What's crackin', friends?
It's Saturday night, and while most of you are out there partying like it's 2009, I'm lounging, trying to write a little and wondering if I acquitted myself well in a segment I taped for CNN to air this evening.
They called me yesterday and said Campbell Brown was doing a special tonight on what role race (as in that mishmash of skin color and ethnicity) might play in the upcoming election.
For some reason they wanted me to talk about an old blog post I did in which I challenged my peers in the media - when discussing Barack Obama's ethnic and cultural background and upbringing - to give equal play to his black and white halves. Some of you vehemently disagreed with me back then, in some cases suggesting I was disrespecting Obama by not just calling him black and leaving it at that.
But as I said back when I wrote that post, I know Obama chooses to call himself black - partly 'cause he knows that's how people identify him when they see him. And that's fine, considering how visual a society America is. I would never tell him what to call himself. I call myself pretty, and I defy any one of you who's seen me to tell me I'm not.
But these are two separate issues, skin color and ethnicity. And when we talk about those elements of his background, I still say it's a disservice to his white relatives, like the grandparents who raised him, to largely leave that part of Obama's ethnicity out of the discussion. Unless they're doing some weepy profile - the kind they do on ALL the candidates on both sides of the political spectrum - you never hear pundits talk about Obama having a white half.
And at a time when up to six percent of Americans - according to an AP poll - say they won't vote for Obama because he is black, isn't it the duty of the media to report that he also has a white half?
Anyway, like I told CNN's Jason Carroll in our segment when we taped yesterday afternoon, none of that should matter now.
When voters enter the polling booth in November to decide between McCain and Obama, the only color that should matter is green, as in how much is hemorrhaging from our bank accounts.
I say "should," 'cause you never know what motivates people when no one is watching. There are people who claim to vigorously support John McCain too, people who when in the polling booth will not vote for him because they'll hold his age against him...or maybe his race. Hmmm?
Anyway, while I'm not naive, and I know race unfortunately still matters to some folks, it's also the job of the media to not over-hype it and blow it out of proportion. There are enough strident folks on either side of the political spectrum to do that without us jumping into the fray.
Exhibit A: The white woman at John McCain's Wisconsin rally a couple days ago who said she couldn't trust Obama 'cause "he's an Arab." Do I really need to explain this one?
Exhibit B: Black Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, who, a few weeks ago, said this about Sarah Palin: "If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention...Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through."
OK, with all due respect to the Congressman's title and station, that was just stupid.
Whatever you think of Sarah Palin, her brand of politics, her relationship with naturally tanned people, etc., her "toting guns and stripping moose" doesn't make her a threat to Jews and blacks. Sarah Palin toting guns and stripping moose makes her a threat to moose.
Let's not deny that there are roles for race - both negative and positive - in American politics. But let's not add to those issues unnecessarily.
Alright, I'm signing off. I believe my 2.5 seconds is about to air.