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Thursday, October 9, 2008

NPR Plays the Race Card

I rarely engage in the media these days. I don't own a television. I don't read the newspaper. I am almost entirely disconnected from the mass hype, sensationalism, brainwashing, (insert your own word here) that many people receive daily.

I do get the news, though. I just listen to what the people around me are talking about. I know who is running for president. I hear about earthquakes & tsunamis. I know what Brittney Spears is up to. It's amazing how much news you get without watching the news.

Anyway, this morning I decided to turn on NPR to see what was on, which I rarely do any more (just more hype). On Talk of the Nation they were discussing how Barak Obama's race will affect the election. One man was on who interviewed people in Ohio, West Virginia, & the surrounding areas, where he says racism abounds, even though people don't want to admit it. Another man, presumably a psychologist of some sort, was on saying that we all have racial prejudices, even if we're not aware of them.

I listened for about 20 minutes.

My take on Barak Obama is this: Yes, his race is important in that he is making history, even if he doesn't become president. But what's more important to me is whether or not he is capable of running this country.

The program on NPR didn't mention anything about whether or not Obama is capable of holding the presidential office, or whether or not the people in Ohio, West Virginia, & surrounding areas think that he is. They spent the whole time talking about race & how prejudiced people are. After listening for just a few minutes, I caught myself wondering if I too am affected by race. The man on the radio said that I am, even if I don't know it.

After I turned the radio off, I realized that that's not what's really important. I was caught up in a discussion that has no bearing on whether or not Barak Obama can run this country.

So my question now is this: Is race really that important? Or does the media make it important? That is to say, does the media spend too much time talking about how racist we all are, in effect making race a prominent issue in our society? Does life imitate art?

Not to say that we should ignore racism, because it surely exists. But what would happen if the media focused on the political experience of the candidates instead of arbitrary attributes like the color of their skin? Would we all then make intelligent choices at the polls?

4 comments:

joe said...

Regarding your comment: My take on Barak Obama is this: Yes, his race is important in that he is making history, even if he doesn't become president. But what's more important to me is whether or not he is capable of running this country.

...BORING! That'll never make the ratings! LOL

Gantry York said...

In an ideal world, race should not be important. But we live in an imperfect world.

No. A person's race is not important in having the mental ability to lead and make decisions. I firmly believe that nurture (cultivation) is more important than nature (genetics).

However, a person's upbringing could be as negative a factor as it could be a positive one.

Prejudism comes in varying degrees. There was a time when African descendants were viewed as inferior. Now I suspect that most of the prejudism in the US is more of a white tribe vs black tribe type of paranoia.

I am sure that many people out there see Obama as a champion for the black race and that he can't represent them, although I would not know what could possibly give them this idea.

It's ironic because at first, many African-Americans were saying he wasn't "black enough" to represent them.

Obama has grown on the black community as well as the white community and as of today, the polls show him in a slight lead over McCain. This would not be possible if the white majority couldn't put prejudice aside and support him.

In this way Obama has already brought the country together.

Do I think Obama has the ability to run the country? That is a vague question.

Every president has had the ability to run the country. No president has ever done it well.

I think Obama could do it better than the worst president, but I don't know if he will be the best president.

It would be hard to choose a best president anyway. Best is such a subjective determinations....I guess that is the whole point of voting.

For myself, I don't think of Obama as a black man. His race means very little to me other than the fact that he being elected to the presidency would be a milestone in race relations in the US.

For me, I'm choosing between two political ideologies. One ideology supports and defends the ideology we have had for the last 8 years. The other is unproven change.

So I ask myself can unproven change be any better or any worse than what we have now.

ludovic said...

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Wendy said...

No I don't believe that our citizens for the most part can make intelligent voting decisions--given the average intelligence of our citizens. I'm certainly am prejudiced in my own way--against ignorance. But having said that, I also know of two people in particular that live in Nebraska, (not my parents) who are Democrats who have never, ever voted for anything but a democrat (are in their 70s) and will NOT BE VOTING at all in this race because---sit down--because they will NOT vote a black man into office. They have never not voted in the 50 years that they have voted. This will be the first. How many are out there like them that don't take part in any of the polls? I'm going to guess quite a lot...

And what I want to know is where are all the white supremicists in this race? You haven't heard squat from them. Are they are in hiding? They still exist. My guess...they are waiting...