The following was quoted from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram by a fellow blogger
September 05, 2008
HOW RACISM WORKS
What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review? What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class? What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said “I do” to? What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?
What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization? What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard? What if Obama were a member of the “Keating 5”? What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?
If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?
This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.
— Kelvin LaFond, Fort Worth
Posted at 12:05 AM in Letters to the Editor
And the following is my response:
You make some great points and I can understand the argument you are validly making. However…
As I understand it, racism is the notion that one finds one’s race superior to another or all others. While I do acknowledge that racism is alive and not exactly struggling in this day and age. I tend to think that since one of the two candidates running for office is a different race than the other, the argument of racism being the only reason for poll numbers is incomplete and even intangible. I will concede that PREJUDICE, by all races in America, is abhorrently present in the way people relate to both Obama and McCain
But none of the issues or aspects you mentioned have anything to do with race. They have had to do with the respective individual’s past.
First things first, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain have both done some pretty stupid things. Yet, they have both been successful, been professional women who have raised or are raising families, and they have both been involved in very commendable philanthropic projects. They would both make exceptional first ladies. Any mistakes they have made have been answered for and are non-sequitor to this campaign, but neither of these ladies is running for any office.
Now as to the candidates running, the reasoning you gave can be used with another viewpoint as well.
What if Barack Obama was raised with a multigenerational military family background who espoused honor, courage and integrity in the rearing of its children? What if John McCain was raised by a non-Christian family, enrolled in a Muslim school, and then mentored by known communists and socialists? What if Barack Obama had a distinguished military career which included the command of a major fighter squadron? What if John McCain had been the community organizer and law professor? What if Barack Obama was beaten and tortured in a POW camp for five years? What if John McCain admitted to and acknowledged experimentation with drugs with a nonchalant attitude? What if Barack Obama developed a reputation of legislative independence and believed that policy was more important than party? What if John McCain had the appearance of using each successive elected position as a campaigning step to the next one? What if Barack Obama had the reputation of doing things to heal this nation's past wounds including, but not limited to Native American affairs and the Viet Nam War? What if John McCain had the reputation of associating and doing business with known terrorists and race baiters?
If those questions reflected reality, would John McCain be the GOP nominee? Absolutely not! Not because of race, but because his merit and character. As the media portrays them, Obama is the messiah who causes tingling in the legs merely by speaking and McCain is the doddering old fart, who is too out of touch with today’s generation. If the lives were reversed, Obama would still be the media darling… just like McCain was in 2000 during the primaries. That isn’t racism. That’s favoritism and biased behavior.
I truly think racism does much more than what you described above. I believe it promulgates itself into an election cycle and even into society with a lot of help from people, of all races, who don’t know how to deal with straight up success or failure.
For sure, racism is absolutely the last remnants of the chains of slavery that bind people down. But in this day and age, some of that binding has been self-inflicted.