About Race, Name, Religion

This could be a true story or just another made up one. But I think it is very possible that it actually happened: A friend forwarded me a post from the Club Mekons yahoo group. The following is an excerpt from the post.

“[…] the following story from someone who was canvassing for Obama in a predominantly white, blue-collar part of Pennsylvania:

The canvasser was met at the door by a woman. Asked who she was planning on voting for, she said, “I’m not sure – let me ask my husband.” So she yelled back into the house, “Who are we voting for?” From inside the house the husband yelled back, “We’re voting for the n*gg*r!” And she repeated that – in the same words – to the canvasser.”

I really don’t know what to think about it. Is it racism or is it not? They may be using the n-word, but they are voting for him. Is it bigotry? One thing you cannot accuse these people of is hypocrisy. The kind of hypocrisy that sometimes underlies the political correct, as a constant search for an euphemism; like in “people are not fat, they are big”. But I digress.

Of course not being a hypocrite does not necessarily make one right. Does the action of actually voting for Obama cancel out the implied racism and/or bigotry of the use of the n-word? Are actions stronger than words? But still the word echoes of bigotry. Is Obama for these people a better n* than their next door neighbor? Is that the point?

The whole issue of race was never really central in this election campaign, and I liked that. But the thing is that there are still other issues that reek of bigotry. Rumors like Obama being a Muslim or Obama not being able to produce a birth certificate cause aparently he wasn’t born in Hawai. Even here in our supposedly liberal Massachusetts I hear the same stuff and people aparently believe in them. I had this exchange the other day with somebody from work, a man in his sixties who holds a prominent position:

– “(…) both of the candidates are stupid. And Obama is a muslim”, he said.

– “No, he’s not a muslim, he’s a christian”, I said .

– “No, he’s a muslim, I’m not voting for a muslim; and his name “”Obama“”, gimme a break I’m not voting for a guy named Obama“.

Sounds a hell lot like those times in another century, when his ancestors could not get a job in this city because of their Irish last name. History repeating…

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