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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Does Barack Obama’s Skin Colour Matter, Really?

My answer to the above question is that it really does. Well, this is so if the reactions and comments of an American citizen on BBC, sometime this week, are anything to go by.

He said that Americans are not foolish and are, therefore, not going to elect a black man as their president. “Etiquette alone dictates that we don’t allow a black man to move into a house which is itself called the White House,” He said, quite forcefully.

He distastefully went on to say: “If Barack Obama had a White wife, Americans would have tolerated him. But there is no way Americans will have a black woman masquerading in their White House!

If this one American (white American, I presume) voices the prejudices of millions others out there, then Barack should brace himself for “an extremely tight and asphyxiating” fight for the White House.

But Barack sounded his answer to anyone who might try to use such tactics (such as using his “skin colour” to sway the voters) when he made his exemplary speech during the Democratic National Convention.

He said:

“If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.”

My two cents: Please guys, look not at the colour of the skin but at the content of character (among so many other things – competence, effective promise-delivering strategies etc).

Check out some Snapshots of Michelle Obama’s Speech this Week.

45 comments:

Taabu said...

Ritch,
Difficult to swallow and teh white guys may sound distasteful but unfortunately he represents a big chunk of white thinking. You will not believe it when a senior BBC man (Matt Frei-BBC America) in ?July equated BO's candidacy to Brits allowing a Paki(stani) to be UK's PM.

The only hope and reality remina the fact that there is always a first time for everything and who knows, this may be it. Politics is funny and dirty scheming its forte. Look at McSAME, he is inadvertently insulting American women but preying into their disappointment following Hillary's exit. Trust me many will fall for it. And we thought we exclusively patent scoundrels!

ritch said...

Barack should get himself some very good shock absorbers when these whites start looking at him as a black man!

Anonymous said...

Yeah sure the skin colour or otherwise matters a lot.Even in Kenya the godfather of the proud owners of the foreskin has realised this and has told his fanatic admirers to get rid of it or die( his must be 64 years plus).The question is,at what age do they start getting rid of it or what criteria will be used to decide who is to get rid of it for after all, does the skin really matter colour notwithstanding?

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzz.........

Kibaki being misled on IDPs, says Uhuru.....

zzzzzzz.......

Vikii said...

Does skin colour matter? Yes it does, but I think the whole debate has been made a little too simplistic by the black folks;

Barack Obama enjoys the support of about 93% of black Americans while John McCainn enjoys 55-60% of the white vote YET nobody seems courageous enough to castigate Barack for being a product of racism himself. It is as though it is in order for the black guys to vote for Barack (and this is solely guided by skin colour) and absolutely abominable when the whites vote for McCain. That is Double Standards 101!

This same defeatist mentality is all too prevalent in the Kenyan context. Some politicians have always rushed to play the ethnicity card to; one, gain sympathy and two, wish away the genuine concerns that those who dont like them have against them. Is it possible for me to seriously dislike Raila Odinga (like I do) without being anti-Jaluo? Is it possible for people to dislike Kalonzo Musyoka the person and not KM the Kamba? Conversely, are there people who like Raila just because he is Luo? Are there people who would vote for Kalonzo just because of his ethnicity? The answer to all these questions is YES. Inasmuch as ethnicity plays a BIG role in politics, we should not demonise it only when it doesnt favour us and encourage it when it does. That would not only be dishonest, it would be counter-productive too.

I love Barack Obama, I do. With a big passion! But I get a little uncomfortable every time I meet people who are quick to brand people racists just because they dont like Barack. Again it is simplistic. Are there genuine issues like his lack of experience, lack of principles (flip flopping), the vagueness in his proclamations etc that voters dont agree with? Similarly if McCainn loses, his apologists should not attribute his loss to old age, his whiteness, his cancerous self and all that crap. There are also issues like his support for not just an unpopular war, but one that was waged on false premises, his 'sidekick' voting record, his environmental policies etc.

Like I said, skin colour plays a role. BUT the truth is that we enhance that role when we attempt to use it as a tool to intimidate our opponents. People stick to their guns and even become vindictive especially when they are accused falsely. I am not going to change my position on an individual just because you think I am a racist/tribalist. If anything I will hold to it more firmly.

Papi said...

Last last year Mazrui asked the question of the year. Which country will elect a Luo first as its president, Kenya or USA? Well we all know Kenya's case was stolen after the opponents fed the masses on tribal fears. The US's case is bound to get nasty as the opponent exploits the masses along racial lines.

My take: White america is very gullible and can easily be wiped to hating Obama because of his skin. We have those who by the very nature of you being black, they can't even look at you.

The white man knows his most feared opponent on this earth. Do you see these wars being waged with Asian-American or others, why just the black folk. We must have something which these people know and which they are so very afraid of and I think that think lies in our abilities which have already being brought out by Barack. Question is will Africans back in Africa realize they have the capacity even bigger than the whites to rule the world?

I also think, the confusion and tribal hatred that was planted in Africa by mkoloni was a well executed tactic to keep Mwafrika down there. Its up to mwafrika to wake-up and realize he is the one person every race is fighting. Yet we have dinosours who have no idea how this world runs and how they are all playing to the mzungu's script.

The hatred Obama is bound to feel will be great. The owners of America are not in the Americans. Its a bunch of people dating back to the bavarian days, the illuminati and its many divisions. These people have formed a network in many countries and they meet to decide how the world should run. The war on terror is their creation.

Barack must either be too bright or too ignorant of the stakes. Or he must be the chosen one...who will break these evil schemes forever.

Papi said...

Vikii,

Blacks have always voted for the democrats 90% of the time. Democratic party by its very nature has always had ideals that appeal to the minorities. So black folks backing Obama is not unique. Furthermore there has never been any black candidate anywhere in history who has achieved what Barack has and it will be foolish for blacks to support a white person when supporting a black candidate in its very self is making history. Black folks know what they have endured in America and they will be more than willing to be instrumental in putting that behind them. Moreso, Barack has not played any race card. His politics in all inclusive and has never openly shown bias towards black folks, but at the same time knows he needs their solid votes. Just watch from now to election day and see who will be igniting racial sentiments.

Anonymous said...

Skin colour will matter and does matter....but how much depends on numerous factors known and unknown....


One of them is how both opponents run their campaigns if McCain goofs to much then white america will find it difficult to vote along racial lines but if the contest is closely fought then on voting day there will be a distinct margin in favour of McCain.


In other words this election is for McCain to loose, what Obama does almost dose not matter he cannot improve his chances he can only make them worse.
Sad but such is reality.

Sir Alex

Vikii said...

And what are these EVIL schemes? People refusing to vote for him as their President?

Look here, I know black people have always been solidly behind the Democratic Party. But I also know that even within the Democratic Party itelf, Barack ran against not less than six other people in the primaries and that the blacks favoured him with margins far much bigger than the whites did to their candidates and than the Latinos did with Bill Richardson.

Papi, I have not said Barack has played the race card, but pundits and the ordinary folks have. The reason I like him is not because he is black, but because he has refused to use that as an excuse for his failures. When you suggest that it is perfectly OK for Blacks to proudly claim a stake in his 'history making' campaign, you are inadvertently legitimizing white apprehension on the same grounds of race.

And I am not surprised by the way because according to you opponents of Raila Odinga "fed the masses on tribal fears". You are being dishonest, brother. The truth is that if anybody's campaign fed anybody on 'tribal fears', that campaign was Raila Odinga's. I dont think this would be a great debate, but I will ask you to give an occassion when any of Raila Odinga's opponents publicly went negative on Raila Odinga's tribe. I will do the same too; When the results of the referendum were announced at the KICC, the Orange fraternity was in a Celeration mood (and I was there by the way). Raila Odinga, when introducing the other leaders in the campaign, he hailed JJ kamotho and UK as deserving praise because they came 'right from the heartland of the "enemy".' Give me anything more tribal than that.

My point is simple here; If we have any issues, let us talk to the fellow on the other side of the mirror.

Papi said...

Vikii,

I agree with you totally. I may have slept to way "opponents" I should have said both sides of last years campaigns. ODM used the tribal card just as the PNU, -mujaruo cannot lead us (PNU), and "the enemy" (ODM)

I keep abrest of Kenyan politics and I can agree with you on that one. I don't even try to fight ODM fights, that is why I was amazed when Chris said ODM is the most democratic party in Kenya when all the evidence say otherwise. ODM may be a movement of fanatics blindly moving to the sway of one - Odinga.

Anonymous said...

Reading some comments above I see why we always fight.....over simplification of issues.....in Any political situation people always play underhand tactics some of them overtly but others covertly...The mare fact that there was a Luo vs kikuyu on the presidential ticket in kenya meant that there was always going to be a tribal angle to it it would be naive to expect different.


Not party deliberatley went out to say that Emelio or ROA should not be elected owing to their tribes.....offcourse some of their supportes felt that way for their own reasons.

The tribal game played by the kikuyu and it was very covert making it hard to prove was that they must keep the presidency to themselves, they were not anti luo per say butt unti-none kikuyu occupying that seat at all costs.

That they seriously believed in. For the hundreth time kibaki is a kikuyu and was elected by all the first time then proceeded to act in a manner to suggest that he was a kikuyu president more than a kenyan president, and was glady supported by his tribes men and women and thats why the rest of kenya, saw them as adui....they brought that on themselves.......

nobody needed to fun kikuyu hatrade the few I know talked to me like they owned kenya lets not run away frm that fact....there has always been blind kikuyu haters but this time around....they brought it to themselves lets stop blaming RAO....

He only said what he did cause he felt thats what people felt but were afraind to say....thats what most politicians do, read the mood of the people and pander to them thats what gets you elected.

In other words he did not orchestrate it but he surely made use of it. It could not have succeded had the kikuyus not behaved in a manner that led the rest of kenya to think that the feel superior to us.

Sir Alex

papa plus said...

Welcome to America!

Kwale said...

I think Obama is under no illusions about how racist America is or the risks he is taking in running for top job at the White House. But I believe and probably he knows too, if the dream is big enough, the fact I.e. colour of skin, gender etc does not count. If, the dream is big enough, it will manifest itself whether people like or not. Don't murk about with the power of the dream, its divine!
White Americans may hate Obama, although I am not fully convinced they all do, but I believe if his destiny is to be the president of USA, nobody can stop that.

It's kinda of strange the way the Americans view Obama when you compare with their European counterpart who love Obama dearly.
Last week, every single continental European Newspaper carried a message board expressing outrage about alleged assassination attempt of Obama by white supremacists.
On London message board, all Londoners were united in condemning 'racist America', some vowing they will never set their foot in America if Obama is assassinated. And the outcry was also echoed in Paris and Berlin where he enjoy so much popularity. Recent survey carried out in all European countries suggested 56% want Obama to be the next president of America comparing with 27% for McCain. I hope this send good vibes to the white voters in America.

Anonymous said...

Vikii,

Must you invoke Raila's name into every comment you make? Or are you like your messiah wiper, complelled to cling onto Raila's name just to get noticed?

Bure kama 'dr'

Anonymous said...

Sir Alex,

Don't stoop that low with the argument that "Kikuyu brought it on themselves," and Raila was just "voicing what the ordinary people were thinking." This is the same argument advanced by Hutu barbarians that the "Tutsi brought genocide upon themselves" because they acted as if they were superior to the Hutus. This is the discredited "blame the victim" argument you are recycling here, and is a pathetic display of intellectual bankruptcy.

If it is true that Raila, by calling the Kikuyus "kabila adui yetu," he was just following the people, then he behaved like a dog being wagged by its tail and there is no purpose ever saying Raila is a leader. But if he was playing politics as you also say he was, then he was playing genocidal politics and such politics have no place in a civilized society!!! I challenge you to name a single instance in the history of independent Kenya when a national political figure repeatedly called another community "enemy."

I hope that Raila, after he was disinvited to the Democratic Convention in Deniver, had time to take notes as he watched his "cousin," Barack Obama, play 21 century politics of hope and inclusion!!!

Kwale said...

Taabu, I cannot believe you stay up that late to watch BBC America with Matt Frei. That would be 3 in the morning Kenya time?? Its sounds scarely what you could be up to that time:-)
Kindly stop using that word "Paki" we are trying to stop using any racist or tribal language here.

Anonymous said...

Part of my admiration for Obama is how well he has been able to handle the extermely dark shadow of his father that has trailed his life. In an interview in the American online edition of Newsweek (1st Sept 2008), this is what Obama had to say about his father:
"My father was a deeply troubled person. My father was an alcoholic. He was a womanizer. He did not treat his children well ... and in a lot of ways he was a tortured soul ..."
That is a damn view of ones father. I wonder how many of us, shadowed by such an image of a father, would have even achieved half of what Obama has achieved. Win or lose, Obama is a hero of mine for all time.

Anonymous said...

skin colour matters, but Obama has achieved. Win or lose, Obama is a hero.If he wins he will have trumphs if he loses he becom a legens and hero.tables have been turn roud, america willnever be the same.
It seem 2008 is for kenyan year,our actiond are having globol impact starting from election to obama.

Vikii said...

You fellows never cease to amaze me.

I follow politics with some interest and of course I know that every politician will seek to exploit any loophole in their quest for power. They have always done it. But my point is that I have never seen or read about anybody that aspires to national leadership that does it in such a brazenly amateurish manner. There are only two exceptions; Raila Odinga and Simeon Nyachae. It is that simple and I am not asking anyone to agree with me.


11.46, you are such a fool that you cannot even find yourself a name. Papi respectfully challenged my first comment and I was confronting his openly misleading claim that Raila Odinga was a victim of negative ethnicity. I had to remind him that I do not fancy the discussion but if truth can be told, he was as big an aggressor as everyone else.

Can we now, 11.46 hear what you have to say about Barack Obama's skin colour and his ambitions?

Kwale, you are missing something here. It is very unfair of you to compare Barack Obama's popularity at home and abroad. You cannot tell me that the French and the Britons love the US more than the Americans themselves. It is one thing to love a celebrity and completely another when it comes to choosing your country's President. Next time you will be telling me that the Chinese idolize Kobe Bryant more that Americans because they are less racist. If wishing for a black man's election is a measure of how "post-racial" a community is, then European countries should first elect black Presidents themselves before they can accuse America of racism.

And again I am not saying that racism will not have a role to play in whatever fate befalls Barack. Sometimes he has been a victim of racism, some other times a beneficiary!

Vikii said...

You fellows never cease to amaze me.

I follow politics with some interest and of course I know that every politician will seek to exploit any loophole in their quest for power. They have always done it. But my point is that I have never seen or read about anybody that aspires to national leadership that does it in such a brazenly amateurish manner. There are only two exceptions; Raila Odinga and Simeon Nyachae. It is that simple and I am not asking anyone to agree with me.


11.46, you are such a fool that you cannot even find yourself a name. Papi respectfully challenged my first comment and I was confronting his openly misleading claim that Raila Odinga was a victim of negative ethnicity. I had to remind him that I do not fancy the discussion but if truth can be told, he was as big an aggressor as everyone else.

Can we now, 11.46 hear what you have to say about Barack Obama's skin colour and his ambitions?

Kwale, you are missing something here. It is very unfair of you to compare Barack Obama's popularity at home and abroad. You cannot tell me that the French and the Britons love the US more than the Americans themselves. It is one thing to love a celebrity and completely another when it comes to choosing your country's President. Next time you will be telling me that the Chinese idolize Kobe Bryant more that Americans because they are less racist. If wishing for a black man's election is a measure of how "post-racial" a community is, then European countries should first elect black Presidents themselves before they can accuse America of racism.

And again I am not saying that racism will not have a role to play in whatever fate befalls Barack. Sometimes he has been a victim of racism, some other times a beneficiary!

Anonymous said...

Vikii.

What difference does it make whether or not I include my name on comments, don't I have a right to remain anonymous?
Doesn't take away the fact that you are an idiot for hire. Your hatred for Raila is well documented and frankly too boring to keep on harping about. Have you noticed that the Raila-is-unelectable haters orchestra long ceased performing leaving you looking like the solo performing fool you are?

Vikii said...

OK, and are you trying to whip me into liking him? Well, I have news for you; You will fail--terribly.

Taabu said...

Vikii,
You are VERY RIGHT. If only you would divorce reality from the textbook. But again as always your way to articulate your take stands out. BTW how about Bill Richardson doing a Mudavadi/RAO (Nyayo stadium) with his LATINO on Thursday in Denver?

Kwale,
Point taken, Paki was in jest (Kivuitu style, if you know what I mean). I love Lahore BTW. Now about Matt Frei, don't assume anything unless you are unwittingly inviting obtuse embarassment. Your querry is premised on a VERY WRONG premise/assumption. Good night bro.

Taabu said...

@Anon 2.21,
Keep it civil please, won't you? You have no RIGHT to tag Vikii a fool (he is not and if you doubt ask me).

Vikii, take a break, you can do better than that. A pint on my account even though Bent did you in, Derro must be dead dr.....

Sam Okello said...

Guys,

Barack has run a textbook campaign. If this were a conventional campaign, by now he would be ten to fifteen points ahead of John, but that won't happen because what the good folks in Chicago have been dealing with is an experiment. The question they've attempted to answer all along is...is America ready for a black president?

In November we'll all find out. At this point it's naive to declare that the thing will go one way or the other.

But I'm hopeful.

Sam Okello said...

Taabu,

What in the world are you doing up this late?

Taabu said...

Sam,
What are your assumptions while asking why am up this late? Please don't assume anything because assumptions often leave you with eggs plastering your face.

BTW you would wish to know that it ispast mid-day Monday in Sydney. Amd better still mimi KAMALIZA doing the rounds and watching over my lil bro (ever heard of e-cop?).

Vikii said...

Thanks Taabu. That's what big brothers are for.

By the way do you love Zenit? I love them. I love both Villareal and Celtic even more.

Anonymous said...

Sylvester Wakoli Bifwoli for president!!

Anonymous said...

Vikii,

What in the world are you doing up this late?

Vikii said...

3.10, I am coordinating the Bifwoli Wakoli campaign. How about you?

Anonymous said...

anon3:10 PM

Why are surprised by Vikii being up late?? Vikii is paid by Alfred Mutua of Statehouse! curtsy of Emilio Mwai Kibaki, like you don't know that already???

wake up bona ume lala??
vikii= Kibaki's paid dog...on kumekucha

b-carotene said...

A small note on inconsistent(?!) preferences:

Kenyans’ support for Obama mere ethnicity, nothing else
http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Letters/-/440806/466176/-/huejcl/-/index.html

UrXlnc said...

i have listened to Obama's speeches, the charisma and magnetism, and his appeal across the political divide, driven by a need for change (in policy, admin etc) that resonates with americans, his ability to touch on the core issues and values affecting the vast majority of americans and the very large support base, and the plans that he and democrats have for a better america.

and then looking at some very stale racist comments above, when already a vast majority of americans either have moved away or are willing to move beyond all i can say is that its just plain pathetic.

under achievers will always try to fall back to and list reasons (stereotyped excuses) for not attaining goals, while star performers develop and enhance skills that take into consideration hostile environments and will surmount any reason or challenge that may get in the way of attaining their goal.

Anonymous said...

Taabu,

So Vikii has a right to call others fools. Lakini why do some of you treat this vikii character like he is some deity? Always diluting your comments by apologising/ ati WDR before writing anything that you think may offend him.
Be real men ala !!!

Anonymous said...

OK, and are you trying to whip me into liking him? Well, I have news for you; You will fail--terribly.

****On the contrary keep the hatred coming - some advise though; tone it down otherwise all KK folks remember from reading your long comments is, Raila this raila that.

If you really must 'unleash every ten minutes', then you might find more receptive audience in mashada, hakujakucha, misterseed etc.

Hatred spewed in moderation keeps Raila perfroming at his best.
Only wish you could focus all that energy on improving your sorry lot.
BTW I hear wiper's latest bout is against WAVINYA - YAWA!!!

Taabu said...

@Anon 4.30,
Being civil applies both way and I DON'T allow Vikii to call others fools. I will repremand him pronto if he slips into that. Keep it civil, will you please?

Vikii said...

Deity Vikii? And I thought you guys liked deities.

Urxlnc, I love you. What I am trying to tell these people is that Obama can win or lose fairly, without his race being so much of an issue.

The other fellows trying to get me into tivia, may you all die. Tell me another word for a fool and I will use it.

b-carotene said...

Whether or not Obama's skin matters as Sam Okello says remains to be seen in November. One would only hope that voters especially those with non-republican leanings, would realize just what is at risk--take the composition of the supreme court as an example--and do what they can to safeguard their longer term, beyond Obama, interests.

Anonymous said...

Tell me another word for a fool and I will use it.


Another word, how about Vikii?

papa plus said...

Obama is not black my friends. Obama is white! He never lived in the ghettos, but he grew up in Hawaii and Kansas which is as white a place as one gets. He doesn't talk that jive turkey jibberish, he doesn't eat friend chicken. About the only thing black about him is that he balls - pretty well for that matter. He is clean (no jerry curl here), smells nice, articulate and a harvard law school graduant.

Show me a black person in America with such credentials.

I am hoping that he wins against all odds. So far, the gods have conspired against the republicans by visiting upon them the horrors of Katrina 3 yeaster years ago. Their convention is in danger of being non existent as Bush and cheney jocky for photo ops in LA with the impending hurricane due to hit in under 10 hours. Add to that the confusing and confounding choice of female Alaska governor (currently under indictment) for VP choice with a view to offering the Hillary PUMAs a unlikely substitute; and you can see that the straight talk express is moribound to hell where McCain hopes to meet Osama....

Vikii said...

Papa Plus, they told me Obama likes water melon too. It doesn't get any blacker, does it?

He is a 21st century Black. The kind that is just cool. Do you know Deval Patrick, the governor of MA? He is cooler, buddy. He is the fellow whose speeches Hillary accused Barack of plagiarising. He is an Harvard trained attorney too.

papa plus said...

Vikii,

Yes Duval Patrick is cool too. But he is black through and through. But yes, he is a different type of akata. generational thing maybe?

Yes we can!

Anonymous said...

So you are colour blind when it is the U.S. What a racist.

Anonymous said...

When Idi Amin threw out Indian-Africans out of Uganda, ie 3rd generation Indians what was the reason for Kenya denying them visitor visas for them to visit family and friends in Kenya?

When 95 Indian businesses in the
70's were closed because they violated kenyan laws from selling imported goods such as condensed milk without paying taxes why did Kenya insist they take black african partners if they wanted to re-open instead of just levying taxes plus fines? As I recall the whole kenyan parliament erupted in
clapping, and thumping the floor at the closures.

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