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Do black people support Obama because he’s black?



Published: Mon, October 15, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

Surviving slavery, segregation and discrimination has forged a special pride in African-Americans. Now some are saying this hard-earned pride has become prejudice in the form of blind loyalty to President Barack Obama.

Are black people supporting Obama mainly because he’s black? If race is just one factor in blacks’ support of Obama, does that make them racist? Can blacks’ support for Obama be compared with white voters who may favor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, because he’s white?

These questions long have animated conservatives who are frustrated by claims that white people who oppose Obama’s policies are racist. This week, when a black actress who tweeted an endorsement of Romney was subjected to a stream of abuse from other African-Americans, the politics of racial accusation came full circle once again.

Stacey Dash, who also has Mexican heritage, is best known for the 1995 film “Clueless” and the recent cable-TV drama “Single Ladies.” On Twitter, she was called “traitor,” “house n-----” and worse after posting, “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future.”

The theme of the insults: A black woman would have to be stupid, subservient or both to choose a white Republican over the first black president.

Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul and Obama backer, called Dash’s experience “racism.” Said Barbara Walters on “The View”: “If she were white, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Twitter users are by no means representative of America, and many black Obama supporters quickly denounced the attacks. But for people such as Art Gary, an information- technology professional, the reason Dash was attacked is simple: She is a black woman supporting a white candidate over a black one.

“It goes both ways,” said Gary, who is white. “There is racial bias amongst whites, and there is racial bias amongst blacks. But as far as the press is concerned, it only goes one way.”

Antonio Luckett, a sales representative in Milwaukee who is black, called the attacks on Dash unfair. But when people speak out against a symbol of black progress like Obama, he said, “African-Americans tend to be internally hurt by that.”

“We still have a civil- rights [era] mentality, but we’re not living in a civil- rights-based world anymore,” he said. “We want to say, ‘You’re black, you need to stand behind black people.’”

Luckett said one reason he voted for Obama in the 2008 primary against Hillary Clinton was because Obama is black: “Yes, I will admit that.”

Is that racism? Not in Luckett’s mind. “It’s voting for someone who would understand your side of the coin a lot better.”

Such logic runs into trouble when applied to a white person voting for Romney because he understands whiteness better. Ron Christie, a black conservative who worked for former President George W. Bush, finds both sides of that coin unacceptable.

“It’s not the vision that our leaders in the civil- rights movement would have envisioned and be proud of in the era of the first African-American president,” Christie said.

Martin Luther King Jr. fought Jim Crow laws, which deprived blacks of political rights after Reconstruction, upheld by Southern Democrats. But black voters switched after Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through the 1960s civil-rights legislation and Republicans successfully pursued the votes of white people who disliked the civil-rights agenda.

Since then, Democrats persistently have wooed black voters with programs and platforms that African-Americans favor, and the party has been rewarded every four years.

Clinton got 83 percent of the black vote in 1992 and 84 percent in 1996; the third-party candidate Ross Perot probably sliced away some of Clinton’s black support. Al Gore got 90 percent in 2000; John Kerry got 88 percent in 2004. Obama captured 95 percent in 2008, and 2 million more black people voted than in the previous election.

Christie says he, too, shares the sense of pride in Obama smashing what for blacks is the ultimate glass ceiling. He understands that black pride springs from a shared history of being treated as less than human, while the history of pride in whiteness has a racist context.

But he still sees black people voting for Obama out of a “straitjacket solidarity.”

Christie sees it in his barbershop, where black men shifted from calling candidate Obama “half-white” and “not one of us” to demanding that Christie stop opposing the first black president.

He sees it in the comments of radio host Tom Joyner, who told his millions of listeners a year ago, “Let’s not even deal with facts right now. Let’s deal with our blackness and pride — and loyalty. I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man.”

The actor Samuel L. Jackson said much the same thing: “I voted for Barack because he was black,” he told Ebony magazine. “Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them.”

And just last week, the rapper Snoop Dogg posted a list of his voting reasons, written by someone else, on a social media account. No. 1 on his pro-Obama list: He’s black. Snoop’s top reason to not vote for Romney: He’s white.

All of this may help explain why Veronica Scott-Miller, a junior at historically black Hampton University, directed the following tweet at Dash: “You get a lil money and you forget that you’re black and a woman. Two things Romney hates.”


Comments

1foxyglo(372 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

That is an ignorant question, is this a white person asking this question? Does white people vote for the white president.All that will, you will wish you had voted for OBAMA, You won't be hurting us you will be hurting your own poor families as well. Watch and see Dumb ASS question.

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2Knightcap(695 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The black unemployment rate is about 14% with black youth unemployment near 40%. Surely they are not voting for him because of his economic plan, gas prices and naional debt. Blacks seem to me to be happy just getting food stamps, welfare, medicaid, gov.housing and an obamaphone. Why work? Let the middleclass work and pay for them not to. It's not a bad deal if that's your goal. Romney would prefer for them to get educated, get employed and contribute to this country.

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3greene(167 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Tom Joyner is more interested in getting invited to the right parties; not the well being of his listeners.

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4walter_sobchak(1895 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

This question is just as ignorant as Tom Joyner, Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dog, and Veronica Scott-Miller.

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5zz3(931 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Duhhhhh What do you think! Do you actually think they previewed his views and platform before voting? Get serious! Knighcap has it in a nutshell unfortunately.

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6georgejeanie(793 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Please, show us where nightcap is wrong. I'm willing to change my mind, if the other side has the facts to change my mind.

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7Dagwood(111 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I could care less about black people voting for Obama, they would vote for Snoop Dogg or Don King too. Hell they vote Democrat 99.9% of the time Gore, Kerry, Clinton (Bill not Roger) but they would vote for Roger too.

I could care less who Celebrities vote for also. Here is the reality:

Their publicists tell them to confess their loyalty and support for all that is left-winged to maintain an image , but their accountants are advising them to vote Republican because they want them to keep as much of that ridiculous salary in their pockets as possible.

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8James_S(268 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

It certainly appears that way to me through personal experiences... but not ALL blacks like Obama. There are a few and probably more than I'm aware of, that don't make the selective MSM news stories...

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9jmagaratz(166 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

BREAKING NEWS!

NOT ALL WHITES LIKE ROMNEY!

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10WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The Democrat Party

-Fought for slavery
-Began the Civil War
-Founded the Ku Klux Klan
-Created Jim Crow
-Levied poll taxes
-Fought against Civil Rights
-Insured Japanese internment

The Democrats sure deserve the black vote- working to keep 'em all in chains for 250 years!!

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11shutyourface(246 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Foxglo if whites voted for color of skin Obama wouldn't be our president. Don't get so upset next time think before you comment.

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12JoeFromHubbard(1029 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

And I thought Obama's presidency would stop all of the race issues.

Are you kidding, Joe?

Racism is a human tendency that will never end.

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13rumppy(107 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Why would someone affiliated with this racist newspaper ask such a question.
People of color have their own individual minds and vote for the person who is the best candidate period. Simple, racist, ignorant, comment. Do redneck, racist whites, vote for Romney because he is white and not for President Obama because he is black. Why don't you ask that question. Always controversy, want to keep it going. Just a sickness, people who think that way have a sickness, illness, can't think properly. I will prey for those who have those kind of thoughts.

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14WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@rumppy

"People of color have their own individual minds and vote for the person who is the best candidate period."

No candidate in history enjoyed 95% voter loyalty from any group except for BHO and the black vote. This fact is undisputed. We can speculate all we like but poll after poll, interview after interview indicated, from blacks themselves, that the vote for BHO was largely a skin color issue.

"Do redneck, racist whites, vote for Romney because he is white and not for President Obama because he is black[?]"

This election obviously has not taken place, but in 2008, the same year BHO enjoyed an unprecedented 95% loyalty from blacks, the white candidate, John McCain, enjoyed only a 55% loyalty from whites. That means 45% of white voters, roughly 60 million people, voted for the black candidate. This number is nearly four times the total number of black voters, at approximately 17 million.

Call it all what you like but there is only one skin color that votes on skin color- black. And your racist language and insinuations are uninformed, offensive and unacceptable.

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