“Fear of a Black President” – good article by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic.

It’s here.

I like it when people talk critically about race in the Obama era. Just so long as it avoids the well-worn battles of the Politically Correct era of the 1980s, the early 1990s. I had my fill of that in life, at Penn and Temple. When people start at the failure of Reconstruction, that’s what gets me sitting up in my chair.

Coates is saying that Barack Obama studiously avoids anything that would be interpreted as “black rage”; and, when the President even talks about race, it sets off the goons of the far right, who quickly misinterpret whatever Obama had said.

He points out that the police officer who arrested Professor Gates of Harvard, in his own house, was treated to the “Beer Summit” of 2009. Shirley Sherrod, the official who was maligned by the late Andrew Breitbart and fired from the USDA by Obama’s Agriculture Secretary, only got a brief phone call for an apology. It’s an interesting contrast.

The current economic troubles, and they have been troubles, have been for so much of us in America—except the really rich. But they have been particularly tough on traditional minorities. Yet blacks are still very positive on Obama. He is leading 94% to 0% against Romney, among black voters, in an NBC Wall Street Journal poll.

The real question mark on the President’s re-election is how he is being received in the white community. Romney’s people are indicating that they are going for 50.01% of the vote. They know they have no shot with any other group but whites. So it’s anticipated that Romney is going to tug at every heartstring to pull off white voters from Obama.

Someone said that Obama only needs 39% of the white voters in America, to win. This means Romney needs 61%. He will get a lot of the Southerners—that’s de rigeur for them. What tricks will he have to pull to get swing state Northerners, or Floridians, to go for him as well?

Does the President have to talk more about race in order to win? Coates says that Obama has spoken the least about the issue of any Democrat since 1961. (Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton). Does he have to?

I don’t think so.

The anger that had been missing from Barack Obama was the indignity of how Congressional Republicans have been screwing around, sabotaging his efforts, since early 2009. Is this partly race motivated? Oh, yes. The heart of that party, the party of Lincoln, is now in the Deep South. But the other motivation going on is pure beat-the-opponent, garden variety politics. Maybe they realized that Obama, as first black president, had to be careful how he fought. But they (and Coates) also forget that Barack Obama spent some formative years in Asia.

To me, the fighting back that Obama has been doing since maybe September last year has been a lot more Asian than white-ideal-black. Asian strategy seems to me to figure out what the opponents’ nature is, and then try to plan out four or five steps down the road. The Republicans have been walking into several sh*t piles lately, and I’m not sure that’s by chance.

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4 comments

  1. Joe Metelski · August 26, 2012

    I think the “Yet blacks are still very positive on Obama. He is leading 94% to 0% against Romney, among black voters, in an NBC Wall Street Journal poll.” reveals more about racisim then any actions of whites.

    • hoofin · August 26, 2012

      Yes, this is the old saw. The handful of people out there, who say that if a black voter supports the black candidate, “there must be racism”. This is an argument by the other side in the Politically Correct Era of the ’80s, which we are all so tired of. What’s lost in that argument at the start, is the fact that blacks have had the opportunity to vote for and support white candidates, election after election. Now, finally, a black candidate breaks through, and, given our history as a country, you see the “problem” that there is overwhelming support in the black community for the black candidate? That’s the problem? Seriously?

      Here’s what I see: the Republicans have nominated a dog of a candidate who is so bad, that whole segments of the voting population say “forget it!” They won’t vote for him. So he’s left to employing the old and tired dog whistles of politics: “boo hoo the president wants to end the work requirement for welfare”, (not true by the way), “boo hoo maybe the president wasn’t even born in America”, etc., which are meant to appeal to certain people in the white working classes for whom the President’s race is an issue that can be played on.

      Romney’s policies suck for the white community, just like they do for minorities. Only, it’s more clear to minorities. This is why the Republicans have to, once again, rely on their “Southern strategy” of divisive, veiled race politics. They’ll be more, for sure, in September and October.

      • Joe Metelski · August 27, 2012

        The “problem” is that any group of voters would vote based on any criteria, other than competentcy.

        • hoofin · August 27, 2012

          . . . which is why the voters rightly chose President Gore and President Kerry, rather than former Texas Governor George W. Bush.

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