Monday, October 27, 2008

The ugly side of politics and people

Twenty-five years ago (← Yes, I know, I’m old) I stood in the record aisle (← I’ve already said I’m old, I might as well hammer it home by admitting I once bought *gasp!* records) of the local Kmart with a friend from school, pointed to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and told her that I thought he was hot.

You would have thought I told her that I wanted to go out in the parking lot and look for a piece of dog poo to snack on, because she gave me a look of utter horror. Because, you know? We were two white girls from western Massachusetts and he was (at the time) *gasp!* black.

And apparently, nice, white eighth-grade girls were not supposed to think black men were hot. Such a disgrace to my race I was.

And apparently, I still am, at least in some circles.

Lately, I’ve been alarmed at the undercurrent of racism that still courses through our society even on this hallowed northeast, Blue State soil. It slaps me in the face via an email I received labeled, “The Obama Trap,” that shows a photo of a crate with a watermelon inside it. It assaults me in the form of a whisper from a woman in my town asserting that she simply “cannot vote for a black man.” It smacks me with the gravely voice of a relative telling me that “dirty Muslim” is going to ruin this country.

Then, we have this horrifying video where you can hear a woman shouting a vicious racial slur about Obama during a Palin speech and even worse, Palin doesn't bother to stop speaking to tell that person that type of "support" isn't wanted. Or acceptable. Which leads me to wonder if maybe she thinks it is?


Finally, we have a segment of the male population who are throwing their votes to Sarah Palin because they think she’s hot.

::insert sound of crickets::

Last week, for fun, I asked my daughters who they would vote for in the upcoming election: John McCain or Barack Obama.

“John McCain!” came Peanut’s enthusiastic reply.

Why, I prodded?

“I don’t like that other guy’s name, Mommy. It sounds funny.”

So then of course we had to have a serious discussion about people and diversity and while she listened carefully, she still proudly declared her support for McCain when I was done. (Probably simply for the shock value it renders in our household. She is going to make an awesome teenager; I can’t wait.)

I don’t care if you don’t want to vote for Obama because you don’t like his policies, or because you think he’s too inexperienced. But just because he’s a black man with a “funny” name? Come on, people.

Let’s please try to elevate our level of thinking at the polls next week beyond that of the average five-year-old.

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Blogger Pink & Green Mama said...

Great post. He's got our votes.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Isn't it amazing the things you are learning about people due to this election? It's a bit scary, too. Why do people assume that you are automatically in their "camp"?

BTW, I think it's funny that she decided to like McCain even after your talk! Little B wavers in his support - he likes yelling Obama a lot but recently started to answer McCain when you ask him who he will vote for. They are voting at school so it should be interesting to see the results as his class is pretty diverse.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Peanut's case I bet (after your little talk) she just thinks he's grandfatherly looking. All that pink scalp, white hair and extra padding, y'know.

Aunt Shirley

5:34 PM  
Blogger Woman with a Hatchet said...

I'm right there with you.

Also, 25 years ago, I used to like Michael Jackson too, when he was still human. Poor thing!

12:28 AM  
Blogger Molly's Mom said...

I agree! Isn't it sad how many people will probably vote, simply based on color? Ridiculous!

And don't get me STARTED on Palin...

Thanks for speaking up!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Stefania/CityMama said...

I love the message of your post but I think the important take away is this: there is such a thing as (way way) too much plastic surgery.

(he WAS hot!)

9:28 PM  

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