THE BLOG
02/03/2007 07:43 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

How's This for Prejudice?

How's this for prejudice?

"We've been taught that a president should come from
right here, born, raised, bred, fed in America. To go outside and bring
somebody in from another nationality, now that doesn't feel right to
some people."

So says Calvin Lanier of Washington, DC, explaining why, as a black
voter, he's not sure he will support Barack Obama. A man who was born,
raised, bred, fed in America -- but whose father was not. It's from href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/02/us/politics/02obama.html?ei=5087%
0A&em=&en=4c4612ed2f42dc39&ex=1170651600&pagewanted=print">from this
piece by Rachel Swarns.

It's great that Americans are coming up on an election in which
ethnic voting blocks are not taken for granted. Why should anyone
assume that black people would automatically vote for a black guy, or
Hispanics for the Hispanic candidate? It's idiotic to assume that
ethnicity has, or should have, a zombie grip on the minds of voters.

Consider, though, today's knock on Obama -- from Stanley Crouch and
Debra
Dickerson
, among others. Yes, it's an expression of resentment at
the way white Americans want to pat themselves on the back for accepting
a black man who is not typical of most African-Americans. Fine. But
implied in such statements is the idea that these writers, like Lanier,
would be happier with a black candidate whose ancestors had been here
for generations. Which is pretty close to the nativist bigotry evoked
by Loretta Lynn back in 1988, when she said she couldn't support Michael
Dukakis because she couldn't even pronounce his
weird-ass foreign name.

What's worse than suggesting that voters should, like zombies, vote
for someone because of his skin color? Suggesting that, like zombies,
they won't vote for a damn furriner.