Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Obama Effect

The University of Minnesota is hosting "The Obama Effect" conference and having several forums and events about Barack Obama's race to The White House. Tonight Joe Feagin, a Pulitzer Prize nominated sociology professor at Texas A&M University, spoke on "The Impact of White Racism on the Obama Campaign." This white male (pictured ) was the most educated person I have ever heard speak on the topic of race.

He started with, "America is the only advanced country in the world founded on racial oppression"; yes he meant business. Obama is probably in the top 2 or 3 most talented men to run for president and has one of the best organized and tech savy campaigns in history. However, he still does not have the majority of the white vote and many white voters continue to doubt his ability to lead this nation. Based on Obama's credentials, this election should be a landslide. Obama is only leading the polls by a small margin because of the "White Racial Frame" that dates back to the foundation of this nation.

Since the beginning of this nation, white people have believed that white is virtuous and black is bad. This idea that black is bad has extensively fueled the image of the "dangerous black man." The black male is often stereotyped, as inferior, angry, and violent; I mean look at how the media ripped Dr. Jeremiah Wright to pieces because of a 30-second clip from a 40 minutes sermon. However, we barely heard about John Hagee, John McCain's long time friend and pastor that married him and his wife Cindy. Yes, Hagee's comments about having a "slave sale" to raise funds for high school seniors or that "Hurricane Katrina was God's curse on New Orleans" were over looked. But the media just cannot let this Reverend Wright story go.

Why has Barack Obama been able to escape this label and come so close to becoming this nation's first black president? Answer: He is making history because white people see him as the "exception to his race." Obama can maintain a strong black persona and dodge race issues at the same time. He was raised by a white mother and went to a good school, one Obama campaign volunteer explained "he is not the product of any ghetto." No he is not the product of any ghetto, but the majority of American-Americans aren't either. Does that mean myself and all my friends are also "exceptions to our race?"

Barack Obama must talk and act in a way that pleases white liberals. It's acceptable for John McCain to get angry during debates, but Barack Obama must watch what he says and keep his composure. If not, the white liberals will label him as that dangerous black male.

Professor Feagin said so much more, but I think I will save the rest for later. I agree with most of his arguments; and understand how Barack must feel everyday. Like I asked in my previous post; When we will stop having to prove ourselves to white people?


Candice said...

His viewpoints remind me of that of Tim Wise's. These issues as well as white privilege, white guilt, the "non-threatening black persona" affect, and a myriad of others bring to the forefront what many try to say is buried in America's past.

It's disheartening to see how so many citizens are confident in their ignorance and hate.

Good blog, though!


Fade to Black said...

we knew the double standards would exist throughout the race. Come now, Palin has a teenage-pregnant daughter, and the CONSERVATIVES have managed to remain hush-hush about it. If Obama had a teenage daughter who was pregnant it would mean the end of the world! But it's all good, justice will prevail.

Beautylicious said...

This is a very profound post and Joe Feagin made excellent points, the sad thing is Obama is an excellent choice for the US presidency however alot of our caucasian counterparts would rather die then see an African American as the commander in chief. It has been over 100 years of white Presidents, we are long over due in having a black president. Its ok for us to be rappers, singers, and athletes, but they get leary when we become politicians and God forbid the worse-a presidential candidate. Mark my words, if Obama wins, all hell will break lose ie: white people will have a personal vendetta against african americans. Now if he doesn't win, a riot may break out, many people, mainly african americans will be disheartened, angry, and fed up with America if we aren't given this chance.
What baffles me is that Obama appeals to everyone of all backgrounds, its not like its Reverend Al Sharpton. So what is the big deal? Give the MAN a chance. Thats what he is, a MAN.