• DOUBLETAKE 08: “Taking a second look at race and racism in the 2008 presidential elections”

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    Sat, October 25th, 3-6:30pm
    The Ballot Box and Beyond
    UCLA Labor Center
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    Los Angeles, CA 90057

Rednecks for Obama, winning hearts and minds?

The Rednecks are 74-year old Tony Viessman from Rolla, Missouri and his buddy Les Spencer. They debuted their redneck love for Obama at the Democratic National Convention this year. Not sure if it’s satire, sincere – or both, but the Tony and Les are certainly sticking out their red necks to call attention to contradictions of class, religion and whiteness in the election narrative this year.

Like in this post on the Fireside Post, where they talk about “the colored fella” takin’ away Fannie Mae’s guns, how they lost their job because “They moved da factry to China,” and how when they asked their preacher for election advice, “He said it ain’t no concern of his cause I aint been paying my tithe.” Whoa.

One things for sure, the Rednecks for Obama are turning election coverage on its head: The white working class has been talked about as a monolithic vote, and – it is always implied- a racist vote. Oooh, how’s the Black man going to win them over? – is the subtext of any discussion of white poor and working class people this election season.

Tony and Les show that at least some self-described “rednecks” see common interest with a person of color candidate… even if they do still call him “colored.” Whoops.

Some are touched by the out and proud Rednecks for Obama message. Youth Radio’s Ayesha Walker says she was brought to tears when she saw them in Denver for the convention.

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