04
Jun
08

On air: Is this the biggest moment in modern black history?

Hi there. Hillary Clinton may not have acknowledged defeat yet, but the rest of the world is talking about Barack Obama’s victory in the fight to be the Democratic nominee. Its significance in the context of who’ll be the next President of America is obvious, but what about in the context of the history of African Americans and of black people the world over?

Is Barack Obama’s victory of significance just to America or to black people all over the world?

What will be the long-term impact of him becoming the nominee? Or will it cease to see so significant if he doesn’t beat John McCain?

What about the Presidency of Nelson Mandela, the end of colonialism in Africa, the promotion of black land and business ownership by Robert Mugabe, Trinidad and Tobago’s shift away from tourism and towards industry in the 60s, Kofi Annan’s successful intervention in Kenya’s political crisis this year? Should all or any of these be seen as just as important to the cause of black people?

Or is the mistake here to think that we can talk about ‘black people’? Are African Americans as removed from or as close to the experience of a black person in Nigeria, Tanzania, Barbados or France, as all Americans are?

THIS PAGE LISTS KEY MOMENT OF BLACK HISTORY
Until yesterday the last listing on it was ‘1968 – Martin Luther King assassinated’. Not any more.

IS IT WRONG TO SUPPORT OBAMA BECAUSE HE’S BLACK?
No, says this blogger. But it’s not the only reason.

HUFFINGTON POST
Eric Copage writes, ‘African-Americans should be careful of what they wish for. They just might get it.’

IS HE BLACK?
No, he’s half black says this commentator. Does that matter?


225 Responses to “On air: Is this the biggest moment in modern black history?”


  1. 1 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 14:33

    “IS IT WRONG TO SUPPORT OBAMA BECAUSE HE’S BLACK?”

    Yes, incredibly so. Choosing a President based on race whatsoever is a huge disservice to the country. The person’s views on issues are the ONLY thing that should matter. It is kind of crazy that it is ok to vote for him because he is black but not ok to do the same for white people – when both are very very wrong.

    From the Blog: “I’m tired of people calling me a racist. Of people likening me to voters in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio who voted against Barack Obama just because he’s black.”

    They said on exit polls – as far as I can remember – that race influenced their vote. This bloggers position is identical so the comparison is the same. Race should never enter into a Presidential contest in any way shape or form, just ideas/positions on the issues. These people will be running a country, I mean come on.

    “What will be the long-term impact of him becoming the nominee?”

    I think he has shown it is possible, which matter a lot. I feel that most black people – and probably a lot of white people – never thought this was possible. Hopefully it encourages those who wouldn’t before to now jump into politics. I also think it does not matter whether he wins the election, his legacy will last.

  2. 2 Abdi in Mandera Kenya
    June 4, 2008 at 14:42

    If barrack Obama becomes the most powerful man on this planet it will not be good for the continent of Africa but for the entire world especially the people of America because they will have demonstrated and made it clear to the world that it’s good never to charge someone by the colour of his skin but charge him by the character under his Skin.It will also put aside any racial discriminations that might be suspected from the Americans.

  3. 3 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 14:42

    It’s positive significance:
    + Collective racism by whites is statistically over in the USA.

    It’s negative significance:
    + The first time race was ever the prevailing factor in a candidates win.
    + Most American minorities have been statistically proven to be the largest group of racists in the country.
    + The nomination is illegitimate because two states had illegitimate primaries. History will remember that this win was unjust and lessen any racial significance it might have had.
    + Not wining the nomination fairly, will disenfranchise many and perhaps cause Mr. Obama to lose the general election.

  4. 4 Marsha
    June 4, 2008 at 14:42

    I am with Tino … if all we focus on is his race then he won for the wrong reasons and in my opinion this will come to no good. B. Obama is an exceptionally well qualified PERSON and we should focus on the skills he brings to the table, those he may still need and the issues that most certainly will need and immediate address. What difference should his race make to any of those things if we are all not being racist. Let it go folks! and lets get on with the work at hand.

  5. 5 Lauren in Portland
    June 4, 2008 at 14:50

    Of course this is a huge and wonderful moment in black history. But I believe more importantly that this is a revolutionary moment for the United States. Not only has Obama secured the nomination, he has also encouraged hope and inspiration for the younger generation of voters. I myself am 25 years old, and for the first time I am completely excited and fully supportive of this Presidential nominee.

  6. 6 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 14:50

    It’s positive significance:
    + Collective racism by whites is statistically over in the USA.

    It’s negative significance:
    + The first time race was ever the prevailing factor in a candidates win.
    + Most American minorities have been statistically proven to be the largest group of racists in the country.
    + The nomination is illegitimate because two states had illegitimate primaries. History will remember that this win was unjust and lessen any racial significance it might have had.
    + Not winning the nomination fairly, will disenfranchise many and perhaps cause Mr. Obama to lose the general election.

  7. 7 Kelvin
    June 4, 2008 at 14:54

    Dear BBC,

    I am an economist Zambian citizen aged 29 and really Obama is my inspiration and l earnestly wish him all the best and land slid victory both at the party level and ultimate national elections level. Obama is destined for a big bang victory and prove to the Republicans that a better and effective manager was on leave but now he has snce assumed his position and role that he does better, this is our “Obama Barrack.”

    As for Hillary Clinton it is never too late to accept defeat to man of Obama’s reputation and abilities and detour from supporting an indirect third term agenda being spearheaded by her husband Bill Clinton. The world currently needs a president who will offer feasible and effective solutions to pressing problems such as the HIV/AIDS, FOOD CRISIS, POVERTY, quench the war thirsty of the Bush and Company/ Administration inter alia. Africa too needs a US president who will respect and give them a listening ear of which am optimistic that Obama will offer with much easy.

    As for John Mclain he appears to becoming with deflated plans and offers no positive future for both the American people and the world at large. Voting for Mclain would transate in a continuation of Bush war formula ignition without successes.

    Regards,

    Kamayoyo Kelvin
    Lusaka – Zambia

  8. June 4, 2008 at 14:57

    It’s almost a year now since Barack Obama captured the attention of the world and just the Americans’ attention because of his colour and age. Through him issues of race and colour were extensively raised either to show the era of favouring just white candidate, preferably of Anglo-Saxon decent is over.

    If Obama is confirmed as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, the presidential campaign will be one of the most exciting in the US history. Those fearful of black leadership have just to count successful black American politicians. The most notable are Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, although the first will remain associated with the now unpopular president Bush.

    But surely Obama won’t be naïve to present himself as the first black as this will deter potential non-black voters for him. He got the support of the Americans of different races because of his ideas speaking about change. If he becomes president he will have to be the president of all the Americans. If he concentrates just on the issues of black people, he will trigger just racial confrontations in the USA.

    It will also be unthinkable that the cabinet will largely be made of black members and he will give a minor role to white people to realize the black revolution his predecessors, like Martin Luther King dreamt of.

    The White House can have a black president. But it’s unlikely that it will change its policies concerning major international issues. Obama will inherit issues like Iran nuclear programme, Russia’s new military policies, the Middle-East etc.

    Obama still needs three stages to count on the world stage:
    a) to defeat Hillary Clinton,
    b) to defeat John McCain
    c) to be confirmed as president.
    While none of these points haven’t been confirmed yet, Obama will continue to be the centre of the campaign and he will be remembered as the first black candidate to have mounted a real challenge to the “white supremacy” running through centuries.

  9. 9 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 15:04

    I still find it ironic, that people from outside the US, and some within say that the US is a racist country because there’s never been a black President. I ask our Canadian, British, Australian and New Zealand cousins, have you ever had a black Prime Minister? Are your countries racist if the answer is no?

  10. 10 Will Rhodes
    June 4, 2008 at 15:06

    If you want to put it as a ‘black’ moment, Ros, then so be it – but his nomination is history – real history as much as the day that Nelson Mandela walked the last mile.

    It will reverberate around the world – and so many nations will heave a sigh of relief.

    I don’t know if you watched his speech last night, but he said many things and gave many accolades to those who were against him – but what he didn’t do was prominent to me – he didn’t come out and say this is a black moment, he said it was an American moment, a time that America can mature and I am with him on that.

    All those Americans that can support him should, those Americans that don’t see how pivotal this is in the world have, in my view, the typical, skewed view of the world without the boarders of the USA.

  11. 11 Jason in America
    June 4, 2008 at 15:07

    I’ve heard two really good arguments that this is not really that significant. One is that he is half white so he’s not really the first black president. The second is that he’s not really a traditional “African American” because he is not decended from slave owners.

    I see this as overhyped. Barack is a good speaker and deserves respect but he is not some huge historical figure in my eyes. When we have a black man rise up from the ghetto to win a nomination, maybe then I will be impressed. Barack is just another democrat.

  12. June 4, 2008 at 15:09

    I was honored and fortunate to attend Obama’s victory speech last night. As an African man living in the United States I can’t express the significance of the history that I witnessed last night. What Obama has done for young black men globally is pull us out of a hole that we have been in for a long time.

    I work for the Minneapolis Startribune and on my way to work I was greeted by two older white men for the first time even though I see them every day on the way to work. It was as if educated black men were all of a sudden being recognized for the first time. I can only hope that some of the troubled black youth in the US, the UK and all over the world can take Obama as an example of what is possible.

  13. June 4, 2008 at 15:12

    The win by Obama is not the greatest moment for Africa. It is only the actualisation of the Martin Luther Jnr’s Dream for America. For me, an African, a Nigerian, it is only a sign of hope for the greatest century for Africans; the sign of the beginning of the Age of Africans.

    Prince Pieray Odor
    Lagos, Nigeria

  14. 14 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 15:13

    The reason Kerry didn’t win was because he was too far left. It will be the same reason this time, though people will say it’s about race. If he were more centrist, he would win, hands down. The democrats keep on nominating unelectable candidates. An extreme leftist isn’t going to win the “red states”. you need the “red states” to win the presidency.

  15. 15 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 15:16

    What steve said. Obama’s positions are way beyond mine, and I am an independent. I can only imagine what Republicans think…

  16. 16 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 15:17

    @ Tino

    You could have elected a Parrot over George Bush in 2004, but they had to run a far leftist, ruining everything, by nominating Kerry. They never learn. They really should create a third party so centrists on both parties can separate from the far left and far right loons.

  17. June 4, 2008 at 15:27

    Finally finally, Our tme has come, if we conquer america th world is ours. Obama go there and show the recists that blacks have the power to achieve mentally not only physically.

  18. 18 VictorK
    June 4, 2008 at 15:29

    Jason got it right: Obama isn’t really an African-American as that term has been usually understood, and he’s as much white as he is black. Even if he were an African-American it is delusional to think that that in itself gives any meaningful connection to Africa and Africans. culturally African-Americans are 100% American, and even genetically I understand that only 25% of African-Americans are of pure African ancestry, while 50% have as many white ancestors or more than they have African ones.

    There is no such thing as ‘black history’ – only the histories of specific nations and peoples. If we stretch the meaning of ‘African-American’ than yes, this is a significant event in African-American history, as it is in American history. Of course, America is one of the few countries on the planet in which a member of a minority group could realistically aspire to the highest political office, or even to the by no means negligible position of Senator. With a few exceptions Latin America is run by a white elite even when there are black and brown majorities; outside of the Anglophone countries no Western nation is going to see a person of colour as its most powerful elected official; Africa is cursed with some of the most vicious (ethnic) racism, and in just about every African state belonging to the wrong ethnicity means saying goodbye to ever becoming Prime Minister or President; Asia is no better (what are the odds of a Tibetan becoming head of the Chinese Communist Party, or an ethnic Korean becoming Japan’s Prime Minister?); there are all sorts of minorities in various parts of the Arab world – and they all know their place and keep to it; and Eastern Europeans would sooner kill a member of a minority group than see them in a position of supreme political power.

    There’s something painfully ironic in the fact that many people who will be praising Obama’s progress as a triumph against ‘white racist America’ will be blogging from parts of the world where to be a minority means not even being able to dream of achieving the things that Obama has and aspires to.

    To coin a phrase, ‘God bless America’

  19. 19 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 15:31

    @ BYARUHANGA NICHOLAS

    Conquer America? The world is yours? Sounds a lot like, “heute Europa, Morgen, die Welt” (today europe, tomorrow the world). Is that not racist if you’re saying the world is “ours” (blacks)???

  20. 20 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 15:31

    “They really should create a third party so centrists on both parties can separate from the far left and far right loons.”

    I really really wish this would happen, I feel party politics holds us back so much – I forget the stat and had trouble finding it but I think its something like 30% of either party votes that party no matter who is the candidate, which is horrible. Fully agree with democrats not learning. This was an even easier opportunity to win than 04. If they had chosen someone roughly centrist they would have likely gotten my vote.

    I hate our drug policy, back abortion, hate religion coming into politics, support stem cell research, but I cannot stand the idea of Obama’s foreign policy stance and the democrat ideas to socialize this country.

  21. June 4, 2008 at 15:33

    @ Steve don’t listen to BYARUHANGA NICHOLAS, doesn’t have a clue?

  22. 22 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 15:40

    Perhaps, BYARUHANGA NICHOLAS did not mean conquer in the literal sense but symbolic.

  23. 23 Brett
    June 4, 2008 at 15:43

    It is a big moment, that’s for sure.
    I couldn’t help but laugh when before the primaries, there was coverage and debates about how he ‘may not be black enough’.

  24. June 4, 2008 at 15:44

    Hi Precious Ros and WELCOME BACK from France my good friend ! :-)… A small thought on this topic : If Mr Obama didn’t win the presidency in November, will I have then the right to say that America is a racist nation ?! Well, no ! I’ll just say then that the influence of the neo-conservatives in America is growing bigger and bigger and that the influence of liberals in America is becoming far less significant than it used to be before… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  25. 25 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 15:48

    @ Lubna

    If given the choice of someone on the center or someone on the far left, I’ll pick someone on the center. According to Obama, I’m rich… And he wants to raise my taxes not taking into account how much my education costs me per month.

  26. 26 Muthee
    June 4, 2008 at 15:50

    Hello Ros,
    I say this with a very heavy heart because it is the truth. First of all i want to agree that that this is the the greatest moment in modern black history on the face of it. But the significance is only sentimental because whether the president is black or white does not matter because i believe American big business runs the world and not the president, and therefore American policies(which unfortunately are not widely celebrated around the world) towards anything leave alone Africa are not bound to change much.
    Having said that, it is important to note that Sen. Obama has succeeded where Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson failed and is therefore is no mean achievement.
    But i view colored people in America as rapidly changing and vaguely connect with Africa unlike the days when Malcolm X would explain the politics of the Congo or Martin Luther King Jr would Indian politics. Like the rest of America, Blacks are ignorant of anything else outside of their borders unless it has to with some bearded and turbaned fellow in the Torah Borah mountain ranges of Afghanistan.
    Congrats to Obama though.
    Nairobi.

  27. 27 Shayhar
    June 4, 2008 at 15:56

    @ BYARUHANGA NICHOLAS creepy Dr. Evil rhetoric.

    Congratulations to Obama who is as American as apple pie and should remain representative only to the United States. It is unrealistic to categorize someone into a particular race based on ancestry of centuries ago, especially at a time when people are becoming so homogenized. Obama laid his hat in America and that’s where his home is, but if a black child somewhere in Africa aspires to emulate him in virtue and eloquence, I believe he has accomplished much more without a need to point out his ethnicity. There are things more important than the colour of one’s skin.

  28. 28 Mohammed Ali
    June 4, 2008 at 16:01

    Should we restrict it to the blacks? I say no. It is a big moment and certainly one of the biggest day in the history of the entire United States and for all colors. It shows that the Americans are doing away with the issue of racism and are focusing on the qualities, leadership abilities, and how competent the person is to lead their country.
    This is indeed a changing moment in the history of the country that is referred to as the melting pot os society. And truly to this name it has stand up. Bravo Obama.

  29. 29 Nick in USA
    June 4, 2008 at 16:03

    I agree 100% with Tino on this one. Anyone who would let race affect their vote is not a responsible voter.

    Obama’s victory would be a symbolic step forward, but there are far more pressing issues than that when the country is at war. The issues come first. This is not to say that I think he is a bad choice. I think he’s ok, and will probably end up voting for him in the general election, but I think the democrats passed on some better candidates for the sake of having a black man or a woman on the card.

  30. 30 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 16:04

    I’m just curious, someone brought up Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Won’t they be out of a job if Obama wins?

  31. 31 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 16:09

    @ Nick

    You’d be shocked at all the stupid things that influence people’s votes. I’d honestly would rather people be racist than vote for someone because he is “cute”. I cannot tell you how many people I have heard say they were voting based upon the candidate’s physical appearance. sometimes I think voting should be a privilege, and not a right.

  32. 32 Nick in USA
    June 4, 2008 at 16:12

    “They really should create a third party so centrists on both parties can separate from the far left and far right loons.”

    The day this happens, I’m going to run naked through the streets. We absolutely need run-off voting to give new parties a chance. The two party system makes it impossible to get decent candidates. This is why we never get decent voter turnouts. Nobody identifies with these two parties, so we are always stuck choosing between the lesser of two evils.

  33. 33 Mohammed Ali
    June 4, 2008 at 16:12

    @ Nicholas, this not about blacks conquering the America and the rest of the world. It is about people who think freely and want the world to change for the best not for only blacks or whites.
    Also let us try to stop using those kinds of NAZI style statement on this forum.

  34. June 4, 2008 at 16:13

    The question, “Is it wrong to support Obama because he is black?” assumes that there is a thought invoked choice. Here is something that might make Steve beam as I am about to agree with him. Every politician is narcissistic. But hold on, I will go further and say that every human is narcissistic. Even more so, every living thing on this planet is narcissistic. We all have “Self admiration and love of ourselves.” That is how the “system” works. Every living thing believes it’s genes should be, deserves to be, passed on to the next generation.

    What does that have to do with voting, Black or female candidates, and profound nominees? The reason why we have always seen old, white, Christian, military, men in the office of the presidency is because most of the people who vote are nearly identical demographics. We want to vote ourselves or somebody who looks like us into a position of power. Here on a blog, some of us might even have spent more time looking up the biography, voting record, and policies of the candidates then we did looking p the same info on the next American Idol. But go find somebody who is an average voter. Ask them, “who they are voting for? Then ask them why? After they spit out the same regurgitated negative marketing topic of the day. Ask them if they can name just one policy their candidate supports and how they plan to get it through the legislation, implement, and then pay for it. Every time that is answered by a blank stare and usually a subject change.

    What makes Barrack Obama’s presidency unique is that this will be the first time that so many demographic differences were transgressed to elect him. It won’t be because people did their research, that is asking too much. It will be because the environment is ripe for enough people who are members of the normal voting demographics are tired of seeing the same results. So they will vote against their instincts. This is the same environment that will get people who starred in the movie “Predator” elected.

  35. June 4, 2008 at 16:16

    This is hugely significant for America but I am not sure yet whether it will lead to election or survival. Both things are contentious. Middle America IS still in the dark ages on many things. As a Brit here for nearly eight years I have met some wonderful people who admit that their grandfathers would hate me. (I am white and an activist). They also admit that the N word was prevalent and acceptable in all locations. It has taken a long time for American to shed its prejudice and to see the black man as something other than ‘slave stock’. Something on a par with how we Brits often jokingly refer to Aussie’s as ‘criminal stock’. No joking from grandpa however. Thank heaven they have passed mostly and are less of an influence. Of course Hannity can still stir a few of them to ‘rise up’ against Michelle Obama having the cheek not to be proud of bigoted USA. Rosa Parks also might have had trouble being a real leader for presumably NOT being proud. Must be the simple mans equivalent of ‘for us or against us’. Ring a bell? What out for the ‘nutters’ with guns and empty heads is my worry.

  36. 36 Mohammed Ali
    June 4, 2008 at 16:16

    @Steve, do you really think an Obama’s victory in the presidential race come November will get you out of job or make you spend more on taxes?

  37. June 4, 2008 at 16:17

    Oh yah, the ticket shoud be Obama/ Paul. Talk about passing on better candidates.

  38. 38 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 16:19

    @Patrick

    Hate to break it to you, bu tyou don’t have to be white to be racist. There are plenty of black racists. I cannot tell you how many times I hear “cracker” being shouted at whites here in DC. Also, given 90% of blacks are voting for Obama, is that not racist? It’s okay for blacks to vote for Obama because he’s black but not okay for whites to vote for Hillary because she’s white?

    nutters with guns? Sorry, but it’s my right, if you don’t like that, then leave.

  39. 39 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 16:22

    @ Mohammed Ali

    Yes, my tax burden would be affected when the tax rates return to the pre reduction level in 2010. I will pay more in taxes. Believe me, I’m not rich. I rent a modest apartment, drive a used econo box car, but owe $145,000 in student loans, to educate myself. Interesting how I could not even have gone to college, and make half of what I make and be financially better off. Is that an incentive to go to school?

  40. 40 Justin in Iowa
    June 4, 2008 at 16:23

    Many people have thought that throughout history. (voting as privilege rather than right). I’ve always seen it as a right when it is valued and used with thoughtfulness… when it is frittered away I’ve fallen back on Heinlein’s method from his book “starship troopers”.

    Irregardless, I don’t care what your skin color is. Are you honest, does your policy make sense, and will you do the office justice? Those are my criteria for electibility.

    Honestly, I think both Obama and McCain, though from very different perspectives, will honestly be good presidents if elected. My vote is for Obama, but I don’t see myself as dissatisfied with either.

    Side note to scotts positive/negative list. Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan. Both of those states sealed their “fates” so to speak when their leaders decided to screw with the system. Their voters chose their leadership, and that leadership made that mistake. If they don’t like the result, vote in leaders who aren’t idiots next time.

  41. 41 Lamii in Liberia
    June 4, 2008 at 16:24

    Hi Ros,

    Obama’s candidacy is quite significant for American blacks, but I think it presents very little for us black people across the world. In as much as it may now signal the real end of racial politics in America, it means very little to me as an African from Liberia. And less we lose sight, Obama is not a 100% black person. He’s technically 50% white. That is probably why a lot of whites seem comfortable with him. It is my view that it is technically wrong to equate milestone events in African politics to this situation in American politics.

    I’ve just been watching Obama on CNN speaking to Jewish lobby groups in the US. The fellow, from what he’s saying, comes across to me as someone who’s only speaking to the galley and not fully cognizant of the implications of what he’s saying.

    I would have really loved to have taken part in the show, but I’m currently in the Swedish city of Göteborg where I am attending the World Association of Newspapers 61st Congress and the 15th World Editors Forum.

    Lamii Kpargoi

  42. 42 Mohammed Ali
    June 4, 2008 at 16:27

    @ Dwight, but I think people are now begining to know that race or belonging to the same demographic location is not helping their cause and for this reason are now voting for what the person can produce regardless of the color or geographical setting.

  43. June 4, 2008 at 16:32

    Personally I don’t care who wins. Whatever the results, Morocco and the USA will geographically remain the Atlantic Ocean apart. It will take just time to get visually accustomed to the new president.

    Policies between the two countries usually take care of themselves because of historical relationships dating to the 18th century. The governments of the two countries are close allies. Morocco has been given the status of non-NATO ally by Washington, which has praised its support for the US-led war on terror. At the public level the USA administration is always seen with suspicion.

    The fact that Obama has pledged support for Israel: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7435883.stm will make him look no different from whomever president will get to the White house. He can make a difference at home. But inherited foreign policies will make it hard for him change things overnight, especially policies which are the core of any decision-making like those towards Cuba, Iran and the Middle-East. But he still has Africa, a metaphorically virgin land, as anti-Americanism isn’t very widespread and people there can easily adapt to Afro-American cooperation. The hard job is in the Muslim World where religion and politics strangely mingle.

  44. 44 Mohammed Ali
    June 4, 2008 at 16:33

    @ Steve, then vote against Obama and campaign against also. Politics after all is about personal interest first then national interest second.

  45. 45 John D. Augustine - MKE
    June 4, 2008 at 16:35

    No, that would be the day they killed Martin.

    Or the day one city managed to keep the peace by keeping faith in the strength of his words, while cities everywhere else burned in anger over the senselessness of that day before.

  46. 46 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 16:39

    “He’s technically 50% white. That is probably why a lot of whites seem comfortable with him. It is my view that it is technically wrong to equate milestone events in African politics to this situation in American politics.”

    That is ridiculous. If you are a racist, as you seem to be suggesting most white people are, would it really matter whether he is 50% black or 100% black. As steve said, white people are not the only ones with a capacity for racism. I too hear cracker quite frequently – I just do not care. Drop the N-bomb however and society will quickly ostracize you (whites and blacks both, or anyone else for that matter). Everyone thinks of Obama as black anyway, has anyone ever called him white?

    “Of course Hannity can still stir a few of them to ‘rise up’ against Michelle Obama having the cheek not to be proud of bigoted USA.”

    Her statement was completely out of line, coming from someone who went to two of the best schools in this country and made a successful professional career for herself. Not proud of a country that offers those opportunities to black women, please….

    It is one thing to acknowledge our problems in the past and another to claim the country has never done anything to be proud of in 40 years – not even landing on the moon?!?! She got completely deserved criticism.

  47. June 4, 2008 at 16:45

    There is a big difference between ‘verbage’ and action. ‘Sticks and stones’ and all that. In London Muslims might vent savagely and make hateful signs against Danish cartoons but keeping it all in and getting plane crashing lessons is the alternative scenario? The American history on assassination just is horrifying.
    Never mind, you just keep on justifying weaponry..

  48. June 4, 2008 at 16:47

    It is the most defining moment in African American and African History. My best wishes for Barack Obama.

  49. 49 Brett
    June 4, 2008 at 16:56

    So if he’s 50% black, and 50% white, why is he referred to as black? Can’t he just as easily be referred to as white?

  50. 50 Julie P
    June 4, 2008 at 16:57

    Last summer I went to see Barack Obama give a speech at a stadium at a university in Atlanta. At the time, I knew he was popular, but I learned that as I drove to the rally he was more than just popular. Barack Obama has an “it” factor that I have not seen for any candidate in my life time, which, as a voting adult, dates back to the 1980 election. I could not get within two miles of the university. The streets, sidewalks, and public transportation were filled with Obama supporters. This is it, I thought, this the moment in history where something of major importance is taking place. This is it, this is when we will see a black person as President of the United States of American. I am alive to see it and I am proud. This a moment in world history that all Americans can be proud of.

  51. 51 Stephen Johnson
    June 4, 2008 at 16:57

    I believe quite frankly that this is a major leap for the African American commmunity in the US. It brings into fruition some of the wishes of Dr. king who over the years struggled to see a society in which everyone can make the maximun use out of the God given potential. This also set into motion the process whereby African-Americans can now see themselves as an integral part in the body politics of the US.

  52. 52 BB NYC
    June 4, 2008 at 16:58

    I wouldn’t get too carried away with sweeping statements about black history and turningpoints.
    Barack Obama is a Harvard Graduate. He is part of a certain ‘class’ that has had power in this country for a long time. We really have to figure out exaclty on what basis he made this.
    The real story about Black people and Black men is in the prosecution courts and penal system in Texas! And many other places. It will take several years for a first “black” president to dismantle that and move political will and indifference. Also, bear in mind, the White people in the middle of the coutnry, largely not participating in coastal prosperity are not behind Barack Obama.
    The on camera interviews with them leave something to be desired as far as commitment to ‘equality’ and breaking down White atavisms.
    A lot has to happen with the vested interests in Washington to change anything about White power and inequality in many places in American life.
    I do agree so far that the GenY and Millennnials are different in their attitudes and they will be a lot more prosperous in life than these White people stuck on the past.

  53. June 4, 2008 at 16:59

    “Her statement was completely out of line, coming from someone who went to two of the best schools in this country and made a successful professional career for herself. Not proud of a country that offers those opportunities to black women, please….

    It is one thing to acknowledge our problems in the past and another to claim the country has never done anything to be proud of in 40 years – not even landing on the moon?!?! She got completely deserved criticism”

    Of course she is justified. Who cares about the moon when your people are told to bathe on a different beach and drink from a differerent fountain. Some people are still ‘on the moon’.

    I am white and care what happens to Muslims in ‘Rendition’. What does it matter about her education or my education to be upset at your country? I was upset at Blair. Get Real.

  54. 54 Mohammed Ali
    June 4, 2008 at 17:00

    @Lamii, let me slightly disagree with my brother and personal friend from Liberia. Obama can even be 75% white it still doesn’t make him to be white. I agree Steve that even blacks are now racist bot only in America but also in Africa, especially here in Liberia where our constitution forbids whites from obtaining citizenship. The American people have to be congratulated for passing the trthreshold of racism. Lamii ket’s also agree that it a changing day for every race both in America and outside or else we would not have been discussing it.

  55. 55 Shirley
    June 4, 2008 at 17:02

    Chidi remarked, “I work for the Minneapolis Startribune and on my way to work I was greeted by two older white men for the first time even though I see them every day on the way to work.”

    That really hurts. It seems that we still have a long way to go.

    Steve, I honestly think that while Obama started off on the left, he has moved towards the centre and will probably stay there for the rest of his political career. I don’t think that an ACLU rating defines how liberal a person is. When Congres was counting delegates from the 2004 election, Obama was not among those who stood up against the count to support the points raised by leaders such as Barbara Boxer and others. He isn’t liberal any longer, just safe. That is the same as centre to me.

  56. 56 Atsu
    June 4, 2008 at 17:04

    Hi Ros,
    nice to know you are back.
    This is a big moment in Black History, but i am not quite sure it has been or will be the biggest moment in modern black history.
    As you listed, there has been some great moments in the past.
    What makes this moment great is that, it will liberate those uncle tom Africans who believe that they are inferior and can not achieve what whites achieve. However, at the end of the day, Obama is an American ( of african descent of course!), just like we have americans of european descent, and americans of other descent.
    The biggest moment in modern black history will come when Africans start uniting and developing into a United States of Africa. By the grace of God, this will happen in my generation and i hope to be one of those who will lead it.

    Atsu
    Accra, Ghana.

  57. 57 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 17:07

    @ Patrick Loyer

    “Of course she is justified. Who cares about the moon when your people are told to bathe on a different beach and drink from a differerent fountain. Some people are still ‘on the moon’.”

    So some poster said that I believe in Liberia, whites cannot become citizens. Nobody should be proud of liberia? In Jordan, Jews cannot be citizens or own property. No Jordanian can be proud of Jordan? Oh wait, I forgot, we have to single out the USA for bashing……

  58. 58 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 17:07

    @ Justin,

    + I can’t believe you advocate that leaders have the “right” to hijack the “rights” of voters, and this is fine. That the principles of democracy, don’t override this for you is absurd! If you do actually believe what you have said, why would you mention that Mr. Obama’s name wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan?

  59. 59 Katharina in Ghent
    June 4, 2008 at 17:08

    It may be significant for American history, but for Black history there are plenty more examples that are more important, like the end of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela becoming president. Also, since Obama was raised in a white family, I can only wonder whether he feels as black as a “ghetto-kid”. I once read the book “The Color of Water” by James McBride (“A Black man’s tribute to his white mother”), where the author describes how he and his siblings went only to “white” schools” (because of their mother) and basically went on to live “white lifes”. I see a lot of remeblance here.

  60. 60 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 17:08

    @ Shirley, in 2007, Obama was most liberal senator. he is NOT going to win southern states for that reason alone. The democrats have nominated an unelectable person. It won’t be about race, it’s because he’s a liberal. You cannot be a liberal and be the President. It’s just reality.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/news/2008/01/obama_ranked_most_liberal_sena_1.html

  61. 61 Nick in USA
    June 4, 2008 at 17:10

    “Obama’s candidacy is quite significant for American blacks, but I think it presents very little for us black people across the world. In as much as it may now signal the real end of racial politics in America, it means very little to me as an African from Liberia.”

    I have been rolling this over and over in my mind lately. What are the major steps forward that have been taken in racial politics in the last 20 years?

  62. 62 Janet T
    June 4, 2008 at 17:13

    @ JULIE P

    Me too- on all counts- he definitely has an IT factor- his speech events feel more like rock concerts with their energy level than political events- I cannot figure it out, but I like it- I too began voting in 1980 and have not been this excited about a candidate or a presidential contest ever. He comes across as honest and as a gentleman, but tough too, willing to address issues that come up. It is going to be an interesting 5 months!

  63. 63 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 17:13

    @ Shirley, it must have something to do with Israel and the US being allies, and not allying himself with people who shout “death to America”.

  64. 64 Angela in Washington D.C.
    June 4, 2008 at 17:13

    I think this is a historic event but not the biggest moment in modern black history. The strides mad by people over the last couple generations has enabled this event to occur. I think Obama want to focus on the fact that he will make a change in Washington, rather than the impact for blacks.

    However, I think too many people focus on race and how blacks will be affected by a black president. If Obama is elected, he must represent all people and appeal to all people. Some columnist feel that he is not black enough and will not help blacks, but no elected official can appeal to just one demographic.

    I am glad this process is over. I support Obama and I am a black woman but I like what he stands for, “Change.” I am not sure how it will turn, only time will tell.

    @ Stephen Johnson
    Black people in the US have acheived many things. I don’t see how this one event will affect how blacks see themselves as a part of the body of politics. When entering politics, as a black person, you have to think about more than just your race. I think there are still things that need to change but we need to move beyond a “black” or “white” agenda and have an American agenda.

  65. June 4, 2008 at 17:14

    “It won’t be about race, it’s because he’s a liberal. You cannot be a liberal and be the President. It’s just reality.”

    What a terrible, terrible indictment of the Super Power of the World?

    and you wonder why this, once great nation, is in trouble?

  66. 66 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 17:16

    @ Patrick

    I’m curious, if the US is so terrible and racist, why did you choose to move here and live here? If the US is just coming into the 21st century on the treatment of blacks, why did the Uk have color bans on busses as recently as 50 years ago? Why haven’t you had a black Prime Minister?

    There is slavery going on today in Africa and Arabia, yet I don’t see you speakout out against that. I have seen “japanese only” signs in Japan, yet I don’t see you speaking out against that. There’s a lot of racism in the world, outside of the UK, yet you seem to just focus on the US and ignore everything else. Why?

  67. 67 Brett
    June 4, 2008 at 17:17

    Some columnist feel that he is not black enough and will not help blacks, but no elected official can appeal to just one demographic.

    Those hating on Obama for not being black enough are just as bad as those hating on him for not being white enough. The racism is on both sides of the fence with this one. It’s certainly an interesting situation.

  68. 68 Lamii Kpargoi
    June 4, 2008 at 17:20

    @Tino and Mohammed Ali

    My reference to Obama being 50% white was in no way meant in a racist way. I am just trying to get us pointed in the direction of looking at this issues as a black thing, when it is just an issue affecting American people. Do you honestly thing that Obama’s participation in the American on behalf of a major political party in any way would mean that the lives of Africans are going to be improved. Spare me that over simplification.

  69. June 4, 2008 at 17:22

    I do fine here but you still don’t get it. Brits care. They care about others. It must be part of being a war baby. I will fight against injustice and proclaiming that “anyone who might object to the history of the USA on black prejudice can’t possibly be a candidate for election” angers me. I will object on their behalf. Go figure.

  70. 70 Lamii Kpargoi
    June 4, 2008 at 17:22

    @Tino and Mohammed Ali

    My reference to Obama being 50% white was in no way meant in a racist way. I am just trying to get us pointed in the direction of not looking at this issues as a black thing, when it is just an issue affecting American people. Do you honestly think that Obama’s participation in the American election on behalf of a major political party in any way would mean that the lives of Africans are going to be improved or that all black people regardless of where they are from can hold public office in America? Spare me that over simplification.

  71. 71 VictorK
    June 4, 2008 at 17:23

    @Mohammed Ali: that’s another interesting fact I’ve learned from the WHYS community (the racial qualification for Liberian citizenship) that the mainstream media somehow never report. I’ll file it alongside the Bible’s being banned in Morocco. Can’t say I have a problem with it: it probably goes back to the circumstances of Liberia’s founding as a haven for emancipated American slaves (even though Africans were already living in the territory). In any case, every counry should have the right to use whatever crtiteria they want for granting citizenship, including ethnic ones.

    The burden of expectation on Obama is already too great. He can only disappoint if he is elected President. I also worry that because so many people have so much invested in an Obama victory his defeat (which I expect by a landslide) could have damaging consequences for race relations. That could be the significant event in African-American history, since it now appears that Obama can’t lose because he’s inexperienced, has very insubstantical policies, is burdened with an America-hating albatross of a wife that many people won’t want to see as first lady, isn’t as good a candidate as McCain, etc. One word will be used to describe his defeat in November: racism, even if race had little to do with it.

  72. June 4, 2008 at 17:27

    The Brits bus color ban is a ‘crock’. I know Sikhs and Muslims in Peterborough Cambs, who I taught to drive (in the 70’s) and who came to lessons on cycles with no brakes using their shoes to stop themselves and who are now ‘Councillors’. With turbans as well. They do fine and have no such issues.

  73. 74 Anthony
    June 4, 2008 at 17:38

    Well, I didn’t want Obama to win because hes the N-word. Not experienced!!! Where were your racist minds at!!! Even though I wanted Hillary as 1 and Obama as 2, I don’t care if its the other way around. All I care is that our country gets back on track. But I do think that the mojority of blacks ONLY voted for Obama because he was black. You put everything Obama is, and put him in MaCains body, and see how many votes he would have gotten. He would have had as much chance as Nader!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  74. 75 Julie P
    June 4, 2008 at 17:39

    @Janet T,

    Here is what I have concluded about Obama, and the voting American public, which explains his popularity. He talks to us in a language that we not heard in so long, I cannot remember when, but the language addresses one of our core cultural aspects. Obama has romance in his politics, something that we crave and flourish on. We have great American myths in our culture thanks to the Era of Good Feelings that Obama feeds into it perfectly.

  75. June 4, 2008 at 17:41

    There is a lot of difference between an internal union issue and banning blacks on all but one beach in Florida? Also having separate fountains.

  76. 77 ogola Benard
    June 4, 2008 at 17:47

    The word racism seem seems to be ending in this time.
    African American or obama being black is just being
    a human being.
    A leader does’nt have to be white ,red or black but
    what is his capability? are you going to blame his voters or suppoters?
    Its wrong to hide from what you need to learn. alot
    of experiments are known to have worked out as
    successful.
    I presume, he will have advisors in the same the context.

  77. 78 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 17:47

    @ Patrick Lockyer

    I’m just curious, if the US is racist, and the UK is some non racist, perfect society, what were the notting hill gate riots about?

    For as perfect as the UK is, why did they invent the concentration camp during the Boer War? I know I know, I should ignore everything else in the world and focus on the US. i’m trying to learn to become an America basher, but it’s difficult for me. Oh, yeah, that British Raj thing too…. America is just terrible!

  78. June 4, 2008 at 17:48

    American Beach was founded in 1935 by Florida’s first black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, and his Afro-American Life Insurance Company. The plan was for his employees to have a place to buy homes and vacation spots for their families. Throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, summers at American Beach were known for being jammed with families, churches and children. The beach included hotels, restaurants and nightclubs as well as homes and other businesses.

    American Beach played host to numerous celebrities during this period, including: folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, singer Billie Daniels, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Billy Eckstein, Hank Aaron, Joe Louis, and actor Ossie Davis. James Brown was actually turned away from performing outside Evans’ Rendezvous, a nightclub on the beach. In 1964, American Beach was hit hard by Hurricane Dora, and many homes and buildings were destroyed. The passage of the Civil Rights Act that same year desegregated the beaches of Florida, and American Beach became a less and less popular vacation destination as more African American Jacksonvillians turned to locations nearer their homes.

    http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=18495&folder_id=250

  79. 80 Zak
    June 4, 2008 at 17:53

    Obama’s own words sum up his ethnicity best when he says that he has relatives of all ethnicities, from all continents of the world and he will never forget how that affects his decisions as a leader.

    His ethnic background is only that significant for the Presidential bid; multicultural heritage should give him a better perspective than most men have in the Oval Office. However, voting for someone by race is ultimately a selfish act, the same oppression racism forces upon one’s country.

    Here’s a transcript of Obama’s nominee acceptance speech.

  80. 81 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 17:56

    @ Zak

    Kerry lost in 2004 because of the “international test” thing as well as being a liberal. If Obama wants to lose, then he should “look to the world” for their approval, like how insecure people function. Please like me!!!!!

  81. June 4, 2008 at 17:58

    Just in my lifetime?….I am on about Michelle having to be proud?Nothing else?
    1944: Miscegenation [Statute]
    Illegal for whites and Negroes to live in adultery. Penalty: up to $500, or up to two years imprisonment.

    1945: Antidefamation [Statute]
    Unlawful to print, publish, distribute by any means, any publications, handbills, booklets, etc. which tends to expose any individual or any religious group to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or abuse unless the name and address of those doing so is clearly printed on the written material.

    1958: Education [Statute]
    County boards of education may adopt regulation for closing schools during emergencies. Schools to close automatically when federal troops used to prevent violence.

    1958: Public Carrier [Statute]
    Races to be segregated on public carriers.

    1967: Public accommodations [City Ordinance]
    Sarasota passed a city ordinance stating that “Whenever members of two or more…races shall…be upon any public…bathing beach within the corporate limits of the City of Sarasota, it shall be the duty of the Chief of police or other officer…in charge of the public forces of the City…with the assistance of such police forces, to clear the area involved of all members of all races present.”

  82. 83 Nate, Portland OR
    June 4, 2008 at 17:59

    In my mind if he gets elected president it will count as at best the second biggest moment in modern African American history. The biggest, by far in my mind, was the largely peaceful method by which American blacks achieved their civil rights. They had every reason to stage a violent uprising against the gross evils and injustices to which they were subject. Instead Martin Luther King took a page from Ghandi and used righteous non-violence to make enormous leaps towards justic and equality for his people. His refusal to lie down before institutionalized racism combined with appeals to whites of concience and good-will allowed wounds to be healed rather than deepened. As a result the civil rights movement is a source of pride for all Americans rather than a source of strife and further evils in the name of good. I think Obama is great, but he’s no MLK.

    I don’t know enough about modern African history to say how it ranks world-wide, but it’d have to be a few steps further down the list.

  83. 84 Julie P
    June 4, 2008 at 17:59

    @Steve,

    In your reply to Patrick I would like add something. As a regular contributor to HYS for over two years I have seen strong shift in tenor in the way some Brits write about other people who live in their country. Frankly, I am sickened by raging xenophobia, and racism that have come to dominate HYS. I have seen comments that could have been lifted right from the Nazi manifesto. All of the commentators are staunch BNP supporters. The BNP is a recognized political party in the UK, who have seats in government there. I have been to their website and have read their positions. They are fascist. There is not a political party like that in the US. When people talk like the BNP does in the US they are considered part of the lunatic fringe, and are pushed to the margins of society where they belong. The UK is just as, if not more racist than the US.

  84. 85 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 18:00

    @ patrick

    it’s 2008, not 1967. You might want to update your calendar.

  85. June 4, 2008 at 18:04

    And even today? 1967 is that long ago? So long that Michelle Obama has to be proud of her people’s treatment, wear the badge, stand with hand across chest, click heels sharply together will be next?
    http://news.ufl.edu/2004/05/06/neighborhood-desegregation/

    Filed under Research, Politics, Law, Race, Black, Hispanic on Thursday, May 6, 2004.
    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Neighborhood integration is necessary to reduce school segregation but Americans continue to remain separated in their neighborhoods a half century after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, a new nationwide study by the University of Florida finds.

    “There is no reason to think we’re going to see increasing integration in schools unless we see integration where people live,” said Brian Stults, a sociology professor with UF’s Center for Criminology and Law. “Unfortunately, we’re still seeing very high levels of black-white segregation. It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem: We need integration in schools to lessen prejudice, which will then reduce residential segregation, but in order to have school integration, we need residential integration.”

    With segregation, blacks tend to be channeled into worse neighborhoods than whites of similar socioeconomic standing, with higher crime rates, poorer schools and homes of less value, he said.

  86. June 4, 2008 at 18:06

    Hi Ros
    I have been excited by the US presidential race. There is enormous interest in Barack Obama in Iran; but then it emerges his mum is white and father has strong Indonesian traits. Still, sounds very interesting. If only he had Tony Blair and his Inter-Faith Forum on the campaign trail, he would have won the nomination before now; I dunno.
    It seems such a big deal to talk to us or us talk to them. Great things about Iranians, they are colour blind, but they are no fools, when it comes to politics. “You scratch my back, I scratch yours.”
    We have seen the rise and fall of so many US presidents in the last thirty years! Why, our old friend Jimmy Carter is still around. He flushed out the Shah over a glass of good chilled Shiraz Rosé, but anon.

  87. 88 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 18:07

    @ Patrick

    Was michelle Obama even alive in 1967?

    I’m curious, and I don’t want this to go off topic, but what do you think of deliberate self segregation. This is about Canada, so I know it iwll be difficult to america bash, but…

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=272389

  88. 89 viola anderson
    June 4, 2008 at 18:07

    If Mr. Obama should win the election in November, it is right in line with past American history, in that black men won the right to vote in the U.S. before women were accorded that same right, even though the suffragettes were trying hard. It seems the U.S. and indeed the rest of the world will always lag in the perception of women’s abilities compared to men’s.

    The racial issue should be a non-issue. That’s the hope that Mr. Obama inspires in both black, white, and mixed race people.

  89. June 4, 2008 at 18:10

    What has transpired was inevitable. Obama now has to become the President. What he does as President and what he leaves behind as his legacy, will determine modern black history’s biggest moment.

  90. 91 ki
    June 4, 2008 at 18:10

    Hey All,

    Congratulations to Barack and his supporters. I am more encouraged by the young people hoping to be the change we need, than a politician on his way to Power.
    The notion that ‘blacks’ would vote for someone just because he is black, is borderline offensive, and frankly silly. Barack has white supporters, Hilary has African-American supporters. We are neither monolithic, nor stupid.
    Black people have accused him of not being black enough, white people have admitted they wouldn’t vote for him, due to his colour. Clearly, all of us have a ways to go.

    As an outside observer, I agree that Obama has an unproven track record, he WILL be influenced by big business, he WILL NOT heal all wounds. He’s a politician. This euphoria reminds of the early days of Tony Blair’s Premiership, look how that turned out. Politicians are human, and humans fail. Though this is a great day for all people, we really shouldn’t get carried away.

    Big up to Zephaniah!

  91. June 4, 2008 at 18:11

    This has nothing AT ALL to do with BNP. It has to do with whether Michelle Obama has the right to object to the treatment of her people over the years and whether those who say she and her husband would not make good leaders as they might find it hard to profess real pride over that treatment? Who cares whether they also are proud of the USA going to the moon?

  92. 93 mohammed fadhl
    June 4, 2008 at 18:12

    brothers let us speak frank Barak obama will seek after the high goals of AMERICA not behind this discrimination may be it will be a history moment for amrica but nothing will be change except fighting islamic country ??? this is the fact ….

  93. June 4, 2008 at 18:14

    At least, in Africa, there are very few successful black leaders. If not how comes that Africa is the poorest continent in the world despite its vast riches. Africans filled their people with great hopes during colonialism. After independence, Africa became ruled by undemocratic leaders. Africa has leaders it can be proud of like Nelson Mandela. But currently it has Robert Mugabe who is considered as a disgrace to his country and continent.

    Obama, before being black, is American. His environment is different. He has to keep the power of his country, contrary to current African leaders who are desperately trying to empower their continent.

  94. 95 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 18:16

    @ Patrick

    Given some countries in Africa still have slavery today, I would be pretty darn proud of having gone to the moon in a country that USED to have racist policies. Again it’s 2008. not the 1950s. I’m curious why you don’t seem to upset about child soldiers in Africa today, but if you want to focus on the events from 50 years ago here, please, go on.

  95. June 4, 2008 at 18:18

    This is definitely an incredibly great moment in the history of the World.
    This is the first time an African American is going to be the President of a country where the majority is white.

  96. 97 Tom from oregon
    June 4, 2008 at 18:21

    I am a white American with German descent and Senator Obama is black American with African descent. I the U.S. you do not have the right to vote with dual citezenship. I think with by putting the title Russian American or African Aerican or GErman american implies split loyalties. I am an Arm vet and I remember one of the very first things that our Drill SGt. Said to us is tHat we are all American no matter whatour skin color was or how we called God. He said that In the Army there are only americans. I still belive that today. I think by ading those titles such as African American Only seperates us and Takes away from the fact that we are all Americans.

  97. 98 John D. Augustine - MKE
    June 4, 2008 at 18:22

    Regarding the city which kept the faith the night they killed Martin Luther King:

    The city was Indianapolis. The story of that night, as told by Max Kennedy, who was three years old when his father, Bobby, was killed, can be heard at:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91152620

  98. 99 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 18:22

    re: “anger” sometimes is unfounded. I remember on the Harlem show, a female guest said whites in the US were committing “genocide” against blacks in the US…… When your anger isn’t based in reality, then there is a serious problem.

  99. 100 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    June 4, 2008 at 18:24

    My hope is that we all get some prospective! Obama may become the President of the USA not the world! As far as history, it is! The true test will be if he is elected president and how he attends to the needs of the American people first. Which includes his interactions with the world as the President of the USA.

  100. June 4, 2008 at 18:26

    Why should a black kid in segregated modern Gainsville be proud of going to the moon for heavens sake? Sorry but this is about modern America and not about Africa or similar nations.

  101. 102 Serina Tang
    June 4, 2008 at 18:27

    Racial issues aside, I find it hard to believe that the debate here, the States, around the world is about being black. What really does that have to do with his performance. Many black leaders presently should never have been allowed public office, there are good and bad in all colours.

    Surely for the world (as the US considers itself the world government) the most important, critical point to consider is… is he the right person for the position of president, is he competent and honest, is he qualified and experienced. That is surely what we must focus upon. Not if he is black or white.

    I wouldn’t care what colour a potential leader is, whether or not he is corrupt or intelligent or any hundred other relevant points is what matters and should matter.

  102. 103 Mason by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:28

    I think that Senator Obama’s campaign is definitely a critical point in the history of the United States and there by the world…as far as race goes it is big for this country that has patted themselves on the back since the 60’s while the treatment of minorities has largely stagnated and millions suffer from lack of opportunity and inherent racism in the system…finally a country that was founded on the belief that all men are created equal has the opportunity to actually follow that creed…Globally, the issue is less racial than ideological, finally there seems to be a chance that the United States could shift its relations with world from one of ideological expansion to one of a partnership with the world and promotion of free and fair treatment of all of the people of the world…It is a slim chance that he can bring this about given the good ol boy system that is entrenched in the US political system, but at least there is an opportunity for the US seize the opportunity it passed on after WWII to be a leader not a spoiled bully .

    Mason
    Park City, Utah

  103. 104 Andrew
    June 4, 2008 at 18:29

    Shouldn’t the question be is he competent? Or is he suitable? Rather than the issue of Obama being black or white, male or female, young or old.

    But speaking of black… Robert Mugabe is black, Charles Taylor is black, etc, so this doesn’t necessarily distinguish anyone in politics as particularly good or bad.

    What amuses me though are those American democrats who so vehemently dislike Obama over ‘their’ candidate Clinton, that they prefer to vote for John McCain (republican) rather than the democrat candidate. But one suspects that Clinton cannot fade gracefully into the background and will prolong this so far tedious selection process or end up sinking Obama’s chances at the general poll.

    Andrew

    Australia

  104. 105 Solomon by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:30

    It is important to point out that in the US only the Republican presidents have appointed black people to high office in the government.
    The Democratic liberal party use the black people and their votes in order to create or to remain in power.

    Barack Hussein Obama will not become president of the US. We don’t vote for a individual because of color or gender. We need to elect people because of their character and not because of the color of their skin. We elect a man/woman that it is capable to hold the most powerful office of the US government and a commander a chief of the Arm Forces.
    In the Democratic party, Hillary Clinton was the better candidate.

    Solomon
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    USA

  105. 106 Guillermo Mendoza
    June 4, 2008 at 18:31

    It is certainly a great moment for America, or is it? It is wonderful nevertheless that the opportunity to run for President of the most powerful country in the world has been given to a non white skin candidate. It certainly reflexes a change of mind of the American people.
    Is this the greates moment in modern black history? I don’t think so. This could be only the beginning of a more deep transformation, not only for blacks but also for the world itself. Only time will tell.

    Guillermo Mendoza- Montreal, Canada

  106. 107 Anthony
    June 4, 2008 at 18:31

    I can’t STAND N.Y. when he keeps on asking for someone to apologize to blacks. Who’s supposed to do it? Who is the spokesman for all white people? I wish he would be the “bigger man” and just forget about it all. If blacks never became slaves, they’d be in Africa right now killing or being killed by Ak-47’s and machetes. Look at the lighter side man, don’t be such a pessimist.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  107. 108 Samantha Pstrossova
    June 4, 2008 at 18:33

    Barack Obama’s nomination represents an exciting and refreshing generational shift. He was able to motivate younger generations who never experienced racism like their parents did. I’m 26 years old and I grew up being instilled with the values and virtues of equality. When I see Barack Obama I don’t see a black man, I see a powerful inspirational man who is bringing about enormous hope and change.

  108. 109 Venessa
    June 4, 2008 at 18:34

    I agree with you Tom! I am an American; my skin color is a byproduct of my parents.

    Nevertheless this is a historic moment and should not be discounted. However, I believe it will truly be monumental when we don’t have to talk about race and gender and the real focus is the policies which the candidate stands for.

  109. 110 Phyllis by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:34

    This is a grand moment for black/African people for Barak Obama to become the Democratic nominee for the presidency of the United States. But as a white person in the U.S., I am not as excited about the color of his skin as I am about the hope for a major change in the international and domestic relations and policies of the United States. I am one of millions of American people who are grieving for all the damage that the Bush administration has created within the world and within our own country.

    Phyllis
    Cleveland, Ohio
    USA

  110. 111 Abbie by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:35

    Yes- I think that it is a great moment in U.S. history! What some people have forgotten is that this is the first instance of a black man and a woman running against each other and both having very strong support and campaigns.

    Regards,

    Abbie
    Los Angeles, CA

  111. 112 Housmane Sow by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:36

    I surely believe that BO’s victory is the most important event of our generation. I cannot explain what happens to me when I hear this future great leader give a speech.

    Housmane Sow
    New York

  112. 113 Eliel by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:37

    Eliel From Brooklyn.

    This is very inspirational for my life.
    Now is it one of the Biggest moments in Modern Black History?,
    We cannot answer that question yet. The future will show how important this day really is.
    If he ends up being a bad president, he will at least have been the first,
    If he continues to be the great leader that he has been so far, then this day will be monumental in the future
    But if he ends up being even larger, some type of modern savior or something, Then this will be the most important Day of our history.
    I can’t hardly wait to find out.

  113. 114 Justin in Iowa
    June 4, 2008 at 18:37

    @ Scott: A right that people aren’t willing to sacrifice for has lost its value. Our country was founded on voting and democracy as a “Right” because we, as a country, were willing to sacrifice for it.

    How many people today are willing to put forth personal sacrifice in respect to their vote? Look at voter apathy, how many people are going to vote, and of those how many are voting blindly because of racism, party loyalty, or pandering from the politicians and how many are making an educated responsible decision?

    I look at that, and sometimes the idea of having to sacrifice BEFORE you get the right to vote, seems very good to me. Having to dedicate yourself to your civic duty and sacrifice for the good of the country before you have the opportunity to make decisions which ultimately impact everyone around you, seems right to me.

  114. 115 Ayo
    June 4, 2008 at 18:37

    As to the speaker from Uganda, I am sorry to say, he is not very intelligent. and he can speak for himself and other Ugandans as not being intellectual, but the youngest Medical Doctor in South Africa came from Nigeria. Look up Phillip Emeagwali. Damilola Gabriel Iwanefu, shattered the records at the prestigious University of Hull in the United Kingdom in 2001.A lot of the doctors in the US and the UK are from Nigeria,and there are countless more examples. Kwame Nkrumah revolutionalized politics in Africa, Kofi Annan is a notable one. Mandela, there are just too many. there are many role models for black people among black people. so please speak for yourself. If ugandans dont have role models its due to themselves.

  115. 116 Scott Jones
    June 4, 2008 at 18:37

    I think that this is the most significant moment in the history of African American’s in the United States. Not only is it siginificant for African Americans but for Americans as a whole. Mr. Obama comes from such a diverse background that he truly is the embodiment of the “American Dream”. I can say that as a 20-year-old college student in the United States, he has certainly captured a large portion of my demographic.

    Scott Jones
    Washington DC

  116. 117 Mohammed Bin Ali Gaber
    June 4, 2008 at 18:39

    i think obama can not change the politics of U.S but skin of the prsident of U.S

  117. June 4, 2008 at 18:39

    THERE’S NO ONE WHO IS 100% WHITE, BECAUSE ALL LIFE BEGAN IN AFRICA. IF YOU CAN FIND MORE THAN 1% OF BLACK AMERICANS WHOSE MORE THAN 90% BLACK I’D BE SURPRISED. FOR CENTURIES THE RULE WAS IF YOU HAVE ONE OZ OF BLACK BLOOD YOU WERE BACK. I AM LABELED BLACK, AFRICAN AMERICAN, COLOR, ETC. HOWEVER, MY GREAT GRAND PARENTS WERE NATIVE AMERICAN, AND PART WHITE. I HAVE NATIVE AMERICAN BLOOD, AND WHITE BLOOD ON BOTH MY MOTHER SIDE AND MY FATHER SIDE OF THE FAMILY, BUT WHEN MY PARENTS WERE BORN THEY WERE LABELED, AS I WAS LABELED BLACK WITH NO REFERENCE TO MY NATIVE AMERICAN, OR WHITE HERITAGE. NATIVE AMERICANS HAVE RIGHTS UNDER AMERICAN LAW, BUT BECAUSE MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE SAID BLACK I WASN’T ENTITLED TO ANY OF THESE RIGHTS OR BENEFITS. A TRUE AMERICAN ISN’T A COLOR OR A RACE BUT A COMBINATIONS OF MANY RACES AND NATIONALITIES. THIS I WOULD SAY WILL BE THE SECOND BIGGEST BLACK EVEN AFTER DR. M.L. KING, BECAUSE IF NOT FOR DR. KING BARACK OBAMA WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RUN FOR THE OFFICE OF COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

  118. 119 Nana
    June 4, 2008 at 18:39

    As a first generation Ghanaian American who lives a multicultural existence, I can attest that Barack Obama’s nomination is a victory for not only African Americans, but Africans, Black people, immigrants like my parents, for single mothers. He is truly a unique figure whose background resonates with a lot of different people, races, gender.

    My friends and family in Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, England, are celebrating that anything is possible, we are transcending the political limitations of race.

    -Nana
    New York

  119. 120 Tom from oregon
    June 4, 2008 at 18:41

    Vanessa~ I agree that it is a significant moment for us here in the USA. I also Think That is monumental for black people as well. I cannot wait until we only see eachother as americans and are judged by our actions and by our character.

  120. 121 Rory by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:42

    you could say barak obama is a black j f kennedy. my worry is, becoz of extreme right white wing, he will suffer the same fate
    rory
    oman

  121. June 4, 2008 at 18:43

    @ Hi WHYSers!

    Senator Obama’s achievement is a historic moment in world history. His evident lack of a sustained Washington experience, his name, the colour of his skin and family background, among others, are but some of the factors. His is, truly, “the audacity of hope”. Any efforts to diminish or compartmentalise these into any one narrow definition or category limits the first-term Illinois Senator to a caricature unable to exert any meaningful impact on real life, let alone on world politics and history.

    This is the era of war and global economic crisis/ struggle in many parts of the world. The likelihood of the impact of his candidacy on these realities cannot be missed and are not limited to any one racial, cultural, national or even ethnic group. Indeed, there is no denying the significance of his racial and family heritage, however, Senator Obama is not unlike those who have come before him. His civic minded focussed on changing the world is larger than race, notwithstanding that it is cocooned within it, in some ways.

    Accomplishing the Democratic National Convention’s nomination puts Senator Obama in line to become President of the United States – the most powerful democracy in the modern world. Any one who achieves even a fraction of this success in the fifteen months of his campaign is, therefore, worthy of being placed in the pantheon of history as one of its important political figures, especially in the modern era, blackness aside. This does not mean that Senator Obama is not black and that that reality, for better or worse, is not one to be heralded as part of the universal struggle for the dignity of all peoples everywhere, especially blacks in the US.

    Consequently, constructing Senator Obama’s achievements only in a rhetoric of race and emotionalism misses the significance of his victory as the DNC’s presumptive nominee. It also belies, if not denies, the import of what lays ahead and the grit and determination needed/ required to fight that crucial battle in order to claim victory for the Democrats. This is a matter which is larger than just a mere question of race and gender but has at its core critical issues for determining the course of world history in the next four or eight years. We are, after all, living in a decade and time of significant change. Senator Obama’s achievements are but the first set of steps towards the realization of that goal.

  122. 123 Nana by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:43

    As a first generation Ghanaian American, I can attest that Barack Obama’s nomination is a victory for not only African Americans, but Africans, Black people, immigrants, for single mothers. He is truly a unique figure whose background resonates with a lot of different people, races, gender.

    My friends and family in Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, England, are all celebrating.

    -Nana
    New York

  123. 124 Roxie by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:44

    How can anyone say that what Senator Obama might do is less important than what he inspires? We need a President who both inspires and does very good work in his or her own right. Compared to the cultural base of Black America, I think his cultural background is extremely out of the ordinary.
    I think people are putting far too much weight onto what it might mean to have a mixed-race President. The thing that concerns me: Can the actual living breathing individual behind that label — Senator Barack Obama — actually be a good President? Will he make America a better place BOTH for Americans at home and in the eyes of foreign nations?
    I hear from so many people that it is going to be wonderful to have an African American in the White House. An African American getting hired through a completely blind hiring process — hired strictly on merits and platform — would be more of a symbol for hope than a popularity contest. As an American Citizen who can claim quadruple minority status, I am far more concerned about qualification for the job than I am about what the hiree is going to “symbolize”. That’s just bad hiring policy.

  124. 125 Edward Nsobe
    June 4, 2008 at 18:44

    If Obama becomes the next US President, the only significance to Africans in the continent will be if he uses his position to end dictatorship in the continent. While African Americans can aspire to the highest office in the US, many Africans can barely survive on a daily basis because the continent has been taken hostage by dictators in the likes of Biya, Bongo, Sassou Ngeusso, Mugabe and many others.

    Edward Mapri
    Douala, Cameroon

  125. 126 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 18:46

    “Audacity of hope” the the way NY described things, makes it seem like life is so terrible in the US for blacks. There are people starving, with bloated stomachs in africa. There are people starving and dying from disease in Burma because the government will not allow in supplies and foreign aid. The US turned its cargo ships back because the Burmese government refused them entry. Sorry, but things are not that bad here when people elsewhere are struggling to live. I think it’s time people stop taking for granted what they have.

  126. June 4, 2008 at 18:46

    Yes it’s not just about Black People. Americans have shown the all world that America comes first and the rest follow,to say your are Democratic yet you can’t show it means nothing.This is a show of political maturity.
    “Black or white it doesn’t matter”
    Obama was just a Litmas Paper that has been used in a litmas test show the world that racial descrimination has no place in this world.
    Obama is a blessing to the world not just Black people or America.

  127. 128 Huldah by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:49

    Congratulations to Barrak Obama, and just to say he is a part of the only one race on earth the HUMAN RACE.

    Huldah in Jamaica

  128. 129 digital philospher,India
    June 4, 2008 at 18:50

    Congratulations to Barak Obama and all his supporter,Its a great moment in U.S history.Who could have imagined this,50 years ago?He will be a great president.
    America is great not because it is America,America is great because of American people,American culture.And Obama’s victory has proved this once again.

    digital philospher,India

  129. 130 Peter by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:50

    The day when an african leader can make an african country into an economic power will be the most significant day in black history.

    Peter :).
    Singapore

  130. 131 Sarah in Portland
    June 4, 2008 at 18:50

    I am a white American female and I really believe that this is a great day for Americans, not just black Americans. I am proud that we can look pass race, ethnicity and other superficial barriers to elect such an intelligent candidate. I am hoping we can take this all the way to the white house.

  131. 132 Anthony
    June 4, 2008 at 18:51

    @ steve

    I TOTALY agree! Just by living in the U.S. you’re automatically better off than 90% of the world!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  132. 133 Justin in Iowa
    June 4, 2008 at 18:51

    on the other hand steve, there are people homeless and starving in the US as well. And a good chunk of them are minorities.

  133. 134 Sunny by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:51

    If this is the biggest moment in Black History is still to be seen but for sure it will be a significant for History and the social effects with also be huge. It will in turn effect the world as America is so in your face so Obama’s win may have greater impact as now media is more widely used over the world, there is a greater influence over the word with black music and in Hollywood films… Many countries in the east and ares of countires like Korea and China still belive that all the peopel in the west are white and amazed there are asians or Black in America and canada. This will eb an awareness of colour for many reasons… lets ust hope Obama uses this for humanitarian purposes not just America!

    Sunny.

  134. 135 dretceterini
    June 4, 2008 at 18:51

    All that Obama’s victory shows is the success of modern marketing. He is the sizzle without the steak. He speaks very well, but his speeches have little substance.

  135. 136 Andrea from Trinidad
    June 4, 2008 at 18:52

    This is a really hot topic. Everytime I’m finished reading some comments and i refresh the page, i see about 10 new comments! This just goes to prove how important having “a black American president” is to Americans and also the world. Since, believe it or not, America runs the world. No one, except probably iraqis, wants to be friends with America. But then again, Iraqis don’t need to be friends with America because they’ve got sth that America wants… oil! Anywayz, let me not stray.

    This topic just goes to prove how racial all of society still is. If they weren’t, then this won’t even be a hot topic. If Obama was white, what would be the topic? But as soon as he’s black, it’s something to talk about! And PLEASE FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE! Whether he’s 50% white and 50% black… it doesn’t matter. All of you who keep going on and on about this! Can nothing “good” belong to the black community? I’ve never heard a white man question the ethnicity of an obviously black man. Who has “enough” black in him for him to be called “black”! Now it’s all, “he not ‘really’ African-American in it’s true sense” and all sort of nonsense! If Obama was a convict, you’ll see how fast that 50% trace of white disappeared!

    @ Jason

    Who cares whether he “decended from slave owners” or not? Are you insinuating that all black ghetto people must have descended from slave owners? Really, I don’t get what your saying!

    The fact of the matter is that, like Dwight was saying, a lot of people would vote for someone who they think represent them, and while race is an unstable fact to base your vote upon, some people would do it. Some people would not vote for Obama because he’s black! and some would vote for him because he IS black!

    And yes, I totally agree that black people are as racist as white people. Probably even more racist. But it’s inevitable! Because white people were the racist ones first! White people were the ones who made the blacks stand in the back of the buses and be their slaves and servant. And while I know that racism is soooooo stupid and immature, it’s set very deep within the minds of the black and it will take time for it to disappear.

    And trust me Lamii, even if Mr. Obama is means very little to you, the whole continent of Africa, is going to benefit greatly. Because two black presidents talking is NOTHING, and I do mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, in comparison to a black president and a white president talking. Imagine if McCain and Mugabe talking. I’m sure Mugabe would think twice, wondering whether this white man wants to exploit him!

    And while I’m not saying that this is how it should be, these are the facts and reality of our world.

    This campaign is indeed historical! For America, for blacks, for the world! Obama definitely represents change on levels that i can’t even explain!

  136. 137 Sam Nushann
    June 4, 2008 at 18:54

    It is my hope that Obama’s rise to power will affect the pysche of each African on the African Continent to look within and use their God-given ability and talent for the good of the African continent. Africa and Africans cannot continue to be a basket case for the ills of the world. When we apply ourselves, we can achieve great things!

    Sam Nushann
    African (Liberia) Immigrant in US
    Baltimore, Maryland

  137. 138 Ian Fisher
    June 4, 2008 at 18:54

    I find it ironic that when Mr Obamma first announced his candicy for the white house the black community did not want to embrase him because he is too light skinned. Obamma now has become “black” enough . Even now his supporter that I have spoken to cannot tell me exactly what his platform he is taking about. It just “change” that he espouses. Exactly what and how he will “change” the U.S. can be the biggest snowball job this lawyer will sell us.

  138. 139 Samantha by email
    June 4, 2008 at 18:55

    My name is Samantha – I’m an american living in Prague.

    Barack Obama’s nomination represents an exciting and refreshing generational shift. He was able to motivate younger generations who never experienced racism like their parents did. I’m 26 years old and I grew up being instilled with the values and virtues of equality.
    When I see Barack Obama I don’t see a black man, I see a powerful inspirational man who is bringing about enormous hope and change.

  139. 140 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 18:57

    @ Justin in Iowa,

    + Thanks for discrediting the efficacy of American voters in general. Very useful to the discussion. When you can actually backup or substantiate your first argument, instead of replacing it with another, then I might wish to discuss it. Until then… .

  140. 141 David Muzzo
    June 4, 2008 at 18:59

    I am a white American of Heinz 57 descent (Italian, German, Irish, French, Polish). I voted for Obama not because he was black, or different, but because of the hope he gives to us. In America, we have lost our way as the most progressive nation in the world. It is time for a change, the conservatives have tried to force us back to the 50’s, but they have failed. Hillary, while very good, doesn’t inspire us like Obama does.
    What Hillary is cut out for is the Vice President. She should be the ‘attack dog’ in congress, pushing through a progressive agenda, to get us back on track.

  141. 142 Solomon by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:01

    What is an African-American? This is a made up divisive label. A black in America is a “black American” and Africa, we have black Africans.
    Barrack Obama is an invention by the most of the most liberal-leftist group in the US.

    The fact is that Barack Hussein Obama embraces Jeremiah Wright, a man who has preached the most vile racial hatred and anti-American sentiments from the pulpit for twenty years, while at the same time Barack Hussein Obama accuses decent hard-working Americans of bigotry when he says things like, “It’s not surprising that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them… .”
    Let’s not forget fact that Barack Hussein Obama’s wife Michelle said that her husband’s candidacy marked, “the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.”

    If Omaba is the greater thing that happened to black around the world, that is very sad in itself. There are greater thing happen for black than are more important than Obama. Let’s remember the mother of Obama, his uncles, his grandmother are white people. Now, who is the racist?

    Solomon
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    USA

  142. 143 Adam from Washington, DC
    June 4, 2008 at 19:01

    Many people criticized Michelle Obama after she said (a few months ago) this was the first time in her adult life that she was really proud of her country. Underneath that criticism though, I believe there were a lot of people who identified with what Mrs. Obama said — I know I do. I’m white and have never felt hindered or held back in my life by stereotypes, etc., nor am I a part of any minority group, but not until Barack Obama ran for President have I officially been proud of the United States of America. But if McCain wins this Fall I’m leaving the country!

  143. 144 Paul by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:02

    My, aren’t people getting giddy? Obama is the presumptive nominee, he still has to wage a campaign against John McCain who is no George Bush, but who will still have the powerful and destructive republican ad hominem machine tearing away at Obama from every angle. His best hope is to take on Hillary Clinton as vice president. Yet, just because the idea of a black man, and a woman on the same ticket excites many in America, many others still feel that a woman’s place is in the home, and that a black man would give the wrong encouragement to all the black people they see as waiting in the wings to take over. It’s great that we finally have someone other than a bunch of helmet haired white men on the ticket, and I am glad that it’s an intelligent black man like Obama, as well as an intelligent woman like Hillary. Still, from the campaign she ran, seeking to spin information that didn’t serve her campaign, and to change the rules she agreed to, Hillary displayed the wrong sort of ethos after seven years of Bush. The fact that both immediately went
    to AIPAC to kowtow was also highly discouraging. Obama and Clinton
    might be a sweeping change in gender and skin color, but they may not be so dramatic a change in policy, should they get elected, and
    that’s the big if. In any case, white men still dominate the board
    rooms and the manager’s offices across the land, so we aren’t as progressive as some of your gushing listeners would have everyone believe. And they still have to get elected.

    Paul
    San Francisco

  144. 145 Jon by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:03

    Big moment in history, of course. How this stands relative to the other moments defining the history of America, of black people, of democracies generally, of Chicago politicians – that will be judged by people long after we’re all dead, once they have the chance to see what comes from this.
    We’re just now in a position to understand things like the Council of Vienna, the revolutions of 1848. The Franco-Prussian War, it’s still a bit early. Of course, we’re still arguing about the Great War and the one after it, and anything since is still echoing through the present. Let’s just enjoy the fact, and leave the historical judgements for another century.
    (If anyone wants to talk Talleyrand and Metternich, on the other hand, let me know…)
    -Jon Kiparsky
    Portland, Oregon

  145. 146 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 19:06

    It’s beyond belief that so many see Mr. Obama as a visionary. If he is a visionary there is no “hope” for anyone.

    He is being thoroughly romanticized and aggrandized by a starving nation. He was simply in the right place at the right time, which happens so much throughout history. There is no evidence of inherent visionary qualities from anything I have seen.

    Mr. Obama will probably do a fine job, but visionary—I don’t think so!

  146. 147 Serina by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:07

    Racial issues aside, I find it hard to believe that the debate here, the States, around the world is about being black. What really does that have to do with his performance. Many black leaders presently should never have been allowed public office, there are good and bad in all colours.

    Surely for the world (as the US considers itself the world government) the most important, critical point to consider is… is he the right person for the position of president, is he competent and honest, is he qualified and experienced. That is surely what we must focus upon. Not if he is black or white.

    I wouldn’t care what colour a potential leader is, whether or not he is corrupt or intelligent or any hundred other relevant points is what matters and should matter.

    Serina
    Singapore

  147. 148 Arablak by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:08

    I personally think it’s too early for rejoice, as party nomination is not a general election victory. And even if Obama wins the presidential election, we still have to worry about assassination attempts, which would bring us back 50 years in the struggle for racial equality.

    Arablak
    Atlanta, GA

  148. 149 Nicola by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:08

    There are some cultures which simply cannot get beyond the issue of colour black or white..can’t we all just look to the best person for the job whatever their race or gender and unify on issues that really matter like injustice, poverty and peace.

    Nicola , Jamaica

  149. June 4, 2008 at 19:10

    The irony is that Barack Obama is the nominee precisely because he is not perceived as being black by the people whose votes count: white Americans. If Obama were to be perceived as “acting black” like say, Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, Hillary would have won easily. Whites accept Obama precisely because he doesn’t act “black.” And by “black,” I mostly mean speaking in the modified Southern accent known as “ebonics.”
    There is no such institution as the “black community.” African Americans have as many different opinions about Obama as do white Americans. Many “blacks” (and whites) regard him as some sort of Messiah, like Martin L. King. Others believe his nomination will mean the glass ceiling will be lifted in political (and corporate) America. And still others see him as simply another politician mouthing platitudes in order to get elected. His denunciation of his pastor was a serious blow to his credibility for many African Americans.
    If Barck Obama is elected, he will inherit a war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and possibly Iran and somewhere in South America. He has talked about attacking Pakistan, and his presumptive running mate threatened to “annihilate” Iran. He will also have to deal with the fact that the treasury is empty, many people have no jobs, housing, health care, or food, and that the consumer economy is collapsing. The color of his skin will become his greatest liability when these situations worsen. And they will.

  150. 151 Justin in Iowa
    June 4, 2008 at 19:12

    @ Scott:

    I don’t understand what you mean. I’m sorry if you took one argument as justification for another. My point about voting rights and the situations in michigan and florida were not supporting arguments.

    Actually, my point on michigan and florida didn’t need any backing up… its pretty plain to me. The whole process is considered democratic, from the elected officials which make up the committee who oversees the election rules to the candidates. If the Michigan and Florida voters didn’t want their votes thrown out because they didn’t follow the rules, they should have A) elected officials who weren’t idiots (my original point) or B) paid for a second run of elections as per the rules.

    They made their choice, and they should have been stuck with it.

    I guess you could dovetail my seperate point on voter rights into this, though, by pointing out that if Florida and Michigan voters had been willing to SACRIFICE to run the re-election as per the rules, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But voting isn’t valued that highly in the US, people want to have their cake and eat it too.

  151. June 4, 2008 at 19:16

    YOU KEEP REFERRING TO THE FACT THAT BLACK AMERICANS ARE WEARING THEIR PASS ON THEIR SLEEVES. WELL, WE’RE NOT WEARING OUR PASS ON OUR SLEEVES. RACISM ISN’T IN OUR PASS. MOST BLACK AMERICANS FACE RACISM EVERYDAY IN SOME FORM. WE ARE STILL DENIED JOBS, PROMOTIONS, LOANS, SCHOLARSHIPS, ENTRY IN TO SOME SCHOOLS, THE GRADES THEY DESERVE IN SCHOOL, JUSTICE IN THE COURTS. IF YOU HAVEN’T LIVED HERE IN THE U.S. FOR MANY YEARS YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT WORKS. JUST BECAUSE WHEN YOU APPLY FOR A JOB, AND YOU’RE TOLD THAT YOU ARE UNDER QUALIFIED, OR OVER QUALIFIED DOESN’T MEAN THAT THE WHITE PERSON WHO GETS THE JOB ARE ANY MORE QUALIFIED THAN YOU ARE. AS A SALESMAN, SOME WHITES WALK PASS ME AND GO TO THE FIRST WHITE PERSON AND PURCHASE FROM THEM, BUT WOULDN’T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE ME WHEN I GREETED THEM. JUST BECAUSE BLACK AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE DOESN’T MEAN THAT ALL THE WHITES THAT WERE HANGING BLACKS, BEATING BLACKS, KILLING BLACKS, AND BURNING BLACK HOMES STARTED LOVING US. THESE SAME PEOPLE THAT HATED US THIRTY YEARS AGO STILL HATES AND DISCRIMINATE AGAINST US TODAY. I DON’T HAVE TO WEAR IT ON MY SLEEVE WHEN IT SLAPS ME IN MY FACE EVERYDAY. THE U.S. HAS NEVER MADE AMENDS FOR SLAVERY, AND DISCRIMINATION TO THE BLACK AMERICANS. WHEN THEY DO WE CAN MOVE FORWARD. IT’S EASY FOR A PEOPLE TO SAY WE NEED TO GET PASS SLAVERY WHEN THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN A PEOPLE ENSLAVED. I CAN’T GO BACK FOUR OR FIVE GENERATIONS TO KNOW WHO MY FAMILY WAS BECAUSE THEY WERE SOLD LIKE DOGS WITHOUT NAMES. YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THE PLIGHT OF BLACK AMERICANS.

  152. 153 Donald by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:18

    Ros! I’m white and obama is significant to me. Regardless of Obamas race he is an amazing and inspiring person. He is no MLK, but he fits the times perfectly. What he stands for is more important than white or black.

  153. 154 Mohammed by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:19

    I fear that all those who are now lauding Obama are soon to disappointed.

    One only has to listen to his speak in front of AIPAC today to see that he is already falling in line and dancing to the tune of his paymasters.

    No more black than Condi Rice.

  154. 155 Bob by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:20

    I voted for Clinton in the Washington State Caucus in Feb. I am one of the hard working white guys. I am looking forward to voting for him [Obama] in November. How many of the votes he received during the primary were white voters, probably most of them. My wife and daughter voted for him.
    Bob
    Lynnwood, Wa USA

  155. 156 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 19:21

    @ Antonio: So if a black is ever denied a loan, it has to be about race? Not their credit score? Why would someone today turn down a chance to make money? If someone has the ability to repay a loan with interest, you are saying today they would be turned down solely because of their race?

  156. 157 AR
    June 4, 2008 at 19:21

    I think everyone is getting it all wrong. they are chasing a fantasy that is unraveling in front of their eyes. that unraveling is the fantasy, that, myth, that social invention called ” race”. If anyone out there doesn’t believe in the science of DNA. read no further. DNA is responsible for many things from freeing the wrongly convicted to locating long lost generations through blood lines. And that brings us to my point. If DNA tells us anything it without a doubt tells us that there is no such thing as race. I’m no more black than you are white or green. These social inventions are used to do nothing more than categorize and oppress those who are not t the top of this hierarchal invention. We are not a society full of many races, [multiracial in the most absurd term ever invented. We are all Homo Sapian. Only those cavemen from the Geico commercials represent the only true division of humanity. Our differences are the result of our travels round the planet that started from Africa. So everyone on the planet is African. What we see, smell, touch and hear is all a product of this
    African world we have. We have to move from the conventional thinking and get with the program. Race! I challenge anyone on the planet to 100% validate the concept of race as it applies to humanity.

  157. 158 kweku by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:22

    i am overwhelmed because i never thought he could emerge as the democrat’s presidential candidate, well now i strongly believe he would win the national election. i am very much optimistic that indeed he would be the right change the world needs even as problems of the world continue to worsen.

  158. 159 Patty Lehner
    June 4, 2008 at 19:31

    Regarding the question of the day: my answer is; the more important date is in November when Mr. Obama triumphs One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!

  159. 160 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 19:34

    “Of course she is justified. Who cares about the moon when your people are told to bathe on a different beach and drink from a differerent fountain. Some people are still ‘on the moon’.”

    She was born in 1964. You think maybe she could be proud of the fact that we have come a long way and that she could get the best education possible in this country and not be discriminated against? Maybe proud of our technology? Our system of government? There is a long long list, sorry your bs excuse for her actions does not cut it. Like I said, I am saddened that we ever discriminated but that is in the past – as his nomination should prove. Also, as Steve said, we are HARDLY the worst country out there in terms of civil rights.

  160. 161 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 19:37

    @ Justin in Iowa,

    If you think the Democratic process in Michigan and Florida was Democratic and apparently acceptable, then we have completely different ideas of Democracy. If we can’t get past what a Democratic process is then there isn’t much to discuss. If I moved to Florida or Michigan before the primaries, exactly what say did I have in choosing the leaders, yet I am being punished and my vote does not equally count? This is not Democracy, when leaders in a geographic area, can at-will override the right for your vote to count! It is unbelievable—that this flies in America—and this is the message we send about Democracy to the world!

    Many were in an uproar about requiring ID’s for voting because it could exclude some segments, yet this is a clear case of exclusion and few care. The reason they don’t care is because they want their candidate or the Democratic party to win. They have chocked up winning, at any cost, as the greater good. A democratic win trumping the democratic process. The lesser of two evils…yes, plea-bargaining our freedoms.

  161. June 4, 2008 at 19:37

    @ Steve,

    I can only assume, as I was the one who used that phrase “the audacity of hope”, before your post, that your are speaking to me in these oblique references. Indeed, this has become your recent custom. That said, let me address you directly as you seem neither willing and or able to do so, yourself.

    Firstly, the evident offensiveness of your comment: “I think it’s time people stop taking for granted what they have.” is largely unbearable and smacks of a evident contempt towards African-Americans. Notwithstanding that this is characteristic of most of your arguments in this forum, I will forgive you for suggesting that the only time that there is need for hope is if one is black, poor or lives in Burma, etc. That, of course, is clearly a ridiculous position, which is as laughable as it is inaccurate.

    To begin with, unless you declare your own agenda in this discussion you are not qualified to speak to who should have hope, when, where and or how. Most importantly, yours is not a position which sheds light on the reasons (or lack thereof) for hopefulness. If you are not in a position to be hopeful, at this time, then that is a a perfectly legitimate option. With respect, however, that is neither my concern nor is it the focus of my discussion.

    As I stated in my earlier post, Senator Obama’s rise to the position of the DNC’s presumptive nominee is record breaking insofar as it foregrounds his message of hope. After all, he began with little name recognition (unlike his chief contender), little sustained Washington experience, money and his blackness, as perhaps the most obvious sign that he would not make “it” – “it” being the ultimate prize to run for President of the US.

    I went further to argue that overcoming the handicaps imposed on Senator Obama by circumstance, as well as the efforts of the neighsayers to limit his desire for change has actually proven to be props he has used to lift himself to this position. Indeed, the race for President is only just beginning. Still, it merits being said that Senator Obama has come far enough to draw inspiration from the struggle and to recognise that regardless of the outcome of this leg of the relay, this year will have been a very important one as defined by the period in which we all live.

    It is in that context, therefore, that I am interpreting your comments as offensive, as you not only obtusely overlook or fail to see the nuances of my earlier arguments, but glibly connect that with a sense an externally authored and presumptious sense of gratitude that “blacks in America” should, obviously, feel. By which I take your meaning to be, there is no need for them to run for President of the US. After all, things are so great that the best they could ever hope for is to live in the US. This is not only outrageous but is clearly indicative of the traditionally simplistic nature of your positions, which, more often than not, miss the substantive core or the discussion.

    One thing is certain – further discussion on this matter with you is a certain recipe for consternation.

  162. 163 journey home by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:41

    Ros,
    there are Black Americans and African Americans in the US. Stop grouping us together.
    Barack maybe elected to President, but it will not rid America of its racism. It would be a great symbol but that is all. Race is a issue in this country. Internationally, his election will have little impact on the world. No more than when Colin Power was the 1st Black Secretary Of State or Rice being the 1st Black woman to be Secretary Of State.

  163. 164 Margie by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:42

    It’s definitely an exciting and historic day for the US!

    For me, it’s exciting, not just because I agree with his policies & his grassroots approach to politics & find him inspirational, but also because I have something in common with him personally, despite the fact that I am a white woman. Both he and I fall into the “TCK” category (formerly known as Global Nomads). TCK means “Third Culture Kid”, and refers to those of us, like Obama and I, who lived for extended periods of our childhood in one or more countries other than our “countries of passport” (to use a TCK term).

    We TCK’s — Obama, myself, and all others like us — bring a uniquely global perspective to a world in which national (along with ethnic, racial, and religious) boundaries still divide the human race far too much. Luckily, the “World Have Your Say” radio program has joined the Internet in serving as a medium for communication and dialogue amongst our global community.

    Margie
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  164. 165 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 19:42

    @ Agostinho

    I was referring to NY Oil’s on air comments. And I stand by my points. There are people starving to death in the world. There are people devestated by the storm in Burma, and their government won’t allow aid in to save people. I’m sick of people in the Us and the rest of the west taking for granted how much better they have it than other people. Look at the world, I cannot believe you would even take the stance you are. They have child soldiers in Africa. There are slaves in Africa and in Arabia. There are people sold into the sex trafficking industry. There are kids in cambodia that are forced to have sex with pedophiles from around the world. You really need to stop taking for granted how good things are here.

  165. 166 Emike by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:42

    As a Nigerian living in the united states i would say the mere fact Barack Obama is the democratic party’s presidential candidate is an achievement especially for me. But to say its a big moment in black history i would say its a bit too premature.

  166. 167 Colleen by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:43

    An interesting point was made on WHYS regarding Obama’s nomination. This came at a time when there was no immediate US social crisis that resulted in the need for inspiring African American leadership, as was necessary in the late 50’s time of flagrant persecution and segregation of black Americans. Today we have a nominee who was judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin, as MLK had dreamed 40 years ago. It is a victory of civil rights for all races and ethnicities.

  167. 168 monkmayfair by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:44

    It’s a shame that people believe this is a victory for black people in the US. This is a victory for the corrupt rich white people running his campaign and the media. Racism is rampant in our country. It’s only covert now instead of overt as it was prior to the civil rights movement in the 60’s. It’s not about racial equality it’s about economic equality which the race debate handily obscures though emotional debate.

  168. 169 Josh by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:46

    I don’t think that having a “black person” as a president is a very big deal. I think that when we as a people stop calling people by their color and start calling them people in general will be a big deal. In my eyes, racism is kept alive by people talking about it. I am a “white” person who has friends that are all different colors, but I don’t think of them as my black friends or my yellow friends or anything like that, I just consider them my friends. I only hope that the rest of the world can someday share my views, but unfortunately, if history can teach us anything, this will not happen. My dream is one day for a universal language and view. People want to retain their heritage but don’t want to be discriminated because of it. I don’t care about the past so much because there’s nothing to be done about it, but the future is a ball of clay.

  169. 170 Peter by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:47

    What happened yesterday has significance beyond US elections. One must recall that it was 40 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke about “Black people reaching the Promised Land.” There is something to be said about the significance of 40 years and the resiliency of the human spirit.

    US history and the history of the world will never be the same again.

    Peter

  170. 171 Patricia by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:48

    Actually, I believe Sen Obama’s father was from Kenya, so he probably has more claim than most to the African-American designation.
    Be that as it may, The USA is very behind the rest of the world in our diversity of leadership, so we can hold out hope that we can change now.

    Sincerely,
    a californian

  171. 172 Naveen by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:48

    Obama represents the true American dream which will inspire every immigrant who is here and who will come to this great nation.


    Naveen

    Cleveland, OH

  172. 173 Margaret by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:49

    African-American?

    Just about all Americans whose ancestors were brought over here as slaves have a large dose of white European heritage.

    Women in slavery are regularly raped by the white men around them.
    Even Thomas Jefferson fathered “African Americans”

    Margaret
    NY

  173. 174 Ayo by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:50

    I have often wondered though why white people think their genes/blood is so weak that even one drop of ‘Black Blood’ makes that person Black.Barack Obama is not like other African Americans. His mother is White and his Father is pure African not descended from American Slaves. This is a historical moment in America for sure. But it shouldn’t be generalized to all Black people in the world.

    Ayo USA

  174. 175 pendkar
    June 4, 2008 at 19:50

    I have seen atleast one statement on this blog that says ‘arent black Americans racist if they are voting for Obama just because he is black?(forget the half or full part, for a moment)

    This is a very unfair argument. I know how it works, because it is applied to muslim voters in India.

    In a society where there is an ethic/communal bias, it is virtually impossible for a person belonging to a minority community to win an election. If the candidate (MP or senator) contests from an area that has mixed population and the majority reject her/him due to prejudice, the candidate has no chance of winning. That is why the percentage of black senators may not match the percentage of black population in that country. I am sure that the percentage of MPs in India belonging to the religious minorites nowhere reflects their percentage in population. This is an indication of bias. If there was no such thing, numbers would more or less match. speaking in the American context, there would have been 4-5 black american presidents by now.

    For that reason, when a minority candidate contests from an area that has a good concentration of the minorites, the community tends to band together and vote for the candidate on the basis of community. It is their only chance to get a few elected representatives. And it gives the unthinking majority a chance to quickly brand the minority voters as ‘communal’ (or ‘racial’). This is a very unfair and thoughless thing to do.

    Wait till the minority community manages to get a fair representation. If after there have been half a dozen black presidents, the black americans continue to vote on basis of race, then call them racist.The black Americans have been part of the american nation almost since its founding. No black american has ever been a president.The fact speaks volumes for itself, about whether or not US is racist (atleast with respect to the black American community).

  175. 176 Dr Dami by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:50

    Thats the wind blowing across nigeria. I see the luther dream coming true in all its ramification in november. He has the charisma, rhetoric and most importantly he has God on his side. IT IS HIS TIME. Dr Dami from lagos Nigeria

  176. 177 Jeffery by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:51

    Your speakers say they back Obama in part for racial reasons. Given that influence of race, how does everyone ignore the fact he’s half white? If race matters so much to so many, Barak being half white should matter, too, shouldn’t it? If not, why not? There a double standard going on? (Is this the pink elephant in the living room?) Thanks.

    Jeffery
    Portland OR

  177. 178 Sam by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:52

    My view as an African on the Obama victory is it has given a devastating blow to the social construct called race which is now tithering for a catastrophic fall to given way for real social transformation in the global village.
    Sam
    Uganda

  178. 179 Mohammed by email
    June 4, 2008 at 19:55

    Barack Obama come as the frontrunner for the Democratic party is welcoming development for mama Africa so bravo Obama for making Africa pride and restoring the dignity of the continent Africa that your father hailed from.

    Mohammed
    Monrovia, Liberia

  179. 180 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 19:56

    @ Pendkar

    Minorities have plenty of representatives in government. Saying they should have a president solely because of ethnicity, when they clearly compromise the minority of population is kind of strange no? The leader of the entire country should never be chosen based on race, ever, no matter how you cut it.

  180. 181 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 20:04

    @ pendkar:

    “The black Americans have been part of the american nation almost since its founding. No black american has ever been a president.The fact speaks volumes for itself, about whether or not US is racist (atleast with respect to the black American community).”

    Jews have been a part of the american nation almost since it’s founding. In fact since before its founding. No jew has ever been a President. In fact, no Jew has ever been nominated. The fact speaks volumes for itself, about ether or not US is antisemitic?

    I think not.

  181. 182 Justin in Iowa
    June 4, 2008 at 20:16

    @ Scott: Well it has to be SOMEONE’s fault for how Michigan and Florida were handled. I come back to the point that the people who were elected made the decision to move the election process forward agains the rules. And then, to exacerbate the problem, they screwed the election itself up by leaving candidates names off of ballots. Once again, they had plenty of opportunity after their breaking of the rules to put the effort forward to re-run the elections by the rules. They didn’t.

    When you move to a new place to live, you DON’T have an immediate say on who your elected officials are. I can’t move to california and then complain about the fact I didn’t get a chance to elect the governor. I wait for the process to work and make my vote count the next time around.

    Michigan and Florida messed up, and they took the time they could have spent correcting the error complaining about the fact no one was willing to validate their breaking of the rules.

    Rules exist for a reason. You break them, you pay the consequences. Our system of government is a representative system. If you don’t like the decisions your representatives make, vote them out, make trouble, get things changed… but until you do, they are your REPRESENTATIVES and you are stuck with their decisions until you move them out.

    America’s problem is nobody is willing to take responsability for anything anymore. “But I didn’t want them to move the elections forward agains the rules” well then you should elect people who won’t do that in the future, shouldn’t you? Or move to a section of the country that reflects your own personal beliefs so you can organize better. Or run for office yourself so it doesn’t happen again. Or get more people to follow your lead. But don’t whine and moan about not getting your way when you screwed up.

  182. 183 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 20:47

    Justin in Iowa,

    Thanks for again using oranges to talk about apples. And replacing one faulty argument with another faulty argument instead of actually combating my argument with something substantive.

    It doesn’t matter whose fault it is! What matters: the votes don’t count in two states and the voter is punished. In a democracy this trumps everything you have said. And if it doesn’t—why did the committee bother giving half the vote? Was this dishonesty? You can’t have it both ways.

  183. 184 Margie in Portland
    June 4, 2008 at 21:05

    to Jeffery in Portland OR:

    You ask: “how does everyone ignore the fact he’s half white?”

    Because it’s not ones genes that affect how one is perceived and/or treated by people around one who grew up in a society burdened by racism. It’s skin color, it’s physical appearance.

    Obama’s physical appearance is one that, in the eyes of a still-race-conscious global society, registers as a black man. A light-skinned black man, true, but a black man none the less.

    These are facts. I don’t see any “double standard” or any “pink elephant” in these facts.

    Margie
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  184. 185 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 21:08

    @ Justin in Iowa,

    P.S. The party additionally broke their own rules again by giving half the vote. Is this rule breaking acceptable? Oh, it will probably be labeled a “compromise” to make it palpable. This is exactly why votes should not be hijacked by the whims of individuals in a democracy.

  185. 186 Jens
    June 4, 2008 at 21:18

    The USA is very behind the rest of the world in our diversity of leadership, so we can hold out hope that we can change now.

    Sincerely,
    a californian

    i don’t think so. look at condie, powell and the whole slue of hispanics in leadership positions. in no nation have i seen such a rapid raise of representatives of all communities as in the usa. we should not forget where the usa stood 40 years ago…..

  186. 187 Margie in Portland
    June 4, 2008 at 21:19

    @ Steve:

    You said: “No Jew has ever been a President. … The fact speaks volumes for itself, about whether or not US is antisemitic? I think not.”

    I think that this fact does speak to the antisemitism that has always existed in US society, to varying degrees, since the first day that the Europeans who settled on this continent brought their antisemitism with them from their homelands.

    Antisemitism does, sadly, exist in this country. Just as sexism, homophobia, racism, and prejudices of all kinds exist in this country. They may continue to exist as long as humanity continues to exist. The important challenge that we face is to work to ensure that the negative impact of these prejudices on individuals and on societies will continue to gradually decline over time — and that the rate of the decline of that impact will speed up!

    Electing US presidents (and British prime ministers, and German chancellors, etc., etc.,) who are black, who are jewish, who are female, who are hispanic, who are asian, who are openly gay, who are muslim — these are all ways in which we can work against prejudices. They are not the only ways, but they are ways, nonetheless.

    Margie
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  187. 188 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 21:25

    @ Margie

    Jews are 1% of the US. Blacks are 13% of the US, Homosexuals are 7% of the US. To say that they haven’t been elected before because of some “ism” is silly. Thye are simply small in number. Women are 51% or so percent of the population. You’d think there would have been a female President, but then again, when you have candidates like Hillary Clinton, you understand why they don’t get elected.

  188. 189 Jens
    June 4, 2008 at 21:42

    steve,

    yeah the self-absorbed baby bommer generation, that believes they are entitled to have everything, including raping the enviroment. i have never seen such a pathetic hord of people as the sixty year old whinning hysterically complaining “hard working” blue colour women supporting spoiled prat no1. these women scared the living daylight out of me. some of the rasist crap they came out with should have disqualified hillary from running. if that is her support base i pray that obama is going to get a different vp.

    last night showed once again the bitter srcastic face of the clinton’s. even on a hystoric night she has to manouver herself into the limelight. hillary you lost get back into you box and shut-up already, well take bill along as well please. he pretty much ruined his image in this campaign

  189. 190 Justin in Iowa
    June 4, 2008 at 21:45

    Scott… yes, the voter is punished for their bad choices. You pick your leadership. If your leadership makes bad choices, well, that’s life.

    Honestly, I’m not happy with the situation, but I can’t see how those elections (michigan more vehemently) could have been included without being re-run. Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan, that’s like rigging an election! How is that better?

    The voters had what, 3 months? 4 months? to correct the situation in their states and re-run the elections. Voter apathy strikes again, as it didn’t happen.

  190. 191 steve
    June 4, 2008 at 21:46

    Generation Y is pretty bad too. I just heard on the news two 17 year old girls stole a girl scout’s cookie funds because “they wanted the money” and felt entitled to it. And boasted to the news about stealing it… very similar to politicians, so I wouldn’t single out the boomers, as politicians by nature are narcissists. But Hillary, she really takes the cake. She makes other politicians look like they are without personality disorders. She just feels absolutely entitled to be President. I bet she’s praying something happens to Obama, and if Obama were stupid enough to make her his VP, he really should get a Beefeater. I could see her doing anything to get im out of the way so she could be President. Wonderful, in 8 or so years, Chelsea will be able to run, so maybe they’ll make a little narcissistic sociopath out of her during the next 8 years.

  191. 192 GB
    June 4, 2008 at 22:03

    As an American I have to know who the best person would be to have a beer with?. I also want to know if any of these people wastes their time reading the newspapers and looking to stuff? They shouldn’t be well read or travelled either. Which candidate will totally isolate his or herself from world around them and only use information from a small group of ideologues and advisors? If I had my druthers they would also have questionable legal histories and business failures in their past. Personal respondsibility is too much to ask for but perhaps a respectable record of DWI and community service? Get the point? Gender and color means nothing.

  192. 193 Julie P
    June 4, 2008 at 22:04

    @Jens,

    Given the size of the Boomer generation, your sweeping generalization of it is unfounded. The generation spans twenty years. The Boomers born early in it have different characteristics than later Boomers. Hillary is a Boomer, and so is Obama. There is a huge age difference between them. Obama is two years older than I am, and I am still a Boomer. The only thing the Boomers did wrong was to create a standard of living that would allow to us to produce ungrateful offspring who do not appreciate the advances we made in civil liberties. Please see the Maranda desicison, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, landing on the moon, the peace corp., Earth Day, and the like. In the 60’s and the 70’s we worked hard, especially the older Boomers, to create a world where someone like Barack Obama can acheive greatness that would not have been attainable even twenty five years ago.

  193. 194 Jens
    June 4, 2008 at 22:06

    yeah her on the VP slot, would be a nightmare for obama, especially with bill thrown in for “free”. i guess she is just hellbend on ruining obama’s run so she can claim her spopt in 2012. i just hope if this is her startegy enough will remember and give her the middle finger then. i used to respect the clintons prior to this campain. now i cannot stand them. they are representing the politics of the past. frankly, i’d rather have mccain than hillary in charge.

  194. 195 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 22:07

    @ Justin in Iowa,

    Yes, Justin, that is what I suggested as the only or most equitable solution—a redo. Everything else makes the nomination illegitimate. But you’re still not getting the point—that the leadership should not be able to trump your right to vote and the weight of your vote, or else this isn’t a just democracy. Voter apathy nor any of the other things you suggested changes these simple facts.

  195. 196 Margie in Portland
    June 4, 2008 at 22:14

    @ Scott:

    I did NOT say that “they haven’t been elected before because of some “ism” — you put those words in my mouth. I simply said that prejudices of all kinds (antisemitism, sexism, homophobia, racism, etc.) DO, sadly, exist in this country.

    I also said that by electing traditionally under-represented people to the presidency (and to the comparable positions of leadership in other prominent Western countries), we will be making a contribution to the gradual but important fight against the insidious effects of prejudice.

    I was not making any kind of causal connection about the role of prejudice in presidential politics in the past — I was talking about the future.

    The more that people see new kinds of faces in positions of power and authority, the more they will see that we are all equally human, and that the future world needs to be one where prejudices of all kinds are less acceptable, and less powerful.

    Margie
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  196. 197 Justin in Iowa
    June 4, 2008 at 22:14

    I’m sorry scott… I didn’t realize you were still operating under the delusion that this was a just democracy… We could have cleared up this entire argument if you’d mentioned that from the start. I no longer operate under that delusion, it greatly simplifies things.

  197. 198 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 22:19

    @ Margie in Portland,

    I never said/wrote anything to you at all. I believe you meant Steve.

  198. 199 Margie in Portland
    June 4, 2008 at 22:21

    @ Scott:
    Whoops! You’re right! Sorry about that!

    @ Steve:
    See my post above.

  199. June 4, 2008 at 22:21

    I agree with you Justin in Iowa. Rules are rules. The fact that Hillary’s fans are now attacking the rules indicates that it would have been politics as usual in Washington had she won. This is why “change” is the message.

    I must also add that Iowans are far ahead of many Americans. Remember, it really started in Iowas. Had Obama lost in Iowa, it would have been over right after new Hampshire. I am one of those who believe that Iowa should be immortalized in some fashion.

  200. 201 Adam from Washington, DC
    June 4, 2008 at 22:30

    Many people blogging on here seem to be skeptical of Obama’s ability to reverse some of the poor policies of the past. The way I see it, he shouldn’t be expected to. No President can do such a thing, especially in today’s highly complex, technical world. The minutiae of policy is where the big battles will be waged and hopefully won by Obama, but these won’t appear to be big victories to the outside world. Washington works very slowly and people inside the “Beltway” see change differently than the rest of the country because their noses are all so close to the drawing board. But Obama shouldn’t be chosen for President simply because of his policy rhetoric. As we speak, Democratic party leaders are contacting him to pledge their support in return for something else: Influence. The Democratic party’s policies will largely dominate the next 4 years, not just Barack Obama’s. His advisers, unseen and unheard by the electorate, will also have a huge impact on him (and I’ve heard he has a great team of advisers). Having said that, the biggest reason to elect Obama is to prove to ourselves and the world that we can elect a black person (I guess half-black, half-white) to the most powerful, high-profile position in America. But it’s not just that he’s black that makes him an atypical Presidential candidate, it’s his international persona. That kind of persona is typically abhorred by Americans, at least in a President. They’re frightened and annoyed by a Presidential candidate who touts a global theme because they want the focus to be on them. Never before has our country been confronted by someone like him who wanted our top job and actually deserved to have it. But despite how inspirational he is, our country is still afraid. For example, over 30 percent of the electorate think he’s a Muslim (which is scary to many ignorant Americans). Look, for instance, at how quickly the media’s attention was diverted to covering issues such as race, religion, etc. during the primaries. Obama’s very name, Barack Hussein Obama, has sent shivers through rural America’s collective spine. This is proof that no one cares about his policies because all he’s doing is making the same promises as Hillary Clinton and all the Democrats who have come before him. His charisma just happens to make the promises sound better than usual. This brings up a new set of problems though: The same pretty words that pull so many together have turned some skeptics/intellectuals away because they think that pretty, easy-to-understand words mean no substance, so these skeptics run to Hillary as if she offers something better. In reality, she offers pretty much the same thing and if she became President she would deliver pretty much the same thing, but somehow the Hillary supporters feel good about themselves for not falling for Obama’s charm.

  201. 202 Jens
    June 4, 2008 at 22:36

    julie p,

    i am probably one of the last boommers at 43 or better 44 in 21 days. i am fully aware that this generation streaches for 20 plus years. however, i do not feel like a boomer nor like an X-er. the ungreatfulness comes from the fact that all is more or less laid down on the floor for them. although i have several extremly hard working and fantastic lab personal and students in my laboratory…..i shall call my generation the (wh)y-not generation. 😉

  202. 203 Syed Hasan Turab
    June 4, 2008 at 22:47

    May be rest of the coloured world not in USA, infact they dont have any sence, any intrest & any wish, just living below normal, uptill now they are trying to come from slavery shocks & comma or tramma conditions.
    For real they are poor of the poorest because of drugs, Alchoal & emotional damages caused by majority of USA, as after slavery they dont even realise they lost there identy, culture & society.
    Infact they are not fit for prevailing US society as they lost there abilities to identify legal & illegal aspects of life living in a civilised society, on the top of that each & every step they have to face double standard of life beside food subsidie’s & charities, with an outcome of “Welfare Pride”.

  203. 204 Julie P
    June 4, 2008 at 22:48

    Jens,

    I disagree. We worked hard to achieve the civil liberties the advances that many now enjoy and take for granted. The Boomers are not ungrateful, they worked hard to improve the world. Nothing was given to them, they worked hard. I am a 1963 and believe our work has greatly benefited society. Although I do not always appreciate the things earlier Boomers did; I do not blame them for our failures as humans. We’ve accomplished a lot. I enjoy the civil liberties that were not there when I was first born, like seeing someone like Barack Obama achieving the success he has.

  204. 205 Scott Millar
    June 4, 2008 at 22:53

    @ Justin in Iowa,

    Now—you have reduced the conversation to claiming the USA is not just a democracy. It greatly clarifies your lack of a substantive argument by throwing out the baby entirely. Poor tot—aborted.

  205. 206 Tino
    June 4, 2008 at 23:17

    “Electing US presidents (and British prime ministers, and German chancellors, etc., etc.,) who are black, who are jewish, who are female, who are hispanic, who are asian, who are openly gay, who are muslim — these are all ways in which we can work against prejudices.”

    This is a horrible idea. You do not say sorry by electing a specific race/whatever president. There have been no atheist presidents and probably never will be but you do not see me crying prejudice. I would only bring up prejudice when I am not afforded equal opportunities. Control of the US is way too important to be used as an ‘apology’/work against prejudice.

  206. 207 Justin from Iowa
    June 5, 2008 at 00:13

    @Scott

    Here you’ve been arguing that we aren’t a just democracy by your decrying of the way Michigan and Florida were handled, and then when I agree with you, you jump on me. Make up your mind!

    A just decision would have been throwing out the votes because they were run against the rules.

    A model democracy decision would have been re-running the votes as per election rules and counting the people’s vote.

    Everything else just angers everyone on both sides and is an injustice to the system.

    That’s my opinion. By that criteria, from my perspective, we are not operating under a “just” democracy.

    Heck, what is a just democracy? Is a country run by a political elite who pander to the masses for the power to perpetuate their system of deluding the masses a just democracy?

    How many farmers, small business owners, laborers, teachers… are representing us in the federal government? This country is ruled over by a power elite, which the masses have no will to change. Is that a just democracy? I shudder at the thought.

  207. 208 David
    June 5, 2008 at 00:39

    Again I would like to remind people that this colour thing only exists in begoted people. All human beings are coloured.

    As for Obama being the president of America, this is inevitable. he4 has the qualitied the world needs espeially at this disturbing times.

    Personally I wish him well and I am sure many in the world wish him well.

    God will guide him through the whole journey.

  208. 209 Margie in Portland
    June 5, 2008 at 03:49

    @ Tino:

    You said that I am “crying prejudice.” Again, his would imply that I am discussing the past, that I am blaming prejudice for something that did or did not happen in the past, and I am not.

    Another way in which you imply that I am referring to the past is when you bring the word “apology” into the discussion, a word that I did not use.

    Again, what I am saying is that in my set of values, it is very important that all people who believe in human equality should do all that they can to help to bring it about. I would love to live to see the day when I could say with confidence that people are chosen for positions SOLELY on the basis of their qualifications (character, experience, personality, etc.) and not on their demographic categories.

    Unfortunately, I do not believe that we are there yet. Therefore, I want to implement 2080as many different ways as possible of advancing the progress away from prejudices. One of those ways, in my opinion, is for people to — when faced with a choice between two or more political candidates whose qualifications are nearly on a par with one another — choose the one who belongs to a traditionally under-represented demographic group.

    People may say that this is wrong, and I might well agree with them if I were making this statement in the year 2080, or maybe even 2040. But, for this particular moment in history, I believe that this is a valid strategy in the vast arsenal that is needed to fight against prejudice; why? — because young people need role models who they can relate to on a demographic basis (ie: “He’s black, like me!, “She’s a woman — maybe I could do something like that when I grow to womanhood!”, “I’m glad that being openly gay hasn’t stopped him from being successful…maybe there’s hope for me!”)

    Margie
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  209. 210 Alison
    June 5, 2008 at 04:40

    Barack Obama is an ultra-liberal minority candidate from one of the most, if not the most corrupt county in the United States. His next door neighbor and long-time friend was convicted today in federal court on 16 counts including racketerring and bribery. He is a first term senator without any significant experience governing.

    It may come as a big surprise but most Americans are not going to vote for a candidate with no experience, shady connections and is ultra-liberal who they believe will represent only the 13% of the American population that is black.

  210. 211 steve
    June 5, 2008 at 04:51

    @Alison

    All he needs to be is ultra liberal to be unelectable. The democrats didn’t learn from running Kerry last time. I don’t carea bout all the hype, he’s still far left, and will not get elected.

  211. June 5, 2008 at 06:25

    The Obama win definitely shows a change in the American mindset, but I wouldn’t characterize it as the Big Historic Moment for Blacks. That is the worst kind of overkill of the worst kind of patronizing bunkum.

    Black statesmen and moral leaders who have earned our respect are people like Mandela, Kuanda, Desmond Tutu, who have already achieved greatness in their own right and by their public record.

    Besides, man, Obama aint Black.

    The downside is that the Republicans will now probably take the election. Why? Not because Obama is black (which he isn’t), but because he an untested political commodity. If someone like Al Gore had stood for the Democrats it would be a different story. In choosing ‘novelty’ candidates at this important point in modern US history, the Democrats have failed to rise to what the occasion demanded, and they will pay the price.

    Which is sad; I would have liked to see how Obama would have done it.

  212. June 5, 2008 at 08:28

    The Scene: A homely kitchen. At the table are seated Barack’s mum and dad.

    Dad: Well, dear, this is the biggest moment in modern black history.
    Mum: Why’s that, darling?
    Dad: …Er…it’s what they’re saying on the news, dear.
    Mum: But we know better, don’t we, darling?
    Dad: Yeah. Still…can’t exactly call it the biggest moment in modern white history…
    Mum: Why not, darling? He may have inherited your good looks, but he’s definitely got my…
    Dad: Now don’t start that again, dear.
    Mum: I didn’t start it, darling, you did.
    Dad: Damn it, dear, it’s all over the news.
    Mum: Just goes to show; you can’t believe everything you hear on the news.
    Dad: Guess not, dear. Let’s just say it’s…almost…the biggest moment in..
    Mum: No, darling. You said that was when Kofi Annan became Secretary General of the UN.
    Dad: Won’t give me a d….d thing, will you, dear?
    Mum: I’ll give you this, darling: your candidate won and mine lost.
    Dad: Yeah. Guess it’s still a man’s world, dear.
    Mum: Well, darling, if it hadn’t been for those idiots in Florida…
    Dad: Ok. Ok. Just pass the toast, please…

  213. June 5, 2008 at 10:54

    Hi Ros,
    Obama’s victory is the biggest nail on the coffin of racial discrimination.As I have always said, TALENT is in built and not is easy to conquer. It belongs to the owner. Let the world learn to accept that and always give way to individual talent no matter what race or creed.

    Togo KASORO
    KAMPALA-Uganda

  214. 215 Jan -- Indiana, USA
    June 5, 2008 at 12:11

    Of course, this is important for black Americans. But, this is important for everyone. I know that, as a black man, Obama has felt the “black experience,”
    and that is important for many minorities. He can relate to minorities. But, to solely focus on his skin color would not do the race justice. In his political
    career, so far, he has sided with both democrats and republicans on different issues. He is not as “liberal” as Hilary and I think that this will work
    in his favor. The Clintons tried to make this a mud-slinging contest. I would say to Obama, stick to the issues: that is what we want to talk about.
    “is this the biggest moment in Black history?”
    It is certainly a proud moment — But, I wouldn’t limit it to “black history,” I would say that (no matter the outcome) it is an important moment in “american
    history.”

    Jan — Indiana, USA

  215. 216 Julie P
    June 5, 2008 at 13:17

    Steve,

    It is a well known fact that it is very difficult to unseat an incumbent. Bush got reelected on that principal, like many politicians do.

    One term presidents in the 20th century:

    Herbert Hoover (R)
    JFK (D) assassinated
    Ford (R)
    Carter (D)
    Bush, Sr. (R)

  216. 217 steve
    June 5, 2008 at 14:11

    @ Julie

    Technically Ford was a zero termer. He was neither elected president nor vice president, so I don’t think he counts for that purpose.

  217. 218 Nick in USA
    June 5, 2008 at 14:17

    Antonio said:

    “JUST BECAUSE WHEN YOU APPLY FOR A JOB, AND YOU’RE TOLD THAT YOU ARE UNDER QUALIFIED, OR OVER QUALIFIED DOESN’T MEAN THAT THE WHITE PERSON WHO GETS THE JOB ARE ANY MORE QUALIFIED THAN YOU ARE. ”

    Or… it could mean that you are under or over qualified for for the job. Do you think every white middle class male has never heard anyone say these things? That’s life. Most of us hear people say these things multiple times before we actually get a job. You can’t say I didn’t get the job because I’m black. You don’t know why you didn’t get the job. You probably just blew the interview.

  218. 219 Julie P
    June 5, 2008 at 14:29

    @Steve,

    Historically and in political science, Ford is beleived to be a one term president, regardless of how he got into office. He met the criteria by being sworn in. Ford is also believed to have paid for Nixon administration, and Nixon’s pardon, which got Carter elected.

  219. 220 David
    June 5, 2008 at 18:08

    Samantha, this is well said

    “Samantha Pstrossova
    June 4, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Barack Obama’s nomination represents an exciting and refreshing generational shift. He was able to motivate younger generations who never experienced racism like their parents did. I’m 26 years old and I grew up being instilled with the values and virtues of equality. When I see Barack Obama I don’t see a black man, I see a powerful inspirational man who is bringing about enormous hope and change”.

    Like I have argued in this blog before, UN should stop the usage of colours to define people. I am one of those some people call “black” just because I do not look like a printing paper. I am extremely proud of my colour. If I can rightfully define myself, I can call myself coloured. Please do not misuse the English language and tell us there are black and white people on earth.

    I may want to use, (I think it was Clint Eastwood’s quote) “Do not piss on my back and tell me it is raining because I will not believe it”

  220. 221 selena
    June 5, 2008 at 22:48

    @ Steve

    Your remarks sound flippant. Perhaps you did not mean them to be so.

    Sure we should be thankful for our blessings. But everything is not rosy in the garden in the US. There are many homeless people who were made homeless through no fault of their own. To blame them is to do a great disservice to the human race.

  221. 222 selena
    June 5, 2008 at 22:54

    To see Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama compete for the nomination was to witness a shift in thinking in the United States. That has to be good!

    What happens next will be very interesting. I see evidence of Obama’s changing already.

    Personally I would rather that he stick to his guns and not pander to the special interest groups. But I guess if he wants to win he has to do the same old things to get elected.

  222. 223 Shakhoor Rehman
    June 5, 2008 at 23:16

    The first in anything is always significant. Obama is all froth and no substance.

  223. June 6, 2008 at 05:00

    IT IS WITH DEEP SADNESS THAT I CONVEY MY BEST WISHES TO SEN. BARACK OBAMA. HE IS BEING LEFT A NATION IN COMPLETE AND UTTER SHAMBLES. PERHAPS THE GREATEST PERSONIFICATION OF THIS FACT IS REPRESENTED IN THE GHASTLY EVENT THAT TOOK PLACE TODAY IN HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT. THERE A 78 YEAR OLD PEDESTRIAN WAS STRUCK BY A CAR AND LEFT PARALYZED AS THE DRIVER SPED AWAY AND WITNESSES DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. SEVRAL EXCRUCIATING MOMENTS LATER HE WAS SPOTTED BY A POLICE OFFICER WHO SUMMONED PARAMEDICS. THAT ATROCIOUS VIDEO GAME GRAND THEFT AUTO COMES TO MIND WHEN HORROR LIKE THIS PLAYS OUT IN REAL LIFE… FROM RUWANDA TO DARFUR TO NEW ORLEANS TO SCOTT MCLELLANS’ TELL ALL BOOK, THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS DESTROYING MODERN CIVILITY. HE HAS HIS WORK CUT OUT FOR HIM IN THE HOPE OF ANY RESTORATION. GOD BLESS HIM

  224. 225 arshams
    June 7, 2008 at 20:40

    Black or white should not be the matter for consideration; rather it is dependability and capability of a personality who would lead the nation in a peaceful manner, not whimsically to disturb the whole global humanity.


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