Surviving slavery, segregation and discrimination has forged a special pride in African-Americans. Now some are saying this hard-earned pride has become prejudice in the form of blind loyalty to President Barack Obama.
Are black people supporting Obama mainly because he’s black? If race is just one factor in blacks’ support of Obama, does that make them racist? Can blacks’ support for Obama be compared with white voters who may favor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, because he’s white?
This week, when a black actress who tweeted an endorsement of Romney was subjected to a stream of abuse from other African-Americans, the politics of racial accusation came full circle once again.
Stacey Dash, who also has Mexican heritage, is best known for the 1995 film “Clueless” and the recent cable-TV drama “Single Ladies.” On Twitter, she was called several racially offensive terms after posting, “Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future.”
The theme of the insults: A black woman would have to be stupid, subservient or both to choose a white Republican over the first black president.
Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul and Obama backer, called Dash’s experience “racism.”
Twitter users are by no means representative of America, and many black Obama supporters quickly denounced the attacks. But for people like Art Gary, an information technology professional, the reason Dash was attacked is simple: She is a black woman supporting a white candidate over a black one.
Antonio Luckett, a sales representative in Milwaukee who is black, called the attacks on Dash unfair. But when people speak out against a symbol of black progress like Obama, he said, “African-Americans tend to be internally hurt by that.”
Luckett said one reason he voted for Obama in the 2008 primary against Hillary Clinton was because Obama is black.
Is that racism? Not in Luckett’s mind. “It’s voting for someone who would understand your side of the coin a lot better.”
Such logic runs into trouble when applied to a white person voting for Romney because he understands whiteness better.
Ron Christie, a black conservative who worked for former President George W. Bush, finds both sides of that coin unacceptable.
“It’s not the vision that our leaders in the civil rights movement would have envisioned and be proud of in the era of the first African-American president,” Christie said.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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