Sunday, October 4, 2009

Who's African American? Who Is Not?

I'm looking at a mayoral election in which Mike Bloomberg, Republican impersonator is running against Bill Thompson, the Comptroller for the City of New York. Whatever the intent of campaign finance laws might have been, Mike Bloomberg has totally perverted them by choking the airwaves with ads, and leveraged favourable news coverage through the purchase of ads in newspapers that face a tough economic future. Observing the New York City mayoral elections is a textbook illustration of the failure of campaign finance reform.

When David Dinkins ran for mayor, everyone knew that he was an African American running for office. Ditto with President Obama. Repeatedly the question was asked if we were "ready to vote for an African American." Real issues were sidelined as airheaded racial trivia was given centre stage.

But in New York, a strange thing has happened. Bill Thompson has lost his African American credentials. No one will rally an ethnic base, call on African American Americans to vote for one of their own or accuse white voters of being racist. Thompson himself has adhered doggedly to principle, discussing the economic concerns of the unseen four boroughs and their network of small businesses that exists beneath the Bloomberg radar. Thompson has been very busy with the concerns of struggling New Yorkers. It is beneath his dignity to pull any sort of race card.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has discovered his Jewish roots enough to reach out to a community he had studiously ignored. He claims credit for tutoring in yeshivas that is paid for with federal money, and not city money.He has hired campaigners whose claim to fame is their clout in the Jewish community. Bloomberg gives a lot of money to charities that resonate with him. But I have heard too many times through the grape vine of struggling yeshivas who have reached out to Bloomberg and been given the cold shoulder Then there are Jewish organisations snubbed by "Mayor Mike" when they invited him to annual dinners. The same can not be said of Bill Thompson, who is a regular friend, for instance of Satmar chassidim in Williamsburg. So now Bloomberg realises he is Jewish. He can tell that to his rabbi.

I heard one story of Mayor Mike going to a dinner being held for a yeshiva for autistic children. He said not a word about the work of the yeshiva and lectured the crowd about the alleged misdeeds of "Jewish vigilantes" who were in the news at the time. I guess he looked out at the crowd and decided that we all look alike.

It is interesting how the media decides who is African American and who is a woman for purposes of electoral bean counting.

Margaret Thatcher and Jean Kirkpatrick are not women. Thomas Sowell, the columnist is not a citizen of colour. Clarence Thomas is not an African American, despite the fact that he is the son of sharecropper parents.

It is OK to call Sarah Palin a dumb broad, because she is not a woman. Have you heard of gene splicing? Joe Biden had 40 points spliced onto his IQ.

Sonia Sotomayor's appointment to the Supreme Court is a victory for Hispanic women. Herman Badillo, orphaned at age 11 as a child in Puerto Rico and raised by an aunt in New York City grew up to be a Congressman, a Borough President and a deputy mayor. He is not Hispanic.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Jewish Supreme Court Justice. Robert Bork should have been. But as a consolation prize, Ted Kennedy turned "bork" into a verb.

African Americans and women have made strides forward in American society. But if you want your career advance to be counted as a stride forward for your race, you have to say what is acceptable. You are free to parrot the words of your "liberators" and to occupy the ghetto set aside for you on the political spectrum. It's like the old saying, "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you !"

I am sick and tired of the racial hypocrisy in the political process. I don't even know where to start in attacking it. I would never vote for a person because I share their ethnicity or vote against them because I dislike their background. But I hope that the African Americans of the New York City electorate take pride in the achievements, decency and dedication of Bill Thompson. I hope that all New Yorkers ask probing questions about the marginalisation of the Thompson candidacy.

Why aren't we being reminded daily that an African American is running for mayor? Why is the voter base not being psyched up? Gracie Mansion is for sale. The fix is in. Our perceptions are being manipulated. Sit back and watch the struggle to manipulate voter perception, to trample term limits and campaign finance reform. Sit back and watch the struggle for your mind. But don't stand for it. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Obama who was raised by a glaat aryan mom is not African American. His father who abandoned him was an East African Kenyan-dark skinned yes , but many in the horn of Africa are dark skinned Hamites.
Even if his father was negro , Obama is at best biracial or mulatto.
Also Bork who should have been a Justice married Jewish, but himself is not.