Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Will Obama Campaign Set Back Race Relations?

Guest commentary by Postmodern Conservative.

So many commentators have remarked on the surprising racial component of Hillary's campaign against Obama, it's hard to add to the pile. But one snippet I picked up yesterday from The American Spectator was indicative. It quoted an aging Democrat harridan screaming:

"And the Democrats are throwing the election away! For what? An inadequate black male who would not have been running had it not been a white woman that was running for president!"

It is this sort of racial motivation (which Liberty Corner commented on previously) that has caused discomfort for Democrats and no doubt played into Obama's hands. To sum up, here are some things worth pondering:

1. As many have noted, an Obama nomination will push many fence-sitters over to McCain. It's the "racial crossover vote." But as I pointed out, these people are superficial, cultural reactionaries, not true conservatives and in most cases definitely not social (i.e., moral) conservatives.

2. Unfortunately even some Republicans share this racial prejudice. However, amongst both crossovers and Republicans a certain subtlety should be thrown in: often times what is hastily perceived as anti-black prejudice is really just an annoyance with a certain type of black culture and black politics—whining victimization theory and leftist welfare state politics that contains, one might add, a degree of black racist assumptions, whether conscious or not. (In my own place of work it is notable that when blacks speak of "diversity" what they often mean is a pro-black emphasis, blatantly ignoring Asians, Latinos, etc.)

3. Despite his ambiguous March 18 speech on race, with some sensible statements thrown in, Obama failed to divest himself completely of the biased liberal race agenda.

4. In the short term a liberal black candidacy will favor McCain, possibly winning him an election that previously seemed out of reach due to the controversies surrounding the Bush administration. Note my emphasis, because a black conservative candidate would presumably pick up many black votes as well as most white conservative votes.

5. In the long term, because of the clannish attitude of the majority of blacks (see previous comments) the election could become as racially divisive as the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson trials of the 1990s. They will assume, as they have been indoctrinated to do for generations, that a vote for McCain is a vote against them. This has already happened in the case of Hillary's shameless opportunism in playing the race card for her own benefit.

6. One regrets that the views of outstanding black Americans like Thomas Sowell, Judge Clarence Thomas and J.C. Watts are not nearly as popularized as those of Oprah, Al Sharpton or, for that matter, Barack Obama. One wishes that liberals of whatever color could heed the words of actor Morgan Freeman who (though no Republican) has said: "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history" and "Stop talking about race and racism will end." Now as it turns out, Freeman has endorsed Obama, but at least, as he was keen to point out, it wasn't for racial reasons.

7. One last thought: a positive development could come out of this if enough minorities like Asians and Latinos were to clearly favor McCain, then what at first sight seems a rehash of ideologically driven black favoritism might finally give way to a more sensible (in fact equitable) view on race relations.