Another Take

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 15, 2008 9:07am

I’ve asked some friends of mine who are African-American to weigh in, anonymously, about this Obama-Clinton flap.

Friend #1 — "When I finally took a second to lift up my head out of the stump speech fog I found myself saddened by how it has snowballed into the storyline of the week.  To me, an argument over who has done more for black America is petty and pointless.  It reminds me that too often the issues and struggles of minorities are boiled down to bullet points and laundry lists in order to sway voters one way or another.  Clearly Obama is someone African-Americans can be proud of and I doubt any rational person really thinks the Clintons are racists, but here we are debating both arguments legitimately.

"While both campaigns’ constant ‘he said-she said’ has made me wonder what this whole democratic process is about, it is the media’s coverage of it that has really saddened me.

"After the New Hampshire Primary I remember sitting back and finally taking in a moment to realize a BLACK man had won the Iowa Caucus and a white WOMAN had just won the New Hampshire primary.  It was a ground-breaking week, one that many people thought would never happen in this country.  And what amazed me even more than the fact, was the media coverage of the story.  After Iowa and New Hampshire, the story was not just about these monumental steps our country had taken, but it was about the surprise that these candidates had won, in two situations where political pundits had deemed it nearly impossible.  The story was the politics, the issues, the way the two ran their campaigns.  And that made me proud.  The fact that journalists, who so often spin things into the simplest terms, didn’t just boil this down to race or gender.  Instead these two candidates were just looked at as candidates, and rightfully so.

"And now a week later these two candidates are back to being a WHITE woman and a BLACK man, and the story line while still about politics, has very little to do with anything I find truly substantial. "

- jpt

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