Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 28, 2006 / 7 Teves 5767

We'd elect a black president? That's not news

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave an interview to the Associated Press last week, but as the State Department's transcript of the meeting reveals, she didn't say anything terribly newsworthy. AP had to lead with something, though, so it played up the racial angle, headlining the story "Rice: US ready for black president."


Asked whether "America is ready to vote for and support a black president," the second consecutive black American to head the Department of State promptly answered, "Yeah. I think so." She noted that while Americans may not be perfectly blind to color — "You know, when a person walks into a room, race is evident" — by and large "we have become capable of looking past color to see capability and to see merit and to overcome stereotypes . . . and that's what people look for, I think, when they are looking for a president."


No longer do the racist values of an earlier age shape our political culture. "I think we've overcome," Rice said. "Most Americans, a great majority of Americans, have overcome that.


"So, yes, I think a black person can be elected president."


Big news? Not even close.


After all, the talk of the political world these days is Barack Obama, the biracial first-term Illinois senator who has become the hottest ticket in the 2008 Democratic presidential road show. Obama's first-ever trip to New Hampshire earlier this month drew enthusiastic crowds, selling out halls in Manchester and Portsmouth and fueling lavish media coverage. "We originally scheduled the Rolling Stones," the state's Democratic governor, John Lynch, said of the Manchester event, "but we cancelled them when we figured out that Senator Obama would sell more tickets."

Donate to JWR


Two weeks later, the Concord Monitor is reporting that if the Democratic primary were held today, Obama would be in a dead heat with New York Senator Hillary Clinton, the supposed Democratic front-runner. The same poll shows Obama doing better than either Clinton or former senator John Edwards, the Democrats' 2004 vice-presidential candidate, in hypothetical match-ups against leading Republicans. Obama mania shows up in the latest Iowa polling, too.


With more than a year to go before the presidential primaries begin, these polls aren't worth much as political auguries. But they speak volumes about the comfort level of Americans at the prospect of a black nominee.


Newsweek's latest opinion survey asked a national sample of voters the same question AP asked Rice: "Do you think America is ready to elect an African-American president?" A solid majority — 56 percent — said yes; only 30 percent said no. But when voters were asked whether they *personally* would vote for a qualified black candidate nominated by their party, the positive response was beyond overwhelming: 93 percent.


None of this is new, and it didn't begin with Obama. In 1995, Colin Powell was at or near the top of presidential preference polls; at his book-signings, admirers by the hundreds stood in line for his autograph. Though he eventually declined to run, it was widely believed that he would be a formidable candidate for the White House.


When Rice describes America as "capable of looking past color," she speaks nothing but the plain truth. Mainstream Americans — unlike much of the media, the activist left, and the diversity industry — is not hung up on race. They don't want the law to discriminate for or against anyone on the basis of skin color, they don't like it when schoolchildren are pushed around like pawns on a racial chessboard, and they don't buy the libel that black Americans can't succeed because white Americans keep them down.


As a black child in pre-civil rights Birmingham, Rice witnessed racism up close. Her friend Denise McNair was one of the four black girls murdered when the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed in 1963. Rice never had a white classmate until her family moved to Denver in 1968.


"Look at my generation," she told Ebony last year. "We started in segregation, all of us. And you look at where people in my generation are. We've broken ceilings as CEOs and as presidents of universities and secretaries of state. It shows how change can happen, and how fast it can happen. . . . America is an awfully good place to be a minority."


In the space of just a few decades — a mere blink of history's eye — racial bigotry became intolerable to most Americans. Is America ready for a black president? The idea would once have been unthinkable. Today it is almost unremarkable.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles