Voting Black While Black
6 months ago
Are African Americans really voting for Obama because, well, he's black?
In response to Colin Powell's statement of support for President Barack Obama this election cycle, former New Hampshire governor and George H.W. Bush White House chief of staff John Sununu suggested the endorsement had less to do with policy and more to do with race.
“When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” Sununu said.
When CNN’s Piers Morgan probed, asking: “What reason would that be?” Sununu replied, “Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”
Sununu’s comments would be laughable if they weren’t so abjectly despicable in their gross generalization of the entirety of the black electorate, distilling the complex calculus of a voting decision down into the most superficial and base variables. The co-chair to the Mitt Romney campaign, later reeled back his rhetoric, but the toothpaste was already out of the tube.
The suggestion that the totality of the black electorate is a zombified, monolithic voting mass, swayed only by the skin of the person is highly offensive, not just to African Americans, but to all Americans. To continue the line of reasoning Sununu put forth, every white person should vote for Mitt Romney simply because he’s white. And if that happened wouldn’t, that move by an entire block of people, be considered racism by today’s standards? Sununu is suggesting that every black person voting for Obama is not only racially sympathetic, but also racist for embracing Barack Obama and rejecting Mitt Romney.
You don’t have to go any further than George W. Bush’s cabinet peer Condoleeza Rice to find the counter to the notion of racially stratified voting. And what of the many other right-leaning African Americans, like Florida congressman Allen West, Stacey Dash, Larry Elder, 50 Cent, Don King, Karl Malone, Herman Cain, Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas, Michael Steele, Lynn Swann and Ken Blackwell? Would they be considered race deserters? Would Sununu, who’s waded into racially charged political waters more than once this cycle, accuse them of being Uncle Toms?
The reason why some responded positively to his statements is that there is the perception of truth and therefore the perpetuation of a the reverse-racism meme. And if that idea is deemed acceptable, then the polar opposite becomes acceptable as well--that is, that the mass of white voters should vote for Mitt Romney explicitly because he’s white.