Wednesday, February 13, 2008


What to Make of Obama’s Strange Bedfellows, Namely Blacks and White Males
Earl Ofari Hutchinson


This is an election with some strange things happening. One of the strangest is the penchant for so many white males to join with African-American voters in a few primaries to back Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama. It’s strange not because of anything Obama has said or done to get so many white males behind him. It’s strange because of the possible motive many of the men that are voting for him. Let’s put it this way. Are they voting for him because they truly buy his flowery pitch of hope, change and unity. Or, is there something darker, and more insidious at work here. The something is the deep, persistent, and widespread notion among many men that a woman is not fit to hold the highest office especially if that woman is named Hillary.

Males make up slightly more than forty percent of the American electorate, and of that percent, white males make up thirty six percent, or one in three American voters. They have been the staunchest Republican backers since Ronald Reagan’s trounce of Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Without their solid support in 2000, Democratic Presidential contender Al Gore would have easily won the White House, and the Florida vote debacle would have been a meaningless sideshow. In 2004, Bush swept Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in every one of the states of the Old Confederacy and three out of four of the Border States. He grabbed more than 60 percent of the white male vote nationally. In the South, he got more than 70 percent of their vote. That insured another Bush White House.

Male voters gave not just Bush but Republican Presidents Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon the decisive margin of victory over their Democrat opponents in their presidential races. The majority of them that voted for the GOP presidents were middle-to upper-income, college educated, and lived in a suburban neighborhood. This closely parallels the demographic of the men that are voting for Obama. But at the same time, fewer than one in five white males labeled themselves as liberal.
The reasons for the intense and unshakeable loyalty of working and middle-class men to the GOP are not hard to find. The gap was first identified and labeled in the 1980 contest between Reagan and Carter. That year Reagan got more than a 20 percent bulge in the margin of male votes he got over Clinton. Women voters by contrast split almost evenly down the middle in backing both Reagan and Carter. Most men made no secret about why they liked Reagan and what they perceived that he stood for. The tough talk, his apparent firmness and refusal to compromise on issues of war and peace fit neatly into the stereotypical, male qualities of professed courage, determination, and toughness.

Then there’s the thing that’s even less politically and gender correct to admit and that’s that the bias of many men toward women in high positions is so deep seated that they refuse to believe that they are even biased. Psychologists have testified in countless gender bias law suits that the “unconscious bias” of male managers against women, especially against women attaining power positions. The refusal of men to promote women has been the biggest factor fueling gender discrimination in corporate hiring and promotions. Male managers in charge of promotion and pay decisions unwittingly engage in "spontaneous" and "automatic" stereotyping and "in-group favoritism" that results in the most desirable jobs at the company being filled by white males.

Even if unconscious gender bias affects only a relatively small percent of men in a close contest between a male and female candidate in which the two are rated fairly evenly in competence, qualifications and experience, the refusal of many men to vote for her could harm her candidacy. Female candidates offset the male bias by getting solid support from women voters.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His forthcoming book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008).

4 comments:

dsk said...

A more interesting questions is: Why are blacks not voting for Hillary? Racism or sexism?

Wattree said...

AN APPOINTMENT WITH DESTINY
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You’re slipping, Hutch. Your lack of customary objectivity has finally betrayed your loyalties. I came to your site to comment on your Huffington Post article, "What Will Obama Do When There's No Hillary Firewall?", only to find another article that was even more partisan. In the first article you dug up everything you could think of that you indicate Republicans will be able to use against Obama in the November election--and you were right. In fact, you were so effective, that you all but built the Republicans a tailor-made swift boat. You’ve rendered the Republican Party a tremendous service in that article. As a result of your article alone, they can fire all of their researchers--you’ve done all of their research for them. And now I find your most recent article, "What to Make of Obama’s Strange Bedfellows, Namely Blacks and White Males." In that article you imply that Black people, along White males, have come together in a sexist coalition against Hillary to support Obama. In your final paragraph you say the following:
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"Even if unconscious gender bias affects only a relatively small percent of men in a close contest between a male and female candidate in which the two are rated fairly evenly in competence, qualifications and experience, the refusal of many men to vote for her could harm her candidacy. Female candidates offset the male bias by getting solid support from women voters." But I think you made a few typos in your last sentence. Didn’t you mean to say, "Female[s][should] offset the male bias by [giving] solid support from women voters"?
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I really can’t understand this Obama hatred that seems to be centered, primarily, among many Black intellectuals and leaders. First, we have a Black television host jumping up and down because the senator won’t drop everything in the middle of a hard fought presidential primary to come kiss his ring, then we have a that group of Black cynics demanding that he walk the water to earn their vote, and finally, a handful of Black pundits, intellectuals, and political leaders trying to sabotage Obama’s march into time. And, oh yes, I almost forgot those who are prudent enough to want to hedge their bet. They’re maintaining a silence so profound that it’s deafening. In fact, I didn’t think Sharpton was capable of keeping such a low profile–it makes one almost wish this year would never end.
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I find this situation very sad, yet, extremely interesting–but what’s going to be even more interesting is watching these very same Black intellectuals and so-called leaders squirm when they find themselves stranded on the wrong side of history. It’s really ironic. This nation is about to bring into reality everything these people have been screaming for every since they’ve had permission to open their mouths, and now they’re doing everything they can to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s almost as though they’re afraid they’re going to lose a trusted friend–the right to fail with personal impunity. I’ll be kind and not even mention those who may have to find a new line of work, because they’re gonna have it rough--I don’t think the employment office has a line for social agitator.
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But just in case I’m wrong, and they really simply don’t understand what everybody is so excited about, let me lay it out. We discussed it the very same week that Obama announced his candidacy. I told you then what was coming–in fact, now that I look back on our discussion, I’m sure you’ll agree, things are happening just like I predicted. Remember when I used the analogy of a runaway train, even before that train left the station? And remember when I compared Obama to JFK and you laughed, and that reporter from KFWB kinda looked at me sideways? I’m certain you both reflected on that when Caroline and Ted Kennedy made the very same remark in their endorsements.
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But I shouldn’t brag, because it really wasn’t hard to see it coming. The fact is, you’re such an astute political observer, I’m shocked that this one got past you–and even more shocked that you still don’t seem to get it.
The key was in understanding the American people. Americans love drama--and I mean that in a good way. They love the idea of hard work and sacrifice–especially when it comes to the underdog fighting to overcome adversity, because that’s the story of America itself. And what we have in Obama is a fearless love, a fatherless child, and now, an appointment with destiny.
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It's a story that's uniquely American--and the kind of story that will be told and retold as long as man has a yearning for hope. Thus, every American across this land is blessed to be living at this moment in our history. We're living in a time that history will someday record as the defining moment of our legacy as a people. It’s a moment in history when America is on the very brink of disaster, and the founding fathers have literally reached back from the grave to both save this nation, and fulfill their promise to humanity.
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Historians will someday define this as the moment in our history when America truly became one nation under God--a time when, hundreds of years from now, young people, and particularly young Black people, will look back upon our contribution to their quality of life and say, due to the courage and tenacity of that great generation of Americans, America was finally able to meet its appointment with destiny.
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So you see, this is not just Obama’s story–it’s an American story. It's a story being written by all of us, and about all of us. So Bill and Hillary can throw all the mud they like, and the Republicans can come with a fleet of swift boats, but it will all be to no avail. Because America is not about to let this opportunity pass them up. Senator Barack Obama is about to walk right into the annals time, and he’s taking us all along with him.
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Note that I’m dating this communication, because thanks to the internet, even the most common scribe can leave a note for posterity. I want them to know that I could clearly see the significance of this moment. Let’s just call it, my graffiti on the walls of time.
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Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
February 16, 2008
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LEGACY
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I Now stand firm. My dedication to the power of knowledge is the platform upon which my podium rests. I stand firm, strong, and now free--free of anger, free of self-delusion, free of the folly of empty vanity, and free of the pernicious bane of meaningless pride without substance.
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I now stand free to look upon the eyes of other men, reflecting dignity over sorrow, and accomplishment over pain; I stand with a burning passion, fueled by the very flame that forged ancestral shackles, with a deep sense of pride, and a pride that flows deep.
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I now stand erect! The steel that once degraded my father, that chained him in bondage to this bitter Earth, now reinforce my character, making me more, rather than less. And the blood and sweat that once drenched his brow, and oozed from the yoke around his neck, now rage with resolve, a sense of purpose, and trembles with passion, within my burning breast.
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I now stand as a new being–-neither simply African, nor simply American, but a hybrid forced to transcend the sum of my parts-- no longer simply African, since being torn away from the African motherland to suffer and toil in the fields of America, and more than simply American, after being forced to be more than simply American, just to survive within the bowels of this prosperous land.
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Thus, I stand now armed—-armed with the wisdom of deprivation, the courage of my conviction, and a deep conviction of my courage; and fortified–with the confidence of a survivor, the empowerment of knowledge, and a ravishing hunger for greatness.
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I now stand the product of love, struggle, and sacrifice; a witness to man's inhumanity to man, and a monument to the hopes and dreams of a million slaves. I stand embraced by my creator, as God now smiles upon my people.
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Yes, I Now Stand Firm--Firm, Black, and Free.
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Eric L. Wattree
Wattree.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Eric above, thank you, it was extremely uplifting to hear such truth.

Sad, how the spirit of jealousy exist among African Americans, such as Hutchinson. I saw this man on Headline News with Glenn Beck and he just grieves my spirit.

It is sad that so many African Americans are so intent on apeasing the status quo making themselves look utterly ridiculous. Sorry, but it really hurt to see supposedly intelligent African American men be so weak.

But intelligence certainly has nothing to do with one having wisdom. Mr. Hutchinson stated that if he were Obama, he would have left Trinity a long time ago because of Rev. Wright.

Apparently, Mr. Hutchinson do not have wisdom and is what the bible refer to as a fool because he does not understand that truth and true Christianity offends.

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