PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

March 15, 2008

Barack Obama Accused of Being Black — Heads Must Role!!!

So, Geraldine Ferraro’s talking the other day on tv. For those of you who are too young to remember, or who can’t quite place the name, or who have quite frankly just blocked the whole thing out, Ferraro was the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in the 1984 Presidential race. And she’s talking about the current Democratic candidates. And she did the unforgivable. She went somewhere that the Clinton campaign promised they wouldn’t go. She made comments that caused her, three days later, to resign from her post on the finance committee for the Clinton campaign (which, to be fair, no one knew she was part of until she ran her mouth off).

That unforgivable allegation? Ferraro alleged that Barack Obama is…make sure you’re sitting down now…black.

Specifically, what he said is that he wouldn’t be where he is now if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s black. And the crowd went (excuse my language) batshit. (Actually, I originally typed “apeshit”, but didn’t want it to be construed as a racist remark, given the conversation.)

As a politician and, perhaps more importantly, an English major, I’m well aware of the sometime-dichotomy between what people say and what they mean. But it seems to me that if you don’t understand what Ms Ferraro was saying, you’re willfully trying to not understand. The most common response is the figurative rolling of the eyes and dripping-with-sarcasm observation that “it’s sooo advantageous to be a black man in America”.

I’m not going to sit here and say that blacks in America are on equal footing with whites. I believe (hope?) that they’re better off than they were thirty or twenty or ten years ago. But I’m not black, and I’m not going to pull the “some of my best friends are black” disclaimer because, quite frankly, they’re not. I hope (believe) that I treat everyone the same, regardless of race. I work with a lot of Indians and Asians (yes, I know that India is part of Asia, but go with the flow here), and have in the past worked with a few African Americans, and I would hope that I never gave any of them cause to think that I was treating them any differently because they were not white than I would if the were. If any of them do, I would truly like them to contact me and let me know.
End of digression

So anyway. Ms Ferraro said (essentially) that Barack Obama is the front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination because he’s black. And everybody went nuts. Cries of racism and worse (well, no, not worse) rang from the rafters. And everybody who railed against Geraldine Ferraro and called for her resignation or, better yet, her firing and lynching, missed one major point: She’s right.

Barack Obama is a junior Senator from Illinois. He has very little in the way of legislative achievements to show for his time in the Senate, or even in the Illinois Senate. He has a flair for rhetoric, and promises sweeping change, but elements of his past (his involvement with a shady financier) and present (an aide telling foreign governments that he’s just saying things to get elected, not to worry about him following through once he’s in office) could cause people look closely to question how much the new is actually different from the old. But people aren’t looking very closely as of yet, and Obama’s gone in to states where the Clinton name has traditionally done very well, states that were seen as virtual gimmes for Clinton, and either won or made it a race. And the reason for that?

Black voters.

You cannot convince me, though you’re welcome to try, that a relatively inexperienced white politician from Illinois could go in to Mississippi with a pocketful of nebulous promises and a pretty turn of phrase and have them turn out in droves at the polling places to pull the lever for him. But turn out they did. If anyone can explain to me why this would be other than race, I’m willing to listen.

No, wait. I need to amend that last statement. Because it sounds like I’m saying that the only thing Obama’s got going for him is the color of his skin. I certainly don’t believe that at all. And I don’t think Geraldine Ferraro does either. But to say that Obama’s race plays no part in his success, especially in areas with high African American voter turnout, is disingenuous at best, and delusional at worst.

The 300 Project: 10/51



  1. […] .Common Sense placed an interesting blog post on Barack Obama Accused of Being Black â […]

    Pingback by Barack Obama Chronicles » Archive » Barack Obama Accused of Being Black — Heads Must Role!!! — March 15, 2008 @ 1:39 am | Reply

  2. Hey Charles,

    I like to read your political commentaries. They are insightful and engaging. Keep ’em comin’.

    Comment by Jennie Prater — March 17, 2008 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: