Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Identity Politics Ver. 2.0

Although I didn’t hear it, and I can’t find it on the internet, a “trusted associate” called me this morning about a comment made on the Russ Parr Morning Show on 93.3 WKYS, a hip hop radio station in Washington DC. Apparently, one of the hosts (a female) was discussing a report that one of Senator McCain’s forefathers owned land in the south and presumably owned slaves. According to my “trusted associate,” the female host then said that if you’re black and your last name is “McCain,” you probably were owned by Senator McCain’s great-something grandfather. Apparently some of the other hosts had a slight problem with that blanket statement, and cautioned the female host to wait a minute. She didn’t. According to my “trusted associate,” she went on to say, “If you’re black and a Republican, you’re an Uncle . . .” at which point the statement was interrupted and all of a sudden the group was talking about something else. It seems the station’s built-in broadcast delay works well.

My “trusted associate” was incensed by these comments, as am I. It appeared to her, as it does to me, that the female host was urging people to vote based on their identity as a part of a certain group, or risk not being a “real” member of that group. I’ve ranted here in the past about the stupidity of identity politics. I see it as a form of prejudice; particularly when coupled with comments about slave-owning great-whatever grandparents; who did so when owning slaves was legal (if not moral). What difference does it make that Senator McCain’s great-whatever grandfather may have owned slaves? Nothing! What possible impact could that potentially slave-owning forefather have on Senator McCain’s policies and attitudes about race? Absolutely nothing! It appears to me that Senator McCain has done everything he can to keep race from being inserted into this election; even though Senator Obama and his party keeps trying to do so, and make the election a “historic” referendum on race.

Voters should vote for any candidate, particularly a presidential candidate, based on the voter’s individual assessment of the candidate’s character and policies; not because the voter identifies with the candidate’s race or gender. To do anything less minimizes the seriousness of a person’s vote and undercuts the value of our democracy.

4 comments:

Ky Woman said...

Lela,

Strangely, no one bothers to mention that the Dem Nominee is only 12.5% African blood. The remainder of his lineage is arabic... Or so I've been told.

But when you have built your campaign on being the "first black man to be president elect, that 12.5% becomes 99.9%.

But then again, reckon I could say I'm Native American. Or German. Or Irish. Or British. The list goes on and on... Tis much easier to say I'm American and dang proud of it!
Oh, and I won't be voting for BO. But not because of his being black, or any other designated 'race'.

Anonymous said...

Arabs are part-Black themselves> You can see "us" in their facial features. The fact that most of the arab countries are in Africa, so methinks they've been hit w/the "tarbrush' for millenia. Matter of fact, the Middle east is in Africa's back yard. So all I see is a bit of hair-splitting.

Ky Woman said...

Anon,

Can you tell me why his race has anything to do with his nomination and campaign? Honestly...

I just don't get it! Have a very hard time comprehending why this issue is vital. IT ISN'T, or shouldn't be. That's just my opinion anyways...

Anonymous said...

I don't see why his race should either, ky wmn, but let's be real, the US is full of rednecks. I'm merely letting y'all know how Limbaugh was splitting hairs with the "Arabic" spiel. But in the US this coming (s)election , you watch---all the racist, stupid rednecks will be out to vote against Obama, methinks. I'll be mighty surprised if Obama gets elected. Hell, some fools still get his name confused w/bin Ladin's first name.