Deciphering Dilemmas Along the Campaign Trail
edited: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
By Alvin C. Romer
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2007
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A look at the issues facing two candidates divided, if not connected to ethnicity and racial voting patterns.
I'm both bemused and baffled at times watching the drama unfold while Obama and Hillary jockey for position in their quest for bi-partisan votes for President. Look at the intangibles and go figure the circumstance and consequences here. They are bringing some extra drama to a familiar and not always welcome questions: Are African-American women going to be torn between two firsts? Will they vote along ethnic lines supporting a Black man, or will they vote gender specific and allow Hillary to prevail in a heart-felt way? Will it be both? Or neither? Has Obama appealed enough to the hearts and minds of Black men to be believable amid strands of doubt, ethnic background notwithstanding?
My research shows that Black support is split about evenly between the two, but I'm leaning toward believing that there's strong evidence of a gender gap. YES, a gender gap, but it's predictable! Obama appeals to Black men and has a comfortable lead there, while Black women obviously favor Hillary. I'm still trying to fathom why the support of either candidate is concise among those comparisons. I cannot ignore history's treatment of women of color. It seems to me that they've always had to prove themselves, be it the subjection of loyalty oaths or disloyalty taunts where dissention and tension among the ranks were rife with contradiction without being given equal parity. History has also proven that sexist attitudes die hard. Against this backdrop you cannot prove to me that somehow Hillary doesn't have an ace up her sleeve.
I recall tension and consternation going back to Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony toe to toe in acrimony and disagreement on who was more worthy of being the spokeswoman for women suffrage agendas. This was during the Women's Rights Convention in 1851 when Sojourner when challenged adamantly retorted, "Ain't I a woman?" Parallel and paradox to this analogy is the fact that there were racists in the women's rights movement as well as sexists in the civil rights movement. Think back to our whipping boy Clarence Thomas and his assertion that racist attitudes were at the base and cause of people siding against him. Anita Hill, his adversary was painted as less than honorable, and persona non grata to boot in deference to African-American men. Again, it’s the battle royal between Black man and the gender of a woman under duress. Suffice it to say, Hillary not a woman of color, but a ‘woman’ nonetheless battling issues that will surely split the votes among minorities. Other parallels abound with references depicting Black women as vulnerable in taking sides.
In this presidential race we have both a white woman and a Black man in the top tier of contenders. At the same time, these are candidates who have, in many ways, transcended their race and gender - especially in the level of popularity they've garnered. Race and gender has become less of a moot point. It's going to be quite interesting to see how this scenario will eventually pan out. How will Amerikkka vote? Will Obama make it to the end? Will some racist fiend decide to reopen the can of white supremacy worms sitting within reach? Better yet; is this country truly ready for a Black, or a female president? The fact that I'm American and have options is much more than I could ask for living in the land of the free. I'm all for a good race, and will even feel ecstatic again knowing that the politicos and politics that make this nation great, are gearing for an interesting, if not historic ending. Stay tuned, will ya?