I found this article interesting because the Washington Post had an article today that said the exact opposite:
Clinton’s and Obama’s support among white voters changed little since December, but the changes among black Democrats were dramatic. In December and January Post-ABC News polls, Clinton led Obama among African Americans by 60 percent to 20 percent. In the new poll, Obama held a narrow advantage among blacks, 44 percent to 33 percent.
I think this article disregarded some important elements of the elections. First, I think the African American community should be cautious of any black nominee. Since the beginning of this country, African Americans have been oppressed and persecuted. They should be cautious because a black candidate won’t necessarily represent the needs of the African American community. However, I think, as the Washington Post article portrays, that Obama could and would represent all minorities, and they are slowly beginning to believe him.
Finally, I would argue that Obama represents a generational candidate and not a black candidate. His younger age and relatively less experience provides him with cleaner background and a greater ability to incite change. As this blog shows, I think it’s the younger generation that could drive his candidacy, not minorities.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Polls suggest whites are more likely than blacks to say America is ready for a black president, which may be part of why much of the African-American community is cool to thepresidential candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted December 5-7, 2006, found that 65 percent of whites thought America was ready, compared with 54 percent of blacks. The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 5 percentage points.
George Wilson, the host of XM Radio’s “GW on the Hill,” hears doubts about the Illinois Democrat, the only black currently serving in the Senate, all the time from his black audience.
“There is this doubt ‘But is America ready for a black president?’ ” Wilson told CNN. “And the overall consensus from my callers is that America is not ready for an African-American president.”
Even at a rally for Obama in South Carolina you hear it: “I’m being honest,” Akyshia Gantt, an African-American, said. “No, I think — which is bad — that America is not ready for that, but I don’t think they are.”
Part of Obama’s problem with black voters is that he is viewed by whites as the first black candidate with a legitimate shot at the White House.
“When white America has embraced a candidate — as they have with Barack Obama — there is a certain amount of distrust that goes with this among a number of African Americans,” Wilson said.
Among blacks, Obama’s chief rival for the Democrat’s 2008 presidential nomination, Sen. HillaryClinton of New York, polls 15 to 20 points better than Obama and benefits from name recognition and deep Clinton roots in the black community.
Obama suffers, in part, because voters are not familiar with him and there is doubt whether the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, who was raised in Hawaii and educated in elite schools, can relate to the black American experience.
This has been described as “not black enough,” a notion and a phrase that Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who is a noted civil rights leader, rejects.
“I don’t think he has any of the hang-ups that a lot of people that are victims of segregation and racial discrimination tend to have,” Lewis said. “I think he’s free of it, and he’s running as an American citizen.” (Watch Rep. Lewis on Sen. Obama’s candidacy )
Forty-two years ago, Lewis was beaten in the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama — a day that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Now, 43 African-Americans serve on Capitol Hill, and thousands of black politicians serve nationwide. Time has made Lewis a true believer.
“In the depth of my heart, I believe it is possible for Sen. Obama to become president of the United States,” Lewis said. “I think the American people are prepared to take that great leap. They’re prepared to lay down the burden of race.”