Racism on the Campaign Trail

By Guest Columnist May 14, 2008

by Alex Jung I don’t envy campaign staffers and door-knockers and other invaders-of-quietness who descend upon the towns of Indiana and Pennsylvania to shill for their respective candidates. I myself was once a lowly, bright-eyed volunteer one frigid weekend in New Hampshire, back when Howard Dean was a candidate, or something. Never mind the grueling task of talking to strangers tete-a-tete, there was the even unhappier job of harassing them via telephone in between bites of cold pizza. As yesterday’s Washington Post article, "Racist Incidents Give Some Obama Campaigners Pause" perturbed strangers will often say exactly what they think in a mean way. I see how people treat those whale-lovers on the street, and it’s definitely no fun. Such resilient idealism they must have! So it’s no surprise that campaigning for Obama in exurbia also means experiencing through proxy, "a common racial slur for African Americans." [Oh Post such clever sidestepping!] Of course, the black staffers get it worse, because it’s like, double the black. Obama’s response to such racism, is measured and expected: "’Will there be some folks who probably won’t vote for me because I am black? Of course,’ Obama said, ‘just like there may be somebody who won’t vote for Hillary because she’s a woman or wouldn’t vote for John Edwards because they don’t like his accent.’" You’re right Barack! Accent? Structural racism? Same difference!