Monday, September 29, 2008

I figured out a title: This post is more about race than it is about politics

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!


Ryan said...

"Do I even care what people around the world think of the US? Sure do, a whole lot."

The answer to this question is the only one you need to know how someone will vote in this election.

Ashlee said...

Wow. All those things are wonderful reasons to vote for president: eats arugula, is black (but not too black), went Ivy League. Very convincing! I would love to hear your opinions on his economic plan(if we can't pull it together here, how do we change opinions or practices in the rest of the world?), universal health care, "diplomatic" foreign relations, etc...
You are right about one thing. I would love for my children to see a minority be our president. I will not vote for him, but if he wins that is one thing I'll be happy about.

Nancy said...

I think you should vote for McCain because Sarah Palin is a woman, Travis says don't worry, your Utah vote won't count anyway. Kidding, because I love. Just to irk you.

Sarah said...

I'm not crazy about either candidate, but I can say that while Obama presents a nicely put-together package (arugula, ivy league, nice-looking), some of his former decisions make me question his decency as a human being. Not saying that McCain has not made some questionable decisions as well. Lots to ponder here. Emily, you're going to get much reaction on this candidate's "image" post. spoken or unspoken.

ryan said...

Sarah, can you be more specific? I think both candidates pass the decency test for the most part.

Azúcar said...

a.) I truly think Obama will make a great president on the strength of his ability, character, and judgment. Not just a good, but a great president.

b.) Heck YEAH it's awesome that we finally have nominated and may elect a black president. It's about time.

Emily said...

This was the point of this post: I am trying to express my opinion that, due to unfortunate biases that many still harbor, America as a whole would not embrace a minority for president who was culturally in the minority. As in, one who spoke Ebonics. I am making a generality about the state of Americans' acceptance of differences.

Sarah, is Mark bothered by what I said? Is that what you mean? Because he wouldn't be the first brother-in-law to think I'm wrong. Right, Travis via Nancy?

Callie said...

Since we are focusing on candidate "characteristics"here, and not neccesarily the issues - Did any of you see the interview with Couric and MacCain/Palin? If you haven't, I encourage you to. It worries me that McCain had to "babysit" her while she answered questions. It was painful to watch. McCain doesn't seem the type that will take advice from Palin, rather, she will be his puppet merely repeating what he tells her to. This is not a well balanced ticket. What concerned me more is how defensive and hot-headed he is. These are not great characteristics to have when you are dealing with foreign affairs, especially with many countries who do not see the US in a favorable light as it is. Is he going to be hot-headed and prideful when dealing with foreign countries? Most likely... since he can barely curb his temper in an interview with Katie Couric.
Obama is well versed, educated, laid back and friendly. I would much rather have Obama represent our country when dealing with the world, then a President who can't even look his opponent in the eye for fear he may "lose his temper". I think Obama exhibits the characteristics we need at this time to lead our country. Being a minority is HUGE. I don't think he plays the race card at all, but the fact is, the color of his skin will make other countries listen more readily.

Didi said...

I think it would be best I not look at this blog for a while. Sorry Emily, but it is decidedly Democrat slanted and I disagree with most everything that has been posted besides Sarah's comment. Though,I do think it would be good for our country to have a minority represented as a president - I just do not support the one that is in the running. We can't base our decision on what one president and party have done in the past- that seems to be a normal precedent this country falls back on- don't like the current party and president right now so let's jump ship and see if the other side can do it right. Hmmmm? Maybe it's just the particular person in leadership. Whose to say McCain will follow exactly in Bush's footsteps- he is decidedly more left than Bush. I AM extremely disappointed in Palin. As for hot-headedness, Obama doesn't have to get all defensive because the majority of the media are democrat and agree with him, so what's to get upset about? I could nit-pick all Obama's faults too but I'm not going to. The spirit of contention comes from one source and I'm going to remove myself from it now.

Callie said...

I think we can discuss these issues without being contentious. We each support our chosen candidates for various reasons...neither of us are either "right" or "wrong". We all bring different life experiences with our comments, and do not need to take offense. We are discussing politics, not personally attacking one another. If anyone see's it that way, that is unfortunate.

ryan said...

It's okay to listen to alternate viewpoints, Didi! It's how we learn from each other.

Here's a Newsweek piece from a little while back that has the same basic premise as Emily's argument.

Andrew Sullivan wrote a longer cover story for The Atlantic in December that expressed similar views as part of a larger analysis.

Christen said...

Hi Emily...this is way off the subject but Michael and I have been jokingly on the subject of Exhibitionists and Voyerists lately and I am just curious which one you think you are?

He claims that I am an Exhibitionist...I beg to differ...
I claim neither!

Just curious? Miss you!

Christen said...

On the this.

I didn't know link it, just copy it.

I researched more and Obama didn't actually vote "no" but he voted present which is basically a no when they required so many yes votes to pass the infant protection act...Hillary Clinton even voted Yes.

It is hard for me to stand behind someone who cares so little for human life.

Sarah said...

Emily, Mark has not read your post, so no, I was not speaking for him. Just that I thought this was a reactionary topic and people would likely have much to say on the topic.

Ryan, I was referring to an interview I read with Glenn Beck interviewing David Freddoso. He wrote The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate. I haven't read it. Have you? ha. The interview talked about partial birth abortions, which in general, republicans and democrats alike, are against. Obama was the only Illinois state senator to speak against a law banning partial birth abortions. This exact same legislation later came before the U.S. Senate, and it passed 98 to 0. (2 republican senators were not present to vote.) It is overwhelmingly obvious to almost all U.S. leaders that partial birth abortion is essentially murder, however, Obama was against the law to abolish it. That makes me seriously worried.

But yes, very polished and educated.

Anonymous said...

"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."

How come? Is it because the novelty factor will have expired? If so, I think that is probably right.

Good stuff,

mrs. timberlake said...

I am a lurker....

But a lurker who needs to thank you and your blog readers.

I have been on the fence as to who to vote for. UNTIL, your previous post - where a commenter left a link to an ABC quiz containing quotes from McCain and Obama based on the issues.

So, after taking the quiz, it is clear which candidate I am aligned with. So no more undecided! THANK YOU!

*JULIA* said...

I love that you put topics like this on your blog and I love the reactions of the readers even more. This one made me laugh. good job.

The Fish Family said...

hot topics you've picked!

I do have to say I once wanted obama in office, then I found out a few things.

You have to watch the video christen talked about in her comment. I was so upset over it after seeing it, and I can not vote for anyone that votes it is ok to abort a baby by delivering preterm and leaving the child out to die. I saw the clip then read articles on it because I wanted to make sure the information on the video is correct.

For me race, political side, or gender don't take any roll in voting. I would like to pick the man that won't help fulfill phrophecy of the last day :)

ryan said...

Sarah, not that I have any desire to debate abortion, here or anywhere, but to quibble: 98-0 is a bit different than 64-34 (Clinton voted no).

Also, Christen, here's the Induced Birth Infant Liability Act (which would have made doctors financially and punitively responsible for a child following an unsuccessful abortion) that Obama voted Present on the same year that Congress passed the very different and uncontroversial Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (which acknowledges the legal personhood of a newborn and says nothing about its legal status before birth).

On abortion in general, here's Obama in his own words from one of his books:
[An abortion protester at a campaign event] handed me a pamphlet. "Mr. Obama, I know you're a Christian, with a family of your own. So how can you support murdering babies?"

I told him I understood his position but had to disagree with it. I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place.

"I will pray for you," the protester said. "I pray that you have a change of heart." Neither my mind nor my heart changed that day, nor did they in the days to come. But that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own—that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that had been extended to me.

ryan said...

Oops, here's a better link to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.

Also, arugula is delicious.

The Fish Family said...

He was voting on LIVE ABORTIONS not the issue of abortion. He was simply voting on if they can induce then leave a child to die. If he wants abortions to avoid unsafe methods that was for a different court. Obama understood what they were voting on LIVE BIRTHS- he ok'd the fact of that type and method of abortion and stood alone. That says what kind of a man he is.

ryan said...

T. Fish, I'm asking you to read the actual bill rather than relying on what someone told you he was voting on. Better yet, here's a PDF of the actual transcript of the debate, including Obama's expression of his concerns based on constitutionality. Yay, primary historical sources!

Doug said...

From: Dr. John Tisdale
Dear Friends,
As I was listening to a news program last night, I watched in horror as Barack Obama made the statement with pride. . .'we are no longer a Christian nation; we are now a nation of Christians, Jews, Muslims,Buddhists, . . .' As with so many other statements I've heard him(and his wife) make, I never thought I'd see the day that I'd hear somethinglike that from a presidential candidate in this nation. To think our forefathers fought and died for the right for our nation to be a Christian nation--and to have this man say with pride that we are no longer that. How far this nation has come from what our founding fathers intended it to be. I hope that each of you will do what I'm doing now--send your concerns,written simply and sincerely, to the Christians on your email list. With God's help, and He is still in control of this nation and all else, we can show this man and the world in November that we are, indeed, still a Christian nation!Please pray for our nation!

Someone elses opinion to consider in the debate!

Doug said...

Seems a little heated around here so...
No matter which side of the aisle you are on, this is pretty funny!

Doug said...

Looks like I missed the end of the link, Sorry!

Doug said...

the end is .htm
REally, I work with computers and do well......?

Jessica Lowenthal said...

Dear John Tinsdale,

And what email will you send to your your Jewish and Muslim friends, who pay taxes, fight in wars, and have died for this country?

And where in the Declaration of Independence does it mention Christ? Where in the Pledge of Allegiance? Where in the Constitution?

When did we re-unite church and state?

Our forefathers and mothers fought for the freedom of religion, or the freedom from religious tyranny, or -- heck -- the freedom from tyranny, plain and simple.

Emily! Great post.

Amy Richardson said...

Way to go out on a limb, Emily. Kevin's fet up and actually is moving to New Zealand.

Emily said...

Doug, I have to agree with Jessica on this one. The wording on that suggests that we should be horrified that Jews, Buddhists and/or Muslims live in our country. I can't subscribe to that. In fact, I think it's not Christian-like whatsoever.

However, I like that you joined the discussion, and I hadn't seen that jibjab before. Those are always funny.

Emily said...

Ryan, you really like arugula? It's not my favorite.

Doug said...


Sorry for just posting another persons opinion to a semi-open forum.

It seems everyone has a REALLY strong personal opinion and really wants others to just embrace whatever they embrace.

Suppose I could have easily stated my feelings regarding the posted statements but what good will it do to put place bias or fear in the replies? So I left it open. I am not going to judge and decide what anyone should say.

There seems to be many non-Christlike statements all around regarding this and most every election.

So a melting pot we are!
As Americans and Christians, we are obviously willing with many others to elect one of claimed African / Muslum / American decent with wide and varied interests or I suppose he couldn't be in the election!

How much more varied could it be?

Maybe Obama could have a Chinese mother, practicing Islam, Jewish black dad acting Buddist who was born in Africa, nationalized as an American citizen had a son who is now running for president! What a country we live in!

Nevertheless, I am staying independent to chose what I feel is best after I learn more about the less than perfect choices we have!

Finding the biased and pointed opinions a charm to read!

For now

Azúcar said...

I wonder what Mr. Tinsdale thinks of Thomas Jefferson, and the other Deist founding fathers.

The truth is that the founding fathers knew very well, even intimately, what they were doing when they created a state without a church, yea, even a state that was not "Christian."

As a Mormon, I'm incredibly thankful for the separation between the church and the state, because the restoration could never have happened without it.

Azúcar said...

Then again, I sincerely doubt that Mr. Tinsdale considers me Christian anyway...

Oh the myopia!

neil said...

Who is "Dr. John Tisdale" and why are you disseminating his slanderous spam?

Doug said...

Here is one to make you laugh!
Obama - Binden
Osama - Binladen

There is one for the conspiricy theorists out there!

Wait, we can elect him, discover both of him, publish why we wonder Bush can't find him right under his nose all along!
Then once elected he can end the war himself!
Wow, the laughter is so profuse!

Emily said...


Adam, gold star for staying on topic.

Doug said...


Just got your post, sorry haven't known of your website. Not really certain with our media who to believe or not. Can't believe 70% of what is on the web either so I am not certain who makes your listed website and what their belief system is! Will have to research some more to find out.

One concern is talks are regularly edited or editorialized by the decidedly corrupt and biased medias to convert to their particular point of view they would like you to assume instead of just report the facts and let the people decide.

Therefore, I just don't know what is true when I read them without serious searching and prayer.

I admit that I am looking for the truth and knowledge of those who know first hand rather than the rhetoric! It would be nice to have someone the Prophet supports to lead the country but alas tis a fantasy....

Doug said...


That is not a race comment.
It was a visually obvious put in a simple perspective for humor.
Do you not wish any humor that doesn't agree with your party choice?

Emily said...

I was hoping for a discussion on race! I typed that at the same time you typed the bin Laden thing, trying to resolve some of the extraneous discussions.

I have never stated my party choice. I am not a democrat.

Didi said...

Okay. Yes, I'm still following the blog. You have me addicted Emily. Don't mind Doug everyone, just think I have to hear these things and more everyday! (my hubby) :) He has good intentions I promise and a bent sense of humor. ha ha Honey, stay on topic before you get banned! :) He gets too emotionally involved. The Tisdale comment was something that was sent to him via a friend he trusts, he did not agree with all that was in it. He was trying to promote more discussion and find truths. Obviously, we are all thankful for a free country where the restoration was made possible!
Now Emily, what was the topic again? :) Oh yeah! Race! What are we debating on it? Are we grateful for race? YES! How boring the world would be if we all looked the same. Do we have prejudices? Some of us do based on our life experiences and parental teaching. Would we not vote solely because of race? I sure hope not! I'm not sure how the majority of Americans would feel though. I think you're right in that if the candidate were someone that did not still have some "white" appeal then it would be much harder to elect that person to office. The fear or supposition being: would that person still respect the culture, rights, etc. that we hold, and if of a different religion - would that person squelch our religious freedom? There is an inherant fear of change and difference in the human family. Throw some more race questions out there Emily and maybe we'll all get back on topic and away from political sides. *smile*

doug said...

Sorry Emily couldn't tell from all I have read in your blog.

The timing did make me feel like it was a bit personal on that comment so I appreciate the apology!

Here is why, since this is "your blog world" I do not wish to offend and try to respect the rules of the country / blog world I am in.

I will think before I post anything regarding race as it really doesn't matter to me what race, color or creed anyone is as long as they are willing to live in peace with others of any belief, race or creed.
For now

The Fish Family said...

You can read transcripts of what he is saying now- the fact is he voted for live abortions. Just because we have different oppinions of the man does not mean you can assume I am un educated or not researching issues on my own. It is in black and white clear that He and He alone,voted for the live abortions. It didn't pass because he was the ONLY one that devalued life to that extent.

ryan said...

Doug, the link that Neil posted from is, which is university-based and explicitly set up as a nonpartisan, unbiased and independent verifier of political claims from all sides. It makes for an informative read!

T. Fish, I assumed nothing about your education or research proclivities. I am glad you posted your link; it made me dig a lot deeper than I normally would. I'm not sure what you mean that he was the only one who voted against it and that's why it didn't pass. The bill passed, 34 to 6 with 12 state senators (including Obama) voting Present, indicating problems with the bill as written but not outright opposition. Here's what Obama said about his vote on page 87 of the state senate transcript from 2001 that I linked to:
"I think it's important to recognize though that this is an area where potentially we might have compromised and -- and arrived at a bill that dealt with the narrow concerns about how a -- a previable fetus or child was treated by a hospital. We decided not to do that. We're going much further than that in this bill. As a consequence, I think that we will probably end up in court once again, as we often do, on this issue. And as a consequence, I'll be voting Present."

His concerns were the constitutionality of the legislation, and as a former professor of constitutional law, I imagine he knows what he's talking about.

Emily, sorry to hijack your treatise on race yet again. How long before we get an Asian president? I think 30-40 years, and 12-16 before we elect a Hispanic woman.

Doug said...

Interesting 10 minute video about how market meltdown happened…..
What does it have to do with racism?

What some may be supposedly fed up with a republican party might not know to well what has happened in the past and present!

Azúcar said...

That Youtube video is the same one my racist mother in law sent to me yesterday. Good company.

How about this essay on race and the current presidential candidates?

(Warning, content may appear inflammatory to some readers.)

Doug said...

Thanks for your point of view!
Will try a look at it from your paradigm once and see how it feels!
Always intriguing to see how other peoples individual paradigms are!

doug said...


I checked with my friend that sent the link to make certain about why he had sent it and if he felt it was racist in any way.

FYI, he is white and his wife is black and are happily married for over 20 years as a culturally diverse family! I didn't think that should affect it but you never know so I asked!

They somehow didn't view it as racist and felt ok with sharing it to allow people to do the research like they did while pausing the video. They claim no interest in voting for Obama but were very open to the idea of any canidate.

I saw the site you sent and that seems to be more racist site - what I read anyway. Appears almost anti-white to me. Don't worry, not offended, just perplexed.....

Why do people get so hung up on the race thing? We are such a diverse culture that it shouldn't matter any more what color your skin is, what national origin you are, how much money you make or where you were born, what is suppose to matter is are you a decent human being and do you live and let them live worship how when or what they may.....

So paradigms are unique!

Poppy and Peony said...

What a great post! I currently live in England and moving here has made me see/understand just how important the world's view of the US is!

I'll admit I wasn't sold on Obama initially, however I've read US and European views on his policies and I'm sold. That and the fact Sarah Palin really does scare me - I had NO opinion before, but reading about the cuts she made to services, her views and policies I simply could not vote for her, and let's face it a vote for Republican is a vote for Palin.
Great blog!
p.s. I found you via the wonderful Abby!

Doug said...

Even though this blog is dead, this is a bit race...

Wonder what to think about this one?

Anonymous said...

Is it too late to comment on this? Actually, I want to comment on the comments.... Christians (Mormon and non-LDS alike) in this country would be well served to allow ALL of their political stances to find origin in their Christ-belief. I continue to be frustrated by the fact that so many people who identify as believers in Christ think that is lived out in an anti-abortion stance. Here is a dose of fact-- abortion is not an isolated issue- abortion is connected to poverty. More than 70% of abortions in this country are by women in extreme poverty. Hmmm...poverty. Anyone want to discuss what Jesus said about THAT? You want to reduce abortions? Work to end poverty.

I'm not family or LDS, so thanks for letting me chime in, Emily! :)