James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for October 27th, 2008

Neo-Nazis and other nuts: more reminders that race still matters

Posted by James McPherson on October 27, 2008

Just in case anyone can question whether race still is an issue in this country, and whether race might play a part in the election, we have had a number of cases in the past few weeks that help illustrate how impressive Barack Obama’s appeal truly is.

Even though some of the cases involve apparent John McCain supporters, no one should suggest that the McCain camp is involved in the incidents in any way, and I’m not doing that here. I am pointing out that Obama has to overcome issues that no white candidate would face.

Just today the feds apparently blocked an apparent plot by two white supremacists (probably more fantasy on their part than real threat), to kill Obama and more than 100 other African Americans. Earlier this week, of course, we had the apparently mentally ill McCain campaign worker who scratched a backward “B” into a cheek and then reported that she had been assaulted by a large black Obama supporter who noticed her McCain bumper sticker. We’ve also had at least two cases, in Oregon and Ohio, of Obama figures being lynched in effigy.

People who will cheer for a black person who can dunk a basketball or sing the National Anthem still won’t vote for an African American for president. In short, race matters. Perhaps if Obama is elected president, it will come to matter less.

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