the election likes to forget

It is fascinating to me that race has not been more of an issue in this election. At least more up front, anyways. Sure it's in the conversation but there could be so much more. Never mind the fact that McCain's answer to:

"I don't trust Obama...He's an Arab,"was,
"No ma'am, he's a decent, family man."

It's funny that the racial politics involved revolve around terrorism and Obama's middle name, "Hussein." Not much is made of his African American identity. He's black, folks- why aren't more people talking about this?

No doubt, this is due in part to the Obama camp's handling of his public identity. I imagine they decided if they bring up race first they lose for "playing the race card." There's no political advantage for either candidate to bring up race, really. First one to mention it looks desperate.
And so the silence in America continues.

Of course, Obama brings the issue to the fore because we're a tv nation and we can see him. The side conversations about whether or not Obama is "black enough" persist largely out of the white gaze, but all sorts of profound questions about African American identity are being raised. What does it look like to sell out? To succeed? -profound and perpetual questions.
Does McCain get the same question? Is he white enough?!

So we carry on not able or willing to examine more closely the implications of a black man running for president, regardless if he wins or not. There cannot not be significance to this election. As a white man in diverse environs, middle America looks increasingly like one tribe amongst many, equally insular but handed more protection. And where are the other minority voices? (Hey look, white guy can't hear the other voices <-I know, i know! post 'em if you got 'em :) ) There is so much we could address now that race is on the table. only it isn't. What are the candidate discussions in the Latino and Asian American communities about?

I wish race were more of an issue in this one.


  1. If you watch Chris Rock's "Kill the Messenger", he said the reason why race hasn't been as much of an issue is because "the current President [i.e. Bush] has f***ed up so badly, it's tough for even a white guy to win the election! Sometimes, I don't think Barak realizes he's black!" Well, take it for what it's worth - it is from Chris Rock - although I think he's hilarious.

  2. C.R. is fantastic :)
    Is Kill the Messenger a weekly show or a special (I might be able to watch at one of these new online places!)

  3. It was his HBO special - so you might have to search youtube or the like...

  4. Seeing that Obama is tied or winning most of the swing states, particularly some that Bush won easily, is maybe a reflection that our nation is getting over the whole "race" thing and finally focusing on the issues. Maybe race isn't as big as an issue as we initially thought, especially since the economy is the defining issue of this election. Obama's being the first black presidential candidate of a major US party is of course, historical, but so is the fact that America is finally looking past that fact that he is.


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