Geraldine Ferraro, for whom I think I’ve actually taken up once in my life, including this post, simply made a non-racist, true statement in suggesting that Barack Obama benefits from being an African-American man. Here’s the article:
Far from being racist, it seems simply obvious, as Michael Steele points out. Here’s the question: would a white guy, with as little a track record as Barack Obama, and as little in the way of a plan as Obama has articulated, be in this position? Of course not. I also think, by the way, that Obama’s superior ability to rally a crowd, his oratorical magic, plays a huge role in his rise, but imagine a white guy with his record, and lacking his speaking prowess, being in the race, making any kind of splash. We know it wouldn’t happen; several white guys with far superior records to Obama were polling in the low single digits when they dropped out.
The fact is that many Americans, myself included, would love to see a person of color elected president. Now, for me, Barack Obama is not that person, but I do think it’ll be a great day when an African-American (or a Hispanic, for that matter) is elected president; Condi Rice would have gotten my enthusiastic support (if she’d answered the abortion question satisfactorily; I have some concern with her on that).
Now, that said, we shouldn’t vote for a person because of his/her skin color, nor vote against a person for the same reason; to do either is racist (if I said, “I’m voting for John McCain because he’s a white guy”, I’d be a racist; for anyone to vote for Obama because of his skin color–or for Mrs. Bill because she’s a woman–is just wrong as well). Dr. King was right: color of skin ought not matter one way or the other, but rather content of character (or, as the case may be, content of political philosophy).
But deep down in our hearts, where many of us regardless of political party would love to see a person of color elected, we know that Obama’s race is part of his appeal.
And we should know as well that, as long as we can’t be honest about that fact, we still have a ways to go in race relations in America.