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

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Questioning a Post Racial Society

Does Obama’s candidacy demonstrate that the U.S. has entered a post-racist era? Last summer as Obama’s primary victory began to look certain, commentators as diverse as CNN’s John Blake and liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman asserted that the U.S. was no longer bothered by racism.

The Democratic National Convention was blanketed with lapel pins suggesting Obama had fulfilled Martin Luther King’s dream of a society of racial equality, “Making the Dream a Reality” and “Legacy of Hope” they boasted with images of the two men side by side.

The claims in the current presidential electoral contest that the U.S. is now a “post-racial” society are not new claims. Ever since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 some in the U.S. have claimed that racism was now an artifact of the past, presuming that public declarations and legal prohibitions can abolish widespread social practices.

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Anti-Racists in New York Represent!

For Our Readers in the New York City area… join this awesome event!


A Community Roundtable for AntiRacist Activists Sponsored by

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond – Northeast Region

in collaboration with

The AntiRacist Alliance


The Institute of Urban and Minority Education

Columbia University Teachers College, New York City




6:00 – 9:00 P.M.

2090 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. – 8th Floor formerly the Theresa Hotel – just south of 125th St.

Nearby trains: A, C, 2, 3

We will use The World Café model of Appreciative Inquiry in this discussion.


For more information, contact The People’s Institute – 718-918-2716

Voter Intimidation in Black Communities – a role for white anti-racists?

Alabama Republicans are barring community organizations from registering eligible voters who are currently incarcerated. Surprisingly, Alabama has a state law that allows certain people – like those with drug possession charges- to vote even while in prison. The Ordinary People’s Society and their national partner the Drug Policy Alliance began a historic voter registration drive earlier this month in prisons across Alabama, with the full support of the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC).

But when GOP party officials found out, they put pressure of the DOC, thereby blocking the community groups’ right to register up to 10,000 eligible voters in prison.

Considering that African Americans make up just a quarter of Alabama residents, but 60% of state prisoner population, the impact of Alabama GOP leaders on Black voter disenfranchisement this election is significant.

“Voter registration drives are an essential part of our democracy, and
this action by the GOP and the Department of Corrections smacks of voter
intimidation,” said Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, founder and executive director
of The Ordinary People’s Society, the group leading the registration
drive. “Our focus isn’t politics, it’s restoration. We’re just doing
what the Bible says, visiting people in prison and ministering to them.
The chairman of the Republican Party and the chairman of the Democratic
Party can go into prisons with us and monitor the registration process.”
Voter intimidation and manipulation in Black communities has a long and unfortunate history in the U.S., and this latest news in Alabama defies claims of an impending “post-racial society.” In many ways, this election season has brought together unlikely alliances and re-energized folks’ enthusiasm for progress in a multicultural world. However, tales like these remind us of the importance of sustained grassroots efforts for racial justice, and the direct acknowledgment and struggle against systemic racism.

“Polls Indicates Racism Will Reduce Obama Vote by Four to Six Percent”

Two recent polls both indicate that white racism will significantly reduce the number of voters for Obama in the November 4 election. The polls were conducted by AP/Yahoo (Aug. 27-Sept. 5) and the other by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. (Aug. 29-31), but the results were publicized only on September 22 by CNN.

The AP/Yahoo showed that 6 percent of voters will not vote for Obama because of racism, while the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll demonstrated that 4 percent of Democrats who will vote for McCain were persuaded by racial factors. Both polls indicate that racism will tilt the election against Obama by a margin larger than the margin of victory in the 2004 presidential campaign.

One Campaign for Whites, One for Blacks

This article by Andrew Hacker for the New York Times explores the systemic ways that folks of color, particularly African Americans, are disenfranchised in this country and the connection this will inevitably have on Obama’s chances of winning the election.

An excerpt:

“Just what is there about being white that might incline someone toward one candidate instead of another?

The concluding suggestion that Obama embark on two-track campaigns with one specifically catering to white votes and “featuring white faces” is insufficient in my opinion because it fails to address systemic racism. I understand that from a strategy of ‘do what is needed to win’ you could conclude that, but I still believe it reinforces white supremacy by acceding that for a black man to succeed in this election he needs a two-track campaign with one featuring white faces and white endorsements.

DoubleSpeak Dictionary #5

Hillary Clinton: “Now, like some of you may have been, I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Sen. Obama made about people in small town America. Sen. Obama’s remarks are elitist and they are out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans. Certainly not the Americans that I know – not the Americans I grew up with, not the Americans I lived with in Arkansas or represent in New York.” (April, 2008)


Some possible decodings…. by Organizer JP

Used with racist implications to criticize an African American person who dares transgress what the speaker sees as the place of black people in society by running for high office. This use of “elitist” suggests that African Americans 1) should not contradict the racist stereotypes of unemployed males and welfare moms or 2) they can be model middle-class citizens but should never dare attempt to enter the elite ranks of power in U.S. society. Both the Democrats (in the Hillary Clinton campaign) and Republicans have attacked Obama as “an elitist.” What’s factually misleading about attacking Obama as “an elitist” is that he was raised without class privileges and has gone on to modest economic success and to become a social and political leader, thereby fulfilling the American Dream.

The Celebrity Factor

News Analysis by Organizer JB

Comparing Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton is racist? To many folks, at first blush, the silly McCain ads may not have seem racialized, but NY Times columnist Bob Herbert sheds some interesting perspective of how White America still is “…freakishly hung up on the idea of black men rising above their station and becoming sexually involved with white women.”

Mr. Herbert also makes astute observations on the broad racist overtones to the Right’s response to Mr. Obama’s campaign:

The racial fantasy factor in this presidential campaign is out of control. It was at work in that New Yorker cover that caused such a stir. (Mr. Obama in Muslim garb with the American flag burning in the fireplace.) It’s driving the idea that Barack Obama is somehow presumptuous, too arrogant, too big for his britches — a man who obviously does not know his place.

Here’s a news piece on the “Obama Celebrity Ad” for those who missed it.