“We could make history by being the first time in a very long time where a grassroots movement of people of all colors — black, white, Hispanic, Asian — rose up, and went up against the princes, the powers, and principalities, and actually won a presidency.”
–Barack Obama, January 13, 2008
It’s official — Racialicious is endorsing Barack Obama as president of the United States. Read on for statements from Carmen Van Kerckhove, Wendi Muse, Fatemeh Fakhraie and Latoya Peterson.
If you’ve been reading Racialicious for any time, you probably know that I have an irrational love for dance movies and an irrational dislike of red bean soup.
One thing you might not know about me, however, is that I’m not a U.S. citizen; I’m only a green card holder. I’ve never been bothered by the fact that I’m not able to vote in this country — until now.
For the first time ever, there’s a candidate whom I really, really want to see elected as president: Barack Obama.
Does Obama appeal to me because he’s multiracial, like myself? Because many of his relatives are Asian? Because in living abroad, he’s had the same international Third Culture Kid (TCK) experiences as me? In part, yes.
But what really excites me about Obama is that he is completely in touch with how race in America is lived in 2008. He understands that race is not just about who’s black and who’s white, or who’s a victim and who’s an oppressor. He’s fearless about addressing institutional racism, but is absolutely uninterested in playing oppression olympics. His message is one of hope and change, yet he doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of racism or insist on engaging in meaningless celebrations of diversity. He proudly identifies as a black man, yet is committed to bringing together people of all races.
In short, Barack Obama epitomizes the core beliefs that drive everything I do.
I believe that this country will fundamentally shift the way it thinks and talks about race if Obama wins the presidency. And I’m filled with excitement and hope when I think about the possibility for that sea change.
I’ve been fairly quiet with regard to my support of Barack Obama as the Democratic Presidential Nominee mainly because I wavered so long between him and Hillary Clinton. I respect them both and would honestly be really happy if either of them gained the nomination. No matter who makes it to the final election (and, hopefully, the White House), history has been made.
However, for me, there are two things that have influenced me to support Obama. Some asked if it had to do with my racial background, understandably, considering that so many Americans for centuries have voted based on their racial background . . . then again, all the last presidents have been white males, if that says anything. No, it wasn’t about race, I assured them, as I fully acknowledge that people of color can make just as great or just as poor leaders as whites; perfect examples of the aforementioned can be observed throughout the “Global South,” where people of color are often in the majority and, save for their respective colonial periods, hold political office.
For me, what compelled me to consider myself an Obama supporter was his approach to foreign policy and his adherence to keeping a clean campaign. The candidates are so similar on certain issues, but these two things are some of the few that really stood out to me as their being strikingly different.
Barack voted against the War in Iraq at a time Obama did not support the war in Iraq at its inception when a substantial portion of America was convinced that going to war was the right thing to do. I greatly respect a leader who can see through the clouds of illusion that politics often create. And when it comes to foreign affairs in the Middle East, there is no better time than now to be incredibly diplomatic and make decisions with our country’s best interests in mind. Bombing additional countries won’t help the damage we’ve already done, nor will building additional military bases (which, as demonstrated in South Korea and Okinawa, can often lead to more problems with regard to security for the host nation’s citizens than before).
I also feel that in considering a candidate, I want someone whom I can trust and who stands by courtesy as an important personality trait, even in the heat of competition and debate. Obama is very much a reflection of the America I want to see in the future, and with that said, I express my support and faith in Barack Obama.
Obama has this aura around him: it’s not charisma or his nice smile or anything like that. It’s hope. I feel really hopeful for this country when I think about Obama.
And it just gets better when I look at his stance on the issues: on foreign policy, he’s never supported Iraq. He supports diplomacy with countries that Bush has threatened to bomb. On civil rights, he supports the reinstitution of habeas corpus, shutting down Guantanamo, expanding hate-crime laws, and ending racial profiling.
Simply put, I support Barack Obama in this election for three key reasons:
1. His policies show a unique understanding of what disadvantaged communities need to advance themselves and how helping those communities to succeed will allow our entire society to move forward.
2. He is willing to radically depart from the politics of fear that various people have used to justify the need for military might and instead work toward global community and understanding.
3. His focus is on community empowerment, which may include government assistance and initiatives. His focus is on service. His focus is on improving America through its citizens.
I love my country, dearly. But I have been sick over the last seven years. America has fallen far short of its own expectations.
Barack Obama’s vision for this country will put us back on track.