>According to consumer activist Ralph Nader, Sen. Obama is “talking white” and appealing to white guilt for his campaign for the White House.
“There’s only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He’s half African-American,” Nader told the paper in comments published Tuesday. “Whether that will make any difference, I don’t know. I haven’t heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn’t want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We’ll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.” (Source)
More comments by Nader:
“I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law,” he said. “Haven’t heard a thing.”
“He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he’s coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it’s corporate or whether it’s simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up.”
“Barack Obama because he’s African American should be held to a higher standard — much more graceful, righteous, standard of responsiveness to African Americans and Latinos and others who make up 100 million Americans in the poverty or near poverty category,” he said.
While I’m not too concerned about Nader’s other comments (they are valid concerns many people have expressed), I was a little disturbed by his “talking white” remark. What does it mean to talk white, Ralph Nader?Are you so used to seeing black politicians discuss “black” issues that you can’t stand to see Sen. Obama actually tackle “white issues?” Does it threaten your sense of what a black person should conform to?
Black politicians should not be pressured into boxing themselves in with the issues American society associate wth African-Americans.
As a presidential candidate, Sen. Obama can not afford to “talk black.” He has to appeal to everyone, from the most radical African-American in Chicago to the most reactionary white racist in Mississippi.
Maybe the Sen. Obama phenomenon is a threat to Nader. Maybe Nader isn’t used to seeing a black politician who can appeal to a wide range of people.
Thoughts? Talk to me, people!