Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If Barack Obama looked Black, By Bernie Hayes

Special Report
January 12,2010
College Park , Maryland
Barack Obama is a former community organizer,civil rights attorney,leader in the Illinois state Senate,and now the only African-American United States Senator.Recently he acknowledged he was considering a run for president in 2008,but he said he would not make a decision until after the Nov. 7 elections. This made my heart bound. I thought the time is right and the man is capable and competent,and he's finally getting the attention he deserves. Then reality smacked me in my face and I came down a few notches.
We all know the patterns of racism and color discrimination,however shrewd or subtle,and race still ignites political debates in this country. Obama is certainly a captivating and charismatic speaker who expresses himself fervently,and his life ,as told in his recently released book "Dreams From My Father," gives the impression he would be an ideal candidate for the nation's highest office. But what if he were darker ?
What is his skin tone was not as bright ? Would he still be considered "a rising star ?"
Do you remember the phrase "if you're white,you're alright. If you're brown,stick around. If you're Black,get back" ? Our culture is still being led to believe that having lighter skin somehow makes you a better person.Racial bias is more related to a Black person's skin tone than other features such as hair length or texture,lip fullness or nose width,according to a study by Tuffs University. Keith Maddox,assistant professor of psychology and director of Tuffs' Social Cognition Lab said research shows that both Blacks and whites associate intelligence,motivation and attraction to light-skinned Blacks and being poor or unattractive to dark skin Blacks. Is that true ?
We were once taught that light or bright skin ,green eyes and long wavy hair were standards of beauty,and this myth and illusion is reinforced by some Black children having white Power Rangers, and dolls with blond hair and blue eyes.
For years,Black people with lighter skin got treated better;and I personally believe that if Sen. Obama were of a darker hue,he would not be accepted as he is in the Democratic Party or in America.
Barack Obama came to national prominence when he delivered an inspiring keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention,but I believed that if he was dark skinned,coarse-haired politician,he never would have had the opportunity. He was allowed to bring his surging star power because of his looks as well as his education and experience.skin tone bias is in favor of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama,and I an delighted that his looks have landed him on television,the cover of major magazines and newspapers. It saddens me but I believe,despite his many qualifications,I am almost certain that the brightness of his skin has assisted him becoming a national celebrity and possible candidate for the White House.
Color bias is difficult to categorize,and it is often viewed as another form of race discrimination ,and the term"Black is Beautiful" is all but forgotten. I am pleased that the Senator from Illinois is able to address and define his cultural identity,and distinguish between racism and social influences ,and to explore the inter-relationships among culture identity and social justice.
I believe that with his values,traditions and education ,he will yet be considered "The Great Black Hope ". What do you think
Bernie Hayes can be reached by fax at 314-837-3369
or by e-mail at : berhay@swbell.net

* You may review my blog post on Harry Reid and Barack Obama dated Monday January 11,2010 at http://blackbuzz.blogspot.com/

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