Thursday, January 18, 2007

Black Community: Obama Has The Wrong Background

Poor Sen. Barack Obama, long before it was announced yesterday that he filed papers for a presidential exploratory committee, thus joining the long list of his fellow Democrats running or plan on running for the presidency in 2008, his racial background was already an issue. But not from whites but from those who share the same skin color as the Illinois senator.

Stanley Crouch, an African-American newspaper columnist, wrote in November, 2006, an article entitled “Barack Obama — Not Black Like Me.” Crouch claims that because Obama’s parents were a black Kenyan father and a white American mother, he does not share in or understand the struggles of black Americans who had ancestors that were slaves in this country.

Even radio host George Wilson says that his black audience listeners have been very cool to the idea that Obama is planning on running for the White House.

"He's not getting as much of an enthusiastic send-off from black people as he is from whites. There's a feeling that if white folks like him so much he must not be good for us. For some blacks, it's a turn-off, " Wilson said in an AFP story, published Jan. 17, 2007.

This is certainly unfair that Obama is already suffering racism from the black community, but if he should be attacked, it should be because of his politics and record. And if Obama is not going to be the “champion” for the black community in this political race, then who, the Rev. Al Sharpton? The same man who is known for making outlandish claims and making false accusations? Many will remember the Tawana Brawley incident and how he falsely accused the assistant district attorney in the case of being involved in the alleged rape.

Political background and voting record aside, if the black community really want or need someone to be their champion, they can find no better person than Obama. Unlike Sharpton or former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Obama has not only held office but has a good, respectable political background. And since former Secretary of State Colin Powell is not running, or planning on it, Obama is the only responsible black leader currently in the national headlines. Besides the black community, the whole state of Illinois should be proud that a political leader of Obama’s standing has thrown his hat in the ring.

However, Obama is not the first Democrat who had to endure prejudices while trying to run for the White House. Many claimed that if Roman Catholic John F. Kennedy won the highest seat in the land, that he would take orders from the Pope or make reports to the Vatican. Of course, these accusations were untrue.

But the point is that despite one’s background, it will always be attacked, either from the opposition or from within their own ranks. Candidates and the voters must understand that when someone runs for the president of the United States of America, that person has a responsibility to one group and one group only: all the citizens of the country, not those from selected ethnic or religious backgrounds.