Tag Archives: Obama

Politics: Targeting the AAPI Vote for the 2012 Presidential Election

by Guest Contributor Erin Pangilinan, originally published at Hyphen

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest growing racial group in the United States, making AAPI voters a force to be reckoned with as a key constituency group for the 2012 presidential election. The Obama For America (OFA) campaign is attempting to capture the attention of ethnic voting blocs in various states.

Unfortunately only 48 percent of AAPIs turned out to vote in 2008, making them the lowest registered group, compared to 62 percent of all Americans. Only half of eligible AAPIs are registered to vote, making AAPIs the lowest racial or ethnic group recorded. OFA can still remain optimistic though, since 81 percent of first-time AAPI voters voted for President Obama.

While mainstream news outlets focused on AAPI Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as flashy campaign donors in the already blue state of California, what’s really at stake for many is outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. AAPI populations can make a big difference in battleground states throughout the country, especially Nevada.

Holding six electoral votes, Nevada is a key swing state to win the presidential election. Nevada is home to the nation’s fastest growing AAPI population. AAPI and Latino voters were the margin of swing victory in U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s run for re-election in Nevada during the 2010 mid-term elections.

Filipino Americans are the second largest ethnic group in Nevada alone, and make up 4 percent of the state’s population at 98,000 — 86,000 of whom reside in Clark County. Tagalog will be the third language, aside from English and Spanish, to be used in election materials in Clark County. OFA has a clear investment in AAPI communities, with a total of seven field offices in Las Vegas alone, which is located in Clark County.

Some speculate that because of poor voter turnout during the previous mid-term elections, as well as a likely loss of white swing independent voters supporting Obama, OFA will attempt to recapture base voters, particularly communities of color.

Continue reading

No Laughing Matter: President Obama Depicted As the Joker

by Special Correspondent Wendi Muse

Since President Obama’s earliest moments in office, one of the biggest issues on the agenda has been healthcare reform. Yet as the clock ticks, many Americans have expressed disappointment, asserting that the healthcare goals are far from having been met and that they may have even been poorly planned and misguided from the start. As a means of voicing criticism, the word “socialism” has begun to create a loud whisper, but the assertion is not without visual aids, the most recent of them being President Obama depicted as the Joker.

Some consider the image insulting and disrespectful in a general sense, yet others have alleged that the image is racist “because it shows Mr Obama as a black-and-white minstrel in reverse.” Blogger Steven Mikulan of LA Weekly wrote:

“It has a bit of everything to appeal to the drunk tank of California conservatism: Obama is in white face, his mouth (like Ledger’s Joker’s) has been grotesquely slit wide open and the word ‘Socialism’ appears below his face . . . The only thing missing is a noose.”

Photobucket
the artist of the image is unknown, but it has been found posted in cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta

Others, particularly those from more conservative circles, believe that the image is one of the first examples of tangible evidence that the public is suffering from national regret and a lack of belief in the hope-heavy platform around which President Obama built his campaign. Conservative blogger Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker wrote:

“It is starting. Open mockery of Barack Obama, as disillusionment sets in with the man, his policies, and the phony image of a race-healing, brilliant, scholarly, middle-of-the-roader.”

What do you think? Is this image racist or is it simply a typical  example of political satire? Beyond simply race, what other issues are important for us to discuss in relation to this image?

Hat tip to Adam over at Eyes on Brazil for this topic!

Kirking Out

by Latoya Peterson

So, this week, I made a shocking discovery: my boyfriend is a trekkie!

I have no idea how we went this long without exposing his latent nerdiness, but here I am watching Star Trek: First Contact and preparing to check out John Cho tomorrow.

In the meantime, he’s some race-related Trekkie goodness from the wilds of the interwebs:

Hyphen Magazine published Race to Space: Asian Americans, stereotypes in Star Trek’s Final Frontier:

“It meant a lot to me seeing George (Takei) on television,” Cho says. “It was like, ‘look at this guy who isn’t wearing a cone-shaped hat’ and it was stunning. He was just alone on television as an Asian American. So when this project came along, I was very keen on doing it because it was a legacy I really wanted to be a part of.” (Read a full interview with Cho in the Film section.)

Takei was one of the few Asian Americans with a starring role on TV when he played Sulu, helmsman of the Enterprise, in the first Star Trek series and in six movies.

“As a fan but also as a scholar of Asian American pop culture, I’ve always been impressed with the Star Trek franchise and its efforts toward inclusion,” says Phil Yu, a self-professed Trekkie who also blogs as Angry Asian Man (www.angryasianman.com) and is a web producer for Yahoo Movies. “It presents a utopian view of future and has always included Asians on the ship.” [...]

“There are serious issues of racism, in an academic sense, and you can see how it plays out in how Asian men, black men and Asian women are represented,” says Daniel Bernardi, author of Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future. “Yes, you put some people of color on the show. Now that’s good, but how did you use them and to what end?” [...] Continue reading

How to market a black man without being racist: America, we’ll get there

By Guest Contributor The Elahater, originally published at hate on me

So for about the 467th time since November, I heard news once again that some company was marketing a product or doing something that is racially insensitive when trying to capitalize on the election of Barack Obama as president. Cause it’s happened before. Yea, many times. Ad nauseam, I believe is how they call it. So who’s the culprit this time?

obamachia

Yeah, they made a Chia-Pet Obama version (special edition, it says!) which depicts his natural black hair growing out like what some say is a green ‘fro. After complaints and bad press, Walgreens, et. al. pulled the product.

I don’t know about the rest of the haters here at HateOnMe, but I’m getting tired of having to explain to companies, public officials and everyone else putting themselves out there about what they shouldn’t do or say or market or joke about when it comes to the president and his race. So I’m not gonna do it this time.

I had thought this would happen, that confusions about what people “can” and “can’t” say about the prez would come about. And I guess I was right. One commentator points out in light of “Chia-Gate:”

The Chia Obama has now become the latest part of the debate on how to market, and talk about Obama, without being racist. The smallest slipup in making an Obama caricature of any kind brings on racist charges, despite claims of a “post-racial” nation after the election victory

People don’t know how to market and even talk about Obama because they’re more concerned about not being called a racist than actually being a racist. And I can’t hate on just these companies and those that market their products (although it’s obvious that many don’t have people of color in board meetings), ’cause they’re just a reflection of a good chunk of society anyway.

It’s just like your friend who may not know much about your ethnic background: they say some shit, you call them out on it, they apologize and retract and they learn not to say that thing again. If they’re jerks they’ll think in their minds, “Damn, you’re sensitive. Whatever.” BUT if they’re humble about the fact they don’t know what it’s like to be Black/Latino/Asian/Middle Eastern/Gay etc. etc. in America today, they’ll shut up and listen to you.

And I mean really listen. Listen with an attitude of wanting to learn something rather than one of “I know more/How can I disprove what is being said to me?” Stop appropriating the space and allow others to educate you for a minute.

Trust me: we’ve heard them.

Is There Any Such Thing As A “Black Issue”?!?

by Guest Contributor Average Bro, originally published at Average Bro

During the campaign season, lots of folks were critical of candidate Obama for not speaking out more vocally about issues that pertain to the African American community. Many saw his race-neutral style as one that largely skirted his ethnicity, and focused perhaps too much on catering to “mainstream America”. In the end, all this panned out. Obama pulled 95% of the black vote, which sounds ultra-impressive, but is more or less in line with what most Democrats running for President have received.

Anyways, Barry is in office now, and going about the bid’ness of saving the world, yet many are still holding his feet to the flame on these “black issues” and exactly what he’s going to do about them.

President Barack Obama should specifically address disparities in black unemployment, foreclosures, education and health care, the National Urban League says in its annual “State of Black America” report.

Despite the progress represented by the election of the first black U.S. president, blacks are twice as likely to be unemployed, three times as likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be incarcerated, says the report, which was being released Wednesday by the civil rights organization.

Obama has said that the way for government to help minorities is by improving things like education, employment and health care for all Americans.

But “we have to be more specific,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the 99-year-old Urban League.

“The issue is not only (blacks) doing better, but in closing these persistent gaps in statistics in this country,” Morial told The Associated Press. “Our index shows that the gap in African-American status is about 71 percent that of white Americans. We will not rest until that number is at 100, and there is no gap.”

Continue reading