When Obama was first running for office, people would ask me if I was going to vote for him because he was black. I did not really know much about him at the time, so I declined to answer before I did research. I can honestly say that when I went to the polls, I did not vote based on my race.
To some, this was an abomination. Some of my friends actually accused me of being racist and going against my own people.
I found this ironic since I am only half black and half white, so in reality it was impossible for me to not go against at least a part of myself by their definitions.
Isn’t attacking someone who is black for not voting for Obama counter-productive towards the post-racial agenda?
It was not just them. I got campaign calls that singled me out because of my race. I have to hand it to them, at least they were honest about it, but I still felt slighted nonetheless. I had always been told to vote for the person I wanted, not the person that “history” said I wanted.
I see this in other areas of politics as well. Allen West, for example, gets this thrown at him all the time. How can you be black and conservative? Many ask. He gets labeled an Uncle Tom, and some other degrading comments that have nothing to do with his political beliefs, but just on his skin color.
It is a sad comment on of society when we are taken by surprise that a black man is a Republican. It is like saying that all black people must be Democrat because they are the only ones who are concerned about them. And how come, the media only chooses to focus the racial disparity among only certain minority groups?
I am honestly just confused. I do not know enough about politics to begin to understand these divisions. What I can understand, however, is that there are some unfair expectations. I don’t think that group mentalities are healthy, and that having a mind of your own is the best thing for a person to have. But considering how much the media and our community effect how we feel, these kinds of expectations are only going to get worse if something is not done.
I think a day where candidates do not have to worry about getting certain minority votes will be a great day. Some might argue that then the candidate does not have those groups of peoples ideals at heart. But I am willing to argue that a day when there are not separated values based on race is a day I would love to live long enough to see.
Celebrating and recognizing difference are great, but holding people to certain standards based upon a perception of that difference is going to get us nowhere.
I am sure my words sound illogical, or someone is going to feel offended, but this is not the intention. I just think that if we are going to talk about race in politics, then we need to be able to talk about why they are there in the first place. And once that is figured out, try to see if there is a way to make that less of an issue.
There needs to be honest discussions, where political correctness doesn’t make people unable to say anything at all. We have gotten so caught up in offensiveness that it is furthering the separation between all of us. In my short years on this earth, the only times a saw that decisions based on race were a good thing were when people were insuring equality amongst everyone. But when those things are not even being discussed, and race is still being thrown on the table, then its time to look at the truth behind our mentality.
Holly Mayer is a junior English major and ethnic studies minor. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.