Does Obama’s Skin Color Matter In The Presidential Election?

Full-time Clinton Hater and Washington, D.C. political courtesan Sally Quinn of the Washington Post wrote another silly column. This is what the silly goose wrote:

Some months after Richard Nixon resigned, my husband and I decided to go away. We wanted to get as far from Washington and Watergate as possible, so we headed to Bahia, in northern Brazil, for Carnival.

Bahia is a sort of melting pot for all races, a mix of cultures and colors. At a party one night I had a fascinating conversation with a Brazilian professor, but as I recounted it to our hosts the next day I realized I didn’t know the name of the man I had talked to. “Was he black or white?” they asked. My answer, which stunned me, was, “I don’t remember.”

Now, I am from Savannah, Ga. I had never in my life not noticed whether someone was black or white. I felt an overwhelming sense of exhilaration. It was possible, then, to see someone as just another person, regardless of color. I felt good about myself.

I was reminded of this the other day watching Barack Obama. I realized that when I look at him, I don’t see a person of color.

After reading Quinn’s column two thoughts came immediately to mind. We thought that the more likely explanation for Georgia Peach Quinn unable to recall the Brazilian professor’s skin color during those Carnival nights is that she was soused, drunk.

The other explanation that came to mind was that Quinn was channelling comedian Stephen Colbert. Colbert has a very funny show in which he pretends to be a conservative and of course spouts nonsense such as I don’t see skin color,” “I move beyond race. I don’t even see skin — I move down to the ligaments and the joints. I judge those.


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On any given day Sally Quinn is a silly person with silly opinions. How she got to where she is, a position from which she can influence our national discourse, you can google for the details (hint: try “Sally Quinn courtesan” as your search term and go from there). But on the day Sally Quinn wrote her silly column we found out 2 items which rather directly refute her claims of a new racial universe of harmony in the United States.

The first item was that Barack Obama was provided with Secret Service protection. The earliest this protection has been provided to a presidential candidate.

The second item is that CBS News will no longer enable comments to be posted on stories about Obama on its website. Apparently the news outlet was bombarded with racist comments.

According to CBS the drastic step of banning all comments, instead of just the objectionable ones, had to be taken because of “the volume and persistence” of the racist comments.

Regarding the first item, we all need to worry about the danger to the lives of our candidates for president. The danger is not restricted to African-Americans.

Regarding the second item, we also have to ignore the Sally Quinns and acknowledge the persistence of racism and its effects on elections. Democrat Harold Ford learned this lesson painfully. In 2006 Ford was running for U.S. Senate in Tennessee and campaigned with Barack Obama. Ford was ahead in the polls earlier in the election.

“But to some observers, the race is already over, thanks to an ugly political truth: In the privacy of the voting booth, racism, however subtle, still exists. Ford, the theory goes, needs to be ahead in the polls heading into Election Day to offset the silent defections he’ll suffer when rural white voters – who may have told pollsters they’d vote for the Democratic Senate candidate – actually see Ford’s name on the ballot.”

“Similar scenarios have played out before. The polls said that Tom Bradley, then the Los Angeles mayor, seemed on track to become California’s first black governor in 1982 – a year when Bradley’s Democratic affiliation was a clear plus in elections across the country. But when the votes were tallied, Republican George Deukmejian outpolled Bradley by about 95,000 votes”

It is of course a much nicer world when we think race no longer matters in the selection of our leaders. But race matters. In the past century until now (1900-2007), the last 107 years, we have had only 2 African-American governors elected and only 2 3 African-American Senators elected. African-American leaders, indeed most African-Americans understand this as a fact of life.

The Sally Quinns can go back to their martini shakers and ignore reality in their heavily segregated Washington, D.C. But thinking Americans know the long history of racism has not, like Quinn’s martinis, been shaken off yet.

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3 thoughts on “Does Obama’s Skin Color Matter In The Presidential Election?

  1. Actually, three African Americans have served in the senate since the end of Reconstruction. Sen Brooks of MA; Carol Mosely Braun of IL and Barak Obama.

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