The DC Democratic primary is tomorrow and I guess it’s time to stop holding my peace. I’ve sat back and read commentary after commentary about why Obama isn’t black enough, experienced enough, how America isn’t ready enough for a black president, etc. Hello, Negro even asked the question, “Do We really want Obama to Win?” My answer, at least, is emphatically, YES! My question would be, why not and what are we afraid of? (Yes, ‘we’ Black Americans…I said it!). At the beginning of his campaign, Obama probably only had the public (black) support of Oprah and Chris Rock who seemed to have no problem seeing the trees from the forest in deciding to support him in his bid for the presidency. In February 2008, I see how that took courage as it appeared that there wasn’t an overwhelming sense of support from the black community in the beginning. Hell, prominent black elected officials seemed to lead the charge in the disapproval of his candidacy and early support of Hillary Clinton. It seems that as non-black Americans began to support Obama, black Americans gained more and more courage to believe. In November 2007, The Chicago Sun-Times quoted Michelle Obama as saying, “Black America will wake up and get it”. I think she understood that it may be hard for some of us to believe in the possibility of a black American president and given more time, we would find the strength to believe and not be afraid to vote for him. It seems she was right…slowly, but surely.
Maybe it’s me, but I would assume black people would at least give him the benefit of the doubt until he proved himself crazy or at least akin to Clarence Thomas or something… I thought it ingenious to ask black people if they were supporting Obama because he was black. What a guilt bestowed and what timing. What better way to make any of us who respected him as a candidate while feeling empowered as a black person feel guilty and be proud not to support him for that very reason? Were white people equally asked whether they’re voting for any of the other white candidates because they’re white? Better yet, were they asked if they decided not to vote for Obama because he was black? They were largely allowed to make that decision when they voted.
For all the talk of Hillary Clinton having more experience than him, it is very clear that not too much separates the two policy wise. They’ve even admitted as such. At this point in the race, the democratic vote seems to hinge on voting for a woman or a black man. Today, Hillary Clinton visited the National Council of Negro Women’s headquarter in DC to court the black female vote which appears to be the real swing among the division in the black vote. Hello Negro even asked if black women felt more inclined to vote for Hillary because she was a woman. I think Hillary understands that the gender split in the black vote alone could swing the race in her favor. The article addresses the prominent black wives that have decided to vote for her while their husbands support Obama.
In the end, for all the excuses given for not supporting Obama, please don’t miss the opportunity to vote for him because of some underlying fear or guilt. Don’t vote for him if you don’t like him. If you do like him and his vision for America and it makes you smile that his family resembles yours, there’s nothing wrong with that. In the words of Chris Rock, “You’d be real embarrassed if he won and you wasn’t down with it!”