The problem with Obama’s race

The problem with Obama’s race is that you’re not allowed to dislike him simply because you don’t like him. From my point of view, irrespective of skin color, I find Obama boring and platitudinous, I dislike and distrust his friends, I find appalling his lack of practical experience, and I disagree with him from top to bottom when it comes to his political positions. He is, to me, an utterly undesirable candidate. However, in the world of identity politics, all of this is clearly a front for my unspoken racism. It is impossible for those on the Left to believe that, if someone is in a politically correct minority, he can be disliked for reasons other than his minority status. Cynthia Tucker, a liberal columnist, is upfront about this belief:

After a recent column describing Barack Obama as “a presidential candidate who happens to be black — not a black presidential candidate,” I received countless responses from readers, a handful of them odd. That odd handful declared they take no notice of superficial traits such as skin color, and they took me to task for making any reference to Obama’s race.

“I thought of (Obama) as a person. I did not see black or white or Hispanic or that he was a man — I saw a person! If people really, truly want racial equality, then the first step has to be to STOP looking at skin color,” wrote one reader.

“When I look at a person, the last thing I think about is skin color or heritage,” wrote another.

Sorry, but I’m not buying it. While I am sympathetic to any desire to get past dated and useless habits of mind — especially the contentious politics of the color line — that’s just nonsense. None of us, black, white or brown, is colorblind.  (Emphasis mine.)

Sorry, Cynthia, but I’m not buying that. I refuse to be denied the right to dislike someone based upon the content of their character. More to the point, given Obama’s church, his verbal vapidity, and what’s emerging about his somewhat checkered Chicago political past, I’m not even sure precisely how much character the man has. And that is entirely separate, of course, from my disliking his political positions.

Nor do I think I’m deluding myself about my innate racism. The fact is, I’ve never seen Obama speak. I get my news through the written word. Or, if I’m getting my news through the spoken word, I hear it on the radio. I never watch the candidates on TV, ever. That is, my impressions of Obama are purely cerebral. And I still don’t like him.

Hillary, interestingly, doesn’t have quite the same protection Obama does. People have gotten so used over the years to finding her entirely dislikeable that it’s pretty darn hard to attribute negative feelings to her sex, rather than her personality. With Obama, though, we don’t have a past history with him to justify broad dislike. That is, while Obama has a personal history (which I don’t think holds up to scrutiny), there hasn’t been a long-term relationship between the man and the American public that could lay the groundwork for disliking him without a concurrent charge of racism. For example, we don’t hear too many cries of racism if we dislike Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, both of whom have shown themselves to be completely disreputable personally and politically for too many years to be entirely immune from attack (although we may well be accused of being racists for not supporting their race-based political agenda). That is, most people, left or right, seem to concede that the guys lack broad personal appeal.

It will be interesting, assuming Obama continues in politics for a while (whether as a 2008 presidential candidate or a 2012 candidate), to see if we’re allowed to dislike him without being tarred with the racist brush. It will also be interesting if, God forbid, he wins the 2008 presidential primaries, to see if the press will be able to make itself write anything even slightly negative about him. And considering the horror with which Hillary’s attacks against him are being greeted, will the Republican candidate be able to say anything negative, no matter how substantive, without being tarred with the racist brush?  The one thing I can promise you is that, if Obama loses, it won’t be because he’s boring, antisemitic (or, at least, his friends are), uninformed, unexperienced and a leftist. In the eyes of the MSM, whose opinion will be disseminated around the world, he can lose only because he’s black. And that’s the problem with Obama’s race.


31 Responses

  1. Greetings:

    Many years ago, when I was drafted into the army during the Viet Nam war, I had the opportunity to go to Officer Candidate School. The sergeant would was trying to get me to sign up was plugging the strong points; you’ll be making more money, you’ll be an officer, you’ll be in charge of a platoon instead of being a rifleman. I told the sergeant that although I had fired lots of guns, I had never been shot at and that when that happens I was going be be busy enough being responsible for myself and not wasting to be responsible for 20 or 30 other guys.

    I think that’s the gist of my problem with Mr. Obama. It amazes me that in a time of war and with his résumé, he feels totally entitled to take responsibility for this whole country.

  2. The main problem with what you wrote is that Senator Obama — as you don’t refer to him — is a decorated and respected elected official. You spend the vast majority of your writing explaining that you’re not criticizing him because of his “color” but that’s ALL you say, again and again. You’re obessed with this, which means race IS an issue for you. If it were not, you’re arguments would be one that I can respect. As it stands, you seem to be just repeating what you’ve heard on CNN. That’s wrong. You’re take is not one that shows research or study —
    See my blog post:

    Barack Obama Senate

  3. Zennie made my point beautifully, although I’ll cut him/her some slack on the assumption that he’s not as familiar with this blog as the rest of you are. If you look at my post, you can see that I had very specific grounds for disliking him — vapidity, a complete lack of practical experience (and a stint in the Illinois legislature coupled with two years in the back row of the US Senate doesn’t impress me), and political views I consider completely wrong, are all very concrete reasons not to dislike the man. His race gives me no reason to dislike him, although it does give me cause to worry about the Press being unable to cover the election with anything approaching analytical intelligence. Frankly, the showdown with Hillary shows right off the bat what’s wrong with identity politics coupled with our moo-ing, herd-like Democratic MSM.

  4. Follow-up.

    You should also be aware that racism is a mental illness. You should be clear on what racism is, and look outside yourself to determine — frankly and honestly — why you have a problem. I can tell you, just by what you wrote, that you do.

    Barack Obama is the BEST candidate for President and for you to express what seems to be anger when you know nothing — zip — about him, even as he energizes America reveals a darkness that to me is scary. You must change this about you, please.

    Meanwhile, read this:

    Racism as mental illness

  5. Bookworm, we’re thinking parallel thoughts again, my friend. I recently wrote about this very subject. American Spectator Online has not (yet?) seen fit to publish my thoughts– I hope they run the essay Tuesday. If not, I’ll post those thoughts to my own blog.

  6. Scary politics is how they operate Z ! Imagine the arrogance of someone saying that the “press being unable to cover the election with anything approaching an analytical intelligence” I’m sure they don’t mean this and are only playing the devils advocate strring the pot for hits. But then you never know ? So someone doesn’t like Senator Obama because of his ideas,friends and so called lack of experience. Even if they haven’t met Obama,his friends or watched and listened to him speak. Seems pretty analytical to me !

  7. What an absurd conversation! If you don’t believe Obama is the BEST candidate, who energizes America, who walks on water, then your soul must have succumbed to darkness and you have a mental disease, which Zennie can incontrovertibly detect by reading a few lines that you write, and you must seek treatment. I’m sure when we have universal health care provided by the government that such treatment will also be universal, and mandatory. What a load of freaking neo Stalinist nonsense.

  8. Barack Obama is the BEST candidate for President and for you to express what seems to be anger when you know nothing — zip — about him

    Since there is absolutely nothing to know about Obama, what’s your point?

  9. That’s right Z. When they bring in that superb government and socialized healthcare system, they will be able to decide what is good for your health, since you are part of the system. And if they decide you need a full out re-education camp experience to purge you of the mental illness of racism, then that’s what is going to happen to you. If you refuse, you lose all government benefits.

  10. I think that’s the gist of my problem with Mr. Obama. It amazes me that in a time of war and with his résumé, he feels totally entitled to take responsibility for this whole country.

    He knows that if he messes things up really bad, the media will cover for him so long as Obama doesn’t go against Leftist dictates.

  11. Thanks, Z. That’s exactly right — and it’s why I have a problem with Obama’s race. The problem isn’t that his race matters to me, it’s because it matters to others who will use it as a bludgeon against me.

    Loved your line, Y, about knowing nothing about Obama because there’s nothing to know.

  12. You’re welcome. I’d also like to say that I like Obama, have no personal grudge against him, and am not all that excited by the fact that the father he never knew was from Kenya. I have no reason to doubt Obama’s integrity. But he is a liberal Democrat (“old wine in new bottles”) and I’ve ceased to be one, and disagree with him on the issues, and don’t believe he has the requisite experience for the office he seeks even if he is a “decorated and respected” elected Senator from my home state of Illinois (what decorated means in that context, I haven’t a clue). I prefer candidates for POTUS that have actual executive experience (Mark Warner, who dropped out before it began; Romney; Giuliani; Richardson, exempting Huckabee because I’d rather not see another faux populist Southern governor hold office after Carter, Clinton and Bush).

  13. Tucker: “The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But that day has not yet arrived. We might hasten its dawning if we’d admit that what we see is not necessarily what we believe.”

    Her last paragraph sums up her own hypocracy.

    What *I see* is that character trumps skin color. Why is that such a problem?

  14. […] [Discuss This Topic with Bookworm at Bookworm Room] Share Article Obama, boring, Barack Obama    Sphere: Related Content Trackback URL […]

  15. Hard to believe how effortlessly you found one, BW – that was genuinely quite lovely. I will repeat something Limbaugh has said: “Put a bag of excrement on the sidewalk in front of them, they’ll step in it every time.” Here’s the living, breathing, illustration, right here, in Bookworm-land!

    Hey, Zennie! I don’t like him ’cause his ears flap!

  16. JJ: Clark Gable and Bing Crosby take offense at your ear flapping statement. 😉

  17. […] I blogged yesterday about the problem with Obama’s race, and it’s not that he’s black, it’s that the Left cares deeply that he’s black. Apparently (and unsurprisingly), I’m not the only one who has figured this out. Slate is running excerpts from what promises to be an interesting book: Richard Thompson Ford’s The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse. Given the nature of the publishing industry, this book was obviously written before Obama and Hillary dove into the cesspool of racism, so its presence on the market right now is serendipitous. […]

  18. Zennie personifies perfectly the modern Left: To have the temerity to disagree with them makes one “mentally ill”!!!

    Off to the psycho hospital for re-education. So perfectly Maoist and Stalinist.

  19. Do a web search on Obama and Odinga…
    Very interesting.

  20. […] And here is precisely what Emery and I predicted, which is that the give and take of politics is dead, because you’re not allowed to attack […]

  21. Loved your line, Y, about knowing nothing about Obama because there’s nothing to know.

    I suspected you might, since I was channeling you half on purpose. It can save you a lot of time responding to people like Zennie.

  22. Book says she wants to judge candidates on their ideas and experience and not because of their race. For this, zennie calls her a racist and mentally ill. Obama’s melanin does not make his ideas better, really. neither do Clinton’s hormones.

    A reminder after MLK Day- judge on the content of character, wisdom, experience- not pigmentation, please. I am perfectly delighted to have an African American president. I am not prepared for Mr. Obama to be that president however, because I disagree with most of his positions.

  23. […] Bookworm Room, “The Problem With Obama’s Race” […]

  24. […] Posted on January 31, 2008 by Bookworm I freely admit it wasn’t one of my best posts, so I can’t say I’m surprised to have squeaked in with only one vote (but a very nice […]

  25. […] yes. This is what I’ve been saying all along. I recently wrote a post saying that one of my fears about Obama as a candidate is that it would be impossible to run […]

  26. […] yes. This is what I’ve been saying all along. I recently wrote a post saying that one of my fears about Obama as a candidate is that it would be impossible to run […]

  27. Everyone is overlooking a lot of things here. For one, I am perfectly fine with you disliking Obama, just as I would expect you to respect my dislike for McCain or Bush. I do not think he is perfect. Here are a few things to keep in mind, however…
    Experience is not necessary for a president. Bush’s experience had been mostly corporate, and unsuccessful at that. As governor he was not standout. It is the STAFF the President is surrounded by who are the experts, and have been for all of modern politics. They advise on policies and actions and reactions. The President is there as a moral check, a supervisor, and a director. That said, again, you may have your problems with his moral compass.
    By legal right, anyone who was born in this country and is over the age of 35 is indeed entitled to step in and run the country, time of war or not. It is not up to any one of us to decide if he is worthy, but all of us. The votes will do the telling. Let’s not pretend like current politicians have more than a 30% approval rating (both Bush and the Democratic controlled Congress). So if the current players aren’t performing, expect to see a change in personnel, on all sides.

  28. I have never heard such tripe in all my life as that delivered by Brandon.

    Brandon is probably a young idealistic guy that knows how he would like the world to be but cannot do anything to make it that way. So he will vote for Obama. Okay.

    Obama is for change. Change of what? What KIND of change. Yes CHANGE does make a difference!

    Experience at being president doesn’t count!!!

    Excuse me but you have to manage people and world crises with NO EXPERIENCE??? Like the comment about Russia invading Georgia not being in the Olympic spirit???
    What has the Olympics got to do with invasion?

    Where are all the liberal democrats complaining about Russia’s invasion of another sovereign territory? Or do they only complain about the U.S. supposedly ‘invading’ Iraq. Yes poor Saddam Hussein and his sons are gone. People disappearing in the night never to be seen again are gone! Poisonous gases to kill off a portion of your own population are gone! The invader of Kuwait is gone! How sad!

    Let’s apply Brandon’s logic to a presidential candidate.

    1) No experience is necessary? Why doesn’t Brandon run? Excuse me but handling world-changing crises are NOT to be trusted to a neophite.
    2) It is the STAFF who surround him who are the experts. So is he saying that Obama knows nothing? It is his staff that knows stuff?

    As for Bush not having experience, that must be a joke. He was a well-loved governor even by the Democrats. One Democrat even introduced him at the convention!

    He was in the military.

    As for corporate experience… Ask Donald Trump or Thomas Edison if you can wake him, if they succeeded every time they did something. A successful businessman simply has to have more successes than failures. 51% can cut it.

    Obama has not any bills in Illinois or the federal senate with his name on them. Seems like he is devoid of ideas.

    Brandon just is not old enough to understand the realities of life. I am sure he doesn’t think that he could solve GM’s current troubles does he? Yes experience is necessary in everything. Baseball coaches and managers do not pick a team member who is NOT experienced thinking the other experts around him will help him.

    The old saying “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”, applies here. Teaching implies giving him the ‘experience of fishing.’

    Brandon. I too was young and idealistic once. The problem is that experience teaches you that the obvious answers are NOT the answers that work. No they can often cause starvation after the first day.


  29. I think people try to find the small things about President Obama and make them huge, simply because there’s nothing there to ridicule him about.If you think that you know more about the government and politics then you should run for president.So you can realize how stressful and surreal it is.I am sick and tired of people making rude comments toward President Obama.George bush and his Cabinet left America a mess. President Obama is trying to take one step at a time. You people can’t do any better than any of us or our President.

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