Political parents are adorable

Before SuperFaTuesday fades from our collective minds, I wanted to share a few different conversations that people have had with their parents about who to support.

Tamasha’s mother played true to her demographic and supported Hillary as did her “new-grandmother aunt”. I loved the conversation between Tamasha and her Aatya:

Aatya: Sweetie, can I make one last plea for you to vote for Hillary?
Tamasha: Um, it’s not really going to work, but tell me why you’re voting for her.
Aatya: Women have to vote for her.
T: Yeah, see, that’s not enough for me. Her being a woman, I mean.
Aatya: Women my age have to vote for her.
T: Huh?
Aatya: You haven’t had to face the glass ceilings that I have, working with men who have meetings in the men’s room and come back out zipping up their pants making proclamations.
T: Fair enough. But Obama has more things going for him that appeal to me, and he has specific ideas and beliefs that more precisely match up with mine.
Aatya: Just wait.Just wait until you have to go into the bathroom with these men while they pee and make decisions. [Link]

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p>My mother feels similarly, although she put it in less colorful language. She simply said that it was time for a woman, and that she was tired of women hitting a glass ceiling, and being called shrill when they’re just being as aggressive as their male counterparts. She liked Obama plenty, but figured Obama could run in 4 or 8 years once he had a little more experience.

<

p>Taz’s father, on the other hand, was an activist for Obama:

My dad came home from work at 8:30pm, and immediately we put him on the phones. “Call all your friends!” I implored.

He proceeded to call through his phone book of members of the Bangladeshi community. I would hear him as he sat in the living room making his calls. “Khalka vote dibeh?” Are you going to vote tomorrow? He’d ask his friends. “My daughter is making calls for Obama -”

“No, Abbu!” I whispered loudly. “YOU are making calls for Obama!”

“Oh…I am making calls for Obama,” he said into the phone. “I made them all day, and I’m voting for him tomorrow. I want you to vote for him too.” By 10pm, my family had made over 200 get out the vote calls on behalf of Barack Obama that day. [Link]

In the end, I figure the Obama Grandmother was an outlier and most SouthAsians voted like most other Asians, that is, in support of Hillary. Still, sometimes it’s nice to drill down and put a face and a story to the data.

98 thoughts on “Political parents are adorable

  1. Our racism is rooted in our immigrant experience. Arriving in a new country as non-citizens, we had no rights, no claims on government handouts, and none of the usual social skills to network for some private gain. Our only salvation was to excel in college and then in the workplace, and any group that got away with less, far less, became an object of envy and, eventually, dislike.

    How is this applicable to Obama? Who got into Harvard Law School on his own merits and has been successful on his own steam. According to what you say that should make first gen desis love him, and that clearly hasn’t been the case so far. Are you suggesting that Obama has got away with less because of his race?

  2. How is this applicable to Obama? Who got into Harvard Law School on his own merits and has been successful on his own steam. According to what you say that should make first gen desis love him, and that clearly hasn’t been the case so far. Are you suggesting that Obama has got away with less because of his race?

    Yes logically. I talked about this earlier – if Obama wants the Desi vote he needs to boast about Harvard. For many first gens in USA there is a high degree of correlation between crime and black ( true or false is immaterial). So when a Black man wants to stand for President, it is very hard to let go of that discomfort. As always Floridian is right on the money.

  3. Floridian:

    You and I are of the same generation, as far as I can figure out from your other comments on unrelated threads.

    Although your analysis is sound regarding the “output” if one limits it to the Asian attitude within the US, I would like to disagree with your assertion that the “input” itself is necessarily so different. Najeeb pointed out to the fertile soil theory already – the average Indian is well primed to entertain prejudices due to the realities (caste, regional divides etc.) on the ground in India. So, it is an easy transference to another group in a new country where a background of prejudice against a particular group already exists. But I will go a bit further than mere transference. Many Indians already harbor negative images of dark skinned persons even before they set foot on US soil. The color consciousness in our society is acute even when it applies to Indians themselves. Africans and African Americans are no exceptions.

    If you remember the situation with African students in Delhi university in the 1970s, you will understand what I am talking about. (I cannot speak for the atmosphere now.) The handful of black students from Africa – Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and even dark skinned Egyptians, who attended DU were routinely referred to as Habshis and “Kaaloo.” Smart, serious African Ph.D. students in their late twenties or early thirities, some of them already professors in their own countries, had a tough time renting rooms in neighboring Kamla Nagar or Model Town for independent living. Their choice was mostly limited to rooms in Jubilee Hall, the graduate dorm and sometimes even in undergrad college hostels.

    So, I don’t agree that our anti-black racism is something we pick up only landing on the shores of the US – imitating the prejudices already in place. The seed of the sentiment is already firmly planted in our minds. It just germinates and flowers because of the large number of black Americans we encounter upon our arrival.

    Echoing Yogi # 51: Of the stereotypes you list that presumably drive our fears, which one of those would you say applies to Obama? Crime, lack of hard work or high achievement, rapping, wearing his pants too low? None, as far as I can see. So, naturally it is not about those traits. But rather our tendency to attribute those traits to him based on his race, no? Otherwise, Barack Obama’s life story should be embraced by the Indian and other immigrant communities. Just like the open minded and sweet tempered Grandma for Obama does in the You Tube video does.

  4. Many Indians already harbor negative images of dark skinned persons even before they set foot on US soil

    I hope you realize how bizarre that must sound to non-indians. A dark-skinned race harboring negative images of dark skinned persons!

    open minded and sweet tempered Grandma for Obama does in the You Tube video

    That indian grandma makes my point. She looks a lot like a darker version of Rosa Parks the “black” lady who sparked the Civil Rights Movement which opened the doors to America for indian immigrants like Floridian.

  5. Anecdotal evidence here seems to confirm that comfort with a white person in power is the major driver for Asians’ support for Hillary. Be that as it may, I’m curious if the big percentages of white men voting for Obama will legitimize him for Asians?

    A perceptive observation and question. All non-white immigrants to America learn quickly that the easisert way to ingratiate themselves with the dominant whites is to join them in their fear and loathing of the black man. The fact that college educated white men are becoming enraptured by Obama must be a source of confusion and anxiety for many among them.

  6. 55 · Prem said

    <

    blockquote>

    Many Indians already harbor negative images of dark skinned persons even before they set foot on US soil
    I hope you realize how bizarre that must sound to non-indians. A dark-skinned race harboring negative images of dark skinned persons!

    It does sound weird. But its true. I am white, and spend a fair (no pun intended) amount of time in India. I am asked with astonishing frequency, in metros, in villages, you name it, why “black people” in america are such criminals. Why can’t they obey the law? Why are they always stealing and killing? When I’m asked this, I try to figure out where they got their (mis)information from, and there response is usually “relatives in the US” or “in movies.”

  7. 57 · Kabob_Sahib said

    I am asked with astonishing frequency, in metros, in villages, you name it, why “black people” in america are such criminals.

    I was once asked by an African immigrant in Canada, the same question. Rather than looking at it as a matter of race, I would look at it from a cultural-difference point of view; gangsta’ culture to be more specific. People don’t seem to associate black Africans with crime but do so for African-Americans. The new age media plays a big part in perpetuating such an image to the outside world (from which new immigrants come in of course).

  8. Krugman on some of Obama supporters today. No, we cant!

    The force is strong with you. Come.

  9. I’m sorry, but when women vote for woman simply because she is a woman, it’s not advancing the feminist movement whatsoever.

    This is what I’m talking about.

  10. Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said

    Ruchira: Would you vote for Billary if Obama is not the nominee?

    I am really torn on this one. On one level I feel that voting for Hillary will make me complicit in tainting the Democratic Party with another seedy Clinton legacy that will set back the chances of other Dem candidates in the future. But the prospect of McCain and 100 years of war is scary enough that if Hillary is the legitimate nominee, I will probably swallow my unease with Billary and vote for her. (I won’t campaign for her though, as I have for every Democratic candidate since Bill Clinton) If on the other hand, Obama wins the popular vote and popular delegates by a small margin and the party Pooh Bahs decide to anoint Hillary with the help of Super Delegates, I will sit out the election or vote third party.

    Let me make it clear that I am not an Obama cheerleader. I just prefer him to Hillary just as I would have tilted toward Edwards if it was he who was her competition. The candidate I was really hoping to see as the Democratic nominee was the well rested, well spoken, intelligent, Clinton – free, Iraq – free, pro science & technology man – Albert Gore. But that didn’t happen. So, despite Bill Clinton’s sinister warning, I am now ready to “roll the dice” for Obama.

    As for Krugman, I don’t know what has come over him. Hillary hating? Sure, there are some idiots whose tongues are loosened by 24 / 7 blather on cable news TV …. and of course, the vicious Republicans. But the average Obama supporters, many of them mature liberals? They are not spewing such idiotic filth. Their discomfort with Billary has nothing to do with hate. When did a healthy skepticism based on past experience become the same as hate? Oh, and let’s not forget Bob Kerrey, Bill Sheehan and Bill Clinton’s allusions to his Muslim middle name, past drug use and race. I guess those were just gentle reminders of the “truth about Obama.”

  11. My mom is a desi grandmother for obama, and stood (in her sari) with the rest of us obamites at the WA caucus, where the group went 4/1 for Obama. Unfortunately, Tamasha’s Atya’s argument doesn’t work too well at the caucus crowd. The Hillary supporters tried a variant (“men are bad, and territorial, and start wars. vote for the woman.”). My daughter and I agreed that the statement was true (her brother and dad disagreed). But, it still didn’t convince me to vote for Hillary, and it certainly didn’t convince her dad.

    (Don’t understand what’s happening with Krugman, either — and usually I love the guy).

  12. I was once asked by an African immigrant in Canada, the same question. Rather than looking at it as a matter of race, I would look at it from a cultural-difference point of view; gangsta’ culture to be more specific. People don’t seem to associate black Africans with crime but do so for African-Americans. The new age media plays a big part in perpetuating such an image to the outside world (from which new immigrants come in of course).

    I used to get this in Kenya also, but I don’t think it’s “gangsta culture” — it was about what images were represented via media to black Africans. Everyone who asked this question had ONLY seen African-Americans represented as criminals in American movies, popular media, etc. I also met a lot of people who had no idea that the n-word was a racial slur (they thought this was what you called African Americans). There is some exceptionalism around hip hop figures (e.g., Tupac and 50 Cent were big, the former being super popular, when I was abroad), but they were examined as “different” from other African Americans. Conversely, in the context of the U.S., many people I meet think of black Africans as either happy enterprising poor people, as starving/diseased, or as ominous and violent(a la Heart of Darkness) and living in total anarchy and violence. I do think there’s an element of racialism here.

    I’m sorry, but when women vote for woman simply because she is a woman, it’s not advancing the feminist movement whatsoever. This is what I’m talking about.

    There’s a good analysis of this on Feministing (can’t remember the post link, but it’s a good analysis of a ‘feminist’ outlook on voting options).

  13. As for Krugman, I don’t know what has come over him. Hillary hating? Sure, there are some idiots whose tongues are loosened by 24 / 7 blather on cable news TV ….

    Agreed, I usually love the guy but he is sipping the Kool-Aid. Hillary is the victim? First, I think he’s ignoring a pretty huge Clintonian powerhouse that has turned off voters with its commentary over the past month, and while media outlets are certainly looking for every moment to critique Clinton, they were also her unbiased and unchallenged cheerleaders for months. Does he seriously believe NONE of her supporters have been hostile, rude, or mean to other campaigns? Second, how often are we going to patronize Hillary Clinton? Point out when people make crass and ridiculous comments (e.g. Shuster’s assholic statement about “pimping,” the stupid NYTimes article about her cleavage, the dumb ass guys making misogynistic comments at her rally) — I think that is necessary and appropriate. But let’s not create drama or read negativity into the campaign.

    I think it’s convenient and easy for talking heads to label Obama supporters as “emotional” (read: unreasoned), cult-like, etc. Instead, I think it’s worth asking why he invokes such excitement. From what I can see, this race (Obama, Clinton, and even the erstwhile Edwards) has engaged a lot of people in the democratic process and has encouraged high civic participation. I’m certainly learning a lot. I don’t see why that’s a bad thing.

  14. I think those whose position is that “I will not vote or I will vote for Rep if Hillary is the candidate” …. are part of the “cult of personality”.

  15. I think it’s worth asking why he invokes such excitement.

    Because people mistakenly believe that he(or Hillary or McCain) will change their life (for better or for worse).

    Quick – have any of the last few presidents (Bush/Clinton/Bush) made any policy that has directly affected you negatively or positively? Has the Congress/Senate done anything in the last 20+ years that has directly affected you negatively or positively?

    My personal answer to these questions is a resounding NO. My life has changed ONLY because of my own actions – no politician has had any effect on me whatsoever.

    I’d love you hear otherwise from people, with specifics.

    M. Nam

  16. have any of the last few presidents (Bush/Clinton/Bush) made any policy that has directly affected you negatively or positively? Has the Congress/Senate done anything in the last 20+ years that has directly affected you negatively or positively?

    What about all the people (Iraqis and Americans) who have died in the last six years as a direct result of Iraq invasion/occupation. Which in all likelihood would not have happened if Bush was not the President.

  17. Moor Nam, Are you advocating not voting?

    As for examples of “politicians” affecting your life, consider the other question – do government policies (TAX, immigration, free services provided) have any effect on your life? If the answer is yes to this one, it has to be yes to the question you posed.

  18. what’s happenned to krugman is that he’s invested so much into the VRWC narrative that he can’t let it go, even as his fellow liberals have begun to see reality, ie that the clintons are nixonian…which of course is not necessarily a bad thing.

  19. Yogi:

    What about all the people (Iraqis and Americans) who have died in the last six years as a direct result of Iraq invasion/occupation.

    My question was about you directly – thousands of people dying as a result of the war is no skin off your nose. Whether the war is right or wrong, whether Kerry/Gore would have done the same, whether Obama will do the same with Pakistan is a separate debate.

    Moor Nam, Are you advocating not voting

    Not at all. I am just amused that people are so gung-ho or aghast at the candidates they favor/disfavor. In all likelyhood, the candidate will have little or no direct effect on them personally. So why the jumping up and down?

    do government policies (TAX, immigration, free services provided) have any effect on your life?

    Little – but not much. Because of Bush’s tax cuts, I probably have a little more money in my pocket, but not much. Because of Bush’s soft corner for H1-B’s from India, a couple of my nosy relatives have landed in the US – but that has very little effect on me.

    None of the Presidents have changed my life by much. And I don’t see that changing in the future.

    M. Nam

  20. My question was about you directly – thousands of people dying as a result of the war is no skin off your nose. Whether the war is right or wrong, whether Kerry/Gore would have done the same, whether Obama will do the same with Pakistan is a separate debate.

    How do you know that no one I know personally has been affected by the Iraq war? I think you are being terribly presumptuous. I will be the judge of what affects me directly or indirectly. Oh and keep my nose out of your comments. Thanks.

  21. 13 · galaxie said

    She’s got a reputation for alienating conservatives and republicans so you know most of them won’t be voting for her. Instead, they’ll vote for their candidate.
    Isn’t that what conservatives and republicans can be expected to do anyway? Vote for a republican? This is an argument against Clinton that I never understand when it’s brought up. Elections are usually not won by stealing people from the other side, so much as winning over the undecided folks.

    You need to familiarize yourself with Rovian strategy, Rove got Bush in the White House twice by “stealing” just enough Democrats and the Independent vote. Obama has shown that he is more likely to move Republican to vote for him. Republicans voting for Hillary more than likely would do so simply out of a protest of McCain.

  22. My question was about you directly – thousands of people dying as a result of the war is no skin off your nose.

    Good to know that you get pain only if it affects you physically. How much more selfish can you get?

  23. likelyhood, the candidate will have little or no direct effect on them personally.

    Thats absolutely inaccurate. Direct effect of US’s war is felt on all citizens of US, economically. (Usually wars are good economically .. good for the conqueror that is) Direct effects of trade policies hit everyone’s pockets – directly. Direct effects of America’s perception affects all those who travel frequently outside. Direct effects of a “Benign Neglect of Dollar” policy hit directly to everyone. Favorable to exporters and unfavorably to importers. Direct effects of immigration policy affects personally to most people, both economically and socially.

  24. Good to know that you get pain only if it affects you physically. How much more selfish can you get?

    How dare you insult Moornam! Moornam was born to nature in unspoilt forests, raised by wolves without the benefit of an educational system provided by society, feeds on tree bark that he gnaws off with his teeth, and walks to work through thick woods which he hacks with a machete that he polished himself.

    Society? What did society ever do for him?

  25. Here’s the thing see… if it ends up as Hillary vs. McCrazyMo’Fo, Hillary will lose. That’s why Obama is a better choice to prevent 4 more years of Iraq War. or 100 more in McCrazyMo’Fo’s mind.

  26. Well you got to give it to senator mccain – he’s WAY more interesting than the rest of us

    His childhood tantrums were so severe that he would fall into unconsciousness, prompting his parents to devise an equally stern remedy, dunking him in an icy bath until the demons were exorcised. While this had some effect, it wasn’t quite a cure.
    in the fall of 1967, while on a mission over Hanoi, he was shot down and forced to eject from his plane. He broke his left arm, fractured his right arm in three places and wrecked his right knee. When he regained consciousness in front of a posse of Vietnamese soldiers and began to cry out, one of them broke his shoulder with the butt of a rifle.
    several years ago, during which someone in the audience mentioned Shakespeare. Mr. McCain responded by quoting a full page from Henry V.
    He continues to “say it like it is,” as he did as a young congressman when he challenged Ronald Reagan’s decision to keep troops in Beirut.
    He has called his Vietnamese jailers “gooks” in public, and an Associated Press story in 1998 claimed that he cracked the following joke at a Republican fundraiser in Washington: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.” More recently, in South Carolina on his current “Straight Talk Express” campaign, someone asked Mr. McCain what message the U.S. should send to Tehran. He sang back, to the tune of the Beach Boys hit Barbara Ann: “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran.”

    Hm… a McCain-Jindal ticket does have an interesting ring to it. hsssh… [the sound of gasoline lighting up].

  27. Here’s the thing see… if it ends up as Hillary vs. McCrazyMo’Fo, Hillary will lose. That’s why Obama is a better choice to prevent 4 more years of Iraq War. or 100 more in McCrazyMo’Fo’s mind.

    What? We’re now trusting polls 7 months before election time? Shouldn’t Obama have even quit trying for the democratic primaries based on poll results that far before the primaries?

    The only reason Obama seems to be winning (and that too by a slender margin, anyway) is because he is an undefined candidate nationally. If he indeed gets the dem nom, then the attacks will begin and the race will even itself out. McCain is a strong candidate and is going to pose a tough challenge, period. Unless McCain trips over a power cord or something and they can insinuate that he’s an old old man.. that’s the miracle that could save the Huckster.

    As for fears of Hillary galvanizing the republican base, there is another very real fear of Obama getting the Harold Ford treatment in the south, and galvanizing a certain vote bank. Surely, we’d all agree “electability” (i.e. our prediction of what the anonymous voter would do) should not compel us to choose Hillary over Obama for this reason?

  28. Second, how often are we going to patronize Hillary Clinton?

    You mean, patronize like this article? The only evidence it can quote for its central thesis is the opinion of a guy on the Obama team.

    Katyal, who has been called in by both senators, described what sounded like a typical establishment vs. insurgency split between the two. Clinton “comes at it a bit more from a top-down perspective,” he said, “as in, ‘elites are likely to know what the right answer is.’ She’ll likely talk to the Nobel Prize winner, but maybe not be as likely to talk to the people on the ground affected by the policies.” Obama, on the other hand, talked to Katyal for two hours when the Military Commissions Act, which sought to limit the Guantanamo detainees’ right to bring appeals in federal court, was being debated in the Senate. He wanted to know how the proposed law would play out directly for the detainees, and Katyal was representing Salim Ahmed Hamdan before the Supreme Court.

    What, now Katyal who is a hotshot professor is the proxy for the poor, the unwashed and the bulwark against “The Nobel Prize winners”???

    I think Hillary and Obama would both make great presidential material, but there is a double standard at work here, and the main reason is the fact that Obama has been successfully able to keep the conversation on his (very accomplished) personal history, and his charm. If Hillary had been against the war in 2002 without knowing that her time in the sun would come so soon, but did a prompt about turn in 2004 when her opportunities became more concrete and her words were paid more attention to, and said that she wouldn’t know how she had voted if she had had all the evidence, she would have been raked over the coals. On the other hand, not a peep about Obama for doing exactly this. If Hillary had strategically avoided voting on potentially electorally damaging issues, she would have been cast as shrewd and vote bank seeking. On the other hand, if Obama does the same thing, it is because “he’s a uniter, not a divider” (I paraphrase another politician). This is the advantage of not having a long political record and turning the discussion away from actual political issues to gauzy feel-good material of hope and change.

    even as his fellow liberals have begun to see reality, ie that the clintons are nixonian…which of course is not necessarily a bad thing.

    The Clintons went dirty in South Carolina and they have paid a pretty severe penalty for this, but to call their tactics Nixonian is an insult to Nixon’s deeply felt and honored commitment to paranoia and sliminess.

  29. 86 · Rahul said

    The Clintons went dirty in South Carolina and they have paid a pretty severe penalty for this, but to call their tactics Nixonian is an insult to Nixon’s deeply felt and honored commitment to paranoia and sliminess.

    well, is the attempted disenfranchisement of nevada caucus goers nixonian enough for you? How about the attempt to seat Michigan and Florida’s delegates?

    but of course you know the race baiting began before SC. drug-dealing stealth islamic candidate anyone? just b/c its not fit to print in the NYtimes doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. malkin and rush where all over it, annoying as that is to you. correct that, the race baiting started a little earlier, that is if you can believe a communist.

    and the “vast right wing conspiracy” doesn’t sound a lttle, er paranoid. but one must have some sympathy for hillary when her daughter all but gets called a prostitute by david shuster. after all, when you drag $100 bills through msnbc’s offices, there’s no telling what you’ll find.

  30. And yes, I get that the others were pointing at their own nemesis. But the Obama one is in such poor taste. After all the rumors and dirty politics concerning his name, it’s just not right at all.

    Couldn’t come up with someone else for Obama? Why not a pic of Bill Clinton, or someone else? I have no idea how they thought Osama was okay.

  31. Manju, let me play that old game of liberal relativism and just say that all race baiting, bigotry, and paranoia is not created equal (For example, sabotaging the end of the Vietnam war to ensure political victory and causing hundreds to thousands of American and Vietnamese deaths as a consequence is a tiny bit different than bombing a Sudanese pill factory). And I would assume that Rush and Malkin would probably not use the term Nixonian to describe Clinton, because they still think that Nixon is a hero. Although, maybe Rush might describe Cain as Clintonian, I guess, for choosing the “centrist” path.

    As for the “vast right wing conspiracy”, the fact that even Dems are afraid of Hillary still inspiring the frothing irrational rage of Republicans everywhere indicates that there might be reasonable basis for that idea, even though the words, which were spoken in the middle of one of the most vicious assaults in recent political history, may not be the best chosen from a PR point of view.

    It’s been a while since I followed MSM, but when exactly did CNN become the 1930s circus sideshow channel?

    Doesn’t CNN have a program where they have a couple of 20 something girls just out of college read out random blog posts that might be relevant? Or they did at one point, I think. This is the supposedly respectable established news network. Thank god for Al Gore’s invention of the Internet, which has made getting quality news and opinion so much easier!

  32. Doesn’t CNN have a program where they have a couple of 20 something girls just out of college read out random blog posts that might be relevant?

    the ‘situation room’ has a dedicated (i think aussie?) ‘internet’ correspondent who reads lines out of random blogs. You’d think this would be a way for Micky Kaus to scare a thousand babies into premature pooping by demanding that blogger #1′s face be given exposure, but, sadly no.

    arch-repub step-dad used to be all on McCain’s jock, but after that pansy Manchurian candidate viciously limited our free speech with McCain-Feingold (bars of bamboo constraining Rambos of free speech) and expressed doubts about the morality of fraternity pledging rites, he took a seat next to Ted Kennedy and Bill/Hitlery KKKlinton in the great pantheon of LIebrul warlocks.

    I did intend to follow PAFD’s advice and go to a recent Obama “after-party” to meet winsome ladies but read that the event was held to sign up volunteers for canvassing and cold calls. Anyway, fires keep away candidates and it’s the dry season.

  33. As for fears of Hillary galvanizing the republican base, there is another very real fear of Obama getting the Harold Ford treatment in the south, and galvanizing a certain vote bank. Surely, we’d all agree “electability” (i.e. our prediction of what the anonymous voter would do) should not compel us to choose Hillary over Obama for this reason?

    Stanley Fish makes this point much more eloquently and in much greater detail in his NY Times blog post today. A relevant excerpt:

    Perhaps, as I suggested in the original column, nothing accounts for it; it’s just an ineradicable and ever-mutating virus. The important thing, then, would be not to explain it, but to acknowledge it and move on from there. That is exactly the conclusion reached by a huge number of posters who then add it to it a pro-Obama twist. It goes like this: Yes, Hillary-hatred is irrational and unfair. But it’s a fact and it’s not going away. Indeed it will only intensify in the general election. Therefore we cannot nominate her, for she would surely lose. Alberta (118) confesses, “I am probably not going to vote for her simply because of these irrational and pervasive feelings of many Americans. It may not be the best reason to give Obama my vote.� Brendan (144) warns that “to nominate Clinton in the face of this clear hatred … would simply arm the G.O.P. machine with a powerful tool to motivate its base.� Barney Scott (153) predicts that “if she were to run against the Republican nominee it would unleash the snarling dogs of unlimited hate, half-truths, and just plain venom.� Jorita Madison (75) sums it up: “The fact that Hillary Clinton is hated is true and real. Therefore if the Democrats want to recapture the Whitehouse, they better think long and hard about electability in their choice of a candidate.�

    Electability (a concept invoked often) is a code word that masks the fact that the result of such reasoning is to cede the political power to the ranters. Carolyn Kay (456) makes the point when she observes that if you vote against Clinton because you fear the virulence of her most vocal enemies, “you have allowed the right-wing hatemongers to decide who our candidate will be.� Underlying this surrender of the franchise to those least qualified to exercise it is the complaint (rarely overtly stated) that the Clintons have had the bad taste to undergo the assassination of their characters in public and have thereby made us its unwilling spectators. This is of course the old ploy of blaming the victim, and Ava Mae Lewis (16) is at least explicit about it. After deploring the “wild accusations� and “rabid hate�, she declares herself “disappointed that the Clintons force us to make this final and public rejection.� In other words, by being the targets of unwarranted attacks — that is their crime, being innocent–the Clintons are putting us in the uncomfortable position of voting against them for reasons we would rather not own up to. How dare they? Given the fierceness of the opposition to her candidacy, why doesn’t Hillary do the decent thing and withdraw? “What bothers me about Hillary is that she must know this, yet she apparently thinks so much of herself, or wants to be president so badly, that she’s willing to risk compromising the Democrats’ chances of winning in November to stay in the race� (Matthew, 440). How inconsiderate of her both to want to be president and to persist in her quest in the face of calumny.

  34. 48 · Floridian said

    Our racism is rooted in our immigrant experience. Arriving in a new country as non-citizens, we had no rights, no claims on government handouts, and none of the usual social skills to network for some private gain. Our only salvation was to excel in college and then in the workplace, and any group that got away with less, far less, became an object of envy and, eventually, dislike.

    Sorry I’m late to the party, but this was a fascinating thread – congrats to all for a balanced, courteous debate. While I can follow Floridian’s rationale, I wonder why his paradigm does not translate to 1st-gen immigrants from the nineties/millenium. From working with SAFO in NYC I see a large number of 1st-gen subcontinentals who feel strongly about Obama, and are putting their money where their kundi is. This reflects my convictions and those of friends who migrated in the last 15 yrs. Like Floridian, they came as immigrants, with few rights and no entitlement. This generation entered the workforce at a time when the U.S. hunkered down and looked inwards – post-9/11. They braved the INS (pre-ICE) and the IRS, glass ceilings, affirmative action, stereotypes and old boys’ clubs.

    What has come out of this collective crucible is the largest class of brown public defenders, teachers, social workers, campaign operatives, legislative aides and social entrepreneurs. If you move in any of these circles, this is visually/aurally self evident.

    First of all, the first-generation desis are not equal-opportunity racists. Their dislike and fear are homed in on any race in America that is poor, less educated, lower on the achievement scale, prone to criminal behavior and dependent on government handouts – all interrelated socioeconomic traits.

    So the question is, what makes a newer generation of 1st-gens approach the same “reality” that Floridian encountered (if anything conviction statistics are more racially one-sided), with a very different reaction, absent fear or resentment for the most part? What makes them vote Obama?

  35. Thanks for picking up on a comment written so far upthread. My comment harked back to the general theme of race preferences among “our parents.” It was not about who is voting for Obama and why.

    You speak of the changing racial attitudes among the newer immigrants. Your point might be applicable more to those new immigrants who enjoy more opportunities than my generation of immigrants did. A case in point would be H-1B computer programmers. I hear these fresh immigrants start at $50K to $75K a year. So they start as the American middle class. There was no such thing in my time. We all started poor.

    Another factor affecting racial attitudes is the socioeconomic environment the new immigrant is ensconced in upon arrival. PhD student or convenience store worker? Their day-to-day experience of America will be so different that their entire take on American people, white, black or brown, will be different.

    Wagerah, wagerah, to quote Kush Tandon.

  36. 95 · Floridian said

    My comment harked back to the general theme of race preferences among “our parents.” It was not about who is voting for Obama and why.

    Floridian, you indicated you would sooner vote for McCain than either of the dems“My friends and I, all 50+ year old desis, have no faith in either Obama or Hillary. Our hearts are with the Democrats, but our minds say McCain.”) Since you are representing your friends and their political leanings, in this instance it seems material to question your generation’s attitude on race, and how they affect your political choices this season. As others have pointed out, the “experience” card is difficult to support, especially if you try to play it against Hillary. Have you asked your friends why they don’t like Obama or Hillary and do you think race and gender politics are at play?

    Floridian @ 95: “You speak of the changing racial attitudes among the newer immigrants. Your point might be applicable more to those new immigrants who enjoy more opportunities than my generation of immigrants did.” This isn’t supported by what I see happening in NYC. I met active SAFO volunteers last week, who are taxi drivers, waste treatment workers and meter maids.

    Is it possible that the respective legacies of India for these two generations – circa ’60s/’70s vs. ’90s/millenium – have conditioned different responses to race & gender politics?

  37. I saw a youtube video the other day with a South Asian aunty Obama supporter who said she viewed him as a successful son (sry I can’t find the link). My parents are not voting for him for random as well as conventional reasons – my mom apparently heard him say on Oprah that he has Parkinson’s disease and thinks it will affect his judgement, and my dad I think is about the whole “experience” thing. Either that, or he didn’t think Obama could win, last time I asked. I forget.

  38. My parents are not voting for him for random as well as conventional reasons – my mom apparently heard him say on Oprah that he has Parkinson’s disease and thinks it will affect his judgement,

    After wiping the soda from off of my keyboard and monitor and profusely apologizing to my roommate for rousing him so late, I collected myself enough to do a little Googling and found out that Obama, in fact, does not have a degenerate disease of the central nervous but Kansas’ Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson had endorsed him for president.

    Easily confused but well meaning desi moms: gotta love ‘em.