When you’re up 45 to 39 you’ve got to be in trouble!

Unfortunately, this is just a quick little note…I think. I’ve been writing music and working on an essay I’ll tell you about later. Then there was the tour which exposed me to a lot of ideas, but the pace was a little too frantic to keep up. Anyway, what inspired me to jump on this evening is not really a mulatto moment at all, but a media moment. And I think it also speaks to some of the comments that I’ve received in my absence. It’s the NYTimes article today Poll Finds Obama Isn’t Closing Divide on Race.

I chose not to publish a couple comments from people recently because they felt too negative and inflammatory. But the gist of it was that the articles here were all about race and race isn’t or shouldn’t be the issue in the presidential campaign. Well, race and culture are probably going to be the topic on a blog subtitled “Mulatto Moments in ‘Post Racial’ America,” so you are probably in the wrong place if looking for a “colorblind zone.” But one of the problems with this election is that it’s being talked about in racially divisive ways. A funny thing, Jon Stewart said that the proper response to the New yorker cover that is causing so much noise should have been:

“Barack Obama is in no way upset about the cartoon that depicts him as a Muslim extremist. Because you know who gets upset about cartoons? Muslim extremists! Of which Barack Obama is not. It’s just a fucking cartoon!”

But I actually liked what Barack had to say on Larry King in response to the smear e-mails and cartoon:

“One last point I want to — I do want to make about these e- mails, though. And I think this has an impact on this “New Yorker” cover. You know, this is actually an insult against Muslim-Americans, something that we don’t spend a lot of time talking about. And sometimes I’ve been derelict in pointing that out.

You know, there are wonderful Muslim-Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult or to raise suspicions about me I think is unfortunate. And it’s not what America is all about.”

And I think that’s probably more to the point than Stewart’s comedy.

Back to the Times today… It was also on AOL’s front page as the first item of news. The Times article says that “More than 80 percent of black voters said they had a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama; about 30 percent of white voters said they had a favorable opinion of him.” What they could’ve said right next to that as their graphic indicates, only 35 percent of white voters have a favorable opinion of John McCain. And as you can see, the graphic list Obama’s “white approval” at 31% to McCain’s 35%. A four percentage point difference and AOL says New Poll Reveals Trouble for Obama. Huh? What was the white approval rate for the Democrats in ’04 as opposed to the Republicans? Historically Republicans seem to win the white male vote, so I’d venture to say the percentages were about the same. And blacks tend to vote Democrat, so while 80% is high it’s probably not much more skewed than Irish Catholics for Kennedy, Greeks for Dukakis, etc. So why did this inspire an “Is America Ready for a Black President?” poll on AOL? It seems someone is looking for a racial hook.

Then you get the results as of 11pm PST on Wednesday:

Do you think America is ready for a black president?
No 59%
Yes 41%
Total Votes: 403,336

Are you personally ready for a black president?
Yes 53%
No 47%
Total Votes: 393,646

How big a role do you think race will play in the outcome of the presidential election?
Major 68%
Minor 28%
None at all 4%
Total Votes: 309,373

What’s your race?
White 77%
Black 9%
Other 6%
Hispanic 5%
Asian 3%
Total Votes: 295,493

With the caveat:

Poll results are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those users who chose to participate. Poll results are not reflected in real time.

And the New York Times poll? They asked their questions to 1,338 white people and 297 black people.

How many people read this article? And then how many got past the paragraph three where Obama gets “about [a] 30%” favorable rating from whites to the paragraph where McCain’s favorable rating is only 35%. Oh, that’s right, it’s never mentioned in the article’s twenty-seven paragraphs. But if you do click on to page two of the online article you’ll see mentioned that “Over all, Mr. Obama leads Mr. McCain among all registered voters by 45 percent to 39 percent.” in paragraph twenty.

Obama leads 45% to 39%. That screams racial trouble! Let’s put it on the front page. 1,796 adults have determined that our world is a mess!

Race needs to be discussed. Let’s just please discuss it in context and in non-alarmist ways. Be honest, be angry, but please be reasonable. And I suppose you could say I missed the point of the NYTImes article because it was really about how black people think race relations are worse than white people see it. Interesting news… There must be trouble for Barack Obama. But it’s not coming from the data in this poll.

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