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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Opinion polls and self hating blacks

Here is a great post by John Ridley. I forgot to link to the post previously. He provides an interesting view on black folks in his post Opinion Polls and Self Hating Blacks. After you finish reading the post come back and let me know what you think.

Opinion Polls and Self Hating Blacks

by John Ridley

The headline over at CNN.com was dire: IS BLACK AMERICA READY TO EMBRACE OBAMA? Despite the fact that a Washington Post poll has Hillary Clinton leading Obama by a mere eleven points - a twenty four point swing in a matter of weeks with only, mmm, a year and a half until the election! - CNN is beating its favorite drum: black America doesn't like Obama (for comparison, the headline at the Post read: BLACKS SHIFT TO OBAMA, POLL FINDS). To justify this stance CNN continually taps into some of the most oddly self-hating rhetoric that can be found in black America.

From CNN: "Blacks, in part, may be slow to warm to the candidacy of Obama because, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests, they are less likely than whites to believe that America is ready for a black president."

Also from CNN: "George Wilson, the host of XM Radio's 'GW on the Hill,' hears doubts about Obama all the time from his black audience. 'There is this doubt: but is America ready for a black president?' Wilson told CNN. 'And the overall consensus from my callers is that America is not ready for an African-American president.'"

So, if I've got this right; segments of black American don't want to elect a black man president because they think other segments of America aren't ready.


If we check history real carefully I'm pretty sure America wasn't ready when we as a people wanted to quit slavery and be free, when we wanted a full and complete Reconstruction. They weren't ready when we were tired of Jim Crow or when my parents, among millions of others, spilled out into the streets demanding civil rights.

They weren't ready for Jack Johnson or Fritz Pollard or Jackie Robinson or Muhammad Ali or Dr. King, Malcolm X, Shirley Chisholm, Oprah, Tiger, Kenneth Chenault and I'm sure they weren't ready for Dick Parsons to be head of the world's largest media organization, which makes CNN's constant and beguiling racial stance so very odd.

The very fact that blacks aren't going to automatically vote for a black is not news. Beyond the fact that we are intelligent individuals rather than a monolithic voting block should be obvious. But recent history alone is evidence of our singularity. In 2004, presidential candidate Al Sharpton ran second to Howard Dean in the Washington, DC primary. A district that is 70 percent minority and 60 percent black. In South Carolina only one in five blacks voted for Sharpton and he won just one of the state's 55 eligible delegates.

But nobody took Al seriously, not even other blacks, so his dismissal passed with little notice.

Obama, however, is for real. And he has a real chance, which is why it's so painful to see other blacks turning on him for reasons other than pure politics. South Carolina State Senator Robert Ford recently said that if Obama won his party's nomination, then "every
Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose - because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything."

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