Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Playing the race card is stupid, stupid, stupid!!!!

You better believe Obama was playing the race card when he said, “They’ll tell you I don’t look like other Presidents on the dollar bill.” Absolutely! He was garnering sympathy for being black, for not being white, for being different. And you know what? It played well with his supporters. Yeah, they said to one another, they may not say it, but they think it! Now, he turns it on John McCain, accusing him of playing the race card when John McCain responds to the comment. This is one man who plays it both ways.

I love to tell this story about Grace. She was about four years old and she had a baby doll named Alice. Alice was black. We were visiting a friend whose daughter was dating a black man. He was very nice, and wanted to engage Grace in conversation, so he said, “That’s a pretty baby. What is her name?” Grace looked up at him with her sweet, innocent brown eyes and said, “Chocolate.”

I about died.

The truth is, there are some things that are very obvious. Obama does look different. His hair is different, his skin is different, he has blue lips and an odd name. Why is it racist to point these things out? It’s not like we are saying he can’t be president because he looks different. If that was the case, McCain would be out too with his strange tight skin and no-lip mouth. Ew.

The problem is that as human beings, we identify with those that are like us and the first impression we have of someone is a visual one. At the parade on Saturday, I was sitting next to an oriental guy with some tattoos and hip-hop clothes. This lady walks up to him and says, “Can I give you a tract? Do you know Jesus as your personal savior?” He said, “Yes, I’ve been a Christian all my life.” She started to walk away, and I said, “Hey, can I have one?” She handed me one and walked away without so much as asking me if I was saved or not. Why was it that she made the assumption that he was a sinner, and I was saved? Because I’m like her. I’m a white woman dressed conservatively, and he looked slightly gangsta and therefore…..sinner.

So are we all guilty of playing the race card – or shall we say prejudice card – when we look at someone and it registers that they are different? Obviously not. It is not in the observing, it is in the evaluating. This is a distinction I wish media commentators would remember before inflaming a wildly reactive public on a rather touchy subject. After all, this presidential campaign is historic whether you support Obama or not. He's opening the way for African Americans to aspire to all heights, and their community at large is in great need of encouragement in this way. In all actuality, if Obama were more open about the race issue and not use it in an inflammatory way, I think it would only benefit his campaign - and the African American public. It's like when you are pointing out a fat person and you say, the one in the blue shirt. It's a white elephant, people, and we'll get nowhere pretending it doesn't exist.


Big Plain V said...

Yeah, preach on, sista!

I loved this post. Very insightful. Very amusing. Enlightening in both the micro and macrocosms. You are back to blogging in full force.

(and hey, check my blog again - I got a lil' story fer ya)

bunnyjo georg said...

Please, if you are reading this, stop right now and go to his blog and read his story. It is absolutely the best worst story I have ever heard. And to make it that much more amazing, it has the best ending we could have imagined!

VeeFlower said...

I already read Ray's blog, so there! I like the way you put things. I wish you would put entries like this in the local papers so others could benefit from your having thought things out. Just sayin'.

bunnyjo georg said...

You know, I'd love to be in print again, but I think that printing this in the paper would just open me up to a lot of criticism. I make a lot of statements here that would inflame the general public. If I had time, though, it would be nice to actually write something I could submit for publication. I have had more of an urge to write lately, but with the new house and everything happening in our life right now, I've really put writing on the back shelf. It's something that requires focus and time - two things of which I am in very short supply! But thank you for saying so, it is encouraging to hear those kinds of remarks!

Big Plain V said...

All I can say to that is: you gotta make time for it. Like anything else, if you keep putting it off, it will stay forever in the future.

I, for one, would LOVE to see you do something more with your writing. You know, National Novel Writing Month is in November.

bunnyjo georg said...

Make time for it....ruefully, that is true. How do you find time to do it between kids and work and exercise? I'm faced with your same dilemma - my Dr has insisted I exercise one hour a day which I have been doing faithfully. It was soooo hard to find time for that, how can I wedge writing in? Any ideas.....?