What Would a Black President Mean to America

This is the question that we so carefully avoid asking. Media pundits discuss the topic in coded language and many conservatives frame the subject in such a way as to stir fear in the American electorate. On any given day you will here terms like “radical”, “is he one of us”, “hard working Americans…” and so on. On the left we have Civil Rights leaders quietly providing tempered support to Obama and others suggesting that they would vote for McCain. Why? What would it mean if America elected Obama as president? Why are so many for fearful and others so hopeful? Lets start with the fears.

Why the Right is a afraid of a black President?
I would be wrong to say that most conservative are racist and this is the basis for their fears. However, I do believe that most racist are conservative so that is a part of it, but I don’t want to paint the entire conservative wing of America with a racist brush but all anecdotal evidence suggest that it is Obama’s race and not his policies that frighten them. The talking heads at Fox News and many rightwing talk show host focus primarily on Obama’s race. It is why they mention his middle name so often. Black American men have always been the pinnacle of the fears of white America. On an episode of the O’Reilly Factor where Bill was discussing immigration, he stated:

“break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have."

This is the driving fear of a President Obama. The fear of losing absolute power.

Why the Left is afraid of a black President
The Civil Rights movement succeeded because it always had an Ace in the Hole: Human Rights. As progress was made on the Civil Rights front, many of the leaders saw their power and influence wane. My generation and the generation that followed began to question the strategy of Civil Rights organizations that didn’t seem to take into account the progress they made possible. The relevance of its leaders came into doubt. The fear now is that a President Obama would further erode their relevance; not to white America, but to African Americans and other minorities. There is also the legitimate fear that in response to Obama winning, white America will seek to reverse many of the gains made by Civil Rights legislation, using Obama as a means to suggest that all is well in the Republic.

Why the Right would welcome President Obama

The Left’s fear is the Right’s joy. Obama, they believe, would mean that there is no longer a need for Affirmative Action programs. Any claims of racism by minorities would have no legitimacy. Any social program to assist poor African Americans would no longer be necessary because by electing a black man as president, America has remedied its past inequities and the playing field is now level. This is the very claim that is being made with the Arizona ballot initiative end Affirmative Action.

Why the Left would welcome President Obama

Beyond the obvious of ending eight years of Republican rule in the White House, there is a feeling that many of the structural inequities in America will finally have an advocate in Washington. It will also symbolize the crowning jewel of the Civil Rights fight. I grew up hearing that I could do anything I wanted to do, but the President of the United States was the one caveat that stood as a reminder to the reality of racism in this country. When Obama accepts the Democrat nomination, part of the barrier will come down.


I am not sure if Obama will win but this is a perfect test. McCain is the perfect placebo is this case study on America because he does not have an enthusiastic base. This election is truly a reflection on Obama and how comfortable America is with electing a black man. Any other Democrat would win this election going away. So the only think separating Obama from the White House is his skin color and the effectiveness of the right to paint him as the scary black man. Some may believe that a loss would be devastating. Because of McCain’s policies, I believe that to be true.

Obama is a pioneer as is Hillary Clinton. Often times, pioneers do not reap the reward of their effort. Martin Luther King never saw the fruits of his labor. They will be political forces for some time to come. What would a President Obama mean for America? If nothing else, it would that Bill O’Reilly was right in one part: the white male Christian, power structure is breaking down. But instead of immigration – it is hill fellow Americans wielding the hammer.

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8 Responses to What Would a Black President Mean to America

  1. Bullfrog Says:
    The main thing keeping Obama out of the White House is his ineptness and arrogance. I agree that race is probably an issue for some, but I totally disagree that if he was white, he would be a lock. If it was race alone that made people hesitate, he would have never garnered wide-spread support; if you recall, Obama seemed to show promise early in the election as people shined to his "change" message, but over time people realized the "emperor had no clothes" and that he was a bag of hot air. You also have to take into account that he beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination; something that surprised even her. I think you are reaching to make this a "race only" issue.
  2. Shaw Hussein Kenawe Says:
    I disagree with bullfrog on this. Obama is definitely NOT "a bag of hot air."

    He has accomplished much, not the least of which was the defeat of the powerful Clinton Machine, which proved that he is a savvy politician, that he has the ability to surround himself with smart people, and that he is willing to consider other points of views to reach consensus. These are all indespensible attributes one needs to lead.

    I am not worried about Sen. Obama's "experience." He actually is more experienced than Abraham Lincoln was at the time of his election to the presidency. At that time, Lincoln had served two terms in the Illinois state legislature one term in the House of Representatives. Mr. Lincoln had absolutely no administrative experience whatsoever.

    What Mr. Lincoln did have (and I believe Sen. Obama has) is an above-average intellect (way above) and a quick and analytic mind. It doesn't hurt that Sen. Obama is also very charismatic--what that is, I'm not sure. But when he speaks and when he smiles everything else disappears--it's called sucking the air out of a room.

    Sen. Obama has the potential to be a very great president. The presidency often makes the man (or woman), and a skilled politician can grow and achieve much in that position.

    On the other hand, a lesser man can actually get smaller in office--this is what happened to George W. Bush. He had the entire country in the palm of his hand after 9/11, and he squandered it over the next 7 years to the point where he is now the most unpopular president in post WWII history. What a waste.

    He didn't have "the right stuff." With all the privileges of his family and family connections, he couldn't rise to meet the needs of this nation during a most perilous time.

    I believe that is because he and the people he surrounded himself with were more loyal to their party and to seeing that the Republicans gain political hegemony than they were to America.

    I am a white person who has absolutely no qualms about Sen. Obama's race--it is his mind that fascinates me--and the content of his character. He's young, he's brilliant, he's got a fabulous family--, and it also helps that I agree with his politics. :-)

    I wish Sen. Obama luck. I contribute what I can every month in hopes that we will see him attain the presidency and take us steadily and surely into the 21st century.
  3. Dee Says:
    First of all, I take exception with the fact that most racists are conservative. The only people I know that are prejudice and racist are liberal Democrats.

    Second, this is not necessarily a test on whether a black man has a chance. Obama has HUGE problems that make him unelectable such as being a socialist, having an anti-American bias, etc...

    If someone like David Palmer was running in real life he would win the presidency hands down.

    All of that said I think this race is Obama's to lose. Why? Because as you say McCain's base loathes him and even if we hold our nose and vote for him it will be without excitement. Also, even though Obama does lack substance he can be a charismatic speaker and that carries A LOT of weight, especially with younger voters who will just be mesmerized by his speaking abilities. It won't matter to them that there is nothing behind his rhetoric.

    I think it will be very interesting to see who both candidates pick for their VP's. Obama's isn't going to make a whole lot of difference although, I think he would be an idiot if he picks Biden like some are speculating.

    As for McCain, if he makes a good pick it could bring a flood of conservatives to support him. Many of us are waiting to see who he picks and then decide whether we are going to board the straight talk express. If he picks someone like Lieberman, hello President Obama!!
  4. Anonymous Says:
    McCain does not have the enthusiastic supporters and message of change that Obama has. Of course we all know it takes more than talk and a good walk to get the job done, and I feel that Obabma will put his plan into action. Obama just has a lot more to face and pull through as the issue of race will be sure to continue.
  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. Fran Says:
    A black president would show that this country has come a long way. A black president would break down every barrier that has been up for african americans. people are no longer looking at race to define who someone is. they are looking at what people stand for instead. It would show every race that the sterotypes about black men isn't true.
  7. Fran Says:
    A black president would show that this country has come a long way. A black president would break down every barrier that has been up for african americans. people are no longer looking at race to define who someone is. they are looking at what people stand for instead. It would show every race that the sterotypes about black men isn't true.
  8. Plaii [AmBuh] Says:
    Obama as president would mean a new world for Americans. A world where African Americans no longer have to use the excuses of not being excepted in society or not having equal opportunity. Obama as president would mean that years of the thought of whites being superior over blacks will be over. Obama for president will mean that we as Americans will be able to say that we are united and share equal power and are qualified for equal possitions.