color of their skin (black, white or inbetween).

  194. May 1, 2008 at 03:10

    No doubt! There’s much prejudice left in America and besides and beyond skin color, Obama has other strikes against him. I doubt seriously he’d be allowed to occupy the Oval Office, even were he to win nomination and election, both! I’d fear for him! And for the nation, if he were … Personally, I think his candidacy serves to pave the way for the next guy or even for himself–next time ’round, but I don’t think the voters or the ‘powers that be’ are ready for Obama as president. He may be what the nation needs, but not what it is ready for. Meanwhile, there isn’t anyone running for president who’s truly qualified to occupy the Office, least of all Hilary. She frightens me even more than McCain does! So…, if the crocodiles don’t finish off Bush left overs, the mosquitoes will surely get us…, eventually.

    A.Cristina
    California

  195. 195 VictorK
    May 1, 2008 at 12:27

    @ Big Papa: and your point is? So Clinton invited two disreputable black clergymen to the White House, Jackson and Wright. At least he had the excuse that not being a member of Wright’s congregation for 20 years he had no idea that the man was in fact an embittered racist with crackpot theories about the origin of AIDS. Wright used to be one of Obama’s dearest friends. That’s the difference.

    Some people have way too much invested in an Obama victory. The talk about fundamental change, this being America’s last chance, a rendezvous with history, an event of world-wide significance, a unique opportunity etc all point towards the politics of hysteria. The fate of a nation like America cannot ever depend on a single election or on a particular candidate. A country that has appointed genuine political giants to the Presidency like Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Lincoln, and then passed on to new Presidents, is not going to be affected very greatly by the election or non-election of a smooth-talking but vacuous political pygmy like Barack Obama. The whole personality cult surrounding Obama is something more suited to the third world than to a modern state. It reflects very badly on some of Obama’s supporters that they have reduced politics to something so basic as emotional gush over a Messiah figure who is going to transfigure the world and usher in an era of peace and plenty. This is politics for the sentimental and reality-challenged.

    Hillary’s educational background is, I believe, Wellesley and Yale. It’s at least on a par with Obama’s. Even her most bitter critics have never doubted the quality of her intellect (I recall her superb performance as First Lady before the Senate, when she was responsible for her husband’s health care reform scheme). Can anyone point to a similar performance by Obama under comparable pressure? He’s undoubtedly a more fluent speaker than her, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that that makes him smarter (that would be as sensible as arguing that Hitler was cleverer than Einstein).

    So what if Obama will appeal to Africans, Arabs and Asians? He only needs to appeal to Americans since it’s their country he wants to be President of. And given the deep hostility of many Africans, Arabs and Asians to the USA, their preference for someone like Obama ought to be treated as further evidence of his unfitness to be President. I can already see the next line of attack by Hillary and America’s First Black President: Hezbollah, the Taliban. Osama Bin Laden, Somali Jihadists, and Iran’s Mullah’s all want to see Barack Hussein Obama victorious (and the whispering campaign has already begun alleging either that Obama used to be a Muslim – which appears to be true – or that he is one still – which strikes me as farfetched, but it could still do some damage).

    I seriosuly doubt that the US government ever promised ’40 acres and a mule’ to the emancipated slaves. Lincoln’s preference was to send them all back to Africa (he was a white supremacist, btw, contrary to the liberal myths about him). I doubt if there’s anything in the US constitution that could have authorised such an offer. Please state – and if you can link to – the evidence that you say documents this.

    .

  196. 196 steve
    May 1, 2008 at 15:01

    The US has never had a Jewish president either, are we an antisemitic country too? I mean, France has had Jewish Prime Ministers, so has Britain. Has Australia ever had an aboriginal PM? Has New Zealand ever had a Maori PM??? Any Inuit or other native Canadian PMs in Canada? Why are we single out the USA again? Why, can someone answer me this question?

    Has Japan ever had an Ainu Prime Minister? Why is the Emperor always Japanese? Will England ever have a black or asian Monarch?

    Can we stop singling out the US? Please?

  197. 197 CarlosK
    May 1, 2008 at 15:46

    Hi WHYS

    When I subscribed to this blog, I was looking for a forum where honest and vigorous intellectual dialogue would ensue. This was so in the beginning but lately the bigots have come out of the woodworks. And have hijacked the forum. The WHYS producers are failing in their mandate to make the world a better place because this forum has become a sounding board of vitriolic racism. The world is in crisis. We have no time for the irrelevancy of racism and bigotry.

    Anyone who cannot see that Barack Obama is America’s only hope is mortally blind. America has almost lost every ounce of respect internationally. This lost of credibility on the part of America has plunged the world into a crisis. GWB has made the world a must more dangerous place. A president with characteristics completely opposite to GWB is urgently required at this time of imminent danger.

    This debate about the colour of Mr. Obama’s skin is very DANGEROUS for America. It iwill infact set back race relations another 100 years. America will become an even uglier place after November 2008. If the GOP wins in November minorities and especially people of colour are going suffer horribly because the Admistration would have received a mandate based on racism.

    It is not too late America to change. If you do not embrace Obama or at least his message them America is doomed to destruction both economic, moral and most of all spiritual. A house divided (racially, ethnically, ect) will not stand.

    Nothwithstanding all I have said, I am also catch between a rock and a hard place because while I sincerely believe that Obama is America’s only hope, my personal wish is for Obama to withdraw from the race and invest his time and talents and energy uplifting oppressed peoples especially Black Americans. Racist white America does not deserve the services of a Barack Obama, he’s too good for white America.

    Apparently the prophecy is true that because of white America’s enthusiasm for slavery, America is cured and is destined for the the crap heap of history in the category of a “failed experiment”. What a wonderful world this would have been had Americans been made of nobler “stuff” than their former colonizers- the British.

  198. 198 Jester
    May 1, 2008 at 15:54

    Victor K,

    You are clearly unware of what I am aware of. Therefore, it is prudent to be unassuming.

  199. 199 Joanna, St. Louis, MO
    May 1, 2008 at 16:04

    Amen Dr. Mark!

    @ Jade – They are ALL devisive and they will ALL do anything to win even if that means exposing the bad about another opponent and making themselves look better. This is not a new concept.

    Whoever brought this to the public eye, I applaud. While it’s been played out and is old news, the fact of the matter is, this was who associated with for 20 years. It should be known.

    It’s unfair for the world to peg us all as racists. Yes, there are people who are but I think as the youth and twenty somethings grow up, racism will be less and less of an issue. I’m 25 and people my age are not nearly as opinionated about mixed racial marriages, etc. I’m personally looking forward to a time when people just let go of the old and move forward.

  200. 200 steve
    May 1, 2008 at 16:58

    CarlosK:

    Good grief! More “all whites are racist” talk. It seems you are probably the most intolerant person on here, are you not? Whites enthusiastically support slavery? Sorry, pal, when there was slavery in the US, my mom’s side of the family was living in north Africa. My dad’s in eastern europe. Sorry, pal, I have nothing to do with Slavery. You say that Obama is America’s only hope, and then you say you want him to withdraw and leave, so that the US can collapse. What a wonderful person you are!

  201. 201 Neisha
    May 1, 2008 at 18:11

    As a brown person born and raised in the US, I find all this America-bashing rather entertaining. I’m sure the rest of the world doesn’t want to hear this, but I’ve experienced more racist remarks and treatment as a *tourist* in the UK than as a resident of the US. Yeah, we have a lousy history, but we’re certainly not the only majority white country guilty of opressing minorities (see, e.g. Australian aboriginal people, native Canadians, the Romany people, etc). The difference is that we air our dirty laundry openly, IMHO.

  202. 202 Prince Pieray - Lagos
    May 1, 2008 at 18:20

    “He has shown such mettle under fire.The Jeremiah Wright controversy just reconfirmed for me, just as the gas tax controversy confirmed for me, that he is the right candidate for our party.” Joe Andrew, who switched his allegiance to Barack Obama speaking about his presidential .

    If the BBC or any one at the BBC wants to frustrate Obama’s call by destiny and assignment to the USA and the entire world, there will be great a disappointment, weeping and gnashing of the teeth to be suffered.

  203. 203 Telesphory Kitimo
    May 1, 2008 at 18:27

    No. In this time and age it would be backward for Obama to blame his skin colour for any deficiencies he may have. On the same note, his being black is a great test for the American people to show that they are socially civilised. If they are seen to be racist then many of their campaims abroad will be negatively affected. Otherwise its not only America that needs change but the whole world needs a fresh way of dealing with both internal and international challenges. Obama represents this “new world order”

  204. 204 steve
    May 1, 2008 at 18:47

    My lord! America is NOT racist if Obama doesn’t win! We have also never had a woman president, a Jewish president, a muslim president, an Asian president, a Native American president, an athiest president, etc..

    Again, has France had a black President? Has Britain/canada/ANZ ever had black prime ministers or aboriginal PMs? Come on, please people, let’s stop singling out the US.

  205. 205 Neisha
    May 1, 2008 at 22:02

    Steve, I think it’s our sorry history and current foreign policy that gets us this bashing. But, again, a great many nations have been guilty of some form of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and/or oppression of their own ethnic minorities. Like you said, it’s not unique to the US.

    Now, my anscestors are from India and if I have to choose a majority white country in which it’s best to look like me, I’m going with the US over Britain, France or anyplace else in the EU. Same with Canada and Australia. Not sure re NZ. I have relatives all over the world and my experience is that there’s more integration and frank and open discussion of these issues here than in those other places. And Barack Obama himself says that his story (Kansas mom, Kenyan dad, raised in multi-culti Hawaii and educated at Harvard) could only happen in America. (Wow, didn’t realize I was patriotic until I read all the bashing.)

  206. May 2, 2008 at 01:45

    America still has enough prejudice to stop Obama winning and talk radio can drum up enough middle American voters who still use the N word and especially the older men. Hannity has it that anyone who has ever listened to Rev Wright could never be electable. How dare they be discontented with their treatment over the years. How dare they be upset at having separate water fountains just a few years ago as if they had the plague. If Rosa Parks was running for office and said she only just was becoming proud of America that also would be a good excuse not to vote for her. How dare she not absolutely love the fact that she was required to give her seat up on the bus and how could she dare to say she was ashamed to be American and yet want to be a representative of her people. Does she have to wait until you wonderful majority with such views are very much in the minority to get a result and how much resentment will that cause? for sure there will be a black majority one day and I hope that enough water has passed under the bridge for those who have suffered to forgive and forget. What goes around comes around right? Think hard on that America.

  207. May 2, 2008 at 05:35

    To some extent his skin colour his muslim name too, does effect his chances of winning, combined with his preachers comments may well cause him to loose.
    If these negatives were not there, in my opinion he would be the next President.
    I think its a bit too late in that his preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright who has made outragious remarks has become famous with his TV appearances at the expense of Mr. Obama`s chances of winning. Further its a bit too late to distance himself from Rev. Wright whom Mr. Obama praised in the beginning of the election process.
    As of today it it is my opinion should Mrs Clinton loose to Mr. Obama, in which case most of the votes she received ie: from white Americans they will in turn vote for the republican candidate Mr. McCain. Should Mrs Clinton win from Mr. Obama which is unlikely, she may well be the next President of the United States.

  208. May 2, 2008 at 10:32

    Neisha
    It would depend where in the US and where in the UK. At least in the UK it would be merely verbal. They did not assassinate any leaders to my recollection and there have not been any segregation issues for a century or so. Get real people. No one strings nooses in trees in the UK either?

  209. 209 jade
    May 2, 2008 at 15:20

    I am curious about my public image.

    when someone looks at me for the first time, do they see in this order: color, gender, ethnic group (country of origin), attire, social role, body language, verbal language & tone of voice, personality, thoughts & vision, character & ideology?

  210. 210 steve
    May 2, 2008 at 16:01

    @ Patrick Lockyer

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/15/newsid_3043000/3043439.stm

    You are very wrong. Google “colour bar” and UK and you will see that racism wasn’t limited to the US. It’s time to stop singling out the US when every nation has this problem.

    Why hasn’t Germany had a Turkish Chancellor? Oh right, only Americans are racists, so we should single them out.

  211. 211 Jens
    May 2, 2008 at 20:03

    what is missing in this discussion, is the simple acknowledment that Obama is a highly intelligent person, who has the charisma of bringing a divided nation back together. simply the fact that a black person stands a relativly good chance of winning shows that america is on the right path.

    The bar is equally as high for him as for anyone else, since he has to jump the hurrle called american electorate.

  212. 212 VictorK
    May 3, 2008 at 11:37

    @ Jens: an interesting article on why Obama is damaged goods:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/05/the_race_speech_revisited.html

  213. 213 Dennis
    May 12, 2008 at 07:09

    Barrack Obama skin colour is partially harming his presidential
    campaign…..

    Dennis~Madrid, United States of America


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