Down in the Bookstore: Musings from the Classroom / Politics / The Color Line

Why Are Blacks Identifying with a White Woman for the Presidency?

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Obamawatch 2008! Continues

 I placed this one in the category of Musings from the Classroom because inherently, my inspiration for this one came from me standing around after class and surrounding myself in the company of more of my enlightened colleagues

 As the Baptists conventions of this country meet here in Atlanta, some of the past graduate students found themselves on ITC’s campus today. It was wonderful to hear these pastors speak with great jubilation about Sen. Barack Obama’s win in South Carolina and his historic run for the presidency. As these pastors of churches in South Carolina and Georgia and Alabama speak of the Super Duper Tuesday primaries standing outside in the darkening and windy air, they spoke with much hope and anticipation about Obama’s candidacy.

 Even though I’m not always one to jump and play the race card, I believe I’m about to right now, so be prepared.

 As much as I appreciated the words of Toni Morrison likening Bill Clinton to a black man in the United States, I believe that we still need to realize that Bill Clinton and Hill’ry are white.  Frankly, I’m glad that I was able to watch Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta say on FoxNews on King Day of this year that “it is not a fairy tale” that Sen. Barack Obama is running for the presidency.  Now I’m not saying that either of these candidates has uniquely played the race card, but what I am saying is that in this country, race has become such a taboo subject that people are afraid to call it as they see it—even black people.

 As I delve deeper into the color line that is painfully evident in these monochromatic proceedings concerning our government at the higher level, I can’t help but wonder, what is it about this black populace in these United States that makes them align themselves with a white woman over that of a black man?  (Now, for the women that read this, I’d be very interested to hear your take on it.)  But to the black men that support Hill’ry, I’m very interested in what is it that makes you identify yourself with the morals, ideals and philosophy of a white woman over that of a black man who has had much more similar struggles to us than Hillary Rodham did or even Hillary Rodham-Clinton EVER did.

I mean, lets deal with this for a while.

The white woman has been this ideal of many things in the face of a white predominant society.  They are still the epitome of beauty.  And white womanhood stands at the zenith of what women should struggle to be.  Relative to black men, white women are what black men want over a “strong sistah” who will create too much “baby mama drama.”  Even more so, white women supposedly engage in the more lascivious sexual acts, those which a black woman may not.  White women have been this “untouchable item”; always out of reach of the black man, and I wonder for those black men who support Hill’ry, what is making them do so.

To black womanhood, those who suffer from WWS (White Woman Syndrome), as one of my high school teachers so eloquently stated, white womanhood is the diametrical opposition to their nature.  If one were to create a list, I daresay that the majority of attributes given to one would stand in opposition to the other.  Granted that’s the stereotypical assumption, but there are exceptions to the rule of course.  But again, here, I wonder why would black women align themselves with Hill’ry when everything about white womanhood many black women have fought against.  I’ve seen many of my contemporary black women fight against the indoctrination of how to wear their hair.  We have bought hook, line and sinker this model of the perm that was capitalized upon by Madame C.J. Walker in an attempt to assimilate into the white woman’s status of what is beautiful!  I’ve seen black women stare in the face of white womanhood, trying to make black men see them as beautiful just the way God created them–and then many of them too have run into the camp of Hill’ry, joining forces and ingesting the rhetorical remedy of Billary’s words, allowing many black women to succumb to the insanity that is WWS.

 One of the preachers standing outside who has a congregation in Montgomery, Alabama told me that he couldn’t understand the ignorance of some his parishioners.  He said, how could his parishioners advocate to their children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren to be pro-black and to follow their dreams, but meanwhile support a white woman?  Black people across this country have harped and screamed and cried and prayed and done everything condemning black men for not standing up, for not doing this, that AND the other.  But now, when we have a black man, running for president, who has decidedly pro-black values and is a family man, with a BLACK WIFE (that’s a whole other blog post in itself) and the closest dirt they can find on him is his ties to Tony Rezko, a fundraiser for which Obama has apologized and given the money back and his ambition of wanting to be president in kindergarten, then we want to vote for Hill’ry because “the Clintons have been good teh’ rus.”

 So, suffice it to say, I’m glad to hear older black men, who have pulpits endorsing the black male candidate for the presidency.  It did my heart quite well; it was quite an encouragement to let me know that some of us are in fact heading in the right direction.

[added after original post time: I’m still confused, and I feel the need to flesh out my confusiong in this blog rather than write a new one.  How is that we as African American people have taught our young kids that they can be whatever they want and African Americans have always dreamt of the day when an African American can be president, but when the opportunity arises we act as if we don’t want it.]

 Keep it uppity, JLL

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11 thoughts on “Why Are Blacks Identifying with a White Woman for the Presidency?

  1. Uppity, I am an African American woman who does not support Obama, and is leaning towards Hilary, although I am still weighing in on other candidates. The question you have posed is ridden with an inherent hypocrisy (where Black people have fought to be valued for who we are and not valuated according to our skin color). This thinking is why there is a divide within our community, which is not monolithic at all. My ancestors did not fight for us to be down with people, just like the segregationist racist thinks, because my race/culture is what should be preserved in this country, or someone who I think identifies with me. Many African Americans do not approach life, or want to be approached, based upon our skin color. Albeit, the reality of living in America causes us to be challenged on the basis of RACE and for women, SEX/Gender each day. Some of us just want to use our brains, own experiences, and desires for our families to help select the next leader who will be quite critical in that determination and the state of our nation. So Obama’s skin color does not make us automatic supporters of him, or identifiers with same experiences and aspirations. Many African American people live lives that conjoin us to the ideals of Hilary and other candidates. Obama is NOT one who most African Americans can identify with, many of whom have not been partially educated, more or less lived in foreign lands. For those of us who have grown up in the Church, Obama and his I stand for everyone and against nothing will NEVER do. It is time for change, and not the type of change where our country will be further separated from God because of accepted SIN. I desire a President who understands what KIND OF CHANGE we need, and it is not one that locks arms with those who serve New Age Gods and every new emergent public interest agenda with great $, influence and lobbying power. So for me, it cannot be Obama.

  2. Mulloverthis,

    I’m not sure if I believe that my question is hypocritical, or by any stretch of the imagination invalid. I believe one’s ability to discount the question speaks to the issues we have with race in this country (one might also add religion and politics as well).

    I’m not sure what you meant by this line “My ancestors did not fight for us to be down with people, just like the segregationist racist thinks, because my race/culture is what should be preserved in this country, or someone who I think identifies with me” so I will not offer a rebuttal to it.

    However, from what I’m reading your assuming the “I have a dream” speech whereas we should live in a nation where will not be judged by the color of our skin, but rather by the content of our character. If I’m correct in that assumption I would simply argue that that is not a universal mantra. My skin color is a lot about who I am as a person and it does affect the content of my character. Furthermore, I’m not convinced that all of our ancestors had this universal dream of acceptance that King preached and that many in the post-King era (including political pundits) have foisted onto the American public. I believe that much of what our ancestors were fighting for was merely a level playing field–you don’t have to like me, but you have to respect me and what I bring to table mentality.

    I would urge you to read some of my other posts concerning Obama under the “Politics” category because I’ve posted many blogs about Obama and reasons why one should not vote for someone simply because of their skin color. If that were the case I would have voted for Alan Keys or endorsed a J.C. Watts or even a Clarence Thomas. The fact that Obama is an African American male is merely a plus.

    Now I’m not sure where you gleaned this idea about Obama “stand for everyone and against nothing” from, if it was a direct quote from a speech, then I’m ignorant of the speech itself.

    Additionally, from what I could tell, me and you differ greatly on the issue of religion and I will graciously bow to you on that one. However, I would suggest that we all understand that this talk of “change” emanated from the Obama campaign prior to the Iowa Caucuses and because of his win, everyone else began to use it.

    Additionally, the “kind of change we need” is very subjective in its nature. Obama, Clinton and Edwards (and one could include the Republican candidates as well) all offer a type a change. I would be hesitant to truly assert that one type of change is more right or less right than another because each individuals experience will dictate to them what type of change is necessary. As African Americans we felt that voting rights was a “necessary change” but clearly the southern Dixecrats were not of that opinion

  3. By pro-black values I meant that Obama is a family man–he has a wife and children and no extra marital affair has surfaced or illegitimate child has popped up (yet) and I believe that those are decidedly pro-black values.

    His entire articulated platform that he has run on has embraced totally the core family, religious and political values of the majority of blacks across this country. And he has done so without coming out and saying that these are “the black issues.” I believe that the South Carolina primary showed that with 50% of the democratic electorate being African American and them simply routing Clinton and Edwards that he really has resonated with the African American community contrary to popular opinion.

  4. Uppity, obviously we will never be on common ground regarding this question b/c you support Obama. I am not certain if your statements are written to merely be consistent with your stance, or you actually believe all of them. Let me back up and ask you this, irrespective of what Obama’s pro-black values are, what are “pro-black values” in general? The example you have given makes Mitt Romney line up with pro-Black values. And I’d dare to say are pro-every ethnicity/race/culture values that accepts the one husband, one wife, children, and monogamy structure as a family unit. As a favor to me, if you will grant one, can you please specify what ‘black issues” Obama has masked yet purported during his campaign (Referencing: “His entire articulated platform that he has run on has embraced totally the core family, religious and political values of the majority of blacks across this country. And he has done so without coming out and saying that these are “the black issues.”) .

    I do not believe your question was invalid at all. But it is– in and of itself –conflicting if, by your own admission, Blacks do not agree on MLK’s view of racial equality. So, you’ve answered your own question. Many of us don’t support the black man because he is a human being who we don’t agree with, who happens to be black and a man. Many of of the Black people that are voting for other-than- Obama have made informed decisions to select the candidates (including the white woman) with whom they identify.

    MLK’s speech was reflective of what many of our fathers and mothers already believed. He was not an originator of what he was born into–a thriving movement to gain equality peacefully. Millions of supporters rallied around his leadership b/c they did identify and MLK provided a uniform coherent voice. “Leveling the playing field” if taken literally means we just wanted our turn with the same equipment in the same game so we can have the ability to win on our own, if given the opportunity. I take no issue with that, so long as those who espouse that point of view know that too much of what was already in the game was wrong, divisive, and unjust. And so the leveled playing field question by the non-Black blogger who is up to bat would be fairley posited, “Why are Whites identifying with a Black man for the Presidency?” And we as Blacks would have nothing to say, certainly not wondering if this question is inherently racist on the leveled playing field. Surely white folks skin color affects how they feel about their own identity and content of their character, whatever that may be. Since they have been traditionally the economically empowered in this country, they typically had the primal advantage.

    I don’t believe I implicated you support Obama just b/c he is Black, although I did make it clear that just because he is Black we do not all identify with Obama and much of what he stands for. Trust me brother, I respect and understand your thinking. …Just firmly do not agree, particularly as a Christian.

  5. I believe you’re exactly right–many of our core black values are carried out in the values puported by most Republicans. What drives most blacks away from the Republican party is the fact that many of the policies that are enacted by this party are not in favor of the black community. Moreover, most black people that I know are not one issue voters: meaning that ONLY because this candidate is against gay marriages then I will vote for them. Even though that’s a sentiment most blacks feel very strongly about.

    I would not cry racism if a white person flipped my question and asked the same question as to why do white voters identify with a black man–in fact I think its a very valid question. However, I want it to be clear that I am convinced that white people do NOT make their decisions on the basis of their own skin color. I believe because of their inherent privilege in this country, they don’t think twice about what they say, to whom they say it, how or where they say it.

    If a white person asked that question I believe that they would speaking out of their own prejudices, not because of underlying racist beliefs.

    That being said, I don’t believe we’ve ever discussed the answer to my question, but rather discussed the philosophy and origin of my question. In your first post you stated that “Many African American people live lives that conjoin us to the ideals of Hilary and other candidates” and I’m interested to hear someone enumerate what those “ideals” are, because I’m not convinced that a white woman will best carry out those ideals better than a black man.

  6. Hilary is a woman, whose emphasis for example, on education and early childhood intervention to completely steer our children out of certain courses in life is one ideal that I can identify with. This is of course, not exclusive to women at all, but the involvement if women vs. men in early childhood education speaks for itself. Statistics have overwhelmingly proven that children who receive a certain quality and content of early childhood education, nutrition and intervention are the ones who continue in higher education and become the citizens that contribute to “society”. Making healthcare accessible to all Americans was a joke to most of the traditional politicians at the time Hilary raised it. Now, we are seeing the outlandish effects of not issuing healthcare to all, to the degree that the mountain is now drifting into the sea, so to speak. Now we don’t just have to climb it, but have to journey to get to the climb. When we look at the leading causes of death, and the disparate rates of death in these causes in our community, adequate health care is a must to defray the onset and severity of sicknesses and disease. I failed to see an EMPHASIS on these types of solutions to much of what plagues our communities from Obama, or any other candidate. While the war, economy, international issues are significant, more and of our people are dying disproportionately of AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Additionally, Hilary is an accomplished woman. Most of us like Hilary is this regard are used to men, some of whom are Black, whose records and performance often do not even compare with our history or present competency, fortitude and excellence in doing exactly what men do in our jobs, careers, passions, community service, etc, PLUS tend to still be the primary caretakers and nurturers at home, while being much less appreciated and compensated than the male counterpart. So, needless to say, if Obama can identify with sexism and racism–the double edged knife that destroys–then he is a rarer man than most.

  7. P.S. And Shirley Chisolm duly noted that sexism as opposed to racism was the greater beast during her tenure in Congress. Many black women have the same testimony in our various professions.

  8. Black women have that testimony because usually black men have proceeded them in their respective fields and whites understand that they don’t have to be sexist toward black women because black men will do the job for them–without them even asking.

  9. Now, Now!!!
    I hope you can see that life was here before you and paved the way for you to be “UNN!” . BTW, catchy name! So if you use the few years you have been here as your veiw, then you are near-sighted… Life is an extention of time and time and time again. Each an integral part of the other. Remember, “Nothing happens in a Vacuum!” So we have arrived at this snapshot in time that “Martin” was talking about.
    What will we do???
    Live out his words, the mantra we had stood on for all these years or will we opt out??? Hummmm!!!

  10. i believe that in this day in age it’s left up to the individual, and NOT the community whether or not we, as a community (since you were referring to the “we”) will live out his words.

    I’m confused as to why Martin was placed in quotes.

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