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.
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]
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!”
“Ohâ€¦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.
I was wondering why Tamasha would call her mother Aatya which means Aunt in Marathi. Looks like this was her grandmotehr aunt, not mother she is talking to.
Thanks – I changed it.
Ardy is right. Aatya is Paternal aunt in Marathi.
I too think that its high time US gets a woman president. And I have been following all debates, etc and I actually have started liking Hillary more. She is good. She is tough and she knows politics. I have said this before abt Obama (and my husband gets very angry when I do) – “Jo Garajte hai woh baraste nahi” 🙂
This is an argument I don’t understand. Along with “women have to vote for her because sexism exists”. Here’s why I don’t understand –
Why wasn’t this an issue in earlier elections? Wasn’t there sexism before this? Oh, so there wasn’t a female candidate. Well, why weren’t there? There was no law against it. Any woman could have run. In fact, I remember Carol Moseley Braun running fairly recently. Oh, so they weren’t good enough/qualified enough/capable enough. So, in fact, it IS about having a GOOD candidate. Why then this feeling of “duty” to vote for a woman. Why not focus on whether she is as GOOD a candidate as the other one?
So you are saying that Obama is all talk and no action What are these great actions that you speak of that Hillary has taken in working for “change” for 35 years?
A universal health care plan that went nowhere? Wrong on Iraq and an inability to accept her mistake (doesn’t that remind you of someone?)
Any other great achievements that I am missing?
And I contest your assertion that Obama is all noise and no substance, he has run an immensely competent campaign, giving the inevitable one a run for her money, literally. He has raised more money than Clinton. and makes more sense (to me) on the biggest issues facing the country. There is substance to Obama and if he can inspire people and get more people to participate in the political process that is nothing to scoff at.
Feminists fought for our right to vote, not so that we could revert to type and vote for our sex, but so that we could have the freedom to vote for who we thought deserved it. I don’t feel like I have to justify why I voted for Obama over Hillary. Especially as a woman. But everyone I talk to (men and women) seem surprised that I voted for him.
Well said Priya. Equality is about the freedom to make individual decisions.
Um, hi Ennis. Yeah, thanks. Aatya is a paternal aunt, at least for those of us from a a real city.
BTW, please note that my father voted for the big O.
I’m a 45 year old woman who voted for Hillary after Edwards (my guy) dropped out. So did my 72 year old mom. The biggest Hillary supporter was my 14 year old daughter who deals with sexism every day at her very diverse school.
I voted for Hilary because she was the best candidate left — smart, with a good health plan and the only one who cared about poor children. I also just got tired of hearing people say “not this woman”. Because it’s never the right time in this country for the woman. And I’ve worked on a lot of political campaigns.
Honestly, not to be a downer, but how sexist is a culture where a guy on TV thinks it is OK to say a female politician is prostituting her daughter? Yes, I know there is a MTV show called “Pimp my Ride” but I don’t care for that, either. Stop using the word or apply it in an equally vulgar manner to Mitt Romney and his sons.
I actually wrote a letter to the head of MSNBC and got a response. Who knows, maybe I’ll someday live in a day where women aren’t casually called “whores” and “bitches”. But I’m not holding my breath.
As of Super Sunday my mother was undecided. We talked on the phone about the relative merits of Clinton and Obama.
I know she voted on Super Tuesday, but I can’t bring myself to ask her for whom. I figure if she wants to tell me, she’ll tell me, and if not, I guess it isn’t any of my business.
But I’m really, really curious. ^__^
Oddly enough, those who vote for her simply because she’s a woman don’t realize that once she does win the nomination, she won’t have much of a chance at president. 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. (remember how Bush won?) But hey, vindictively voting on behalf of all marginalized women – most particularly in Asian cultures – far outweighs voting strategically and for the good of all Americans. Principles and activism and all that, right? Hillary zindabad?
Why wasn’t this an issue in earlier elections? Wasn’t there sexism before this? Oh, so there wasn’t a female candidate. Well, why weren’t there? There was no law against it. Any woman could have run. In fact, I remember Carol Moseley Braun running fairly recently. Oh, so they weren’t good enough/qualified enough/capable enough.
Moseley Braun’s lack of support didn’t really have much to do with people evaluating her skill, or qualification. It was that people at that time simply could envision her as president. They didn’t “feel it”, so to speak.
So, in fact, it IS about having a GOOD candidate
Not really. up to a certain level it’s about experience policy, etc.. but after that, it’s about presentation and a simple question of “do you see this person in the white house?” Hillary fits that “Bill”
Why then this feeling of “duty” to vote for a woman. Why not focus on whether she is as GOOD a candidate as the other one?
Because for the first time, a woman passes through all the “presentability” filters that have been ingrained in our society when it comes to choosing a president.
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.
I’m sorry, no offense, but right there you have the difference between desi and gora.
I’m leaning towards Obama, but my mother is determined to vote for Hillary. She put it to me this way: “In your lifetime, you will probably have another chance to cast a ballot for a female presidential candidate. I’m not sure I will.” So happy that in addition to healthcare and national security, this election has also given me reason to contemplate my mother’s mortality too.
In seriousness, I think both my mom and I would happily vote for either Hillary or Obama in the general election. But in the primary season, that’s the “X factor” for her.
Does anyone else find it sad that this is the ONLY X-factor when it comes down to why women want to vote for Clinton? I mean, she’s running a dirty campaign, buying votes, suppressing voters (read my blog for first hand account) to get to where she wants to get, talking about how she has more experience when in reality Obama has more legislative experience not to mention more grassroots organizing experience, but none of these values matter simply because Clinton has a vajajay. I’m sorry, but when women vote for woman simply because she is a woman, it’s not advancing the feminist movement whatsoever. Especially when they gloss over poor ethics and poor values for it. I feel like shouting quit being hiliterate and give me a reason that doesn’t involve being a woman! Honestly, I’m all for people picking candidates using whatever preference they prefer, but if i hear the “cuz she’s a woman” reason one more time it’s going to drive my sanity back to the Suffrage movement.
I’m a woman, and I endorse Barack Obama. But I’m not endorsing him because I’m a woman. Or a person of color. But far more.
And thanks for the shout out Ennis!
None taken. ^__^
Here’s an interesting article by a politics prof from Manchester Univ-UK, does anyone agree/disagree?
What do you think about this opinion piece ? I can’t vote, but if I could I would be torn between Hillary and Obama. And no, I would never vote for Hillary because I am a woman and for Obama because I am colored. My point here is that all the pomp and show put up by the kennedys against clintons put me off. It was almost opposite to the clean and no-fuss elections democrats (esp Obama) are aiming for.
It’s funny, my parents, MD residents, have voted Dem in every single election since they became citizens. Still, they refuse to register anything but independent and then every two years I hear them bitch and moan about how independents can’t vote in maryland primaries. I was once again about to lecture them, but then I realized the futility.
The Dem contest is truly a unique animal. Women are usually accused of exploiting their sex appeal, but here the male, Obama, is the bigger pin-up than the female candidate. Women are usually accused of exploiting their sex appeal, but poor Hillary doesnt stand a chance agaist Obama’s GQ appeal.
I cannot speak for everyone who is voting for Hillary. But for many of my own Asian women friends who are supporters of Hillary, the X factor may be a convenient reason to explain their choice. Some of them are are uncomfortable voting for a black man and say so after some prodding. Supporting the first woman president seems like an honorable, progressive public stance. I doubt many of them would have supported a “first black woman” president because of the X factor.
Yesterday Anderson Cooper had a short segment on CNN about the overwhelming Asian support for Hillary. Of those who were interviewed, not many were terribly articulate about why they support her. One young woman blurted out, “I prefer the White Lady.”
Sorry, if I came across sounding harsh. But many others here have alluded to the undercurrents of racism in Asian communities. I am middle aged, brown, “for” women and I am supporting Obama. I do not consider Hillary a particularly exceptional champion of children (think Childrens’ Defense Fund ). As for her support for women, remember her deafening silence when Bill gleefully threw women like Joycelyn Elders, Lani Guinier and Marian Wright Edelman under the bus and berated Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky (all of whom were later found to have told the truth). Hillary took up the cudgels for her husband in some of these cases and tried to control the “bimbo eruption.” You can’t be for “women” and not care about “a woman.” Also let’s not forget her “humanitarian” work on behalf of Iraqi women.
I am not voting for Obama because of his or my skin color either. I would have voted for Edwards, a white man, if he would have become Hillary’s eventual opponent. For me, it indeed is a case of Hillary the “politician” and not Hillary, the “woman.”
See Katha Pollitt and Laura Flanders, in the Nation.
11 Â· Isaac said
Alienating conservatives? Oh c’mon. Conservative “pundit” Ann Coulter has agreed to campaign for her. What more do you want?
A random thought: After 9/11, can the US really elect a president whose last name differs by one letter from Bin Laden’s first name? THis first occurred to me when Obama for Senate signs started cropping up on lawns in our neighborhood, and I did a double take when I saw them because of the similarity. His name definitely has to go in the liability column for the campaign.
Even being an Illinois Dem I’m definitely voting for Hillary, because although in wistful moments I can see how cool it would be to have Obama in the White House, I still feel he’s more style than substance. I cant think of one innovative idea he came up with, while Hillary stuck out her neck 15 years ago to champion national healthcare, which is now gaining momemtum again with Dems and Repubs alike.
That, plus the x factor sealed the deal for me.
There’s a decent op-ed piece about how all of the candidates seem to be lacking the presentation of the “big idea”, at least as of now.
Also, don’t forget that his first name “Barack” rhymes with “Iraq.” That should do it – especially for those of us whose own names are not Tom, Dick and Mary… or Bobby.
i grabbed a bottle of truth serum the other night and served it up to 3 65+ male desis. all democrats, all doctors, and all voting for hill despite heatlh care reform interstingly enough. reasons given against barack:
edwards was also disliked by one guy because of his suspicious smile and the consensus is that if obama is nominated they’ll go w/ mccain, otherwise its the hill.
John McCain has an adopted south asian daughter from Bangladesh. Does that count for anything among the sepia mutineers?
John McCain: “There are some greedy people in Wall Street that need to be punished”.
See why the conservative republicans hate him? The mantra of the Reagan Republicans is: “greed is good; free the greedy from the clutches of the tax man and the regulators”.
The Reaganites even succeeded in roping in the christian evangelicals into a winning Coalition with the gospel of greed: “God wants you to be rich”. Which is the exact opposite of what their God Jesus says in the Bible!
money money money. i love money. im a republican, i like to swim naked in my pool of money.
I think the concern is that Clinton galvanizes the Republican base. That is, Repubs might not feel very compelled to come out and vote if Obama runs, but they will come out just to vote AGAINST Clinton. The second concern is how independent voters will swing. Clinton tends to polarize not only her base (Dems), but also the general voting public.
Ugh. NO! Just like Clinton being a woman isn’t enough.
Who’s to say she’ll keep to her word? On the other hand, a state like Alabama known for it’s racism and far-rightness voted overwhelmingly for Obama. I think that says something.
And ditto to Camille.
The case of O vs HRC aside, any instances of the parents’ political leanings being sharply different from those of the children. Research suggests that it IS in our genes.
To add to what Camille says many moderate Republicans are also disgusted with the current administration (see Bush’s approval ratings)and its handling of the Iraq war. McCain promises more of the same on Iraq. At least some of these disgruntled voters will vote for Obama but you can be sure that Hillary is not going to get their vote.
Check out this developing (or may be developed story). David Shuster of MSNBC makes a disparaging remark addressing Chelsea Now Hillary wants him fired and is taking on MSNBC.
Interesting how both democrats and republicans are embracing the idea of nominating colored politicians for the highest offices. Yesterday I heard a Republican on the Charlie Rose show on PBS propose Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as John McCain’s running mate. Now I read that Rush Limbaugh thinks that indian-american governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal is “the next Ronald Reagan” and that he would “jump for joy” if McCain picks him as his vice-president nominee:
22 Â· Ruchira said
It is highly refreshing to see this fact spoken about in this forum. There is no ‘undercurrent’ of racism in the Indian/Asian community — it is a major, right on the top, in the middle, out front current.
Apologies if this has been brought up before in previous political posts (I didn’t see it anywhere) but wrt to the conventional wisdom of Latinos and Asians not being comfortable voting for a black man, at least with the former it starting to get debunked by credible sources with facts to back it up. The LA Times had an article detailing numerous examples of black politicians who received very large share of Latino support such as mayors in LA, New York, Chicago, Dallas (sometimes with over 70% support) and black members of Congress in heavily Latino areas.
So there seems to be tangible evidence to contrary regarding Latinos lack of support for black politicans.
However, I haven’t really seen any similar analysis breaking down the lack of Asian support for black politicians, although that is v. likely due to the smaller electoral population they represent compared to Latinos. 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?.
As I mentioned elsewhere, not a voting-American, merely a political junkie whose mom is somehow in a position where she can actively take part in America’s political discourse.
I had a similar conversation with my mom as well. 🙂 But my take-away was different; after our little chat, I felt I suddenly got to know her better; she was, of course, vocalizing her career frustrations, on how she wasn’t able to, say, take a greater leadership role because of a certain Old Boys’ gang at her workplace, for example. Something she doesn’t usually speak about with me, but something that people like Hillary Clinton can, it seems, carry forth for a generation.
Was rooting for Obama like I root for Chelsea[*] at EPL, but stopped viewing this as my-team-versus-their-team after that. Still “support” (as televised support goes) Obama, but heck, I totally “get it” if anyone tells me that they’re supporting Hillary Clinton mostly coz she’s a woman.
[*] – No really, my team is Arsenal. Just wanted to confuse any soccer-agnostic Americans out here.
I love you like a brother.
Ok, now I hate you like a brother.
must be hard work rooting an entire football team 😉
melbourne desi: Now I’m mystified. Have I broken them grammar rules? 😐
No, they are just making British sports allusions that Americans wouldn’t understand 🙂
Melbourne desi, maybe the football team was doing the hard work and the other just has to receive the fruit of the hard work.
Enlightenment awaits for those who seek.
The second coming of Clara Bow.
38 Nadari “There is no ‘undercurrent’ of racism in the Indian/Asian community — it is a major, right on the top, in the middle, out front current.”
Even with an euphemistic title of “Political parents are ADORABLE,” this thread sooner or later had to find the proverbial dirty linen of the Indian diaspora – that the parents, almost all first-generation desis, are racists.
I begrudgingly concede the point, as does Nadari (#38).
What I do not agree with is that the output, which, admittedly, is nothing other than racism, has the same input as classic racist thinking in general. That is not to mitigate the guilt but understand a unique culture, in this case, your parent’s culture and, by proxy, your own.
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. They are petrified of these traits because a)they have had to go to the other extreme to establish themselves in a new country, and b)they believe these traits might be contagious to their children, like a flu virus, and destroy everything they came to this cold and gray country for.
I must repeat that the above explanation is not meant to condone racism in any form. However, the underlying forces of my generation’s racism are not the usual ones – a sense of entitlement, a belief in one’s genetic superiority or, worse yet, a belief in “their” genetic inferiority.
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.
While we were striving like maniacs to be better than others so that we could at least get the same as others, the children came along. Then they turned old enough to listen to rap and wear torn blue jeans. We panicked. What if our flesh and blood became like “them?” Everything we had worked for, every pain we had felt in a new country, every dream we had for our children, will be for nothing. Our racism was confirmed, and amongst our closest friends haunted by the same fears, validated.
And that, boys and girls, is how it happened. A new generation of Gangulis is landing everyday at our airports. The saga will continue.
Floridian, there are some salient points in your post – however, don’t you think the cultural legacy of colonialism where white man was always the master and the deep rooted caste system are also factors behind the racist thinking?
49 Â· najeeb on February 10, 2008 02:04 PM Â· Direct link Â· â€œQuoteâ€(?) “Floridian, there are some salient points in your post – however, don’t you think the cultural legacy of colonialism where white man was always the master and the deep rooted caste system are also factors behind the racist thinking?”
If it was possible to chemically analyze racism, I am sure there will be trace elements of our legacy “problems.” But I still insist that our usual susceptibility to a color hierarchy is not the overriding reason for our racism. In other words, if my daughter came home with a WHITE boy who is a college drop-out, with too many body parts pierced, and very little inclination to leave the night cashier’s job for a better profession, I might become quite racist.
(THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY THE COMMENTER ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS PERSONAL OR AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL.)