For me, one of the favorable things about Barack Obama is that he's black. Half black, but black nonetheless. I've heard a lot of hullabaloo -- especially in the media -- that we really ought not let race play a factor in this election. Geraldine Ferraro was lambasted for suggesting that Obama's race was to his advantage in beating Clinton. But I agreed with her, as far as I understood her comments correctly. His ethnicity makes me more inclined to vote for him.
If we don't elect a black president this year, it will be a very, very long time before we ever elect a black president. Or a Chinese-American president, or a Jewish president, or a Mormon president and I could go on. The black cultural things about Obama make some people very nervous: his African-American church, for example, or the racially-charged thesis that his wife supposedly wrote at Princeton, or was it Yale?1 There are way too many people, of all political parties, in this country who harbor biases that would prevent them from voting for an out-and-out black man. Still, in 2008.2 However, Obama is not an out-and-out black man and for that reason, he is the perfect vehicle to transition our country to accepting candidates of various backgrounds. He's half-white; he is tall and good-looking3; he grew up in Hawaii; he schooled in Ivy League; he eats arugula. Basically, he fits the profile described in Stuff White People Like. He is relate-able to lots of us around the country4. He could ease us into a new social era, presidentially speaking, and I think that's a favorable quality to his credit.
Am I racist against white people if I think being black is an asset? Um, no. Silly question.
Do I value the idea of electing a man of color so much that I disregard the issues and the positions of the candidates? Absolutely not.
Do I think it would help the image of the US abroad to have a minority in office? Yep!
Do I even care what people around the world think of the US? Sure do, a whole lot.
If I consider race as an asset for Obama, don't I have to allow other people the right to consider his being black a detriment? That's already happening, unfortunately, and there's nothing I can do to change that.
Am I absolutely positive that I will be voting for Obama? McCain was my man in 2000, and he's still my senator. I like the guy, not as much as I used to, but I could maybe possibly still be persuaded to vote for him if drastic things were to happen in the next few weeks. I won't be moving to New Zealand out of protest if he wins.5
I probably have more I want to say on this subject. I just can't remember it right now. Feel free to tell me what you think. Only, be nice, okay? Thanks.
1 Google can't decide.
2 ditto for Chinese-Americans, Jews, Mormons. . . .
3 not that this is exclusive to white people, just that good-looking people are more readily embraced
4 as opposed to, say, Mitt Romney, who is only relate-able to rich people and Mormons
5 Although, man! How cool would it be to live in New Zealand!