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PoliticalGround >> Racism alarms Obama's backers


5/13/08 9:39 AM
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jimmy23
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Candidate's foot soldiers encounter name-calling, vandalism, bomb threats

WASHINGTON - Danielle Ross was alone in an empty room at the Obama campaign headquarters in Kokomo, Ind., a cellphone in one hand, a voter call list in the other. She was stretched out on the carpeted floor wearing laceless sky-blue Converses, stories from the trail on her mind. It was the day before Indiana's primary, and she had just been chased by dogs while canvassing in a Kokomo suburb. But that was not the worst thing to occur since she postponed her sophomore year at Middle Tennessee State University, in part to hopscotch America stumping for Barack Obama.

Here's the worst: In Muncie, a factory town in the east-central part of Indiana, Ross and her cohorts were soliciting support for Obama at malls, on street corners and in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and they ran into "a horrible response," as Ross put it, a level of anti-black sentiment that none of them had anticipated.

"The first person I encountered was like, 'I'll never vote for a black person,' " recalled Ross, who is white and just turned 20. "People just weren't receptive."

 

For all the hope and excitement Obama's candidacy is generating, some of his field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed -- and unreported -- this election season. Doors have been slammed in their faces. They've been called racially derogatory names (including the white volunteers). And they've endured malicious rants and ugly stereotyping from people who can't fathom that the senator from Illinois could become the first African American president.

The contrast between the large, adoring crowds Obama draws at public events and the gritty street-level work to win votes is stark. The candidate is largely insulated from the mean-spiritedness that some of his foot soldiers deal with away from the media spotlight,especialy on online discussion forum such as the one called "The Otherground".

Meeting cruel reaction
Victoria Switzer, a retired social studies teacher, was on phone-bank duty one night during the Pennsylvania primary campaign. One night was all she could take: "It wasn't pretty." She made 60 calls to prospective voters in Susquehanna County, her home county, which is 98 percent white. The responses were dispiriting. One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn't possibly vote for Obama and concluded: "Hang that darky from a tree!"

Documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said she, too, came across "a lot of racism" when campaigning for Obama in Pennsylvania. One Pittsburgh union organizer told her he would not vote for Obama because he is black, and a white voter, she said, offered this frank reason for not backing Obama: "White people look out for white people, and black people look out for black people."

Obama campaign officials say such incidents are isolated, that the experience of most volunteers and staffers has been overwhelmingly positive.

The campaign released this statement in response to questions about encounters with racism: "After campaigning for 15 months in nearly all 50 states, Barack Obama and our entire campaign have been nothing but impressed and encouraged by the core decency, kindness, and generosity of Americans from all walks of life. The last year has only reinforced Senator Obama's view that this country is not as divided as our politics suggest."

Campaign field work can be an exercise in confronting the fears, anxieties and prejudices of voters. Veterans of the civil rights movement know what this feels like, as do those who have been involved in battles over busing, immigration or abortion. But through the Obama campaign, some young people are having their first experience joining a cause and meeting cruel reaction.

On Election Day in Kokomo, a group of black high school students were holding up Obama signs along U.S. 31, a major thoroughfare. As drivers cruised by, a number of them rolled down their windows and yelled out a common racial slur for African Americans, according to Obama campaign staffers.

Frederick Murrell, a black Kokomo High School senior, was not there but heard what happened. He was more disappointed than surprised. During his own canvassing for Obama, Murrell said, he had "a lot of doors slammed" in his face. But taunting teenagers on a busy commercial strip in broad daylight? "I was very shocked at first," Murrell said. "Then again, I wasn't, because we have a lot of racism here."

 

continued at link

5/13/08 9:41 AM
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ThaRageWithin
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 CHANGE!

5/13/08 9:49 AM
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jimmy23
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so I take it you didnt bother to read the story?

5/13/08 9:53 AM
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CavemanDave
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Racism is such a problem that we have a black man currently being the most likely out of 3 canidates realistically left to get elected to the most powerful office on the planet earth.


 

5/13/08 9:58 AM
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ThaRageWithin
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CavemanDave - 

Racism is such a problem that we have a black man currently being the most likely out of 3 canidates realistically left to get elected to the most powerful office on the planet earth.




 





 That's racist of you to say!



5/13/08 10:01 AM
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jimmy23
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 wow, not on response even addressing the article, very nice



5/13/08 10:03 AM
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PatK
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Nice OG reference.

5/13/08 10:04 AM
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jimmy23
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 we got a winner :)



5/13/08 10:09 AM
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Le Shat
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giving him a taste of his own medicine, imo.
5/13/08 10:10 AM
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ThaRageWithin
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LOL. Oops.

5/13/08 10:12 AM
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pneuma
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I agree it's depressing, if not shocking.

But I also find it difficult to get worked up about it when they don't seem too upset about racism from their own campaign-- from support from the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party to Rev Wright, to some of the rather spurious notions forwarded by their own candidate, not to mention their prospective first lady.
5/13/08 10:15 AM
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jimmy23
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 how has Michelle Obama been racist?



5/13/08 10:20 AM
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alxholic
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 she should stop being black.

5/13/08 10:23 AM
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PatK
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 She eats chicken for breakfast



5/13/08 10:39 AM
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the tomas
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 "especialy on online discussion forum such as the one called "The Otherground"."


No way

5/13/08 10:40 AM
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jimmy23
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 ITS TRUE



5/13/08 10:46 AM
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the tomas
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^OF course I know y'all are some honest darky hatin', tax payin' rednecks but no way to the implication that the OG gets news coverage.


Who's the mole?

5/13/08 10:47 AM
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jimmy23
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Edited: 05/13/08 10:58 AM
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 this was actually an experiment to see how many ignorant responses I would get from people who didnt even read the article






 

5/13/08 10:51 AM
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StrikeAnywhere
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BubbleBass - 

 I read the story Jimmy - it's sad that racism still exists but I doubt it will be going away very soon - not sure that the fact that it exists is "news". It cuts both ways though Jimmy - I hope you can admit that - there is a reason that Obama enjoys something like 92% of black voters support. Believe it or not some of those people are also voting based on skin color.



I won't argue against there being a likely large number of blacks voting for Obama over Hillary due to color (as well as being upset about Bill) but at the same time black folks usually vote for their party first.   Alan Keyes didn't exactly get a ton of black support due to his color.   There's a difference to me between voting for someone in your party  because of  their color and saying you'll never vote for someone due to their color no matter what.

 

5/13/08 11:00 AM
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the tomas
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 " this was actually an experiment to see how many ignorant responses I would get from people who didnt even read the article"


Just admit it. You're a government spy and you've been reading Redneck, EM, MRBIG1 and hubris's posts.

5/13/08 11:02 AM
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jimmy23
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if I was a spy, and I am not saying that i am, then redneck is really a lure to se who responds so we can put them in government concentration camps


 


IF I was a government spy

5/13/08 11:05 AM
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jimmy23
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 "

So, you added one line and that's supposed to discount the stupidity of the entire article?"


 


no, it shows that the people who responded did so out of emotion, not logic, and says quit a bit about how they evaluate politics

5/13/08 11:17 AM
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jimmy23
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 if thts what you read into it, then  that says more about your mind set than it does the article



5/13/08 11:17 AM
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PatK
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 Who deleted my "She eats chicken for breakfast" line?


ABE FROMAN said something like that the other day


 

5/13/08 11:18 AM
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jimmy23
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 why would that line be deleted?




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