The Washington Times - August 4, 2008, 05:25PM




Last week The Washington Times ran a poll concerning the use of The N-word. This poll was the result of my July 28 post entitled “The N-word and the African American image“. You should know that I am very proud that such a large number of our readers who responded felt that the use of The N-word was always inappropriate. That post and poll generated a lively discussion about race in America.

 So today I wanted to talk a little more about race and how it is and has been used or injected in the 2008 presidential campaign.  In one way or another race has been a factor in this campaign. Whether it was Bill Clinton comparing Obama’s South Carolina Democratic Primary victory to Jesse’s Jackson’s two primary wins in that state back in 80’s, to the over reported antics of Jeremiah Wright or various talk show hosts and McCain campaign references to Obama being arrogant or uppity (words that have historically been used in reference to Blacks who don’t know their place).  Yes, race has been a hot button issue in this campaign season. Hey that’s nothing new? It has always been used in every presidential campaign as far back as I can remember.

But there is a difference this year. You have an African American nominee, who is the darling of the electorate. He won his party’s nomination and seems to be the likely favorite to win the general election.  Now how is this possible or why is this happening? Let me tell you what I think. There is a lag between where many American voters have or are evolving to as it relates to their attitudes about race in this country and many members of the media and politicians. If this were not true why would Obama be on such a roll?

You can say it is the black vote that is responsible for Obama’s success. And, I think there are a lot of people who would find comfort in that fact. But if you look at the numbers, he has won in a lot of states where there are very few Black voters like Iowa, which propelled him down the road to the democratic nomination. As I said in a recent post on this page entitled “Obama is proof of racial healing”,  The media likes to talk about our racially divided country.

They think it’s what we want to hear and see. And, they are right, because no one seems to complain. Many politicians use it as a wedge issue to keep them in power.”  This seems to be the only way some media folks know how to cover a campaign and the only way some politicians know how to run one.  Remember Willie Horton?

Look, I have said it before and I am saying it again, there is a shifting dynamic in this country about race. We can debate the size and scope of this shift until the second coming, but the fact is that unless something drastic happens, the next President of this country will probably be an African American. This means that voters in this country are evolving beyond looking at the packaging one comes in and looking at what’s inside. Now it’s time for the media and politicians to do the same.

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