Image shared on Flickr by allison chase
Whether we like it or not, race is an issue in 21st century America.
If it wasn’t an issue, no one would have said anything in the current election about who played the race card first — because there wouldn’t be a race card.
If race wasn’t an issue, pollsters wouldn’t be asking questions to determine what percentage of whites have negative perceptions about blacks.
If it wasn’t an issue, no one would be saying anything about Barack Obama being black. He would just be a relatively young politician trying to become president. Being the first black man nominated by a major political party as its candidate for president of the United States of America would not be such a big deal.
And Barack is just as much white as he is black — and it really shouldn’t make a difference.
Image shared on Flickr by jurvetson
If race didn’t matter it would be just as correct to call him white as it is to call him black.
Yet, even today, 143 years after the end of the American Civil War, a person with any black ancestry is black — regardless of the percentage of their non-black ancestry…, and it really, really shouldn’t matter — but it does.
Barack Obama being black will not win him the race for the presidency. However, if he loses, being black will be part of the reason he lost.
Imagine — just for a moment — where the polls would be if Obama was not black.
There are many, many white Americans who will not — cannot — vote for Obama because of his race and who will vote for McCain because McCain is not black. Many of them will find other reasons to use. Though they won’t admit it, many will be voting the way they do because race matters to them. Unfortunately, I know a few people — just a few — that are making such rationalizations over this election — however, I am surprised at some people I know who are leaning towards voting Democrat.
One friend from long ago refuses to vote for a black man, even though she has legal custody of grandchildren who are of mixed parentage. I can’t understand it.
Race matters to me in a different way. I am absolutely enthused that we have progressed to the point where a black man is a very serious contender for the presidency of the United States. However, my vote will not be based on race, but rather on the policies and abilities of the candidates.
Race, as a topic, though, matters to me now because, despite the fact that it may make a difference today, I can see that we are moving to a place and time where, perhaps, it may not matter so much after all — as it shouldn’t!
just a few thoughts from a retired, somewhat overweight, white guy from Arkansas