Monday, December 18, 2006

The great white/black/male/female hope

I was listening to NPR (as usual) and heard a discussion about whether America is ready for a black and/or woman President.

Barack Obama was mentioned, with some discussion about how elements of the black community may view Obama as "not black enough". OK, Obama has a black dad and a white mom, so he's 50% black anyway.

Part of the discussion pointed out that Obama is not of the generation of civil rights protest leaders; rather, he is reaping the rewards of Dr. King's dream. You know, that "content of their character" part.

So, is that black enough? Or does he need gangsta street cred? I don't think that constituency votes in any great numbers anyway (particularly the youth and the felons).

Of course, there are probably some in the white community who regard Obama as "too black" (i.e., more than 0%). Maybe there would be some perverse logic to their supporting him: If Obama can be elected President, then do we need Affirmative Action anymore?

There was even the mention of a fear that a black President may take away the so-called "white privilege", whatever that is. If he or she does, I imagine it will be because he or she is upholding the standards set forth in the Constitution, not because of some racial backlash. (But then, I expected the current President to uphold the standards set forth in the Constitution, and look where it got me.)

If whites don't vote for Obama because he's too black, they're bigots. If blacks don't vote for Obama because he's not black enough, they're idiots.

The discussion then turned to whether America is ready for a woman President. Someone mentioned that the men have traditionally tried to look tough by playing touch football, driving tanks, or zipping around in speedboats; if women did that, they'd look silly. Not to say that the men don't look silly, too (alas, poor Dukakis).

Can a woman be tough enough to defend her country? Let's see, there was Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Elizabeth I, Queen Boudicca...yes, I think a chick can handle the reins of power.

The real question is: Are Americans still so juvenile that these doubts are taken seriously?

Unfortunately, I think I know the answer. But two years is a long time.

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