Thursday, October 30, 2008

This Election

Disclaimer: I want to write this disclaimer now while I am of sound mind and body, before any of the emotions that have been building up since Barack Obama announced that he was running for president cripple me. I want it to be clear that I don't write this to offend anyone, to generalize, to make assumptions, to appear racist, or to lose friends. I write this because I want to say my piece on this tiresome election and say no more ever again until after Nov. 4. I will even do my best not to comment back to those who comment. It is my hope that I cover everything I want or need to say in the following statements.

I am tired of this election. It makes me sick. The appalling behavior of people is not shocking, just disheartening. The racist attacks are depressing. I particularly get upset at all the accusations over Barack Obama being a secret Muslim and that meaning he's a terrorist. This is offensive on so many levels. I don't have the time or patience to run through every single disgusting thing that has occurred recently but I am so fed up. I personally know friendships are falling apart at the seams because people refuse to respect each other. It was easy to pretend that the feelings didn't exist, that racism was not a problem until the catalyst. This audacious (half) black man thinks he can be president. It is extraordinarily interesting to me that I can recall how quick many white people were to constantly remind us black people that Barack Obama half-way belonged to them. I remember feeling the implications (before he decided to run, back when he was just the enigmatic Senator from Iowa) from these people; he's so good because he's half white. Maybe I should explain that. Some (not all or most) white people would feel the need to point out that his mother is white every time a black person seemed too proud of this black man. It would seem that these same white people don't want him anymore because he has stepped over the boundaries that they set for him. I noticed this when he decided to run for president. Some of these same people who thought he was the sweetest breath of fresh air in 2004 had the hateful things to say about him in 2007. I let it go though. As a black person, you learn which battles to pick and choose. It is especially difficult for me. Growing up surrounded by faces that do not reflect your own, you learn quickly that you don't want to be the girl or boy who calls everything "racist" even when it is racist. Even as I write these words, I think of the accusations. You're the racist because you think anyone who doesn't like Barack Obama is racist. This is simply untrue.

I find it interesting that if I generalized and said all white people are racists (because there are so many that are) I would be harshly attacked and criticized for my words. It is apparently, however, an acceptable generalization to say that all black people are voting for Barack Obama. Most people do not jump at that. Even more, it is apparently okay to assume that if you are black and voting for Barack Obama it is because you are black. The last time I checked black people were in the minority so I would gather that non-black people would have to vote for Barack Obama for him to become the Democratic nominee. Why does no one seem to accuse non-black people of voting for Senator Obama because he is black? Why does no one seem to want to talk about the large group of people who won't vote for him because he is black? Why can't it be that most black people are democrats? He is, after all, the democratic nominee. I don't know that Condoleeza Rice could have had this following from black people. I seriously doubt Alan Keyes could have. I know for a fact Michael Steele did not fair well with black people in Maryland when he ran for Senate. Why assume that black people are not capable of voting on the issues just like you are? Parade all the videos you want in front of me about black people who don't know the issues; I don't care. That does not represent black people as a whole but of course you choose to think it does. It is easy to think ill of the people you named a word that means ignorant. "I wish these ignorant people wouldn't vote." You say this and you're only referring to black people who you think are voting for the wrong reasons. Why don't you just say what you mean? "I wish these niggers wouldn't vote." I move away from that. I move away from the collective you. It's starting to sound like I mean all white people and I don't. This goes out to anyone with these feelings. Especially, black people with these feelings. You are not better than me black Republican because you are voting for John McCain. You are not smarter than me. You are not more enlightened. You are not special. You are not different. Most of the time you just sound desperate to separate yourself from "us." No, I don't feel this way about all black Republicans but most that I come across, yes.

As for me personally, I was not sold on Barack Obama - well, I am still not fully sold on Barack Obama. I guess I like him about as much as I can like a politician. I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure I like Michelle Obama more than I like Barack Obama. When he announced he was running my feelings were mixed. I was very pro Hillary but happy for Barack. I thought he would make a nice vice-president. I had no intentions of voting for him in the primaries until... Hillary lost it for me. Her behavior, I won't get into specifics, turned me off. Most people didn't know I was initially for Hillary because they assumed. Yes, I always liked Barack Obama but I did not always plan to vote for him. It was assumed by Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Green party members, etc. that I was for Barack Obama. Why is that? Simply because we're both black. I didn't know who to vote for when our primary rolled around so I just voted for Barack just because. I didn't vote for him because he is black. I feel my gender more than I feel my race daily so if that were the case I would have voted for Hillary. I just couldn't not vote for someone. I am black and I am a woman. Too many people died, too much blood shed, too many tears, too much went on for me to have the right to vote. I will never not vote no matter how much I don't like the options. So this is the truth of the matter. I'm not a Republican. I'm not a whole hearted Democrat. I'm not anything. I don't like John McCain or Sarah Palin. I didn't pay attention to the other parties candidates. So It's Obama/Biden. My truth is the truth for a lot of people. Vote for the one you dislike the least. Yes, Barack Obama is handsome and a wonderful public speaker but I'm voting for him because he's the best option I have. Not voting is not an option to me so this is it. If I wanted to vote on race or gender or something I'd vote for the Green Party candidate - I mean, she's black and a woman! Two for one! To be honest, I constantly fret over how well Obama will do. I am completely confident he'd do much better than McCain but the odds are stacked against him since the country is already going to shit and he hasn't even made it to office yet. I worry that the job is nearly impossible, our downfall inevitable. I worry that he will become the scapegoat and we will never again have another black president.

But I know, some of you are still not convinced. You are convinced if Barack Obama had the same platform as John McCain I'd still vote for him. You make these assumptions simply because I am black. I've already told you how wrong you are but you will still believe it. So, now I ask you to look at it from another angle. I know I am asking too much of some of you when I ask you to try to see it from a different point of view. What if I were voting for Barack Obama just because he is black? What if every single black person in the country only voted for Barack Obama because he is black? So what? Unfortunately, people have the right to vote for whomever they choose and the reasoning can be as trivial as they'd like. But, race is not trivial. Especially not to those older than I. Those who remember segregation. My mother was born in 1954, the same year as Brown v. The Board of Education. Explain to me then why it was not until she was already in high school that the schools in Tangipahoa Parish, LA were desegregated. She remembers. This fair chance for a black man means something to her. Even if she weren't voting for him, she would be in awe that he made it this far. Can you imagine what it means to her to be able to vote for him after she has spent her whole adult life voting for white men and women. This is her youngest child's first presidential election (I was 17 days too young in 2004) and I will be able to vote for a black candidate. Can you imagine what that means to a black woman raised in the south during the civil rights era? Can you? I think back to Michelle Obama's now infamous statement about how for the first time she felt really proud of her country. So many jumped at the chance to call her un-American. I hate to break it to you but this is the reality for those unfairly handed second class citizenship status. I have still not seen a reason to be truly proud of my country. I refuse to feel ashamed of black people who only are only voting for Barack Obama because he black. Like I already said, it is no more than the white people (and other non-black people) not voting for Obama because he black. Besides, haven't white people always voted for white people because they were white? White men specifically? Isn't that why a black candidate and a female candidate never had a chance until this year? Or am I not supposed to point that out?

With all this being said, I just want everyone to vote - Period. I don't care who you vote for and all I ask is that you extend me the same courtesy. On the other hand, if Barack Obama doesn't win I will have no choice but to feel that it were not his merits and credibility that lost it for him. I will believe it to be something more sinister and evil. I will believe it to be racism. You don't have to agree with me, I'm not asking you to. I'm just being honest. I wish I could believe it to be his political stance but I can't delude myself. I can see. I also fear his victory. I fear people will think racism doesn't exist here anymore because we have a black president. Racism will still be here no matter who wins.

On Nov. 4, 2008, I will vote for Barack Obama. I know that no one is shocked. Your reasons for being not shocked depend on your character. If you choose to think ill of my decision and want to continue to assume it's based on race then more power to you. I do not wish to discuss this further. If you are offended and hate me now. Feel free to never speak to me again. Delete me off Facebook, MySpace, delete my number, etc. I don't want to lose friends over this madness but I'm always going to be black so if that's the kind of person you are it will come up again later in life so let's get it out the way now. This does not mean if you are a McCain supporter I don't want to be your friend. I mean if you think less of me because I'm not one or you question my intelligence (meaning you think I'd vote for someone just because they're black) then I don't want to be your friend anyway. I think voting for John McCain is incredibly stupid but I'm trying to respect that everyone doesn't think the way I do, can I have the same in return? I don't think that's too much to ask.

Also, I can understand if you are a John McCain supporter who won't like me anymore because you will wonder if I think you are secretly a racist. I can answer that, I don't unless you have given me some reason to feel that way.

Anyway, everybody just vote! Please?

-Jasmine

P.S.: Donna Brazile says it better than me and it's shorter:

4 comments:

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

dont get negro comfortable up in here

your best friend said...

um...she's not being "negro comfortable" according to your definition.

your best friend said...

You had a point with what you had to say with your blog...but it didn't really apply to "This Election".

[fung'ke] [blak] [chik] said...

oh lord there's torrance promoting his own blog as usual...and not adding input to the blog at hand.

sigh.


anywho, i definitely know how you feel! this election has shown everyone's true colors!