Hard-Working White Woman for Obama

One of the strains of being black in a white society is being lumped in with people you have nothing in common with.

You might be a vegan, but you’re supposed to like ribs, not arugula. You might be Catholic, but all the news pundits are driveling on about the ‘black prophetic tradition’. Even if you can’t get a date, you are presumed to be a sexual libertine. You have to listen to white people like Don Imus affect a ‘black’ accent. Then when you, a black person, try to speak, you can’t get heard because you’re not saying what you’re expected to say.

Well, gentle reader, I never thought I’d feel your pain. And I’m not presuming to say I feel it now, but I think I’m being stereotyped and I don’t like it.

Hillary Clinton, who once was a credit to her race, is trying to lump me in with people who vote based on color, or the sound of someone’s name, or a class resentment that favors one millionaire over another because they drink the right beer.

I miss the early days of the campaign, when both candidates took the high road. I remember listening to interviews on NPR with black women who said they were leaning to Hillary. They liked her record, they trusted her experience, they were thrilled that a women had a shot at the Presidency. Other women, old guard white feminists, were leaning to Obama. They liked his message of change, his roots in community organizing, his success at bringing people together.

In the early days we had two good candidates, and a real choice. What a contrast to the Republican clown car. But right from the start, Sen. Clinton was playing ‘gotcha’ and jumping on sound bites. When ‘Obambi’ started getting too far ahead, he became ‘arrogant’. Soon he was looking down on ‘people like us’. Clinton’s play on class resentment quickly slid to a naked appeal to white majority power. There are more of us, she seems to be saying, and we will vote our race prejudice in November in numbers large enough to hand the Republicans four more years. Unless you vote for me. I’m white.

All of us whites will fall in line. Except the arugula eaters, and Chardonnay sippers. Except the ones who went to college, and the blue-staters, and the atheists and the queers and the urbanites who see too many in their cities taken down by handguns. And the ones who watch the news. The ones who are sick of the past eight years of lies and have not heard enough honest opposition to this war from the senator who claims the most experience. And, oh yeah, the ones who read the blogs. You think that adds up?

Even in the case of the good people of West Virginia– a great president once said that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Just because a voter didn’t go to college doesn’t mean she’s stupid. I think it’s clear to everyone that all our candidates are part of an elite. Regular people don’t go jetting all over the country trying to get elected President.

In fact, we had better elect someone elite. We’ve had two terms of a dumb President, and he’s handed our national wealth to his rich friends and sent our troops to die in two foreign wars without making us one bit safer than we were in 2001.

Certainly there are white racists, and not just in Appalachia. But they are outnumbered by the white voters who are looking for good leadership, who are looking for answers to our problems with employment, health care, and a war that drains our blood and treasure. White people don’t need a nudge and a wink, and a pat on the back. We don’t need condescension. We, like everyone else in this country, need to move into the 21st century without wearing the sins of the past like a ball and chain.

So knock it off, Hillary. I am more working-class than you. I like beer and arugula. I empty bedpans if that is what the job requires, and I blog in my spare time. I don’t need to be talked down to. If an appeal to prejudice works for you, it’s to the detriment of our country. So stop it. You’re dragging down the race.

5 thoughts on “Hard-Working White Woman for Obama

  1. “Credit to her race”?No one is a credit to their race.Race determines appearance and in some instances susceptibility to certain medical conditions.Nothing else.People are a credit to themselves,or sometimes to their upbringing-I say sometimes because there are people who achieve a great deal in spite of their upbringing.
    My family is really Heinz 57 ,lacking only Asians for a full house(don’t ask me why-I guess no one hooked up with an Asian :)).
    All racial “factors”other than the ones I mentioned are societal inventions.
    The point is we need a time out from race issues(like maybe 100 years or so until no one notices anymore)-but I’m afraid it won’t be in my or my children’s lifetimes.

  2. African-Americans make up only 13% of the population in this country. Yet Hillary Clinton is getting her butt kicked in this primary contest, including huge, embarassing losses in some of the whitest states in the nation. Seems to me she is the one having trouble attracting white voters, not Obama.

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  4. I have to acknowledge that the ‘credit to her race’ remark came from John Green, my racial consultant, who grew up hearing the phrase whenever a black person did something good. he says it got pretty old.

  5. I have to say that I was definitely turned off, by the “SWEETIE” remark to a reporter in Michigan!!! That’s one of my biggest pet peeves as a woman.

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