*crossposted at Dailykos*
No, that's right folks. This black woman and many more just like me are not voting for Barack, based mostly on his color.
Yeah, that's right. Many are actually voting for him because he is the best candidate running for the job.
Contrary to the blanket statements made by folks around these parts these days that black people are voting for Barack mostly because he is black. A great number of us might actually be voting for him because he's a visionary, capable leader as demonstrated by his campaign managment, his grassroots movement, and his recognition and belief that "big government" rarely means "efficient" or fair any more than the Republican vision of small government and has to be reorganized in a way that is both fair and efficient. Perhaps we are as aggravated about the old-school politics and partisan free-for-all inside the Beltway as everyone else.
At first, I took this whole issue in stride. Identity politics, after all, is alive and well. People will always identify with other folks based on common cultural characteristics. And even in this "racial transcendent" moment that Barack is trying to live in--the purponderance of identity politics is clearly not going to die in the mind of pundits, or online forums or blogs for that matter, or folks who do not see this election as an opportuntity to change course in a significant and promising new direction.
But, I have had just about enough of this dismissal of African American voters as monolithic group who are voting for Barack more on identity than on anything else. It steps on our legacy as loyal Democrats and on the possibility that black people are making an educated and informed decision about folks running for president.
I have had my share of foolishness and it would be easy to pin these comments on Senator Clinton supporters since the relationship between Obama supporters and Clinton supporters is so cantankerous around here these days. But Obama-holics that is not the case.
For example, about 2 months ago, I was standing in the grocery store and a woman heard me talking about my plans to head to Pennsylvania and canvass, and the reasons I thought he was the superior candidate. The woman decided to join the conversation and told me that I should admit that the only reason I was supporting him was because he was "apart of the black race." Instead of losing it, I assumed she had been brainwashed by Faux News. I calmly dismissed her argument, and told her to have a nice day in the nicest nasty tone I could muster.
A week ago, a fellow Kos reader and ardent Obama supporter told me that "black people always look out for other black people, so of course they would vote for the black candidate. And why shouldn't they?"
Two days ago, another Obama supporter, called me an idiot because I mentioned that black folks have been loyally Democrat and pointed to general election data and primary data at the senate and congress level. In addition, I also stated that prior to January 31 many African Americans were firmly for Hillary and that in July 2007, as much as 72% of African Americans were for Hillary. And lastly, that the same reasons other folks were moving to the Barack side of life. His problem was with my assertion seems to be that I think black people might be making an educated voting decision on something more than color.
Yesterday, a self-labeled "old-white guy" made the argument that he spoke to a black politcal blogger and from that conversation had determined that the biggest reason black people were voting for Barack en masse was because of his color--especially since that political blogger had admitted as much.
I've got a couple more, but I think you get the picture.
Yet, I can come up with at a least a few instances where "the blacks" did not support some appointment to an office or cabinent or a the candidacy of a fellow "black". Clarence Thomas is black. Last time I checked, lots of us were not fans
. And still aren't.Michael Steele
ran for senate in Maryland and black voters helped send him home.
I firmly believe we have every right to be proud of the fact that Barack might be the first man of color in the White House. However, while his color is a significant history-making moment, particularly if he gets elected, his run for office is just as significant, if not more, for so many of the reasons that are discussed ad nauseum in this forum everyday and that I have already mentioned.
No, numbers don't lie. But the qualitative data behind them is just as important. Maybe, we should start looking a little closer at both.