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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is the Obama Campaign "Feeling Black Women?"-How Does the Obama campaign handle "Black Issues"?

Roland Martin whined on his Essence.com blog about Obama's support from women. Roland asked, "Are Black Women Feeling Obama." After getting off the phone with Obama For America, I have a better question, "Is Barack Obama's Campaign Feeling Black Women?"

Maybe my standards are too high. I have called both the national campaign offices of Clinton and Edwards before, but my only interaction with Obama was through his Senate office. This was the first time calling the campaign office. Maybe I expect too much out of folks, but I just had the oddest conversation with someone in the press office of Obama for America.

There are some stories in national publications that are about to some out about Dunbar Village in upcoming months so I have been revisiting everyone in the League of the Immorally Indifferent to give them another opportunity to get ahead of the media curve and give a simple statement something to the effect of "I know. I'm concerned. WPB is dysfunctional. Something needs to change"

I already contacted NAN again. So after reading a post by Roland Martin asking whether Black women would get behind Obama, I said "Hey why not call again to see if maybe someone misspoke on August 7, 2007 when the staffer answering the phone at Obama's Senate office said he was issuing a statement in two hours." Well it is two MONTHS later and still no statement, maybe the high school intern who types these statements was out of the office that day and his statement on Dunbar Village fell through the cracks.

So anyway, I called the Obama For America number, 866-675-2008. Now the VOLUNTEER who answered the phone had common sense. She listened. She let me tell the story of Dunbar Village and explain that I had been told two months ago that he would be issuing a statement. She said she hadn't heard about the story, let me tell the story in about 15 seconds and she even gasped at the appropriate places as most folks do. Her name was Janet. Nice lady, Obama should hire her for his staff because she clearly knows how to talk to people of various ethnic backgrounds on a variety of issues irrespective of race. Janet listened patiently interrupting along the way to say that she was writing all of this down. Then Janet, the VOLUNTEER with common sense transferred me over to the press office and foolishness ensued.

Now I forget the girl's name, but I hope she was a volunteer too, but as soon as I said African American mother, she was in a race to get me off the phone. She was nervous and sputtering and clearly uncomfortable talking to me. She said she was going to have their African American press secretary contact me. One small problem and I could be mistaken. I didn't give her my phone number, but I did give her the address for this blog and threw in that about 70,000 have viewed a video where I basically call out all the folks who haven't said anything about this.

I said well this is not an African American issue, its a human rights issue or something to that effect at which point she says that tasha or terra or tawra. Somebody whose name starts with a T is their African American spokesperson would know more about it. I said "YOU need know to more about it too!" I was about to give her the Dunbar Village 30 second vignette, but she interrupted to say Tasha/Tara/Tawney was their Black spokesperson. I let it go because I had an interview, but I was like okay so YOU don't want to know about a heinous crime against humanity because the victim was Black so it automatically gets farmed out to the Black spokesperson? You don't even want to know the details of the crime? Aren't you at least curious? Apparently they have segregated caring.

I don't have a problem with having various staffers assigned to various constituencies. That is smart, but you would think that all of his staffers would be as comfortable with conversing with an African American person long enough to take down pertinent information.

I mean is this what an Obama administration going to look like? All the "Black" issues assigned to Black staffers because the non Black staffers are made nervous by Black folk? Isn't that what everybody already does? So tell me, am I expecting too much out of Obama staffers?

To the girl in the press office who I apparently terrified or made extremely nervous, Black women don't bite. We do however BLOG and you seriously need to work on your telephone skills. In the future, you might not want to refer to fellow staffers as the "African American" or "Black" anything. You just should have said "I think I have someone who can help you her name is Tasha and she will call you right back." Walk down the hall and ask Janet, the VOLUNTEER for a few lessons. Thanks Janet for listening and being courteous.

FYI- Either Edwards and Clinton don't have special "Black" staffers or the people in their press offices have enough common sense not to refer to them in that manner on the telephone with a complete total stranger.

So Roland Stop Whining and explain to me exactly Why it is that Black women should be "feeling" Obama? What has he done that makes him FELT? Especially with this kinda foolishness coming out of his press office.

I don't do politics on this blog, but that interaction was just annoying. I feel like I sat down at a Woolworth's counter in Greensboro in 1955 or something. Just. Irritating.