December 29, 2007

"If he overidentifies with Sharpton, he looks like he’s only a black candidate."

"A black candidate doesn’t want to look like he’s only a black candidate.... A white candidate reaches out to a Sharpton and looks like they have the ability to reach out. It looks like they’re presidential. That’s the dichotomy."

Said — is it too obvious? — Al Sharpton.

And from Julian Bond: "A portion of black voters want Obama to give them some raw meat. Because they want so badly to have their concerns addressed and highlighted, and they expect it of him because he’s black."

From a NYT article titled "A Biracial Candidate Walks His Own Fine Line":
Too young to have experienced segregation, [Barack Obama] has thrived in white institutions. His style is more conciliatory than confrontational, more technocrat than preacher. Compared with many older politicians, he tends to speak about race indirectly or implicitly, when he speaks about it at all....

In his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope,” Mr. Obama recalls sitting with a white, liberal Democrat in the Senate and listening to a black, inner-city legislator, whom he identified only as John Doe, speechifying on how the elimination of a particular program was blatant racism. The white colleague turned to Mr. Obama and said, “You know what the problem is with John? Whenever I hear him, he makes me feel more white.”

Mr. Obama finds a lesson in that moment: White guilt has exhausted itself. Even fair-minded whites resist suggestions of racial victimization. Proposals that benefit minorities alone cannot be a basis for the broad coalitions needed to transform the country, he concluded. Only “universal appeals” for approaches that help all Americans, he wrote in his book, “schools that teach, jobs that pay, health care for everyone who needs it” can do that, “even if such strategies disproportionately help all Americans.”

11 comments:

Eli Blake said...

That's the difference between Obama and the candidacies of, say, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Obama (who is as noted half black and half white anyway) isn't in his own mind defined by his race. He has given attention to the African-American community, for example being one of the candidates to go to Selma for the anniversary of the Edmund Pettis bridge and he allows that he had ancestors who experienced racism (such as his grandfather who was referred to as a 'Kaffir' by the British; in colonial days that was the equivalent of the 'n' word.) But he refuses to let that define him as a man, as a candidate or as an American.

The irony is that if he is elected it will probably open more doors for African-Americans than if say, Jackson had been.

hdhouse said...

“even if such strategies disproportionately help all Americans.”

is the observation of the year in my book. it defines probably all issues of merit and most that are not meritorious. if universal health care were instituted, those with insurance or company pay would claim (in degrees) we don't need it, we have it, our quality would go down, etc.

those without insurance would benefit (of course) 100% so it is disproportional. but the subtle point is that there have been a fair number of people on the "have" side who recognize that there are "have nots" but are loath to give them something that they either have to pay for or work for or both. obviously a "free universal service" would benefit everyone except those who get it for free yet you'll find that even though the person isn't paying a cent, he still doesn't want someelse to "just get it for nothing".

that reaction and mindset isn't racial at its core. it is perhaps human nature run amuck and obama is something of a very smart person to notice it and talk about it.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Sometimes liberals teeter on the brink of self-parody. Other times they jump straight in with both feet:

obviously a "free universal service" would benefit everyone except those who get it for free yet you'll find that even though the person isn't paying a cent, he still doesn't want someelse to "just get it for nothing".

Middle Class Guy said...

He is trying to be the Tiger Woods of politics.

Trooper York said...

Urkel ain't got no soul!

Revenant said...

I expect any candidate who wants my vote to not only not "overidentify" with Sharpton, but to refuse to have anything to do with the man.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Gee, and right before the caucuses, too.

Cedarford said...

Sometimes liberals teeter on the brink of self-parody. Other times they jump straight in with both feet:

I'm reminded of the all-time great parody:

NYTimes discovers from noted scientists that an asteroid will smash into Earth two days later, sending humanity the way of the dinosaurs. They decide to announce the grim news with their last headline ever.

"WORLD ENDS TOMORROW! HUGE ASTEROID HEADED FOR EARTH! WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND JEWS WILL SUFFER THE MOST!"

Moose said...

Man, oh man.

That legislator hit it on the head. Whenever I hear about "institutional racism" or better yet, "unconsious racism", I get all wiggly.

It's a condition that can never go away, because the only people that can judge it are black. Whites can never tell themselves if they've overcome it, and are eternally subject to once again being judged racist if even only one black person pronounces sentence on you.

Catch 22 if I ever saw one.

Deborah said...

I see all these posts on the article but the posters aren't giving their opinions. I had a lot to say and I'm not going to say it here.

former law student said...

Al Sharpton is a lightweight who became prominent only because he was lucky enough to live in America's media center. He is actually worth about 1/8th of Jesse Jackson, who suffers from living in flyover land. Another useful comparison: Al Sharpton = 1/32 Adam Clayton Powell