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An Open Letter to Racists: Vote Obama

7 years ago
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Dear Racists,

Good afternoon. How's it going? That's a rhetorical question, but part of the reason I'm writing to you is that things are going really well for you. According to a new Washington PostABC News poll, you guys and gals are in a position to swing this year's election.

In that Washington Post/ABC News poll, 3 in 10 voters say that race will influence their votes this coming November. From The Washington Post:
As Sen. Barack Obama opens his campaign as the first African American on a major party presidential ticket, nearly half of all Americans say race relations in the country are in bad shape and three in 10 acknowledge feelings of racial prejudice...on feelings of personal racial prejudice: Thirty percent of whites and 34 percent of blacks admit such sentiments.
Now, I want to focus on the white racists here, because I think we all already know who all the black people are voting for. Wink-wink. Besides, at 11% of the electorate, 34% of black people doesn't even cover the margin of error.

Listen, I'm not here to try to get you to change your ways, or stand around singing Kum-Ba-Ya. No, I'm just here to tell you that, whether you're the kind of deep-fried, bone marrow racist who sits around thinking up new slurs like "moon cricket" because the standard ones just don't have the palette required to express your special kind of hatred, or you're one of those closeted racists who relies on shifting social norms to get your piece in, Barack Obama is the candidate for you.

I want to address the tacit racists first, because they're the toughest nuts to crack. They often don't realize they're racists. If you freely acknowledge that Barack Obama's policy positions are superior to John McCain's in every conceivable way, but you're still "not sure if you can trust" Obama, you might belong to this group. From that WaPo story:
... about two in 10 (white voters) worry he would overrepresent the interests of African Americans.

I'm not sure what you think he's going to do. Look, the black-loving Democrats have already given away your jobs, and it looks like the only way you're going to get universal healthcare is if black people get it, too. Besides, as long as there are Republicans around to call them "weak on" whatever, the Democrats will be sure to keep Obama from changing too much of anything.

How does it benefit you? First of all, Barack Obama gets you. During his speech on race, he was totally making excuses for you guys, and saying let's agree to disagree, but work together. That's a good point, huh? Who knows, maybe one day, white workers will again get preferential treatment over qualified black applicants, but until then, can't we fix some of what else is wrong?

Secondly, the fact that you voted for Barack Obama will give you license to say all kinds of questionable things around people. "No, I'm not a racist, I voted for Obama!" Sure, you could say that even if you really voted for McCain, but you're only a covert racist, not a liar. You'll also get the pleasure of accusing Obama of "playing the race card" every time someone gives him the gift of what is clearly a necktie made of rope.

Besides, it's the least you can do for him. He has been a one-man boon to passive/aggressive, closet racism, making it OK for cable news panels to make generalizations about blacks and whites by citing "polling data." It's now OK for you to go around insisting that black churches are racist, and even though no candidate has had the courage to come out and ask for your vote, the media has conferred on you the status of a legitimate, and powerful, voting bloc.

Now, you would think that the dyed-in-the-wool, Klan-style racist is a little bit tougher to convince, but I don't see it that way. You guys have been marginalized to such an extent that you don't really have a lot to lose.

There is no candidate running this year who is openly hostile toward black people, so that shouldn't be a factor in your decision. While John McCain's policies will certainly have an adverse effect on black people, they will also have an adverse effect on most of you. His economic plans benefit only the very wealthy, of which there are precious few in any racial demographic. Those of you with health insurance would see it cost many times more, and pay for less.

According to the Washington Post, you guys are having a spike in recruitment thanks to Barack Obama:

Neo-Nazi, skinhead and segregationist groups have reported gains in numbers of visitors to their Web sites and in membership since the senator from Illinois secured the Democratic nomination June 3. His success has aroused a community of racists, experts said, concerned by the possibility of the country's first black president.
Now, imagine how many hits you'll be getting on your site, and dues you'll be collecting, after 4 years of President Obama! Or even 8 years! You'll be able to buy a speedboat with your Adsense account.

You might be tempted by the predicted barrage of race-baiting ads from various GOP groups: (from AP/AOL News)
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, an authority on political communications at the University of Pennsylvania, said overt racial references are risky. But more subtle ads might stir doubts in voters' minds that could lead, in part, to racially tinged subjects, she said.

"The appeal that suggests that Senator Obama is 'out of touch with American values' invites audiences to ask what 'American' means," Jamieson said. Are voters being asked to link Obama to Wright's anti-American remarks? she said. "To question his patriotism? To fill in their fears and stereotypes? Foreigner? Muslim? For some, that appeal may elicit race-based reactions."
But try to step back for a minute and think. Obama is probably going to win anyway. If he does, there are several upsides for you. If you vote for him en masse, you will be sending the GOP a message that you won't stand for a party that will only wink at you. Next time around, they'll think twice about nominating a guy who's not sure about the Confederate Flag.

Also, if Obama does a terrible job (which he almost certainly will, right? Inferior race, and all), you'll never have to worry about another black president again. You think if Jackie Robinson hit a buck-ninety-two, there would have ever been another black baseball player? Think, man!

If, by some miracle, or cheating, he actually does a good job, you can still let the white Congress take credit for it, or you can just sit back and enjoy a better country. When 92% of black people do anything, aren't your two possible reactions to either get scared or get good tickets? Why not try the latter in this case, and go see a good doctor, get a good education, get paid a living wage, get a decent price for energy, and get your brothers and sisters back from Iraq?

And if none of this persuades you, won't it be great to be the toast of the cocktail party scene in your town by dropping bon mots like, "Hey, is it the White House or the Black House? I mean, am I right, or am I right?"

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