29 July 2008

The Obama Channel

All Obama, all the time.

Bermudians' support for Obama is a delicious irony to me, seeing as how I am a member and candidate of the UBP, Bermuda's supposedly white-supremacist-elitist-racist political party (if you were to foolishly believe the PLP hype). Because the fact is, I and most (if not all) of my fellow UBP candidates, Senators, and MPs are huge fans of Obama! This despite the fact an Obama presidency has a non-zero probability of harming Bermuda's livelihood, international business.

So here are three recent tidbits from the news relating to Obama.

Blacks and whites think differently on Obama. Basically, blacks are more in favour of Obama than whites. But what is more surprising (or depressing) are the following statistics from the article: "Nearly 70 percent of blacks said they had encountered a specific instance of discrimination based on their race, compared with 62 percent in 2000"; and, "This month’s poll found that 55 percent of whites said race relations were good, almost double the figure for blacks." I wonder what those statistics look like for Bermuda? The CURE and Human Rights Commission reports would give you a feeling. Some people say that although there is a lot more heat around the topic of race in Bermuda these days, many black Bermudians think that race relations are improving, while whites feel the opposite. That is, to over-generalize, blacks are feeling liberated about being able to talk about their feelings and experiences, while whites feel threatened and accused.

David Paterson, the governor of New York State, said in an address to the NAACP that "we should remain mindful that racism still exists". This is not surprising, given his audience. Paterson is a legally blind black man, "New York’s first black governor and only the third black man since Reconstruction to lead a state". Otherwise the article echoes the same themes as the first one: blacks prefer Obama more than whites, and are more pessimistic about race relations in America.

Obama spent 12 years teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. He taught classes on race and politics, but never published as an academic. The article makes a good case that he used his time there to hone his ideas around those topics, and develop a personal style, as exemplified by his famous speech on race earlier this year (text, video).

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