Hijabs and such not very photogenic (update)

The Obama campaign got itself into a crap load (a unit of measure used in politics) of trouble today after a couple of its junior campaign staffers (who no doubt had some guidelines from higher up advisors to Obama) decided that women wearing headscarves should be “discouraged” from being in the background when pictures of the candidate were being taken in Detroit (of all places!):

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”

Building a human backdrop to a political candidate, a set of faces to appear on television and in photographs, is always a delicate exercise in demographics and political correctness. Advance staffers typically pick supporters out of a crowd to reflect the candidate’s message. [Link]

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This incident is D-Punjab all over again. I have no doubt that Obama is disappointed in his staffers over this but the buck has to stop at the top of the ticket. By forcefully refuting rumors that he is a “secret Muslim,” I think he is beginning to overreact and hurt his reputation among the very people who believe in him to bring a change. I mean, how in the world do you expect to campaign in Detroit and NOT be associated with Muslim supporters?

… incident began when the volunteer asked Aref’s friend Ali Koussan and two others, Aref’s brother Sharif and another young lawyer, Brandon Edward Miller, whether they would like to sit behind the stage. The three young men said they would but mentioned they were with friends.

The men said the volunteer, a 20-something African-American woman in a green shirt, asked if their friends looked and were dressed like the young men, who were all light-skinned and wearing suits.

Miller said yes but mentioned that one of their friends was wearing a headscarf with her suit.

The volunteer “explained to me that because of the political climate and what’s going on in the world and what’s going on with Muslim Americans, it’s not good for [Aref] to be seen on TV or associated with Obama,” said Koussan, a law student at Wayne State University. [Link]

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p>Ennis reminds me of the fact that this isn’t the first time that the Obama campaign has “preemptively photoshopped” their pictures. From a Michelle Obama appearance at Carnegie Mellon University in April:

While the crowd was indeed diverse, some students at the event questioned the practices of Mrs. Obama’s event coordinators, who handpicked the crowd sitting behind Mrs. Obama. The Tartan’s correspondents observed one event coordinator say to another, “Get me more white people, we need more white people.” To an Asian girl sitting in the back row, one coordinator said, “We’re moving you, sorry. It’s going to look so pretty, though.”

“I didn’t know they would say, ‘We need a white person here,’” said attendee and senior psychology major Shayna Watson, who sat in the crowd behind Mrs. Obama. “I understood they would want a show of diversity, but to pick up people and to reseat them, I didn’t know it would be so outright…” [Link]

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Yet more proof that the Obama campaign can’t free itself from the race issue. What I really wonder about is what will happen the next time a Sikh male goes to an Obama rally and ends up in the backdrop. Will they move him just in case some ignorant voter confuses religions and thinks the turban-wearer is a Muslim or a supporter of Osama bin Laden? Being a young Obama campaign volunteer seems to me to be a much more difficult job than I first assumed.

“We’re not letting anyone with anything on their heads like baseball [caps] or scarves sit behind the stage,” she paraphrased the volunteer as saying, an account Marino confirmed. “It has nothing to do with your religion!”

In most work and school settings, religious dress — such as Jewish yarmulkes, Sikh turbans and Muslim hijabs — is permitted where secular clothing, such as baseball caps, is not.

“The scarf is not just something she can take off — it’s part of her identity,” said Marino. [Link]

Update: A couple of other things I wanted to add since I wrote this. First, the guy who broke this story was Ben Smith of Politico. Only hardcore political junkies (like me ) know who Smith is and read his blog entries all day (or send him tips). According to NPR’s interview of Smith this afternoon, a friend of one of the two women emailed him about this incident. That just goes to show how politically attuned some young voters are these days (and that blogs are a great way to spread the word). Smith is one of the few guys you’d want to get this type of info to in order to break it as soon as possible into the mainstream media.

The second thing I want to reiterate is that it is almost unreasonable to believe Obama had any hand in this and set this policy from the top. He had Muslim roommates in college and went to Pakistan with them. He’s also appeared with women in headscarves before. It is also most unreasonable to believe that two unpaid volunteers came up with this idea on their own. No freaking way! It is very reasonable to believe this policy started somewhere in the middle. As some commenters have said, this is what politics does to even the “purest” of candidates.

And, for those of you wondering, John McCain’s campaign does the SAME THING (and the Republicans are known for trotting out minorities from out of nowhere at their conventions). Will the Democrats have to trot out white folks and Christian clergy at their convention this year? I’ll look for them

On the Republican side, a Hispanic New Hampshire Democrat, Roberto Fuentes, told Politico that he was recently asked, and declined, to contribute to the “diversity” of the crowd behind Sen. John McCain at a Nashua event. [Link]

140 thoughts on “Hijabs and such not very photogenic (update)

  1. 68 · SM Intern said

    Comments describing African Americans as “colored” (or using any other derogatory slang or codewords) will be deleted.

    I assume you are referring to my comment: I guess Geraldine Ferraro was right after all. There are advantages to being a colored man running for president. For one, you are apparently allowed to pander to racism and bigotry without accountability.

    First, I didn’t mean to be derogatory or racist, so apologies if people felt that way. I was using it purely in the same context as “people of color”, and did not intend any sort of pejorative implication.

    Second, I thought it was clear as daylight that I was paraphrasing Ferraro’s asinine comment as a sarcastic response to Dave’s defense of Obama’s behavior based on his color.

    And third, I was apparently banned from commenting and had to go to a different computer to write this comment. That, I do think is completely unjustified and knee-jerk, even compared to the hair trigger assumption that I was clearly a bigot.

  2. 53 · Suki Dillon said

    i hope that foam is from their grande mocha latte with soy milk. also, you forgot prius-driving. please to add to your list. I forget to add when they go back to there house in a gated community the living room is covered with art made by native americans. On the living room table is a book about Che Guevera and when they plug in there I-pod they have just downloaded some songs from some unkown African artist singing in some language they don’t understand but they feel hip that they are listerning to him.

    For some reason, I don’t recall being threatened, robbed, harmed or whatever by people like these. Not everyone who lives in a gated community is a liberal, though. Honestly, the real threats to personal safety are young males (of any race) in gangs, maniac drivers and psychopaths with guns, knives . An unemployed Klansman or white supremist with too much time on their hands can be a real threat to someone with tan colored/darker skin as well.

    Although I am unsure if Obama (or even McCain for that matter) would have made a silly policy of not allowing Muslims in visible seating at campaigns, the people who work for these guys are definitely to blame. You all may be to young to remember how George Bush Sr. had the controversial Willie Horton ads. (Those ads were designed to instill fear into Caucasians against African American people and to portray opponent Dukakis as soft on crime. I guess Bush Sr. had no objection to airing those commercials at the time. ) So, this ridiculous attempt to appeal to Joe and Jane Sixpack is nothing new.

  3. 64 · Prabhdeep said

    I’m a Sikh male who worked at the DNC in 2004. I met Obama on my way in one night and he would not take a picture with me becuase he was “late for a meeting.” However he did take a picture of caucasian in front of me. Interestingly enough Hilary did take a picture with me. I understand Obama is trying to craft a certain image to get elected, but he needs to be careful…

    What you experienced sounds very unfair and biased. Was the Caucasian a tall, young blonde? Unfortunately, even the “liberal” types can have biases although they don’t want to admit it. Then again, no conservative will come out and admit their racist and sexist feelings too.

    In my last post, the first two paragraphs are meant to be in quotes from some other posters. Also, I meant to write “too young” instead of “to young”.

    Someone or some people in a burka, hijab, ethnic hair covering should do an experiment to see if McCain and his staff would allow prominent seating in a campaign rally. Hope the staff people/assistants of Obama, McCain would have learned their lesson from these young ladies’ unfortunate incident.

  4. Subiya:

    I wish Muslims, beginning with my family, would understand that, if elected, Obama will not be able to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan; contrary to my father’s fervent belief Obama is not going to grant Kashmir a plebiscite;

    I am happy that in Obama we have a candidate that will make Pakistan dismantle its terror network even if it means “hot pursuit”. My consolation to your father.

  5. “Saffron”, referring to the saffron colored dress favored by Hindus, is used pretty dismissively here at SM lumping together all Hindus as Hindutvadis. But somehow the same people have a problem inferring Islamist political beliefs based on use of traditional Muslim dress. As you can see many of you are given to broad generalizations as well, so hopefully you can find it in your hearts to forgive the volunteers. It was unfortunate but if you think Obama can win, as I hope he does, without engaging in some cringe inducing tactics you are Nader crazy

  6. 80 · Ozy said

    68 · SM Intern said
    colored
    Wake up to reality. The term “people of color” is making a comeback. The left has changed names for African americans from colored people to negro to black to African american and is now slowly shifting to colored. Reality is more difficult to change than names.

    FYI OZY and Dizzy, there’s a DIFFERENCE in academic circles between the term “colored” and the revamped “people of color.” They are NOT interchangeable. But that fact isn’t always known by people who may not have taken a sociology class before.

  7. Oh, and I forget – Kerry Packer.

    very noice. Is Kerry the new Jesus ? Marr & Gratten and their avatars dont control the media ?? Oh I must be somewhere else. Why is stolen generation – part II any different. More complex – more nuanced ? No – just a more plausible explanation – saving the children from the predators sounds a lot better than breeding out the black. And if Grattan and Marr get their way, in 30 years time child porn will be legal in this country – makes my skin crawl. Last comment on this post ( happy to do this offline if you want – have linked to my email id)

  8. Oh, and I forget – Kerry Packer.

    He is dead, and his son James Packer sold the media interest and his business is Casinos and Gambling. That’s why he left Scientology

  9. Melbourne Desi,

    It is not a German website, but a Belgian one; if we intend to discuss symbols, one has to read one’s symbols correctly (flags in this case), no? The point is that one cannot compare the symbol of a black swastika in a white circle on a red background to the wearing of a headscarf. A black swastika very unambiguously symbolizes Nazism and neo-Nazism in Europe today. The headscarf does not symbolize anything unambiguously. Some feminists view it as symbol of oppression; others as a symbol of empowerment. Those who believe that the wearing of headscarves proves the presence of certain beliefs against homosexuality, the emancipation of women, religious toleration etc. engage in what anthropologists call “magical thinking”: it as though all these beliefs and thought processes suddenly appear when one puts the headscarf on one’s head; and disappear again if one takes off the headscarf (I stole this insight from a colleague).

    Yours,

    Jakob

  10. Salil,

    Yes, in the case of ‘Black’ and ‘African-American’ you are absolutely right. But I do have some difficulties with taking this as a general position, as though a group has some special privilege to name and characterize itself.

    We have to get rid of derogatory labels for groups, but when we make this into a special minority right of self-representation, then we are off target. This is what I mean when I say that political correctness is the mechanism that allows WASP domination of political structures in the US to continue.

    Political correctness suggests that each religion and each minority has the privilege and priority to speak for itself, while outsiders (especially those who are not members of a racial or religious minority) have to be extremely careful in saying anything about a group. This is part of the ghettoizing mechanism of American society. Whenever a new group comes, American society indeed gives it the opportunity to have some kind of socio-economic success (making money and feeling important in other words), but then it is marginalized completely in the socio-political structures.

    Take the “Indian-Americans”; they have effectively been ghettoized in the US. I have visited Indian-American friends and families in different parts and almost everywhere their social circles would consist of other Indian families. They make tons of money, but hardly have any genuine influence on American socio-political life. Political correctness keeps them satisfied by telling them that “Hindus have the right to speak for Hinduism” and “Muslims for Islam” and that simply reinforces the ghetto-structure of a WASP dominated society. In a way and with all respect that is due to them, web communities like Sepia Mutiny are another illustration of the process.

    Yours,

    Jakob

  11. Take the “Indian-Americans”; they have effectively been ghettoized in the US. I have visited Indian-American friends and families in different parts and almost everywhere their social circles would consist of other Indian families. They make tons of money, but hardly have any genuine influence on American socio-political life. Political correctness keeps them satisfied by telling them that “Hindus have the right to speak for Hinduism” and “Muslims for Islam” and that simply reinforces the ghetto-structure of a WASP dominated society. In a way and with all respect that is due to them, web communities like Sepia Mutiny are another illustration of the process.

    You have got to be kidding me.

    Indian-Americans are…ghettoized? Hahahahahahaha! Really? I think our definitions of “ghetto” are very very different. It’s one thing to say that certain groups are insular, but “ghettoized?” I’m heading up to Edison, NJ tonight. I’ll write back with all the similarities to 1930s Warsaw. I’m sure they’ll be plentiful and hard to overlook.

    And their lack of political authority stems from the overarching power structures, and not their own willful lack of involvement? Wow. Dude, even I give Bobby Jindal and his ilk that much credit.

    As far as your point about who speaks for who, every community IS entitled to “speak for itself.” And there aren’t any communities I can think of (especially ones with sharp demarcations on identity through phenotype) that allow outsiders in without hesitation. We’re getting waaaay off-topic here, but I just disagree that this is a form of marginalization. And I’d also disagree that Indo-Americans don’t get any say in the political big picture in America.

    I mean, you’re looking at firsthand evidence of our involvement all the time. Every political article, every link from Salon, every brown politico and staffer is helping to increase our involvement, and I dunno if you’ve noticed, but here in the District and its immediate environs (where I live), we’re everywhere. I can’t throw a rock at a fundraiser without hitting a brown: staffer, rich uncle, CEO, fundraiser, volunteer, or even candidate him/herself.

    My version of “political correctness” is more like your(?) (or someone’s…need to scan thread again) original assertion: that simple superficial phrasings are sufficient as a form of “respect,” but generally it doesn’t go hand in hand with changing underlying thoughts or habits, just patterns of speech. I’d totally agree with that, and consider it B.S.

    But I still stand by my earlier points: how a group self-identifies is important, because it’s important to them. And yeah, the “rules” might seem silly, but every group has its rules and its hangups. Besides, it’s kind of fun to understand them, because you get insight into all sorts of other things.

  12. 110 · Jakob said

    Take the “Indian-Americans”; they have effectively been ghettoized in the US. I have visited Indian-American friends and families in different parts and almost everywhere their social circles would consist of other Indian families. They make tons of money, but hardly have any genuine influence on American socio-political life. Political correctness keeps them satisfied by telling them that “Hindus have the right to speak for Hinduism” and “Muslims for Islam” and that simply reinforces the ghetto-structure of a WASP dominated society. In a way and with all respect that is due to them, web communities like Sepia Mutiny are another illustration of the process.

    yes, Sepia Mutiny is alone responsible for the failure of the internet to fully penetrate the ranks of the poor. I hereby beseech all WASPS of the House of Nest Representatives to free me from this digital ghetto!

    I too, struggle under the domination of WASPS–particularly paper wasps which have a nasty habit of building nests on my balcony. I hereby beseech all WASPS of the House of Nest Representatives to free me from this digital ghetto!

    Making tons of money doesn’t automatically translate into political power, but when you donate conspicuously, there is always a power transfer.

  13. salil & jakob:

    i live on the upper east side of manhattan and i can tell you its a wasp ghetto, replete with a drug abuse problem, which usually consists of 3 olive martinis at 4 in the afternoon and an occasional percocet.

    these poor saps have had their culture raped from them by ralph lauren. now they sit teary eyed as the center of their civilization, morgan stanley, falls prey to the forces of globalization, academic meritocracy, and jewish dominance. as each new tech upstart dwarfs their wealth, carefully accumulated over generations, with a simple ipo, a new tear is shed.

    marx was right on one count. first you control the means of production, then the levers of the state. the writings on the wall.

  14. 113 · Manju said

    salil & jakob:

    Manju,

    click on the link in Jakob’s handle and tell me what you think. I’ve actually read some of the big-wig’s work before when it came through A&L daily.

  15. 114 · Nayagan said

    Manju, click on the link in Jakob’s handle and tell me what you think. I’ve actually read some of the big-wig’s work before when it came through A&L daily.

    nayagan: yeah, i remember jakob from a previous thread. my guess was he’s a disenchanted progressive trying to reconstruct the movement along nietzschean lines, but i could be totally wrong. probably have to wait until his doctoral thesis comes out.

    interesting take on political correctness though. he right that it could lead to a new form of ghettoization, but like many theories of dominance, it seems a bit too static and gives wasps too much credit. sometimes people just screw themselves.

  16. Yes indeed young, educated and hip Indian Americans are ghettoized. Just look at the Facebook friends of SM commenters and bloggers. Nine out of ten of their friends are other Desis. Sad.

  17. 116 · Ping Ping said

    Yes indeed young, educated and hip Indian Americans are ghettoized. Just look at the Facebook friends of SM commenters and bloggers. Nine out of ten of their friends are other Desis. Sad.

    Or they don’t let internalized self-hatred/concern over what others might think affect how they compose their virtual social circles.

  18. Or they don’t let internalized self-hatred/concern over what others might think affect how they compose their virtual social circles.

    Nice try turning the tables but it won’t work. When nine out of ten of your friends are other desis, I think you can very fairly be called provincial.

  19. 119 · Ping Ping said

    When nine out of ten of your friends are other desis, I think you can very fairly be called provincial.

    I’m hardly provincial, but it’s true that I have a massive brown fetish.

  20. 116 · Ping Ping said

    Yes indeed young, educated and hip Indian Americans are ghettoized. Just look at the Facebook friends of SM commenters and bloggers. Nine out of ten of their friends are other Desis. Sad.

    Pongpong, since you want my comments to be more educational, here goes:

    1. It’s not clear how representative the SM bloggers sample is : SM bloggers =! Indian American community.
    2. This maybe evidence of nothing at all — if one blogs one at a desi site, one is likely to be known among this circle. So if a blogger approves someone to be their facebook friend, it maybe evidence of gracious manners rather than a ghettoized mentality.
    3. Actually, ping ping is probably joking. If s(he) is — nice delivery. Otherwise, my friend, you know which feminine hygiene product I’m thinking of to describe you.
    4. The reasons why affluent Indian Americans (and DBD non-citizens) are insular are very different are very different from why Indian Americans (and DBD non-citizens) are insulated. The former may be courted by political campaign staff, while you might see distancing from the latter constituency. Abhi refers to campaigns ‘trotting out minorities;’ even within minorities there are particular sections** of the population that receive much more wining and dining*. Overtly/Apparently un-assimilated folks are not likely to fall within this category. Obviously, the Obama’s staff were heavy-handed in their distancing attempt. But this kind of minority-leveraging by politicians (and their staff) is hardly unusual or surprising.

    ** religious leaders, wealthy, assimilated youth-appealing photogenic role models *see: Pastor’s Wright relationship with Obama. At one point, it is fair to say that Obama may have benefited from this association.

  21. Can SM Intern ban portmanteau’s IP address? I can’t stand this woman’s comments. I bet she’s a not-so attractive Indian-American female but “she has a “nice” personality but with the face of a rotweiler’s arse” (Ali G).

  22. 119 · Ping Ping said

    Nice try turning the tables but it won’t work. When nine out of ten of your friends are other desis, I think you can very fairly be called provincial.

    outliers in the sample need not join this discussion. But I do wonder, does Ping Ping have the magical key to all mutineers’ facebook friend lists? I look at mine sometimes and am amazed that I too am not joining the Billy Joel stalwarts in Va. Beach this weekend.

  23. 124 · Asian Rappah said

    Can SM Intern ban portmanteau’s IP address?

    I’m going to pip SM intern in the chase to this line, “No, name-caller, you first!”

  24. Sen. Barack Obama personally called to apologize Thursday to the two Muslim women from Michigan barred from sitting near him during a campaign rally Monday because they wore Islamic head scarves (Detroit Free Press).
  25. All political correctness aside, we all know how many (non-muslim)Americans feel about muslim Americans.

    Moreover, let’s face it, there are plenty of racist Americans who do not want to see a non-white person elected president (and of course many sexist Americans who do not want to see a woman Pres or Vice Pres).

    These are the hard cold facts of the American political scene right now.

    There are some ignorant Americans who are convinced Obama is a muslim due to his name. Nothing wrong if he is, but we all know how alot of non-muslims would feel about having a muslim President in this country right now.

    Some Americans don’t know what to think.

    Therefore it is nothing but common sense that at this sensitive point in the game, Obama do all he can to calm the fears and suspicions of all demographics in order to gain more votes. I think he has the vote of many muslim Americans already, regardless, probably especially black muslim Americans.

    They are a small demographic and to lose a few votes from them is no biggie. To really beat out his opponant by a wide margin, he will have to kowtow to the other demographics (above listed).

    Later on, when he gets elected, he can take all the photos he wants with hijabis. For know, after the debacle with his previous pastor, he has to walk on eggshells.

    That’s politics. And that’s politically correct.

  26. Can SM Intern ban portmanteau’s IP address? I can’t stand this woman’s comments. I bet she’s a not-so attractive Indian-American female but “she has a “nice” personality but with the face of a rotweiler’s arse” (Ali G).

    I never imagined that I’d think that Dick Cheney had the right words for an occasion, but everybody gets it right sometimes. Go Fuck Yourself.

  27. 124 · Asian Rappah said

    but with the face of a rotweiler’s arse” (

    dear sir, i don’t doubt your familiarity with the contours of a rotweiler’s arse because you know best where your lips have been. i assure you — it wasn’t me. best wishes, port

  28. Frankly, I’m more concerned with Obama’s substantive policies and how they will affect all of us, including hijab-wearers, than a campaign strategy that NECESSARILY accounts for the reality that most ignorant (white) American voters WOULD focus on the presence of hijabs (a highly conspicuous religious AND political garb in America, like the yarmulke and the turban) in the audience, and make a number of mental associations with Obama, which would ultimately be to his detriment.

    That was a racist statement.

    To be fair, there are alot of ignorant black Americans (christians) who would focus on that as well.

    What to speak of anti-muslim hispanics and desis!

  29. Seeing commenter names like “Ping Ping” and “Pong Pong” made me think for a second that I had got my own SpoorLam-type parodist, but no such luck.

    Port:

    i don’t doubt your familiarity with the contours of a rotweiler’s arse because you know best where your lips have been.

    Contemplating cruel and unusual punishment for rottweilers, Port? Is there no end to your un-standable comments?

  30. gosh i feel sorry for progressive americans, particularly the obama volunteers.

    to worry about hiding hijab and turban wearers in the back rows while pandering to uneducated, ignorant and racist people (who are very unlikely to swap from the republican ship and vote obama) seems like such a shame, regardless of how pragmatic and realistic such decisions are.

    is it possible that perception feeds reality? maybe ignoring the obama-is-al-qaeda camp will give them less power? last i heard obama is leading in some crucial swing states and he has wide-crossover support.

    the idea that race would self-destruct the obama campaign is what kept hillary alive for so long. i don’t think it should keep stifling the obama campaign, enough americans are non-racist, from diverse backgrounds, educated and savvy enough to make an educated decision.

    i think a strong number of people who took obama’s strong majority away during the dem nomination were those who liked him but feared republicans so stayed with clinton…i hope those same people can vote for obama and not let foxnews get away with its lie that ignorant rednecks are america. i think EVERYONE’s ready for a different image of americans.

  31. not let foxnews get away with its lie

    fox news is passe. its opinion farting has been priced into the media market. more worrisome are the other tv news outlets who fart in a kinder, gentler manner.

  32. gosh i feel sorry for progressive americans, particularly the obama volunteers.

    For good or bad, I don’t believe Obama needs progressives that much. They are numerically small in number. And I’m not saying it is right but I would say the majority of people I know who are voting for Obama probably would not if he practiced Islam. To a certain degree you can infer political beliefs from degree of religiousity (don’t 70% of evangelical Xtians vote Repub?) and in this case hijabs are more conspicuous than “WWJD?” bracelets. The typical Obamaniac would probably not have much in common with the hijab wearing set who are likely pro-life, pro-faith based initiatives (before I get attacked, let’s remember that CAIR’s leadership as individuals endorsed Dubya based on this in 2000). The only thing they have in common is antipathy to the war in Iraq.

  33. to worry about hiding hijab and turban wearers in the back rows while pandering to uneducated, ignorant and racist people (who are very unlikely to swap from the republican ship and vote obama)

    Some lifelong democrats are suspicious of him. Quite a few.

    Aside from that, I heard one old man saying for the past 50 years he has voted democrat and now for the first time in his life he has to vote republican. There are democrats like that out there. It’s these peeps Obama needs to keep in the democratic camp.

  34. 128 · Political Analysis said

    All political correctness aside, we all know how many (non-muslim)Americans feel about muslim Americans. Moreover, let’s face it, there are plenty of racist Americans who do not want to see a non-white person elected president (and of course many sexist Americans who do not want to see a woman Pres or Vice Pres). These are the hard cold facts of the American political scene right now. There are some ignorant Americans who are convinced Obama is a muslim due to his name. Nothing wrong if he is, but we all know how alot of non-muslims would feel about having a muslim President in this country right now. Some Americans don’t know what to think. Therefore it is nothing but common sense that at this sensitive point in the game, Obama do all he can to calm the fears and suspicions of all demographics in order to gain more votes. I think he has the vote of many muslim Americans already, regardless, probably especially black muslim Americans. They are a small demographic and to lose a few votes from them is no biggie. To really beat out his opponant by a wide margin, he will have to kowtow to the other demographics (above listed). Later on, when he gets elected, he can take all the photos he wants with hijabis. For know, after the debacle with his previous pastor, he has to walk on eggshells. That’s politics. And that’s politically correct.

    I totally agree with this post.

    Oh yeah. Go Obama!

  35. ^^^^^^^^^

    The quote function didn’t work too well there.

  36. 131 · Political Analysis said

    most ignorant (white) American voters WOULD focus on the presence of hijabs…
    That was a racist statement. To be fair, there are alot of ignorant black Americans (christians) who would focus on that as well. What to speak of anti-muslim hispanics and desis!

    The statement wasn’t that most white American voters are ignorant, nor did it mean to exclude other subgroups. Sure, white, black, Christian, hispanics, Latinos, desis, etc. may focus on hijabs in the background, but as the biggest racial demographic, the particular group Obama may have the most concern over are ignorant WHITE voters (the same who voted Bush into his second term, DESPITE mounting debts and his low approval ratings at the time).

  37. i don’t mind the obama campaign being politically shrewd at this moment and allowing “the end to justify the means” in this particular instance. it was probably a bit counterproductive, however, given that he’s going to take thousand of such pictures over the campaign, and even if some xenophobes exploited the hijab pic to stir up suspicion of him, i doubt they could have got much mileage out of it. whichever campaign staff members turned away the hijabis while trying to “protect” barack, weren’t doing him much of a favor. as an obama supporter, my only concern is that these defenders of him now will eventual become his gatekeepers. the more these gatekeepers resemble white yuppies, the more concerned i will be.