How the ‘Obama effect” has revealed hidden racism among some voters

Tue, 11/11/2008 - 4:25pm
By: Letters to the ...

The Bradley effect is dead. The Obama effect is alive.

What is the Obama effect? It’s the proposition that a person’s true prejudicial persona (if one is present) becomes evident when a person is elected to office that is truly the target of their prejudice, whether that prejudice is gender, race, ethnicity, or religion.

This became apparent to me after the presidential election. It appears as there are more racists among us than I had previously thought. It’s as though someone shined a light on a bunch of cockroaches (those cockroaches being ignorant people whose intolerant attitudes were unknown to anybody but themselves).

When it was dark you weren’t aware of their presence but as soon as the light of reality shone(that reality being their new president is black), their hidden prejudices flow forth.

On Nov. 4, “we,” in the Electoral College and popular vote, collectively voted for a man who just happened to be black.

It was because the majority of us saw him as a man who could affect change, a man who brought a glimmer of hope into a society whose socioeconomic, foreign policy, security policies, and internal strife were bringing chaos to all our lives.

I was gratified to see us as a country vote for a black man. I believed it was the final step in Martin Luther King’s “Dream.” As an older white man, I thought we had finally crossed the threshold of action; we were no longer just uttering equality, but were acting upon it.

We voted for a man, not a man of color, rather a man who brought us hope. We voted for a man that is articulate, charismatic, intelligent, and well-spoken. We had finally gotten it, or so I thought.

Bear in mind I am not judging anyone’s decision on who should be president; we are all entitled to our opinions. I am questioning some who voted one way or another on nothing more than the color of the candidate’s skin.

Since the election, I have been witness to several jokes regarding President-elect Obama, and all with racial undertones. Shame on you, America!

I thought we were better than that. I am actually embarrassed by my own fellow countrymen. It’s appalling, disgusting, and counterproductive. Let’s get beyond prejudice of any kind, whether it’s racial, sexual, religious, or otherwise. We are better than that.

There is one glimmer of hope, and that is that most people I have talked with feel the same as I do, and those that have shown their true colors, the closet bigots, are a very small minority and may in fact be reflective of the demographics of the South where I live.

Hopefully we as a people can come to grips with the reality that we are all human and deserving of respect. A little empathy goes a long way.

Cam Vaughn

Peachtree City, Ga.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by Bob Whitcomb on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 7:30pm.

I think you have been haging out with Justin to long. Although the thought processes are good. I'm not seeing the same thing in Nevada. It apears to me that the walls of prejudices are falling faster than they ever have, and that is a good thing.
I agree with you 100% about the remarks, that we voted for a man, because of who the man is. Quote "He is articulate, charismatic, intelligent, and well-spoken ways". He brings hope to a world of people that need a new sound economic system.
It also is amazing to me how quick people become angry. Why didn't the negative responders ask questions, instead of going straight to anger?
I like the part on the end quote "Hopefully we as a people can come to grips with the reality that we are all human and deserving of respect. A little empathy goes a long way."

I guess the responders didn't get it. It sure would be nice if every one saw everyone by their persona.
Bob Whitcomb

Submitted by Missy-Sippy on Tue, 11/18/2008 - 12:43am.

You’re a trouble maker who goes around calling people you don’t even know racists and prejudiced. I think you just made a lot of people mad for a lot of reasons that you’re not aware of. Because of the government’s mismanaging of fiscal policies this nation is going to totally fall apart and break up into regional factions. When that happens, I wouldn’t want to be a trouble maker like you. That’s my opinion.

Submitted by camvaughn on Tue, 11/18/2008 - 11:35am.

Dear Missy-Sippy, Did I touch a nerve? I never called you a racist nor did I imply that people who didn't vote for Obama were racist? I merely stated that people who have prejudicial views allow those views to be exposed when a candidate that is a target of their, prejudice whether it is racial, gender, religious, or ethnic, becomes elected. I don't consider myself a troublemaker, and I would venture to say those that know me personally would never characterize me as such. I do however realize a lot of people are distraught, and justifiably so, over our economy and where it is headed. I completely understand it and I am hopeful that the new administration can get it back on track. I would feel the same whether this was a Republican, Democratic, or Libertarian administration. I never intended that my message make people angry, I merely wanted the message to be one of reflection on our own attitudes so that we can all be more empathetic, thoughtful, and caring towards all. Best of luck.


suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 7:23pm.

I don't know what your deal is, but let me explain something to you that is lost in your tirade...the majority who are white, helped elect Obama...sit on your high horse and look down your nose all you want...but you are a bigot! How dare you call people that beg to differ...racist!

In EVERY election people make fun of both the loser, and the winner, it goes with the territory.

If people can't make fun, it is NOT a free country! I don't know where you get off being so holier than thou. It would seem for Obama to get elected a LOT OF WHITE FOLK somewhere must have voted for him, just like in the Civil War..a LOT OF WHITE FOLK fought on both sides. To are a narrow minded a@@!

Instead of looking on the bright side, you are still hunting the KKK...and will prob find it along with the boogie man.

Why not be happy that people are tyring a half n half and let it go at that? In my thoughts, he may turn out to be a good pres. He may want to be better than most, just to show people they are wrong. He isn't pointing a finger at whitie...why should you?
Lets all see what happens and keep an open mind. That is the right thing to do...instead of all this glorified finger make your self look better...why don't you give it a chance? that is what we whities are doing!

Submitted by camvaughn on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 9:11pm.

suggarfoot, It may come as a surprise to you, but I am a white man and have never spent time looking for the KKK. You accuse me of a tirade, but fail too see the same in your response. My point wasn’t that all white folk are racist, in fact very few are. It was that the true prejudice in some people becomes apparent when someone is elected who is the cause of their prejudicial attitude whether it is race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. It isn’t about making myself look better, it was an outlet for the disappointment I had after the election when all kinds of racial jokes came pouring forth. You are absolutely correct we all make fun of political appointees, but we do so based on their character flaws, or perceptions thereof, not on the color of their skin, and that was my point!

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 7:36pm.

I am incensed that you think knowledge or fairness grow only above the Mason Dixon line. Your bad South...we good Northerners is something I loath...people with ...YOUR... mentality and narrow mindedness keep things like this going. Instead of looking for the common keep pointing out the differences...for one make your self look holier than thou....I say shame on you!

Submitted by camvaughn on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 9:20pm.

Suggarfoot you don’t know where I am from and make conclusions on my upbringing based on your rather narrow viewpoint of northerners, doesn’t that make you rather loathsome yourself? I am not from above the Mason Dixon line, I am from the south!

Submitted by TyroneTerror on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 3:03pm.

Mr. Vaughn, if the demographic of the South is one of Bigotry then head north. I caution you though you are heading into the land of bigots and hate crimes. According to 2007 statistics only 2 of the top ten states for reported racial hate crimes were in the "South" (Tennessee and Virginia) as you put it. 2 more were out west (California leading all states... and Washington). So 6 of the top ten states were not in the "South". Georgia and Alabama ranked 47th and 49th respectively in the statistics.

Those statistics just re-enforce what I've known for years. Those people who move down here, are much more Bigoted than those of us born and raised here.

The Election of Obama is a great thing, if nothing else it removes the final victim card that minorities have been using for years. No longer can they say that they are being held down, or oppressed, or any myriad of other terms used to portray themselves as the victim.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.