Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Obama Reality Check, Pt. 2

So, CNN had the latest edition of its special, Black in America. I suppose I should feel guilty, but, you know, I didn't watch i. For one thing, as mentioned below, I was traveling. For another, I just didn't think there was much to gain from watching it.

Raymond Leon Roker gives his views on what he did and didn't like. I, of course, wonder whether the show touched upon some of the issues Bill Cosby and, yes, Barack Obama, have raised with respect to personal responsibility and family cohesiveness. Or challenged teacher union dominance that prevents things like vouchers from being used in public school systems.

That aside, my trip to Santa Fe afforded me another one of those WWUC (White Wake-Up Calls) that seem to happen whenever I leave the safe environs of New York City. RT readers may remember some of the interesting comments that popped up when I was in Colorado in the spring.

So, Saturday night in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I had dinner with members of the St. John's alumni community in a Mexican restaurant (Maria's on Cordova; I recommend the margaritas). The conversation, not surprisingly, ended up revolving around the election. And, though lively and -- a wee bit loud -- it was indeed more of a "conversation" than any debate since I was hardly in full McCain defense mode. In any event, as the dinner concluded, I was one of three final participants to leave.

We ran into a couple of ladies sitting at a table outside of the private room where we had dined. The ladies were in their late-50s or early-60s. They were long-time friends (had been college roommates) and were self-described liberals from California (though one was married to a Republican). Apparently, one of my dining companions had returned from a bathroom break and explained to the ladies who we were and why there was so much uproarious laughter coming from our table (I admittedly had been telling some of my political stand-up jokes).

So, the women knew that I was a journalist. Almost out of nowhere, one asks me who I think is going to win the election. I said, "At this point, most likely Obama." She then says, "So do you think the blacks will riot if he doesn't win? I mean, since that's what they do when they don't get their way -- like in L.A. in '92."

I paused for a moment before responding. I then said, "Um, well, you really can look at '92 and, say, '68 after Martin Luther King died as examples of major riots among blacks." The other woman then chimed in, "And Watts in '65." I said, "OK, well let's say we've had three major urban uprisings [upon further reflection, one might add several more in the late '60s in other places], and contrast that with a few hundred years of slavery and Jim Crow . On balance.."

I added, "Furthermore, blacks are a whole lot more used to having white people as president than white people are used to having a black person as president. And more than a few remain skeptical as to wonder whether they'll ever see a black person elected president."

Anyway, keeping my cool and providing this answer, I then asked the woman who had broached the question, "Were you a Hillary supporter in the primaries?" She said, "No, I voted for Bill Clinton twice, but I decided that the two of them have become crooks and I can't trust them." I responded: "So you voted for Obama?" She nodded. Her friend did too.

I thought to myself. Hmmm....well, here we have two liberal white women -- both Obama supporters -- and they have no problem considering a reality where blacks will riot if Obama doesn't win, "because that's what they do if they don't get their way."

Oh, yeah, that racial Utopia is just around the corner.

Hands together and sing, "Kumbaya," people.


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