From the Horse’s Mouth

Although many of you expressed support for Barack Obama when I first wrote about him, there were those voices of dissent. Well, for those of you who feel that Obama hasn’t shared in the African American experience, so to speak; the up-and-coming senator has a response.

This Sunday on 60 Minutes, Barack and his wife Michelle will discuss the apparent racial debate that his campaign has helped to create. Apparently, the Obamas are well aware of what people are saying.

When asked by Kroft if growing up in a white household had caused him to make a decision to be black, Obama replies, “I’m not sure I decided it. I think… if you look African American in this society, you’re treated as an African-American. It’s interesting though, that now I feel very comfortable and confident in terms of who I am and where I stake my ground. But I notice that… I’ve become a focal point for a racial debate,” says Obama.

Obama’s wife also addresses the race issue when asked by Kroft whether she fears for her husband’s life as a black candidate. “I don’t lose sleep over it because the realities are that… as a black man… Barack can get shot going to the gas station,” says Michelle Obama. “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”

I say amen to that. There might be other reasons for Obama to decide not to run for president just yet, but the risk of assassination shouldn’t be one.

If our great civil rights leaders chose not to put themselves in the public eye for fear of catching a bullet, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I say a Obama candidacy stands for progress. By any means necessary.

** edited @ 9:43 p.m. — And he’s running! Now things are about to get really interesting…

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Comments

  1. Yep, I’m going to talk about it (a little bit) on my new and improved Anovelista blog over the weekend.

    I hate that argument (OMG! A black candidate will get shot!)

    We can’t NOT run over this fear. And we will have a black president one day, whether it’s Barack Obama or not.

  2. Awesome post bella!

  3. great post! I’m still undecided. I loooooooveee the Clintons. I love that era – minus Monica L. scandal. So, I’m stuck. I was also extremely impressed with Dan Edwards when he was Kerry’s running mate. I wish he would have ran for Prez and Kerry as the running mate – but I digress. So, I’m all over the place.

    I say we can’t wait for the perfect opportunity for a black man to run. (Yes, there have been others before but Obama has an ‘real’ chance of winning. He does have it all. You know America and even large parts of black America are uncomfortable with Obama because he doesn’t fit that ‘coon/bufoon or criminal’ stereotype that the media has of black men. In a lot of ways many people feel threatened. I think the assasination aspect is real. White folks killed the Kennedy’s and Martin L. King. So, yes – I’m concerned for Obama but that’s the risk you take.

  4. i think he’s a good guy, and will probably make a good president some day…keywords: some day. i really don’t think he is ready (in terms of experience) to take on the burden this country has currently put itself in. whoever takes up after bush has to be real ready to takeover this huge backlash from the war, the current financial deficit,the rampant socio-economic divide, and so forth.
    and i honestly think that voting for what most americans see as a ‘black’ president in times like these is not the best move for obama. his every move will be scrutinized and questioned. and yea we wanna believe that racism is slowly creeping away, but let’s be realistic here. i even have high doubt for hilary as well.
    and as far as i’m concerned, i’m more interested seeing the presidency switch over to the dems. if it takes putting up the generic white-male candidate up there to gain the southern or christian vote, i’m all for it. i see both obama and clinton as good vps. and don’t get me warn, i’m as liberal as liberal can be..but i gotta let reality sink in for a moment here!

  5. Great post, Afrobella!

  6. It is good to have a strong SISTA by your side!!! Her comments out me in the mind of Betty Shabazz another woman down for her man & you gotta love that.

    I know it is easier said than done but people need to get passed the fact that he is black & I am referring to Whites, Blacks & anyone int he middle. I am sick of hearing this race based bullshit.

    I am so sick of hearing about Barack the presidential race & everything that is related. The election is so far away, why must the news bore us with this now. My fear is that coverage will only get worse & more intense. This is a good reason for me to keep the TV off.

    Peace & end of rant
    Bygbaby

  7. bygbaby, I’m with you and just as tired of the very shallow discussions of race that Obama’s presence in the race seems to have started.

    It will be interesting to watch him run, I think that the Dems have a particularly strong field this year and just need to watch their ps and qs. Personally, I would rather see Al Gore (the Inconvienent Truth version of Gore) run. I’ve seen him a few times in the past year, and this country needs his experience to dig ourselves out of this mess created by the repubs. But I don’t think that he will run, so I am in watch and see mode. Am definitely NOT interested in a HRC candicacy — she is working too hard to have it all ways and after the past 8 years, we need real candor to deal with the mess.

    Thanks for this post!

  8. i love afrobella!!!

  9. I understand that people like to bring up the experience factor when talking about Barack Obama, and I have two words for that: Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln had little if no experience when he became the President and look how he handle the Civil War. There was no time more trying for this country than that of the Civil War.

    I believe Obama should be given a chance. I am tired of the same ole politicians who make the same promises and never deliver. I say enough with these career politicians. Our government is supposed to be a government that is for the people by the people. Not for whatever special interest group that helped you to get elected.

    I believe the brother should be given a chance. We should hear him out and see what he is talking about. I believe he has some leverage because unlike the other candidates running, he did not vote for the war. I really don’t think people can criticize a war that they voted for i.e. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. As senators they had a responsiblity to the American people and when it was time for them to uphold their end of the bargain they dropped the ball. So I truly believe that Barack should be given a chance not because he is a black man because he is the right person for the job.

  10. BlackHoney says:

    After watching the interview, I’m still not sure if I’m going to vote for him. I know he was attempting to invoke Abe by going to Springfield to announce his candidacy and present himself as a candidate for all Americans. I think that act kind of reinforces the fears and concerns of a number of Black people. While he announced his candidacy in IL, The State of the Black Union was taking place in Virginia. I’m not saying he should have announced his intentions at that conference but his decision not to attend (he is the most visible black member of Congress) gives me pause.

    That being said, I don’t doubt that Obama has a vision for the future of the US and has charisma comparable to our friend Bill but experience matters.

    Of all the Democratic candidates, in my opinion, Bill Richardson, probably most qualifed and capable of being president. He was a UN ambassador (foreign policy experience), Cabinet member (dosmetic policy experience) and the governor of New Mexico.

    Just my two cents.

  11. To me, the question of experience is a serious one, but frankly I am more concerned about a plan of action and a plan that it is actually feasible. I want the right president, not necessarily a black one. Non- experienced folks have led black folks out of some horrid conditons with good, solid, workable plans so that is not as much of a concern to me. He is running for the president of the country. To do so he felt it was necessary to take his decision public in a historical place. It was a great strategy to take his decision to the public at large at a historical site since he will be a president representing all of us fairly. That is supposedly the real goal of the president, though in the last few years that has been lacking. I wish him the very best, and I want to hear his platform and his plans. I hold judgment until I hear that. If he is not ready in 2008, in 2012 he should be revvin’ to go. To be honest, I am proud of him. We of African descent would be wise to not try to pigeonhold anyone running for a public office and listen carefully to what they are saying, not voting blindly based on pride and race alone. With that said, again, I am most certainly proud of him.

  12. As I’m British I only get snippets of information about this new candidate. I do hope that the American people remember that their leader is by proxy the leader of the world. We want a leader of courage, diplomacy, intelligence, integrity and a sense that they know they are responsible to a community – a world community. no more gun ho he men in the white house please. be bold and vote for leaders that can set a new paradigm. I cannot believe that this mans race should be such a huge factor. it is time we understood that anyone with the right credentials can be leader.

  13. mistresscorpio says:

    I am rooting for Obama to win the Democratic nomination. What some are calling “experience” in a politician, I call “baggage.” He’s already laid out his past, his present is promising and he’s laid out his plan for the future. In all my years, I have never put my hope into any politician… until now.

    It saddens me that this is the first viable black candidate to have a shot at the presidency… and our community is divided on whether Obama is “black enough.”

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