Political Positions

Mark Sawyer: Obama Has No 'Race Card' To Play

Political Positions

Earlier this week, presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Barack Obama was "playing the race card," when the Illinois senator warned an audience that his Republican rivals would try to scare Americans against voting for him.

Mark Q. Sawyer heard that charge and offers this piece, titled "Barack Obama Has No 'Race Card' to Play, But John McCain Sure Does."

Sawyer is director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Politics and the author of Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba.

What is "the race card" anyway? It appeared in the context of the O.J. Simpson trial when Robert Shapiro, O.J.'s lawyer, worried that by doing his job as O.J. Simpson's attorney had lost his whiteness card.

Shapiro said, "'Not only did we play the race card, we dealt it from the bottom of the deck.'" That phrase was echoed as a defense by McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis, in justifying the McCain's campaign likening Barack Obama — a former state senator, editor of the Harvard Law Review, community organizer and sitting U.S. Senator — to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. The two, of course, are most known for partying, sex tapes, eschewing underwear, and flights of fancy with drunk driving, drug use, jail and child neglect.

The New York Times has accurately pointed out the connection with the Simpson trial and the irony of McCain's use of it. Now we have pundits arguing whether the "race card" was played or not, without anyone have a clear idea of what a "race card" is — if it exists at all. But I think I can help here.

Ostensibly "the race card" is some proverbial "get out of jail free card" in the context of O.J. — or in the minds of some whites now — extended to the point of any charge of racism, which places African Americans, or in this case an African-American candidate, beyond reproach, outside of legitimate criticism. It is like the Joker in a game of Joker's Wild or a trump card that solves all black problems and blunts legitimate criticism. It is supposedly a cross and garlic that Obama, and perhaps all African Americans, carry to ward of not evil white vampires but reasonable white people and criticism.

The fact is there is no such thing as a race card in the sense mentioned above in political campaigns. Whenever race is a topic of debate in the campaign it is almost always a net negative for Obama, no matter how gracefully he handles it. His statement was, in fact, carefully worded to try to inoculate himself from being pounded by coded racial language and not so coded racial language on Fox News and the Internet (we have all seen the Obama family tree e-mails, etc.).

Obama said, "Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. ... You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

Obama, in this statement, is gingerly trying to point out that his different appearance and the fact he is "different" in terms of his name and his racial background may make some uneasy and they may trade on it. But political scientists who follow black politicians have long talked about what some call a "de-racialized campaign." The idea is simply this: If black candidates need to get white voters, explicitly appealing to race is a losing strategy for a black candidate period, full stop.

Even talking about race in the campaign is generally a net negative for the black candidate. We saw this with Clinton. But how can we understand McCain's strategy?
Well, there is some research by political scientist Tali Mendelberg in her book titled, The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages and the Norm of Equality.

Mendelberg reveals that when white candidates explicitly refer to race in campaigns and make explicit appeals they lose support because there is ostensibly a norm of following some notion of racial equality.

However, Mendelberg also shows that implicit messages have a real effect. Using subtle language that cues race in the minds voters can be quite effective. Pictures of black criminals, Clinton's 3AM commercial advertisement, the arrogance attack, questioning patriotism, and from Karl Rover 'trash talking,' followed by fears of miscegenation (Paris and Britney) are all implicit appeals.

They conjure images of either African-American stereotypes or fears about African Americans. This week, McCain also came out against affirmative action, an issue which though it has substantial gender content is entirely understood as a race issue and generally in black/white terms.

Thus, the "race card" reference is also a way to sneak an explicit appeal and to also suggest and implicit appeal. It reminds voters of O.J. Simpson, racism, and the fact that Barack Obama is black. It also suggests that McCain is somehow the unfair victim of an "explicit" racial appeal by Barack Obama. It is a completely dishonest but a master pivot.

Barack Obama has difficulty defending himself from racial attacks because as long as they are either subtle or come from the nether reaches of the Internet or from Fox News but far from McCain himself, McCain pays no price for these attacks. McCain himself becomes the "victim" of the race card and simultaneously injects race into the campaign without ostensibly having to pay the cost of doing so.

Thus, the fact is, if there is a race card, and it in the context of political campaigns works against black candidates and John McCain's campaign is playing it — affirmative action, "Pop-tarts," arrogant, unpatriotic (code for un-American) and then the 'race card' accusation. Everyone knows that part of both Barack Obama's handicap and appeal is that he is the first African American candidate. He has to address that gingerly and defend from all manner of attacks, which allows for a skillful distraction by the McCain campaign.

The truth is, of course, race still matters for some voters and in different and complicated ways. The even sadder truth is, that following the Clinton campaign, McCain is turning Obama's need to craft a defense against racial attacks into an offense.

McCain has to keep the discussion in the campaign on issues that are "wins" for him — national security, terrorism, and of course, race. Following Obama's attempt to inoculate himself from the national security charge during his trip abroad and pivot toward his winning issue, the economy, McCain has used race to distract attention and make the debate one he may not be able to win morally but that he will win the deep recesses in the minds of many voters.

Obama was spot on, and if he had not tried to defend himself in this fashion they would have used some other means of injecting it. The question is will the voters facing a flagging economy be distracted by these appeals to the deep and dark mostly unconscious fears as Obama said? Or will McCain have to find answers for real problems Americans face?

— Mark Q. Sawyer

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One of the best analysis of this election about Race, Politics, & Obama, that I have read. Mr. Sawyer, is surely a gifted scholar, & knows his stuff as it relates to "Race & Politics" in America, for sure !

Please have more of his insights/writings as this election season draws to it's conclusion esp. as it relates to Race & Politics.

Sent by Robert H. | 8:08 PM | 8-1-2008

When Mr. Sawyer makes the comment, "The idea is simply this: If black candidates need to get white voters, explicitly appealing to race is a losing strategy for a black candidate period, full stop.", he is clearly overlooking white liberals who, in their patronizing and condescending manner are more than willing to give blacks a free pass. It is self delusional for Mr. Sawyer to suggest that, "Whenever race is a topic of debate in the campaign it is almost always a net negative for Obama, no matter how gracefully he handles it." Again, he misses the point in that white liberals are most assuredly attracted to the exotic nature of Senator Obama's race, as much so as they are to the other superficial attributes of any one of their other candidates; a winning smile, a handsome face, a tall rugged countenance, a great haircut, or superlative oratory skills. We found all of these in Bill Clinton.

The relevance of these superficialities is what Senator McCain is questioning! If objectively race does not matter, and this is a notion that Senator Obama has made a point to promote, then he should make no reference to it, no matter how obliquely or ostensibly innocent. To do otherwise is an obvious attempt to leverage the patronage of white liberalism, whether it be in the press or among the constituency itself.

Sent by Jon | 8:29 PM | 8-1-2008

With so much information exposed to so many people, invoking race in any discussion about what affects all Americans is a red flag for voters to stop listening. It's what has made Obama's campaign successful thus far; his insistence on distancing himself from topics that in the grand scheme of policy stance and implementation, don't mean anything.

And just like that, the race card has devolved from an ace of spades to a two of clubs.

jarrett-carter.com

Sent by Jarrett | 9:12 AM | 8-2-2008

Jon is living in Fox spin land. Enjoy the delusion! Yes America is full of white liberals who want to elect a black person who talks about race all the time for President. If Jon were correct we would have had President Jackson and President Sharpton by now!

Sent by Craig | 10:56 AM | 8-2-2008

Amen Craig. Good point. Sawyer is right on. Race is no GD game. It, like words such as "politically correct" are signifiers that enable the white racist majority--sorry but I do believe that most whites are racist even though it is more civil than in the past--to trample over the experiences and realities of people of color. "race card," implies that it is a game that black people play. Tell Sean Bell that he was playing the race card when NYPD shot him down like a dog in the streets. Tell the black bodies floating down the 9th ward of New Orleans that race is a game. "race card" is a racist phrase from racist people who want to bully others racistly. Thanks Mark.

Sent by massai | 3:35 PM | 8-2-2008

Craig,

You've missed my point entirely. Race is only one of the many superficial aspects of Senator Obama that, objectively, are irrelevant to whether he would be a suitable leader for this country. Race simply doesn't matter, period, full stop (to borrow from Mr. Sawyer)! The only things that are relevant are his ideas and his character, a concept Martin Luther King, Jr. would certainly have agreed with!

By the way, I did turn on Fox News one time to see what all the fuss was about, I found it nothing more than imbecilic. I consider myself to be a somewhat intelligent, objective, free thinker and I certainly don't need pundits to tell me what to think. I'm wondering if you can claim the same? In fact, I listen only to Public Radio! The home page on my computer is NPR, it is my news source 99.5% of the time! After NBC's outrageously self motivated coverage of the tragic shootings at the University of Virginia, I swore off all major, national news!

However, my search for evenhandedness at NPR has been less than rewarded. For instance, today I was in the car and turned on NPR. 'Wait, wait... don't tell me,' was on. Today's show was a laughingly perfect snapshot of the Democratic mind. Especially illuminating was the question related to President Bushe's recent verbal gymnastics related to American's decisions concerning gasoline consumption. Now of course, I understand this is an entertainment program, and, as a long time subscriber to The New Yorker magazine, I do recognize and understand satire, but none the less, this is typical of the Democratic mindset; to mock the manner in which something was said, rather than consider the content of what was said. Always the superficial!

Fox News is nothing more than a weighted response, a pendulum swing to the right, and is no less absurd than those of you on the left who inform yourselves through the entertainment industry, of which the national news media is certainly part. Katie Couric... dude!? It's no wonder that you missed the point of McCain's "vicious attach ad," about the relevance of celebrity! And on another note, how is McCain supposed to respond to race... "Yeah, but I'm white!?" It's absurd! He'd be laughed off any stage, and rightly so! Race is irrelevant... for either one of them. It is unfair for Senator Obama to attempt to garner the fawning sympathies of white liberals through the mention of his race when Senator McCain is left with NO VIABLE RESPONSE!

So, the question remains: is celebrity enough? Is race enough? Is a handsome countenance and a winning smile enough? Is being a studied, articulate, competent orator... enough? I shudder to think that you will say yes.

So, what do you say we all get back to talking about what is truly important; ideas and character.

Sent by Jon | 10:18 PM | 8-2-2008

I really appreciate this essay. So much of NPR's work lately has been so "grey," uninformative, and blurring of what is really going on. This was a wonderfully fine exception. Thank you.

Sent by E. Duvert | 9:59 AM | 8-3-2008

Jon, I think you meant Virginia Tech is where the shootings occured. This is symptomatic of how wrong you are, generally in your comments. When Hillary bombarded the media with overt and more or less subtle references and appeals to voters because she is a woman, no one said, "Hillary is playing the gender card." In fact Obama could NOT mention his racial identity AT ALL. Now that he makes the most innocuous comment warning voters of the FEAR factor that HAUNTS Americans' thinking about Black people, Obama is playing the race card. To your series of questions:

"So, the question remains: is celebrity enough? Is race enough? Is a handsome countenance and a winning smile enough? Is being a studied, articulate, competent orator... enough?" My response is, sounds like the resume of a young JFK.

Sent by bobo | 3:04 PM | 8-3-2008

I dont undertand Obama is black and white. so why should'nt white vote and fight for him to. after all I always heard you are what your mother is.

Sent by belina | 5:02 PM | 8-3-2008

Bobo!

That was a sweet takedown and I appreciate it! The moment I typed University of Virginia I thought to myself... that doesn't sound right, you better check it... bobo's going to be watching! I actually think it was symptomatic of me wanting to put the ugly self serving actions of NBC out of my mind forever but look, you're the psychologist, I'll go with your diagnosis.

You got me cowboy and I certainly agree with you, that error negates everything I've said! By the way, I actually accused Hillary of playing the gender card but you apparently weren't listening. Regardless, Senator Clinton is not running for President.

Hoping you'll clarify one final thing for me? You didn't really answer my question... you only said that these attributes sounded like a young JFK? Dude... Obama's really going to have to work on the hair cut!

To any of you that actually understood my earlier comments... I rest my case.

Sent by Jon | 7:59 PM | 8-3-2008

Race has always been a thorny issue to discuss for white people, mainly because we do not see thru the African American prism. Often what may seem to be an innocuous remark to white people is not to the African American community.

Obama has nothing to gain using the race card. In fact he was accused by a few AA hecklers for not addressing the Black Community's issues to which Obama replied he had addressed their issues and acted on them. Adding he understood they may not like the way he frames the issues, Obama also said they have options to vote for someone else or could run for office themselves.

Equally important to note is how he handled the situation which could have spiraled out of control. Instead, unlike McCain and Bush, of having the hecklers removed Obama engaged them in a Q&A. He stressed the importance of being polite and that to solve anything means bringing Latinos, whites, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, etc... together. The race card is used to divide Americans. So that hardly typifies attempts to divide.

Obama couches his language in terms that are inclusive. He is not seeking to be the president of black America; he is seeking office to be the president of the "united" states. So to use the race card is ludicrous. There is nothing to gain by doing so.

Obama wants to bring us together whereas apparently McCain does not. If winning means using the race card against Obama voters may want to reconsider voting for McCain; It says a lot about his character. McCain may say his ads have nothing to do with race, but look thru the prism of African Americans who say differently. The latter have more credibility on this topic.

Until we begin to listen to one other, and perhaps imagine what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes, will we have a productive conversation.

Sent by serena1313 | 10:02 PM | 8-3-2008

Race has always been a thorny issue to discuss for white people, mainly because we do not see thru the African American prism. Often what may seem to be an innocuous remark to white people is not to the African American community.

Obama has nothing to gain using the race card. In fact he was accused by a few AA hecklers for not addressing the Black Community's issues to which Obama replied he had addressed their issues and acted on them. Adding he understood they may not like the way he frames the issues, Obama also said they have options to vote for someone else or could run for office themselves.

Equally important to note is how he handled the situation which could have spiraled out of control. Instead, unlike McCain and Bush, of having the hecklers removed Obama engaged them in a Q&A. He stressed the importance of being polite and that to solve anything means bringing Latinos, whites, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, etc... together. The race card is used to divide Americans. So that hardly typifies attempts to divide.

Obama couches his language in terms that are inclusive. He is not seeking to be the president of black America; he is seeking office to be the president of the "united" states. So to use the race card is ludicrous. There is nothing to gain by doing so.

Obama wants to bring us together whereas apparently McCain does not. If winning means using the race card against Obama voters may want to reconsider voting for McCain; It says a lot about his character. McCain may say his ads have nothing to do with race, but look thru the prism of African Americans who say differently. The latter have more credibility on this topic.

Until we begin to listen to one other, and perhaps imagine what it is like to walk in someone else's shoes, will we have a productive conversation.

Sent by serena1313 | 10:06 PM | 8-3-2008

We, citizens of the United States of American, must look pathetic to the rest of the inhabitants on earth. No longer the superpower, small ancient countries can hold us in check. No longer the land of opportunity, the middle east has the fastest growing middle class with our out sourced jobs. NO longer a country of wealth, praying China doesn't forecloses to repair their eartquake damages.

TO watch us live down to our lowered standard is like watching a really bad science fiction movie. You know the ones. The evil professor points his mind control ray at the unsuspecting town. No longer able to process rational thought, the people wake up every morning with wide smiles, rose colored contacts waiting for the signal to proceed with their in vain living only to do it all over again in 24 hours.

I was going to write that truth no longer is recognized in this nation. But a quick memory jog of this nation's history reveals that this nation was created with a lie, developed on a lie and continues the tradition of lies. How can we recognize something we have never known? Let's get real. When, in politics, religion or sex have we been told the truth.

Let's continue with the movie analogy. The evil professor's mind control is spinning effortlessly. But there is one person raised outside of the continental US shielded from the ray whose mind is clear and crisp. He believes in his self, confident in his skills and keeps his cape tucked under the business suit. Covering his ears with both his hands to protect againt the ray, he climes the jagged rocks to the tower, leaps over the 'goons' and grabs for the controls.[Bear with me, if you listen to Fox News you can deal with this flight of fantasy] He wrestles with the evil professor as he attempts to reprogram the mind-control ray.

The plot twist is that the people enjoy not thinking for themselves. They like the uncomplicated life of not having their thoughts cluttered by what is real. It leaves more space for watching celebrities and The View hoping someone takes a swing at Elisabeth.

In this country, fear has always been the basis of every election. Skillful manupilation of that fear is what wins elections. I fear that the fuzzy feeling of tradition will win out over the cold hardness of change. I fear that there are too many willing to live in a mind altering state reminiscent of their '60's past. I fear that the 'fat' cat has killed curiosity and no one cares as long as the remote works.

I remember the closing line of a film about Jack London the writer. I can't remember the title but it was about his experiences during the Japan-China conflict. He theorized that the United Stated should not fear an attack from those outside but it would be brought down by those within.

People of the United State let's start with this truth. Educate yourself concerning the issues that affect you. Make life's choices from informed and independent thinking. My life in this world depends on it! So does yours!

Sent by Deborah Wright | 11:57 PM | 8-3-2008

Serena, you and I may not agree politically, but I believe your comments in regard to race are spot on! The only way we can come together as one people, as Americans, is to deny those that would place objective relevance on race! In this regard, I think Obama has done a very admirable job! We must all stand outside the context of race to find a common ground for our shared American perspective! Ultimately, the only thing that matters is our character and our actions!

Debra, I love the way you think! Your final paragraph should be a rally cry for the people of this country!

Sent by Jon | 9:18 AM | 8-4-2008

Jon
Your comment 'he is clearly overlooking white liberals who, in their patronizing and condescending manner are more than willing to give blacks a free pass.'

Yes, some of that but not so much, because in traditional 'liberal' areas of the country, where officials of party politics live and the power mechanisms of the party reside, diverse areas where you'd say 'racial politics' are played, Obama didn't do as well against Hillary as in 'red state' or rural white areas.

As a matter of fact, liberals are among those labeling him as arrogant, uppity, so it's not necessarily a given.

There may be just as many 'white liberals' who seem to prefer a certain type of Black and have issues in peer-to-peer relationships as there are those willing to 'give Blacks a pass'.

Most of them that work in the areas of the social sciences & sociology seem to never find anything good or admirable or capture what it is Blacks like about being Black and are forever studying, examining, documenting and reminding all of us about Black pathology, ala CNN special.

There were actually many 'liberals' who advanced this reasoning: 'america is so full of whites who would never vote for a Black man, yes he's a nice fella but we can't afford to fool around and risk the election, too much at stake so we need to go with the white candidate.'

And these of the 'friends of Blacks'

Sent by Jon J | 9:53 PM | 8-4-2008

McCain floated the notion of the race card and it gets picked up without question.

But let's indulge. The real question is: Is it possible to go through your life and not have to deal with 'the race card'? Even if you try not to make it an issue or at least not THE prevailing issue, like Obama has, people will not let you. White AND Black Americans need it to be an issue, it informs too much of their identity. Too Black, not Black enough take your pick, neither one has a REAL definition, both are fantasy. What offends and stirs up both notions is the simple act of a Black person embracing his/her freedom.

Playing the race card a misnomer if there ever was one. The race card is ALWAYS in play. In the OJ trail, you think an Asian (neutral) judge and a White female & Black male prosecuting team was a coincidence? How about the media volunteerily telling us the racial make up of the jury selection, referring to them throughout the trail as 'the predominately..or mostly African-American jury did such and such. Or juror #___, an African-American male/female has been release. Or the daily reporting of the Black vs White % differences.

During this campaign:
-Gov. Randell assertions
-Pat Buchanan's 'message to Whitey'
-Hilary's 'hard working..blue, ah ah hard working white (read: regular) Americans'
-Jesse's gaffes
-Bill Clinton's gaffes
-Gloria Steinum in NY Times talking about Black men vs White women?
-Bob Johnson miraculously emerges in politics.
-The typical 'Black vote' high % for Demo. candidate is problematic this time

All the e-mails, videos referring to Obama's race, etc. These Rovian, swift-boat tactics are in play..reminders with code words, winks & nods, hoping to remind their intended audience of that fault line. Obama addresses it head on and they cry foul?

The moment Obama decided to run was when the race card was introduced.

It's amazing but to both White and Black Americans all too comfortable with the framework of Black male as criminal & miscreant seem not to know what to do with this guy (Obama) and his symbol of success.

Doesn't fit the agenda of any of them.

Sent by Jon J | 10:42 PM | 8-4-2008

Obammy is NOT supported bye the Americam OIL regime(niether is McCy-so far as we know NOW).
But-given the track record of Repub's in my lifetime,he will be any minute now.
At least Barack is flexible enough to varriate-quite the opposite of the repubs.
For thier history has always been to go head on,regardless of the consequences,
in order to accomplish the agenda(of the corporations-in this case Chevron et. all)
Race has NOTHING to do with this election.It is PRINCAPLE'S (sp?) that really matter.
If the people of America are blind sited
(as they were in 2000,and 2004)
we only have ourselves to blame in the demise of the planet earth.

Sent by Richard Milhaus Narlian | 1:25 AM | 8-5-2008

Obama will never

Sent by Bob | 4:31 PM | 8-6-2008

Jon J,

I appreciate your comments but I think you've missed my point as well.

On a personal level... I think Obama ROCKS! And I'm being dead serious here. He's intelligent, immensely articulate, and although I've never met him, he seems like a fun guy. His response to the Rev. Wright fiasco was one of the most thoughtful, honest expressions on this topic I have ever heard.

However, for me, none of these personal attributes take precedence over his position on certain issues. Allow me to open a big can of worms! Abortion!

In 1973, I was 20 years old. And as many 20 year old young man, I was pumping my fist in the air on the passage of Roe v. Wade! Our attitude was, "So you're telling me, if I get my girl friend knocked up, all we gotta do is go on down to the clinic... ?! Yaaaaaahoooo!" Let's say, in thirty five years, I've both matured a little and have grown much more objective in my thinking.

In 2003, the mapping of the human genome was successfully completed. From that moment on, we were no longer forced to rely upon conjecture, we now had the scientific proof that Justice Blackmun was looking for but was not available to him in 1973 when he wrote the Supreme Court's decision of the Court on Roe v. Wade. We now have the ability to say with certainty, based upon empirical scientific evidence alone, without regard to religion or personal philosophical beliefs, that human life does in fact begin at conception.

I know this remains THE most divisive political topic after 35 years. The undercurrent of Roe v. Wade informs almost everyone's political opinions. There is an ugly predilection on both sides of this issue to point a scathing finger of blame at the other, one is a ruthless baby killer, the other is a righteous and scorning religious zealot.

The truth is, we are all complicit. You, me, all of us. And as we are all responsible for Roe v. Wade, we must all come together as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans, to remove this tragedy from our culture. Democrats will have to come to grips with the objective truth of this debate, Republicans will have to lead the charge to create legislation that clearly defines equal parental rights and responsibilities for both men and women... especially pertaining to the obligations and responsibilities of men as fathers from the moment of conception.

And most of all, Republicans have to acknowledge that there must be a provision that would allow for an abortion when the mother's life is in eminent danger.

My point is this, it's clearly one thing to NOT understand the objective nature of this debate and thus continue to support abortion rights. It however is clearly another thing to understand fully what I have said above... and still continue to support abortion.

This is why I am disappointed in Senator Obama. He is clearly intelligent enough to understand this argument, and yet he chooses not to acknowledge it. Therefore, I am left to surmise that his position must be purely political.

I clearly expect to be lambasted by many of you reading this. However, keep in mind that these objective truths are independent of me, they are simply knowable facts for anyone who is interested.

Sent by Jon | 4:59 PM | 8-6-2008

After reading the comments offered in this exciting dialogue, I would like to submit the following request. What is obvious to one and not so obvious to another, may be made more clearer by reading the words of America's Public Intellect, the late Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan. This American statesman has become more admirable to this Blackamerican's eyesight, when re-reading the 1966 Study attributed to his name, "The National Case for Action: The Negro Family," referred to as the "Moynihan Report" though his name does not surface. I suppose since he was Undersecretary of Labor, his admirers and fellow scholars felt he deserved the credit. I would submit that if more White Americans would either reread or read for the first time the "Introduction" to this study, and this would be good for the persumptive Presidential Candidates as well, the rational used by most to use the term "race card" would have second thought, and those who proclaim "knowledge" of Moynihan's work have demonstrated less than correct interpretation. I know I am making a request which will fall on death ears since it is apparent that as Americans we do not appreciate anymore our diverse thoughts - but read it and then rethink your position on race and how it has affected this Nation and as the late Senator stated in 1966, "It will take two generations or more before the Negro will experience full rights as a citizen of this Nation." We are nearing the 50th year - where do we stand?

Sent by Dr. Larry C. Menyweather-Woods | 6:44 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Dr. Menyweather-Woods,

I'm not sure why you would have had us read this piece? It has clearly put the responsibility for the advancement of blacks, and in particular the saving of the black family, in the hands of blacks themselves!? Have I misinterpreted? I quote...

"The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence -- not final, but powerfully persuasive -- is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself."

After reading this, I'm left to believe that White Liberal America felt that the way to rescue the crumbling structure of the American Black family was to throw welfare dollars at it. Understanding the abject failure of these liberal social policies forces one to consider that this disintegration had other causes. I won't make a conjecture as to what these causes were and continue to be but, it's certainly something for the black community itself, to ponder.

Sent by Jon | 1:32 PM | 8-7-2008

Jon,
Why are you telling the black community to ponder on the causes of their communities' disintegration? The FACTS about the causes are sufficient: Deficient and oftentimes hostile education, scarce and biased lending programs, few jobs and poor crime prevention in neighborhoods, inadequate health care services, welfare programs that required the family to fragment before aid is available . . . but instead you point a moralistic finger at the African-American community? The poverty programs failed because whites refused to change.

McCain has made it very clear that he and the RNC think that the United States is a white nation. I am sure he will do everything he can to scare Americans silly in these next several months so that he and his cronies can plunder this country for four more years.

Sent by Cathie | 9:54 PM | 9-7-2008

IS OBAMA FAILING TO WIN BECAUSE OF RACE?
Interesting article, however it would be even more interesting to see the same kind of analysis if the black candidate was Colin Powell, or Condelza Rice. If the black candidate had more experience, and didn't vote present over 100 times ... was not so far to the left ... did not propose such radical changes to our society, such as a socialistic agenda ... did not have negative associations, such as 20 years tied to a Reverend Wright, and other radicals ... Threw his close friend of 20 years under the bus for personal gain ...did not have a Muslim name, father and step father, just 6 years after 9-11, and while America, and it's allies is in the midst of constant attacks from murderous Muslim terrorists ... was properly vetted from the beginning ... did not enjoy such overwhelming biased favoritism from the media ... did not arrogantly create his own Presidential seal ... did not disrespect historical American institutions, and traditions, as a way of selling his Change message ... did not use accusations of race in response to every opposing argument ... did not flip flop on important issues ... chose Hillarry as his running mate ... as well as several other substantive factors.

Sent by Howard | 2:40 PM | 9-20-2008

Many politicians, like Obama are in a quest to limit the American peoples' access to on demand, short term financial assistance. Some select states are even putting restrictions on where short term loan companies conduct their business and some have even gone as far as to ban the industry all together. While citizens across the nation are fighting legislation that could potentially eliminate the payday loan industry, politicians are seeking personal political gain by attempting a complete ban. The politicians should consider the hundreds of thousands of potential lost jobs in an already turbulent economy.

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Sent by Payday Loan Advocate | 2:41 AM | 9-23-2008

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