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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.”

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.

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Toure' (0+ / 0-)

    I don't always agree with Toure' but whenever someone tells me that crap I start naming all of the white Presidents I've voted for in the past. Let Allen West or Michael Steele run and see what happens or call Arthur Davis.

  •  The statement that "only blacks" vote Obama (0+ / 0-)

    is meant for white people.

    Everyone Chill the fuck out! I got this - unknown but credited to Barack Obama

    by natedogg265 on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 07:19:02 AM PDT

  •  A Major Problem with this Narrative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kck, Denise Oliver Velez

    And this diary, is the assumption that the phrase "because he's Black" includes the pre-qualifier JUST. Indeed, your not being "certain" that Samuel L. Jackson "wasn't just popping off" demonstrates that, even though this diary is clearly one of good will.  

    It never has.  It never will.  Yet everytime someone not-Black brings up the subject of whether or not President Obama's blackness was a factor in Black folks, they just talk as if the word "JUST" is written there.

    I wrote a diary making plain that yes, I voted for President Obama because he is Black.  Black and qualified for the office of President.    Here's a link to it:

    Now, if President Blackness managed to reassure me that he might get what the issues were in our community to the point where I wanted to take a chance on him despite other things I wasn't 100% on board on, so what? This has been the unspoken calculus made by millions of white people that has taken place in electoral politics for 200 years otherwise no random chance would have had it take that long for a Black person to be elected president.  Jesse Jackson, had that not been the case, would have taken the nomination over who we ended up with in 1984 AND 1988.

    So, given the history, I don't see anything wrong with Black people voting for President Obama because he's Black - because I don't know any Black people that ascribed to the notion that he was not qualified to do the job.  There is no "just because he's Black" in our world.  That is yet another pillar in white supremacy that is grounded in the unspoken assumption of our inferiority, the very idea that a Black man who wasn't anything other than "just Black" would put himself out there to run for President.

  •  Does he also say that those who will (0+ / 0-)

    vote against Obama will do so because they are racists? Or does he say that those who will vote against him will do so because they believe that Obama is not qualified, or will not be as good as Romney?

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:23:38 AM PDT

  •  well here's the thing: black people in this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    country, in recent generations, vote for qualified Dems, full stop.  so, we vote for black Dems if they're qualified.  this president had to cross that "qualified" threshold, and he did when he won Iowa.

    I was a supporter of his prior to that, and MANY of my political-minded black friends were supporting... hillary clinton.  for one thing this hawaiian mixed dude with the african name wasn't really considered "black the way someone like me, born in Philly to two black parents, has always been.  I'm serious about that, and I don't think it's something that's well known outside the black community.

    anyway, they started moving towards the president during that protracted primary, as they noted his competence, and that of his campaign.  I saw it happen in real time.  his wife had a LOT to do with folks getting over the "not black enough" meme too.  if he'd been married to a white woman, it' would be a very different story.  I'm serious about that, too.

    anyone who wants to do the "he's only getting black votes because he's black" needs to remember the other black people who have run for president, from Chisolm to Sharpton, and do some research on what percentages of the black vote those candidates got, as opposed to the frontrunners.

    take me:  I've voted, and voted Dem since Clinton. ask me if I voted Sharpton in '96.  go ahead, ask me.  the answer's no.

    the fact that this is even discussed pisses me off, truly.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:27:09 AM PDT

  •  I got no problem with solidarity anyway... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    looking and listening
    Ron Christie echoed him saying blacks voted for Obama because of “straitjacket solidarity.”
    ...and Ron Christie is still a professional straightjacket Republican shill ass. Hell, the more solidarity the better! Please!

    Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

    by kck on Fri Oct 19, 2012 at 08:32:04 AM PDT

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