OK, let's get this straight: Of course there are some black Americans who voted for then-candidate Barack Obama just because he's black. Included among them is actor Samuel L. Jackson who during a recent Ebony Magazine interview callously, if not infamously said: "I voted for Barack because he was black. Cause that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them," Jackson said.
I have no clue if Jackson was telling how he really feels or was just popping off to get attention, but there's some truth in what he said. However, I don't believe the majority of black people voted for Barack Obama simply because he's considered black (let's not forget that the President is bi-racial), just like I don't believe most whites who voted against him did so because they consider him black.
In my view, the biggest factor in President Obama getting such overwhelming support from the black community is the fact that he's a Democrat. Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry got at least 88 percent of the black vote when they ran for President. I seriously doubt that as Republicans Condi Rice or even Colin Powell would even come close to getting that many black votes if they ran for President.
Toure wrote a great article for Time.Com (http://ideas.time.com/...) that puts it all in the proper perspective. Here's an excerpt:
The question has become an Internet meme over the last week, fueled mostly by people like Congressman Andre Carson who told Fox News, “Racists that they are, [blacks] voted for [Obama] because he’s black, not because he’s qualified.” Conservative author Ron Christie echoed him saying blacks voted for Obama because of “straitjacket solidarity.”I recall hearing a comedian say if Flavor Flav was running for President as a Democrat that most blacks would vote for him. Sorry, but that's BS. Conversely, Rush Limbaugh recently told his audience that even if the GOP was running Elmer Fudd against President Obama that they should vote for Fudd. Somehow I believe they would.
This is mostly conservatives complaining about why they can’t get a serious look from black Americans and break up the demographic firewall that Obama has because of overwhelming support from blacks and Latinos. It would be too psychologically difficult to blame their decades old problem with black and brown voters on an ideology that is anti-affirmative action, anti-choice, anti-the social safety net, pro-voter ID, pro-tax breaks for the wealthy, pro demonizing of welfare and accepting of birtherism. A party that engages in what many have called the Southern Strategy 2.0, which means trying to attract poor whites through enraging them via coded racist appeals like the “Obama is removing the work requirement from welfare” claim” that was widely debunked but still remained at the heart of a Romney ad.
But instead of looking at the Republican ideology and realizing that it is hostile to blacks, they call blacks racist for their supposedly thoughtless skin-color-based support of Obama. An August poll showed Obama leading Romney among Blacks 94% to 0%, but this is hardly an historical outlier. Al Gore won 90% of the black vote in 2000 and John Kerry won 88% in 2004. Obama won 95% in 2008.
Instead, the idea that blacks support Obama just because he’s black is itself racist because it suggests a lack of political sophistication and brain power, as if blacks would vote for anyone who shares their skin color, even though most blacks didn’t support Herman Cain, Allen West, Alan Keyes and don’t respect Clarence Thomas. And the question ignores the nuances of reality. Yes Obama’s blackness is part of why many blacks support him. Another reason is Obama’s policies: saving Detroit, supporting universal health care, and fighting to protect the social safety net and a woman’s right to choose will win lots of black votes.
In order to think blacks reflexively support Obama because of race you have to ignore so much evidence. You have to close your eyes to his black critics from the brilliant Cornel West to Michael Jones, the undecided voter at the debate who asked why he should vote for him, to the clueless Stacey Dash. You also have to believe that whites never take race into account which would suggest that the Bradley Effect doesn’t exist and demand you dismiss a recent Esquire Magazine/Yahoo poll in which 26% of respondents said they personally know someone who’s not voting for Obama simply because he’s black.