Obama declares Iowa voters beyond race


photo courtesy of flickr by Guy as in Gee

The “Safe Negro,” Barack Obama, has declared that Iowa voters are beyond race.   He is quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “People are less concerned about race and much more concerned about, is this somebody who is going to be fighting for me.”   That is an astounding statement of cynical calculation which panders to Iowa’s lily white electorate that is false on its face and goes to the root of why black people like me remain skeptical brotha’s and sistah’s.    For the record, all of my closest friends are supporters of the Safe Negro, but I just can’t go there.   I probably never will as long as he keeps serving up rhetorical gems like this to a narcissistic and oblivious white electorate.

Let me be clear, y’all.   I was born and raised in a neighboring state to a family of southern transplants looking for a kinder and gentler racism so that they might have a fighting chance to raise healthy and happy chirren.  My grandparents largely succeeded.  After high school, I realized that in terms of a future, there was no there there and decided to strike out for the greener and decidedly blacker pastures in the south.  

After a false start in Louisiana, I ended up in the Carolinas.  Having four generations of my family living in the rural Midwest, you’d think that our sense of pride in self and community woulda dimmed somewhat, quite the opposite is true.    We know exactly who we are, where we came from, and we appreciate it and celebrate it.   We’re realists that were raised to see the world as it is, defects and all. It is because we do that statements like Obama’s can be decisively debunked with little effort.

According to Human Rights Watch, it is patently ridiculous for Barack Obama to be giving racial absolution to Iowans, “In every state, the proportion of blacks in prison exceeds, sometimes by a considerable amount, their proportion in the general population (Figure 2). In Minnesota and Iowa, blacks constitute a share of the prison population that is twelve times greater than their share of the state population. In eleven states — Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming –the percentage of the prison population that is black is more than six times greater than the percentage of the state population that is black.”

“Racially disaggregated incarceration rates that measure the number of confined blacks and whites per 100,000 residents of each racial group yield another perspective on the extent of racial disparities in imprisonment. Nationwide, blacks are incarcerated at 8.2 times the rate of whites. That is, a black person is 8.2 times more likely to be in prison than a white person. Among individual states, there are even more extraordinary racial disparities in incarceration rates (Figure 3). In seven states — Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — blacks are incarcerated at more than 13 times the rate of whites.”

“….Nationwide, black men are incarcerated at 9.6 times the rate of white men. In eleven states, black men are incarcerated at rates that are twelve to twenty-six times greater than those of white men (Table 5). Thus, in Minnesota, the state with the greatest racial disparity in incarceration, a black man is 26.8 times more likely to be in prison than a white man. In Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, a black man is more than fifteen times more likely to be in prison than a white man.”

The criminal justice system is always an accurate measure of how deep the sickness of racism is. In Iowa, on the basis of these 7-plus-year-old figures, the sickness is profound.   Apparently, Barack Obama is a glass is half-full kinda guy.  I’m just the opposite.  It’s one thing to campaign on the basis of optimism and hope, its quite another to pander to some white people’s grossly inflated sense of racial fairness and fairplay when statistics clearly show that their “fairness” is a lie from the pit of Hell.  Because of these and other reasons, I shall continue remaining skeptical about Barack Obama.  



30 thoughts on “Obama declares Iowa voters beyond race

  1. Welcome Back!

    Glass half-full kind of guy….I think that’s pretty accurate.

    I have to tell you that I chuckled from the moment I saw the title, and knew how this was going to roll. Between your ‘Safe Negro’ and Field’s ‘ Half-and-Half Man’, the two of you are just bitingly funny.

    You keep breaking it down for us, SB.

    Keep breaking it down.

  2. I don’t know why this hit me like it just did, but you know who you are, SB?

    You’re Huey from The Boondocks. If Huey had a blog, it’d be Skeptical Brotha.

    I’ll leave it to you to guess who OBama is…Tom DuBois.

  3. TeamA

    Obama is not half white, half black, he is transparent and 100% American. You say, your friends are for him, but you would rather lay a mine under him by not voting but your vote does not go to waste, it goes to Gulliani or Hilary but then Blacks love Bill, even after locking them up in large numbers than Bush, even calling him Black! Well according to MLK, you cant carry someone unless your back is bent, let those with bent backs stand upright, to count

  4. sagereader

    I think Michael Eric Dyson said it best about Obama and race:

    “That he is aware of race without being its prisoner–that he is rooted in, but not restricted by, his blackness–challenges orthodoxies and playbooks on all sides of the racial divide and debate.”

  5. Mac

    Good post.
    Obama’s pandering to both white Iowans and black christians last week by hanging out with phony, gay-hating, Black Larry Craig McClurkin bother me very much.

    I do recognize the historical significance of his run for the highest office in the US. And I want to support, event work for him. But he keeps saying doing and doing dumb things that neither Hillary or any other astute politician would say or do.

    Related to whether we support Obama is something else: The Democratic Party, a sorry bunch of wimps if ever there was one. The sad fact is that Obama’s party lets an umpopular, lameduck president push them around, especially on the war on Iraq. You can bet this impacts my level of support for him. Why? Because, even if he becomes president and genuinely attempts to implement radical or working-class reforms (which his timidity in the debates and responses doesn’t suggest he would do), his own sorry party won’t support him.

    I don’t wish Mr. Obama ill, but, right now, i’m thinking black people need to register as independents, start their own independent national party and stop letting the democratic party take us for granted and knock us around like a pimp slaps the prostitutes in his “stable” on Saturday night. Blessings.

  6. Mac

    Interesting article. It suggests that Sen. Obama is a skilled politician, giving Americans a black candidate who is not associated with the civil rights era and its issues, that SOME Americans don’t view race as that important (Why, he even represents the diversity that IS America) and White America is posed now to vote for him.

    Sounds good, doesn’t it? And it may be true for SOME voters. But issues that were present in the 60’s are still with us today with whites, North and South, controlling key institutions that result in the following: White refusal to hire blacks for jobs that are becoming more and more scarce as white corporations invest abroad; Whites maintaining law enforcement policies and practices that result in a high percentage of blacks going to jail for drug use while whites, the larger number of drug users, getting little jail time and more treatment; Whites providing greater start-up business loans to whites and new immigrants than to blacks. On and on. What this comes down to is something Harold Ford, the politician from Tennessee learned recently: That, when it comes to electing blacks, whites often say one thing and do another. They often talk diversity while working to maintain white supremacist instituions, working “on the downlow” to maintain what’s left of white privileage. This is why Sen. Obama has to work so hard to disassociate himself from the very movement– the anti-apartheid civil rights movement of the 60’s– that provided the historical and legal foundation for to run for the highest office in the land in the first place.

    This disassociation doesn’t sit well with a lot of blacks; and it is what is causing blacks to distrust Mr. Obama. And it is the primary reason to vote for Sen. Hillary over him. Like me, many blacks truly want to support him but continue to ask, “At what price the soul?” In other words, how far will Sen. Obama go to remove yourself from our legacy of our just, historic struggle for liberation and equal opportunity to secure votes from a populace that continue to benefit from our oppression? And how can we trust him to fight for us as president when, as presidential CANDIDATE, he, by and large, disassociate himself from our (African American) legacy of struggle as a people?

    No pro-Obama article, or weekend “flirtation” with homophobic black Christians can get pass that distrust. Only a more assertive Barack Obama who trumpets the best of America, including African America, can. Until he states in no uncertain terms that he will not abandon Black America and its historical legacy, not only will Mr. Obama not become president, he will lose the respect of the very people he needs the most to get the democratic nomination for President of the US.

  7. john in california

    rikyrah, thanks for the link – as an old white guy, I have to agree w/ a lot that it says. Obama has the talent to never seem like a bullshitter, even when he is committing to nothing at all. And on a ‘Like-iblity Meter’ he’s off the charts. As a diehard Kucinch supporter, I know your frustration, sb, but I also remember JJ milking cows in Iowa to reassure rural whites that he understood their concerns. I am not sure what you expect a him to do. He must convince a majority white electorate that race is not his primary concern, so he tries, as much as possible, to ignore it. My problem w/ him is that he does not come out strong on Constitutional, war and economic issues, all of which are going to require some very tough leadership over the next 8 years.

  8. …it is patently ridiculous for Barack Obama to be giving racial absolution to Iowans…

    I think this statement sums up exactly what Barack Obama is doing for his white fans,(I say fans here rather than supporters in acknowledgment of Obama being pronounced a “rock star” by said fans) and not just in Iowa. He smiles at the crowd of white faces and bestows racial absolution on them. And with no penance to kneel and carry out, it must feel pretty damn good. Is Barack a willing participant in this pretense because it feels pretty good to him, too? Is he a calculating manipulator, exploiting the white guilt of his starstruck following? Or does he believe he can actually absolve the racial sins of the country? As you pointed out, racial absolution isn’t Obama’s to give. Somebody needs to break it to him and his fans.

  9. Denise

    Because I genuinely like Mrs. Obama’s public persona, I’m gonna let this one slide.

    I’m gonna chalk it up to being caught up in the heat of battle 😉

  10. Watching my tivo of today’s Washington Journal.
    Two questions:

    1. How the hell did I miss that Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) was retiring?

    2. Anyone have the 4-1-1 on Julia Carson (D, IN). The guy from Roll Call says that her health is a mystery.

  11. sagereader

    Yogo, you’re quoting an interpretation of Michelle’s comments from Newsbusters? Please tell me that you understand what they are trying to do with that quote.

    And for the record, I agree with Michelle Obama. First, that “that’s not going to hold” which the Newsbusters article skipped over. I’m not as worried about the black vote as most media folk are. If he wins Iowa, it’s a non-issue.

    Second, I agree with her that anybody, I don’t care what race you are, who decides not to act on what they desire simply because they believe it is impossible or because they are afraid is mapping out a smaller life for themselves than what God wants them to have. That logic runs counter to the thrust of blacks’ historical progress.

  12. Rikyrah:

    Carson’s been ill with high blood pressure, diabetes and a host of other illnesses for some time; I’m just admiring the fact she actually shows up to do her job in the House, in spite of her illnesses – but who knows?

    As for Hutchinson’s retiring, she, like other ReThugs, see the writing on the wall and doesn’t want to become a casualty. Who the good state of Texas sends to the Senate to replace her is what we need to be in prayer about, because Texas is already missing a few idiots and they are occupying elected offices here in DC.

    I will reserve comments on Sen. Obama until the Iowa caucus is over. I still think he’s shot himself in the foot elsewhere, but, who knows?

  13. Denise


    I second your emotion, sistah.

    Sometimes events are bigger than our individual issues, grievances, and differences of opinion.

    Like it or not, this is one of those times.

    Therefore, I will also reserve public comment of any kind about regarding Senator Obama’s campaign until after Iowa.

  14. “That he is aware of race without being its prisoner–that he is rooted in, but not restricted by, his blackness–challenges orthodoxies and playbooks on all sides of the racial divide and debate.”

    Actually all he is doing is regurgitating a lot of Republican talking points and empty rhetoric with the goal of assuaging white voters that often vote Republican because that’s where their social/economic sensibilities are. This is a disservice to ALL of us on “all sides of the racial divide and debate.” It is a shrewd strategy, though. HFJ used it in his Tennessee senate bid. It didn’t quite work, and we’ll see how successful Obama is at taking the hustle up to the next level.

    Once again, I must commend SB for focussing in close on this, since virtually no one else is (or doing as thorough a job at it).

  15. Todd Offenbacker

    What is wrong with these Obama supporters. We have the chance to elect the greatest American alive, Hillary Clinton. Hillary would turn this nation around.

    But, instead, we have these racist negroes, refusing to vote for a woman. Obama’s supporters are racist and misogynist. Black this. Black that. I’m sick of blacks. Get back on the plantation and vote for Hillary Clinton.

  16. eddy

    as a black man this is the problem with blacks we are never together around a cause that is good for us we have toOK a long rode to get here and now i would like you to embrace the next presdient of the USA BARACK OBAMA

  17. Jay

    I think this article gets to the heart of whats wrong with America’s electoral process. The very idea that we let two rual, prodominetly white, farming-based states like Iowa and New Hampshire have such a disproportinate say in the presidential election is simply absurd. Granted, it does give a voice to two states that would otherwise be mostly passed over by other candidates but where’s the voice of other small states like North Dakota and Nebraska? Furthermore, how will any diversity ever come about in the federal elections so long as rural America is the driving force behind the decision-making? While Obama may be buying the confident support of Iowans, I’m not. I grew up in a rural area among red necks who all professed to be “progressive Americans”. Let’s see how progressive they are when it comes to actually marking the butterfly ballot!

  18. salt

    The only, and I mean the only good that can come out of this whole charade is to open the eyes of blacks that are influenced by Oprah Winfrey, that the Clinton were and have always have been a couple of refined racists. Look at Bill Clinton’s record in his administration in Africa, look at all of the fundraising and personal scandals. Hopefully next to come is the realization that the Democratic party doesn’t even really pander to blacks, they trot out a couple of their staffers to a couple of silly black churches and we claps our hands and bounce around like fools. The Clintons had 8 years in the white house and what exactly did they do for blacks again? Just trot out Slick Willy, say “I aint noways tired”, and you sow up the black vote? Pitiful. Their campaign staffers must love laughing at us on the plane back to headquarters. “These have got to be the stupidest people on the planet” They’ve got us figured out. We might as well admit it and move on from it. If the Democratic party held a barbecue we would all register. LOL. Obama avoids race like the plague, but it is the ONLY game in town. All of the soft-shoeing in the world won’t change that. I respect his approach of trying to change things within the system, but the Global White Collective is going to have to confront White Supremacy for anything to change. White A third party would be ideal, but abstaining altogether is the only way to have a real impact and give any real significance to the black vote. People fought for our right to choose not to vote too. We have to sit out at least one but maybe two election cycles. If things are that bad for blacks, then what is there to lose? Abstinence over subservience. Blacks are missing only one thing, and it is a big one—logic: the ability to reason. Instead we get all emotional and frustrated because we don’t understand.

  19. Hey all,
    I got led to this site a while ago when reading up on Cory Booker, and I gotta say that (as a neither black nor white person, ie impartial observer), I read Obama’s statement not as a statement of racial absolution, but as a pretty honest interpretation of where things stand. I mean, the way I see it, yes a cop walking into a room with a black and a white guy both pointing a gun at him, ten times out of ten will shoot the black guy (first).

    But that doesn’t say that, when choosing what’s best for his own future, he wouldn’t vote for a black president that has a better, more believable argument and better ideas. I would say, when looking at choosing a president, people look at their own interests. In that sense, yes, I agree with Obama’s statement.

    And I would submit that the cop is still a racist (but c’mon, he’s a cop).

    Anyways, as a Vietnamese refugee, I gotta say that I’m kind of tired of seeing black people and white people disagreeing on race, and I say we’ve had white people running this country for a long while, why not give a black guy a chance (especially since he seems to me to be the most qualified out of all the candidates, white ladies included).

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