Charges of racism have been thrown around in the comment box and it caused me to ponder the matter more deeply.
Is it possible to criticize our President elect without being racist? Let’s put it the other way around and ask whether it is possible to be pleased with his election without being racist. It seems to me that one might be either critical of Obama or uncritical of Obama because of racism. In one instance I might be critical of the man because I dislike and distrust all black people, but on the other hand, I might be uncritical of the man because I like and trust all black people. Both positions would be racist because one is judging the person by their race.
Let us put the man’s race on one side for a moment and consider the question from another point of view. Let’s say we’re talking about a Catholic being elected. If I am a Catholic I might be delighted with the election of my co religionist. If I am a Protestant I might be alarmed by his election. Both positions (if based only on the candidate’s religion) would be prejudiced, shallow and dangerous.
Instead of asking if a man is Afro American or Asian American or Native American or Catholic American or Italian American we should not ask not about the prefix, but the noun. In other words, we should ask what kind of American he is, not what kind of Afro American. For the man himself and his supporters, if he is a good American his race and his religion do not influence his policies. (A man’s religion might connect to the abortion issue, but more on that later)
For me to be delighted because a Catholic is elected (simply because he’s Catholic) and give the man my unqualified support because he says he is a Catholic might be understandable, but it would not be supportable. I might feel elation at a Catholic being elected, but if he denies the basic tenets of Catholicism my enthusiasm would be shallow and misplaced.
The question then returns to the enthusiasm for the new President elect from among Afro Americans. It is certainly understandable that Afro Americans would be excited by the election of an Afro American. I think I can understand that enthusiasm–given the downtrodden history of the black race in America. In fact, I can also share the sense of pride and accomplishment in our own country that we have come so far as to elect a black man to the highest office in the land. In that respect I am proud of my country.
However, I have to get past that and ask not only if he is an Afro American, but what kind of American he is. In other words, what does he believe? What does he want to do? What does he want to accomplish? One of the most bitter ironies about Barack Obama’s radical pro-abortion platform is that while he is the hero of the Afro Americans, the policies he promotes are likely to kill off far more unborn Afro Americans than ever before. This is because the ratio of abortions to live births is far, far higher among black women than any other racial group in America. Reference.
From my pro-life perspective we have the bitter irony of an Afro American being swept to power by the Afro Americans so that he can allow total freedom for abortion which will then allow the slaughter of even more unborn Afro Americans. This, it seems to me, is a racial crime against Afro Americans, and I’d be against it no matter what race the pro abortionist is.
And I’m the one who is somehow anti-Afro American?
So go figure.
Father- I am not sure but I think the term ‘Afro-American’ is so over-like Negro and Colored. Me thinks the current nomenclature is “Black Americans”. African American is still used occasionally. Anyway, I voted for a Conservative Black American third party candidate as I could not bring myself to vote for either major party. I disagree with just about everything President-elect Obama stands for but I respect the Office and will give him every opportunity to ‘do the right thing’ for all Americans and the country. One last comment: I hope his election causes Blacks not only to be proud but to overcome the ‘victim’ mentality and follow him in speaking English more correctly. Get past the ‘ghetto talk’ and ‘ebonics’ slang. We must all keep him and the nation is prayer. Political statement over.
I only used ‘afro American’ because ‘Afro American Seminarian’ didn’t seem to mind using the nomenclature.
I’d hope a candidate’s religious beliefs would connect to a lot more than abortion, just as I’d expect a candidate’s other beliefs to do. But that’s more of a minor imprecision in your statement than any serious criticism of your stance.Peace,–Peter
It is interesting to note that the Black/African American/Afro American/Negro population in the United States came out in droves to vote for Barak Obama. However, in California, 70% of B/AA/AA/N population voted to make a marriage between one man and one woman the accepted norm and not accept homosexual unions as marriage.I see Barak Obama as a person – yes, his heritage is that of a black/negro father from Kenya and a caucasian mother from the U.S. His skin coloring takes after his father’s heritage. However, as a man, Barak Obama, in my opinion is not his color. He is his character and for that, I could not vote for him.
Is there a law or rule which states how black one has to be to be black? Half black is black? Half white is black? Is one quarter black? How many generations back do we have to go to define blackness? Are black and white co-dominant traits, or does one taint more than the other? Who was more prejudiced, blacks voting for for a half-black or whites voting for a 999/1000 white? Can prejudice be both positive (black voting for half-black) as well as negative (whites not voting for half-black)? Perhaps we should just spray paint all candidates a neutral color like pink so as to remove all prejudice, since its all about the color. Or is it colour?
My next-door neighbors are black (“African Americans”) and they had a party on election night. Twice — when Obama was declared the winner and when he gave his speech — everyone in the house came screaming out into the street. I really don’t think it was because they supported his fiscal policies. They were thrilled.My neighborhood is half black, and 75% of the voters in my neighborhood voted for Obama. It’s clear that some voted for him because he is black, some because of his policies, and some both. I didn’t vote for him, and I resent the implication that I’m a racist. I wouldn’t have voted for Clinton because of her nearly identical positions on everything, nor for Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards (both white, BTW). Obama’s abortion views clinched it for me.
Yes, this is a very interesting one. I have criticised Obama a fair bit, openly in public forums/ privately in discussions and the racist tag keeps cropping up. It is not I who identify my criticisms of Obama with his race.. but the people who object to my criticisms who presume my criticisms are based on his skin colour. It is fascinating. The racism, if you like, is coming from the neo-Liberal Intelligentsia: Tolerant of everything except the truth.I found the Sunday Mass bidding prayers, giving thanks for him and a “fresh start” particularly nauseating. Learning to keep one’s mouth shut these days is truly an art.