Progressive Minds

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2007/3/13

Why Rev. Al Sharpton is exactly right about Sen. Obama's candidacy

@ 09:28 PM (94 months, 19 days ago)
As an African-American, I believe that Rev. Al Sharpton was exactly right in his recent comments on the presidential candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama.

On background, Sharpton commented that Obama should not take the votes of his fellow African-Americans for granted next year. He said "Why shouldn't the black community ask questions? Are we now being told, 'You all just shut up?'"

Rev. Sharpton, I believe, is absolutely correct when he says that we need to ask the tough questions of Sen. Obama (just as we would any other candidate of any other race). And as Rev. Sharpton often says, just because someone looks like me, doesn't always mean they are my kind (meaning they don't necessarily represent my values or my interests).

It would be a tremendous failure on our part, if we were to simply endorse Sen. Obama's candidacy largely on the basis of his race, and our desire to see the first African-American President of the United States.

As much as I love radio personality Tom Joyner and his advocacy on behalf of important issues (such as our HBCUs), I have been extremely disappointed thus far in how he has treated the Sen. Obama's candidacy.

He interviewed Sen. Obama shortly before the Superbowl, and did not ask a single policy question of him. Moreover, Tom Joyner has let it be known loud and clear that he endorses Obama's candicacy, saying recently "He's black enough for me."

Comments like "He's black enough for me" do a tremendous disserivce to the African-American community. It suggests that we would be willing to make judgements about someone (and even more specifically vote for them) largely based on their race. That kind of thinking, goes against everything that people like Martin Luther King and four little girls in Alabama died for. And I feel quite confident in saying that if members of the Caucasian community said that Sen. Clinton or Sen. John Edwards were white enough for them, we would rise up in indignation.