Thursday, May 08, 2008

Yesterday C-Monster linked to this story in Time magazine by Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson. The piece examines the misunderstood patriotism of the black community, and the difference between genuine patriotism and simple nationalism—of the type the current administration espouses. (President = nation = good.) It also offers some surprising facts about Jeremiah Wright’s bio.

Is a serious discussion on race going to happen at some point in this election?

In the media, Obama’s comments on the bitterness of poor folks in rural areas were treated as a sign that the candidate is out of touch with blue collar white guys—which is silly. Having grown up in a small Southern town, I can tell you from first-hand experience that, yes, many poor young men living in the sticks are plenty bitter, and fond of both firearms and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell—who may not have suggested that the U.S. government designed the AIDS virus, but did seem to think that homosexual cabals caused hurricanes, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, etc.

Unfortunately, as the Pennsylvania primary illustrated, some folks cling to something else, too. Dana Milbank touched on it in his article in the Washington Post a few weeks ago:

"I don't care too much for Obama," Maria Norgren, the daughter and granddaughter of steelworkers, said in the parking lot of the Giant Eagle shopping center here, near the Obama rally.

"I don't even think he's American," added her husband, Edward, who lost his job when the steel mills closed and now mans the counter at the Puff Discount Tobacco and Lottery shop next to the Giant Eagle.

"His father's from Nigeria, right?" asked Maria, wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt.

"I think he just wants to be president because he's black," said Tim Hetrick, smoking a cigarette as he waited for a bus among the crumbling structures of downtown McKeesport. A Democrat, he's thinking about voting for McCain in November.


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