"The accident of where one is born is just that, an accident; any human being might have been born in any nation"
Martha Nussbaum, 'Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism' in For Love of Country (Beacon Press, 2002)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Race and the American Presidential Election

There's an excellent article in today's Guardian newspaper on the race issue in the American presidential election. Slightly off topic for this blog I know, but well worth a read - thought-provoking and more than a little worrying. 


Aaron Bogart said...

Hi Megan, I'm curious why you found Pilkington's article 'thought-provoking'? I found it uninformative, and, more generally, completely speculative (as he himself notes). Race is no doubt an issue in this election; this doesn't get said enough, but visiting an old southern town reveals nothing about the intricacies of this issue. It merely tells us something everyone already knows. So, in what way is the article thought-provoking?

Megan Kime said...

hey Aaron, one of the main aspects of the article I found thought-provoking was the way in which the interviewees (admittedly not in any way a representative sample) repeatedly told Pilkington 'what other people think', without connecting this with their own views in any way. As he said, only one of the subjects was willing to admit that the view she was ascribing to others was in fact her own view. Perhaps its obvious that people don't want to admit to racism, but I found it quite an interesting observation. Also, despite as you say, everyone knows that race is an issue in the election, the fact that Obama's religion (which Pilkington was treating the same as race) was more of an issue to many of the voters was interesting, and indeed worrying, partly because of the inaccuracy, but mainly because of the way in which anti-Obama campaigners (whether affiliated to McCain or not) are so ready to exploit this shameful anti-Muslim sentiment.

Chris said...

"Attack ads run over the summer have shown Obama playing basketball - an overwhelmingly black sport in the US - and placed him in juxtaposition with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in what some commentators have interpreted as a play on that old taboo on black men associating with sexualised white women"

- Having watched the ad (youtube), this interpretation seems like quite the stretch :l

At least at the superficial level, the ad portrays Obama as a "superstar" alongside Hilton and Spears, and he's shown playing basketball because that's the most superstar-ish thing he's done in his campaign.