I don’t want to get too partisan here, but most of you have probably figured out I lean toward Obama in the current presidential race. I realize that many will immediately think I support him because he’s black, and there might be some deep psychosocial truth to that. But, honestly, my main interest in him has more to do with the spirit of racial and cultural reconciliation that I detect in his message and manner—this was also a chief reason why I voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Nevertheless, I really don’t want to promote one candidate over another on this blog. When I talk about Obama here, it’s usually because of the social and religious questions that his candidacy highlights and stirs up.
We touched on this latest question in an earlier post, and I had no intention of pursuing it any further, but it’s been on my mind a lot the past couple days. So, here it is: In American politics and society, is it more acceptable to play the gender card (especially when the alleged victim of the sexism is white) than the race card? I ask this question sincerely and without guile. I really would like to know.
I could ramble on at length about how one side seems to be able to get away with crying “sexism” and “you’re playing the race card” whenever they want, while the other side seems scared to death to even mention the word race (even in the wake of cynical comments about “community organizers” and “uppity” behavior), but I’ll save that for later. However, I will excerpt from a reader comment on TheRoot.com that made me wonder about this question. The comment was in response to an article that contends Obama is playing too nice and needs to start getting as mean as his opponent. The reader cautioned against this, saying:
A snide remark from a Black mouth is not digested the same as a snide remark from a White mouth. Obama is not stupid. He is a Black man in America who understands how the game is played. And if he starts meeting barb for barb, we will all surely lose, hands-down! I have been tempted to question his tactics as well…it’s hard, but in the end, it will be worth it. Meanwhile, I’m praying.
What do you think? Is Obama constrained by his race—and perhaps, now, by his gender—from getting too down and dirty in this presidential contest?