>As everyone knows by now, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama won the Iowa Democratic caucuses. The blogs lit up, saying this was a historic day Americans should be proud of–for the first time in history, a black man emerged as the winner over a white woman and a white man in one of America’s whitest states.
Suddenly, people can hold their heads up high because Iowans chose a black man over a white woman and another white man. Finally, racism as we know it has ended.
I’m sure Obama’s win will give white conservatives the vindication they need to sharpen their criticisms of liberal propaganda that paints America as being a race-based society. They will proudly point to Iowa and say, “If he can win there, then our country has progressed into one that doesn’t see color or race.”
As for me, I’m weary of what anyone can say about race relations in America when it comes Obama’s win. For one, Iowa is one of the nation’s whitest states, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006 population estimate of Iowa. The state had 2.5% of its population identifying as black, compared to the national 12.8%. The number of black-owned firms in Iowa was 0.7% in 2002, compared to the national average of 5.2%. This state clearly lacks the diversity that would make Obama’s win a shining example of how far race relations in this country has come.
With the Jena 6 protests looming in the recent past, the rape/torture of Megan Williams in West Virginia and the numerous noose hangings spotted around the country, I’m finding it hard to believe that America has progressed as much as white conservatives (and political pundits) would like to believe. However, if Obama can carry a Southern state, like Mississippi, Alabama or Georgia, then I would be more likely to support such a theory.
Until then, someone who looks like Hillary Clinton or John Edwards has more of a chance at capturing the White House than someone who looks like me.