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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Congrats Obama Stans: Can Black Women Get Their "Black Card" Back Now?

Whew! That was a close call. I was afraid I was go to an undisclosed location if he didn't pull South Carolina out.

The real story was that Black women voters took center stage for the first time in recent memory in the coverage leading up to South Carolina. This should have been a moment of glory, but somehow Black women got boiled down to their reproductive organs and their skin. It wasn't just the white progressive blogosphere and media joining in on the foolishness which at its core assumed we had no brains. That we were less than. Caricatures, simple-minded and child-like. No, it wasn't just White media.

All of the commentors and pontificators who said that if black women didn't vote for Obama, they were self-hating, race traitors who had deep seeded issues with Black men can now rest easy. For those who were using Obama's South Carolina results as some kind of litmus test for how much Black women love Black men you have your answer. Who knew that Black women's loyalty to their race was conditional? I must have missed that memo, but for the past three months ever since I asked a simple question (Why should Black women vote for candidate X)- we've been besieged by overzealous Obama acolytes questioning our "loyalty."

I found it laughable from the beginning that folks ( one black male blogger in particular) basically declared that any Black woman who didn't vote for Obama was child like and self-hating. One male guest on the podcast said that any Black woman who didn't vote for Obama was "lost."Your comments about Black women's "loyalty" over the past four months have been sexist, racist, and downright ignorant. Black is who we are, not something we are trying to be and our loyalty isn't conditional on voting the way that a few myopic, fascist Black folks declare we must. This conditional loyalty some ignorant folks tried to inject into the discussion is laughable considering that Black women are raising almost 70% of Black children in this country ALONE. Loyalty Litmus test my arse.

There is no more loyal group of women on the PLANET than Black women, however, we aren't just reproductive organs and skin. We also have brains. Occasionally we use them. You wouldn't know that from the news coverage. With all the countless TV shots from barbershops and beauty shops you would think that all the Black folks in South Carolina lived there.

Four years from now, I hope that Black women, who the news media have shallowly dissected for months inside the beauty shops of South Carolina, have an agenda and ask for something in return from candidates. Yes, I believe that public SERVANT means exactly what it says. If we have this much voting power, we should wield it instead of letting mainstream media declare what our choices are. And we ought to be free to have a discussion about politics without the Black Thought Police descending declaring that our "thoughts" are impermissible. The idea that I can't ask a question (Why should Black women vote for candidate X) because of the color of my skin is morally repugnant. If anything Black folks need to be asking more questions and not fewer and anyone who wants to police your thoughts and ruminations is the traitorous one- an enemy of free thought and undemocratic and that is why we should all continue to stand up to them wherever they rear their ugly heads and rebuke their foolishness loudly and consistently.

Here is a round up of the analysis of the voting patterns of Black women. We're getting the credit now that Barack Obama won, but TRUST that if he had not, we would also be getting the BLAME and I would be fending off the Black Thought Police and men with low self-esteem living vicariously through Barack Obama- If you are using our votes as a litmus test for our love then something is wrong:

What Black Women's Votes Mean for the Presidential Race

So to have someone acknowledge, in such a matter of fact way -- and with the nodding assent of her white, male and female peers on set -- that we black women not only have a stake in this primary, but also may be the deciding factor, was an incredible departure from the status quo, whether few who are not us noticed it or not.,
Black women, young voters key to Obama's success
Black women had a historic choice to make in Saturday's Democratic presidential primary: vote for a woman or an African-American? Gender or race?Nearly all black women surveyed by exit pollsters picked a candidate of their race, giving Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois an overwhelming share of their support.

Black women gain power in this election
Black women have more power in this election than they've ever had before. (Interview with Black women that did NOT take place in a Beauty shop)

The exit polls: Why Obama won
It’s the demographics, stupid: The black candidate won the black vote. The white woman won white women. The white man won white men.
The Election: What Do Black Women Think?
When faced with a choice between Clinton and Obama, what do black women do? Do they vote their race? Do they vote their gender? All the reporters want to know...What? Huh? They talk about the issues? If only somebody would listen.
Commentary: Issues -- not gender or race -- on minds of voters
You can't turn on a 24-hour news channel or your nightly news this week without seeing a feature on African-American women voters. It makes sense, being that the South Carolina Democratic primary is only one day away and African-American women will make up approximately one-third of the voters.

The angle in these news features is virtually identical. The commentators wonder and marvel at the extraordinarily difficult choice for African-American women in this primary -- will we vote for the woman candidate or the African-American candidate? Reporters have been busying themselves traveling to crowded beauty shops all over the state to answer this question.
Well the count is in.... and Sen Barack Obama handily won the South Carolina primary! This is very good news for black women, mostly because it keeps the Democratic nomination from becoming a coronation ceremony. When there is still a question about who will ultimately get the nomination, all candidates are forced to listen closely to the voters (isn't it a shame that they have to be forced into it?)
Black Women at Hair Salon Weigh in on Obama, Hillary and Edwards
Amy Holmes took a camera crew to a women's hair salon (Oh! My Nappy Hair studio) in Los Angeles and asked them what they thought of the Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. It sounds like Obama has a lot of fans, Edwards is gaining momentum and Hillary is in trouble. (Contains yet more footage of Black women getting their hair done)
An insult to black women?

Reporters have gone into hair salons, and shopping centers and interviewed black women on the question; Will they vote for a black man, or a white woman and how are they dealing with this dilemma? I believe the question to be seriously insulting to black women - it presumes that they can not vote based on the candidate's position on issues, but will decide solely on race or gender. Am I the only one that finds this repugnant?

NOPE! You aren't the only one that found it all repugnant.

Looks like someone is starting a pack to target black voters...

Group Looks to Boost Black Turnout
A group called PowerPAC has filed two reports with the Federal Election Committee in the past week revealing that the group spent $43,000 for phone banking efforts in California on Obama's behalf, and another $16,000 for fliers and newspaper ads in publications targeting African American voters.
Black women should consider doing the same.

Let the caterwauling begin!