The Republican Presidential campaign has once again made an ad where they oh so subtly connect Barack Obama to young white women in a context with sexual overtones. Such a surprise.
I’m not saying that the DNC or Sen. Obama’s campaign should get involved in this, but it would be nice if some of the celebrities in this country who are of mixed race would get up on television and say “This is the sort of crap my parents had to put up with”. Derek Jeter, The Rock, Vin Diesel, Halle Berry, whoever, this is my advice: Relate an anecdote or two that your parents told you, together with the circumstances of the telling (if you were young, teenage, becoming famous, etc). Talk about how you, personally, have never had to deal with that (if it’s true), and that you keep thinking that nobody got all worked up over multiracial sex anymore. That it’s just a few old people that make any sort of fuss about it. Do not mention Sen. McCain by name. Do not say the phrase race card. If asked if somebody is playing the race card, say something like “I don’t play cards, I play baseball [golf, parts in movies, piano, whatever]. My daddy [mama, grandmother, big sister] told me to call them like I see ’em, and what I see in those ads is the sort of crap my parents had to put up with, way back when.”
Just my gut feeling. It seems to me that the frame that we want to put around this election is Republicans are old, with old-fashioned ideas and old-fashioned prejudices. I think that on the whole Barack Obama’s response to the Jeremiah Wright mess helped with that, as the image that gets taken away was that old people sure say crazy stuff, don’t they? My own grandmother…
I also think it would be a good idea to get this out in the open before the conventions: it has been predicted more than once that in the last month before the election, there will be a news story about some white woman who Sen. Obama dated, probably in high school or in college. I have no idea whether there will be any actual news or anything, but somebody will turn up. OK? When she does, I would like the general response to be yep, that’s what we thought would happen rather than zOMG! How do we handle this? So if you happen to be in a conversation about race and the election, or happen to be writing an op-ed column or an essay, or happen to be interviewed on television, please drop that in.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,