Monday, December 03, 2007

Alabama Black Community Splits on Obama, Clinton

From the Huntsville Times, two prominent elements of Alabama's Black political community have split on whether to endorse Illinois Senator Barack Obama, or New York Senator Hillary Clinton. The Alabama Democratic Conference had already endorsed Clinton back in October, but the Alabama New South Coalition responded Saturday by giving Obama the nod.

By itself, this is fine. The Black community consists of mature voters, and they, along with everyone else, are free to decide that any candidate is the most qualified, would best protect their interests, and would overall be the best President. Obama does not have a lock on these votes, nor should he. He has to earn them.

Rather, I am distressed by the stated reasons some members of Alabama's Black community have for withholding their support from Obama:
Before the endorsement vote, Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner praised Obama's qualifications, but urged the group to support Clinton.

"The question you have to put forth to yourself is that whether or not in this racist country a black man named Obama — when we are shooting at Osama — can win the presidency of the United States?" Turner said.

I can't say I blame Mr. Turner. Certainly, Black Americans in Alabama have every right to be skeptical of their White compatriots.

But nonetheless, that hurts me. It hurts me that Black Americans think my peers and I would not even consider Senator Obama on his merits. Again, I can't blame Commissioner Turner: he's the one who has to deal with the fallout when White people vote on racist grounds, and I can't blame him for adopting whatever strategy he thinks is most likely to help his people and bring them forward. But I read passages like that, and all I want to do is prove him wrong. I really think that Obama is the type of candidate that can change things with regard to race in America, if only given the chance.

Just give us the chance....

1 comment:

Annie said...

Many black folk support Clinton because they like her husband. Clinton may or may not be aware about just how far she's coasted on her husband's name recognition.

Many black folk also support Edwards over Obama; they believe Edwards is not only sincere, and knowledgeable, but that he's a winner, he's electable. Backing a winner matters. Obama will never become president, because of his race and because people are being fed the line that he's inexperienced. Then again, I know of some Democrats who are skipping out on the Democrats all together and are supporting Ron Paul, with a few others who are active in churches now leaning towards Huckabee.

Blacks -- like everyone else -- are all over the map this election season.

When people find out who Obama is, and his record, they tend to like him. That's when the fears of assassination come in. I wouldn't worry too much about any of it. It will all shake out in the end.

-- Annie