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Black conservatives conflicted over Obama

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"I will do everything in my power to defeat him."

Michael Steele, former Lt. Gov. of Maryland

Steele knows the score.

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Is it politically correct to call him black? Shouldn't he be addressed as a half African/American from Hawaii? It's odd that, one African/American can call another black, but if a European says the same he is a racist. Just my observation.

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What is Obama's precise genetic background? Why is "black" the label (and why do Democrats need these labels?) when they are reportedly of 7/16th Arab, 8/16th Caucasian, and 1/16th African ancestry?

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serindipity, in America racial history, because of the color of his skin he would be considered black. Actually, if he wanted to be technical about it, he would be white and could be said to be "passing for black". Passing is a term used when very light skinned blacks were able to blend into white society because they had such fair skin that no one could tell. They did not have to necessarily be biracial, some blacks may have had white ancestory from their grandparents but due to other factors as marrying and having kids by light skinned blacks they just came out that way.

In the slavery days in America, your race was determined by the status of the mother, a departure of the English norm of your status being that of your father. The reason being, there were simply more cases of slave owneers fathering children with slaves than white women fathering children with blacks. So, in theory, since Obama's mother is white, he could be considered white. But the old "one drop" rule would also come into play in determing his racial make-up.

A comedian put it like this when Tiger Woods came on the scene. Now that he is a famous golfer, he is mixed raced or Asian. If he would have been a guy who robbed a liqour store, he would be described as a "black suspect male."

Bottom line, it is all about what makes the majority comfortable.

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My 12.33 posting should read - What is Obama's precise genetic background? Why is "black" the label (and why do Democrats need these labels?) when he is reportedly of 7/16th Arab, 8/16th Caucasian, and 1/16th African ancestry?

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Or how about just "American"?

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Maruku - Or how about just "American"?

Exactly!

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Or how about just "American"?

Then the U.S. liberal media would be out of a job.

RR

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Maruku, Obama was the first to use and abuse of the racial matter in his campaign, and there is no doubt about his wife is a radical activist in afro-american circles, maybe this would answer your question. But something more serious than race issues is a little detail about his attidude if we talk about american patriotism, did somebody watch that video in youtube, when all the candidates are singing the national anthem putting their hands over the heart meanwhile he doesnt mind about protocol and he looks as he was hearing or singing any "Puff Daddy" song?, or when he refuses to use an american flag in his lapel as many people at goverment do after 119?. And he talks about raise taxes to make a found for helping poor countries, meanwhile middle class american families have to work to pay that taxes?, or about his words refered to decrease american american militar power?, or his relationship with muselim community in America?, or his socialist tendencies?. Mr. Obama has it very hard if we think about all this little details, little details what makes him not the best choice for many americans, Mr. Obama is divides not unite, because since the beggining he uses his race (but he is not actually black, because he is mixed) as a flag, as many other outsiders do in the third world (using the cliche:"i am indian, so i will be a good president for indians", for example like Bolivia or Ecuador in South America). he means "CHANGE" sure, he will do a big change, but america is not ready for him, and will never be for someone without any political experience and for someone who's wife say something like "for the first time i am proud of being american", this kind of people should be to the white house and rule one of the most powerful economies, certainly no, he makes expectations because he represents minories and outsiders: socialists, gays, lesbians, afro-american people, latin people, muselims, actors and musicians (who dont have any idea about politics) and finally young people from colleges... why have a lot of ideals and good intentions, but dont understand that the only thing what makes America rule the world is their status quo (their system), if it is broken or damaged (as all the nice and cool peace and love people of 1967 wanted) they would not keep their comfortable way of life anymore, paying taxes to give health insurance for illegal inmigrants or supporting third world countries.

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I'm also an American of mixed ancestry and I never bothered to seperate myself as Asian-American. To me, I'm just American.

Some people self-righteously declare themselves a particular race despite their mixed background and to me that just seems like playing teams. I hate that.

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Omarbabilon, Even your name sounds more foreign that the guy your are trying to paint foreign. Your assertion that he represents 'socialists, gays, lesbians, afro-americans, latinos, muslims, actors and musicians and college students' is ridiculous. How better are you than them? The fact that they are not the majority doesn't mean they are not to be included. And when did he say he wanna reduce America's military power? Do you know the purpose of Bush's MCA? Lets participate on JT as informed contributors.

By the way, I must praise Aphaape for his/her informed and balanced analysis. Good day

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Why call himself "black"? There could be many reasons. He probably got the better treatment from them than he did from others that you think he should he should identify with. Also, being that they are the biggest mistreated and most looked upon group, the advancement of one of them would be a larger overall step in race relationship than any other group. There is also the thing that white America's institutionalized centuries ago and never changed where if you have even a single drop of black blood in you, you are considered black.

This is something that people who did not grow up as a black person in the U.S. would not be able able to understand correctly. It doesn't work the same for dark skinned people as it does light skinned people. This isn't about mixed ancestry its about black ancestry which is one again something you wouldn't know about if you didn't have to grow up with it. It could go into huge detail about the differences but with people that think like the commenters here it would be like throwing white paint on a white sheet of paper in the snow. Also the republican media makes a bigger deal out of his ethnicity and religion than the others.

He grew up being called a black person, lived as a black person, was helped along by black people so why the sour grapes about him calling himself black?

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Well, in Obamas particular case, the weird term "African-American" actually makes sense. Usually it doesn`t.

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Well, I can sort of see why President Bush attracted support from black conservatives..not only did his policies favor wealthy people, but Bush also included quite a number of blacks among his advisors. The same does not seem to be true of McCain, who has had only token meetings with a few black leaders, so I'm guessing a lot of wealthy black will head over to Obama and try to influence his policies to be less damaging to them.

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This article is an example of the problem I see with Barack Obama supporters, whether they are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or whatever. A lot of them are supporting him regardless of what he stands for, and many do not have a clue about what he stands for.

I heard one woman give a soundbite a couple of weeks ago. She said, "I want my Bobby Kennedy. I want my JFK."

Yeah, I want my Jesus Christ. I mean get real and also get a clue. Just because the guy is good looking, has a good looking family, is charismatic, is a great speaker, and has a degree from Harvard doesn't mean he will be a great president.

Given his positions on taxes and free trade - he wants to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends up to 28 percent and he is very anti-free trade - I really think he would be a disaster. He doesn't understand the world as much as he indicates he does, economically, culturally, militarily and politically. On that latter point, I have another comment on the Japan Today article about his criticism of McCain's response to how long U.S. troops will have to remain in Iraq if anybody cares to read it.

James Graziano La-Giglia Hong Kong

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Obama's mentor Frank Marshall Davis, who is simply and deceptively referred to as "Frank" in his first book, taught him well.

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The point that I wanted to make in my comment above, which I really did not state clearly, is that I believe Obama supporters - whether they are black, white, Hispanic, or Asian - are mainly driven by emotion and superficial motives rather than his policies and position on the issues.

I really believe most have very little if any knowledge of the latter, and as an American that really makes me feel distraught.

James Graziano La-Giglia Hong Kong

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Prague, If you were a black man in America, and you had the chance to elect the first black president, you mean to tell me that you wouldn't consider doing it just because it's a step ahead for your race? You may be right that a lot of people are not considering his voting record to a sufficient degree, and that there is emotion involved, but I wouldn't call it a superficial reason.

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I know everybody jumps up to recite the "one-drop rule" whenever the issue of Obama's ethnicity comes up, but, really, there is a much less sinister explaination:

Obama is black for two reasons:

1) He self-identifies as black. Having inherited multiple racial backgrounds, he has the right to decide how he views himself in relation to them. Clearly, he has chosen to identify strongly with the black side of his ancestory.

2) More importantly, he is identified by others as black due to his appearance. This effects the way that others respond to him, thus causing him to share the same experience with millions of black Americans. He experiences largely the same sort of acceptance from the black community, and the same sort of discrimination and predjudice from the white community. Remember that hundreds of years of racial mixing has resulted in a black community with a wide range of skin tones; Obama does not appear any different than many children of black couples.

Now, being raised by a white mother does change things a little, but all in all the chances are that someone growing up under these circumstances with both see themselves, and be seen by others as "black."

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Given his positions on taxes and free trade - he wants to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends up to 28 percent and he is very anti-free trade - I really think he would be a disaster.

How would returning capital gains taxes on the richest Americans to the rates they were under Ronald Reagan be a "disaster?"

What specific position on free trade makes Obama "very anti-free?"

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Hi Farmboy:

I still think voting for somebody primarily because of their race, ethnicity, or religion is very superficial and not exercising one's civic duty properly.

I never thought for a minute about voting for Rudy Guiliani. I supported John McCain from the start. Also in the 1980s, I lived in New York and would have never considered voting for Mario Cuomo.

Granted the black experience in America has been much more difficult than the Italian experience. But a vote should still be based on where a candidate stands on the issues, his proposed policies, character and so forth. On that latter criteria, I think somebody who considers religion as a factor for voting for somebody should be given some leeway as religion, if genuinely practiced, could be a judge of character.

James Graziano La-Giglia Hong Kong

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Hi Yabits:

What you wrote is an example of the misperception that many Americans have about taxes on capital gains and dividends.

Now a days, it's not just rich people who are involved in the stock market and other investments. 100,000,000 Americans own stocks, and when Maria Bartiromo of the Wall Street Journal Report pointed that out to Obama during an interview, he appeared flustered and kind of back tracked on raising the rate to as high as 28 percent from George W. Bush's and John McCain's 15 percent.

Even people who do not own stocks are affected indirectly because A) a lot of pension funds invest in stocks, including stocks in oil companies. B) Low taxes on investment encourage entrepreneurship and economic growth and therefore job growth. Where I live, Hong Kong, the capital gains tax is zero. That's one reason why this town is such an economic powerhouse.

As for Obama and free trade. He wants to renegotiate Nafta, if not scrap it, scaring the hell out of not only the Mexicans but also the Canadians. The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a job machine for all three countries overall. Also Obama has opposed free trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia. Both are also win win agreements. The Colombian pact would create a lot of union jobs for workers making John Deere tractors.

It's all political. The Democrats are trying to curry favor with a constituency that has been hurt by free trade, and free trade does create some losers. But overall, the greater society wins, and not just the rich.

James Graziano La-Giglia Hong Kong

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Alphaape:

Very well stated, and well informed. Right on the money.

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"I still think voting for somebody primarily because of their race, ethnicity, or religion is very superficial and not exercising one's civic duty properly."

While I would largely agree with this (one should pick the candidate one believes will be the best president), I think you'd be doing many voters a disservice if you didn't mention the potential transformative effect of a electing the first black (or female, in the case of HRC) candidate; If Obama is elected and runs the country reasonably well (he doesn't have to be great, just average), then he does quite a bit to promote the concept of blacks in positions of power and responsibilty. After all, if a black man can run the USA, then its hard to justify one's opinion that a black man cannot do X, Y, or Z. Its not going to put an end to racism, but it will change a few peoples minds, send a strong message to the younger generations concering the normalcy of blacks in management positions, show disillusioned minority youth that the can succeed, and generally make it harder for people to openly support racist positions and arguments.

Thats a pretty damn good reason to vote based on race, though I still think picking the best man (or woman) for the job is top priority.

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Now a days, it's not just rich people who are involved in the stock market and other investments. 100,000,000 Americans own stocks

Perhaps, but only a tiny percentage own enough to be taxed at a 28% capital gains rate. There is no reason why labor can be taxed at a 28% rate while capital enjoys a discount -- other than a system that is skewed towards the wealthy. 28% was good enough for Ronald Reagan.

Where I live, Hong Kong, the capital gains tax is zero. That's one reason why this town is such an economic powerhouse.

So what. Finland is rated as the world's most competitive economy. Switzerland is high on the list too. Both have capital gains rates the same as ordinary income -- around 28%. So Hong Kong's dynamism is likely due to other factors.

I wouldn't call wanting to renegotiate NAFTA as being "very anti-free trade." I am for free trade also, but no treaty is perfect -- and NAFTA can be improved upon.

These are probably reasons why conservatives of many backgrounds are drawn to Obama's candidacy. The Bush tax cuts promised Americans lots of prosperity -- just as Republicans predicted in 1994 that the Clinton tax hikes would drive the American economy in the gutter. Both Republican predictions have proven false.

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There are probably reasons why conservatives of many backgrounds are drawn to Obama's candidacy:

Indeed.

The conservative legal scholar Douglas Kmiec has endorsed Mr. Obama, as have both the economic adviser to Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America,” Lawrence Hunter, and the neocon historian Francis Fukuyama. Rupert Murdoch is publicly flirting with the Democrat as well. Even Dick Cheney emerged from his bunker this month to gratuitously dismiss Mr. McCain’s gas-tax holiday proposal as “a false notion” before the National Press Club.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/opinion/15rich.html?hp

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'Blacks Conservatives Conflicted' would suffice for a title....

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As far as Black conservatisim, when I grew up in a Black church as a child in the 70's, the teachings there were, no sex until marriage, and if you are pregnant, then you marry. Divorce was something that should be done as a very last resort. Gays, yes they were there, and in the church, but it was pretty much understood that they would burn in Hell. Crime, being that many times we were more likely to be victims of Black on Black crime we were against it. Welfare, though it was a good method to assit you to get back on your feet, it was not something that you were "entitled to" just becuase. Racial issues, yes America had them, but it was up to us to not just let them hold you back. People will hate you because of the color of your skin, but it is still up to you to get the best you can regardless of this.

This was the thought in my church, conservative thinking, but guess what, the majority of the church voted Democratic (Carter for President, Bill Clinton for Governor (I'm from Arkansas)). So, the media has come up with this re-imaging campaing of what is conservative in the Black community since the 80's. The reason, to try to get Blacks to not vote Republican by playing on some of the Republican beliefs of fiscal responsibility on the government's part in trying to reduce some of the welfare programs and other initiatives. As much as Rev. Wright from Obama's church made comments on America, I can almost guarentee you that he made the same comments about gays (calling them sissies) or someone has gotten up and confessed in the church their sin of homosexuality and how God has cleansed them. But you will not see that in MSM (main stream media) since that goes against the liberal agenda. I speak from my experiences having been in a Black baptist church over 40 years.

Also, recently Obama has said that he thinks of the rising price of gas in America is a shock to the system, and that he believed that a gradual increase in the price would have been a better method (i.e. this is letting you know on how he plans to fund all of his proposals, start off with the well to do, and then work his way down to the not so well to do).

I pretty much have gone from liberal to conservative in my age, and being Black, I am proud to see Obama win the nomination, but I will not vote for him. Yes he looks like me, but that is not the reason to vote for someone. I have to see where they stand on policy issues before I cast my vote. Also, I have been screwed over more by my "friends who look like me" than my enemies. Just because he looks like me, does not mean he has my best interest in mind.

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Perhaps, but only a tiny percentage own enough to be taxed at a 28% capital gains rate. There is no reason why labor can be taxed at a 28% rate while capital enjoys a discount -- other than a system that is skewed towards the wealthy. 28% was good enough for Ronald Reagan.

The capital gains tax doesn't know if you're wealthy or not. It's based on the gain made during the life of the investment. If you buy your house for $50,000 or $500,000 you're going to get taxed on the capital gains. And considering the rise in values in houses over the last 10 years it's going to be a significant jump for anyone who bought a house or invested in anything that falls under the capital gains umbrella.

Perhaps the poor won't be affected, but you're lumping in the entire middle class with the rich. You're saying that anyone who isn't poor is rich.

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Obama believes that the rich is anyone who has an income of over $250,000/year. These are the people that will also see their taxes raised as well as those who make millions. Belive it or not, with the US tax system, the rich will all ways pay more than the poor. No matter how well they try to hide their income, those people who are rich will be taxed at the 35% level. The poor, in proportion will not be taxed at that level, and in many cases will pay no taxes.

Get rid of some of the tax loop holes for the rich would probably be fair. But increasing taxes for middle income families who make the $250K/year will have a negative impact on the economy. In places like San Francisco, LA, or NY even though that is a nice income, you are still just going to be getting by. So with added taxes, you will see a decrease in spending and saving, thus causing problems for the economy.

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GWB's tax cuts went largely to the wealthiest Americans on the grounds these people would invest and in the process create jobs. The rest of us were just along for the ride.

In theory this has some appeal but it fails to take into account their options in the real world. They could invest overseas and create jobs elsewhere; outsourcing is already a way of life in America. Or not invest at all. In the end, job creation pales in comparison to the debt accumulated under GWB.

The boon was to those who received corporate dividends. My brother, for example, saved in the low six figures on his taxes for a mid-six figure income. He was planning to cash out of his start-up company in 2004 to reap the wind fall in case GWB wasn't reelected. (Interestingly, he voted for John Kerry because he thought he was a better choice for the country but was going to maximize the benefits the GWB tax reforms had provided to those in his income bracket).

Though the Democrats have been slow to advance up the learning curve on this, it's dangerous to throw around terms like "the rich." The difference between the possessions accumulated by the rich and working poor has diminished considerably over the past four decades. Cheap imports and an influx of entrepreneurial immigrants has made everything from big-screen TVs to regular appointments with the manicurist available to the majority. Trying to foment class consciousness amidst conspicious consumption is a kinda losing battle.

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prague

Now a days, it's not just rich people who are involved in the stock market and other investments.

yabits

other than a system that is skewed towards the wealthy.

SuperLib

The capital gains tax doesn't know if you're wealthy or not.…but you're lumping in the entire middle class with the rich

Alphaape

Obama believes that the rich is anyone who has an income of over $250,000/year. These are the people that will also see their taxes raised as well as those who make millions.

Betzee

GWB's tax cuts went largely to the wealthiest Americans…

So has everyone – conservative and liberal alike – become drunken on the socialist’s red kool-aid?

There seems to be an underlying assumption in all these posts that the wealthy should pay more taxes.

In a nation like the USA that is supposed to be based on democratic ideals and the rule of law how is it that so many citizens feel it’s OK to specifically target one segment of our society? I thought that each citizen should have “equal protection under the law”. Why is it acceptable to discriminate against a person based on his level of income? Would it be just under the law to require the citizens of a small, specific geographic sector to pay more taxes? How about based on religion, skin color, or political party affiliation?

In theory shouldn’t each citizen pay an equal portion of the nation’s expenses?

Based on the principles of democracy and rule of law I would suggest that the most just form of taxation would be either (1) a citizen tax – take the government’s annual budget and divide it by every living citizen; or (2) a voter tax – each person who wants the right to vote pays (level of taxation = level of representation).

However, to be pragmatic I’d settle for a simple flat tax where all citizens pay equally based on a percentage of income. This doesn’t strike me as principled, but I’d still settle for it.

P.S. This is my first post here, and I'm not trying to alienate everyone. I've seen many of your well-reasoned posts, and I'm just a little bit surprised that everyone seems to accept the premise that the wealthy should pay more taxes than their fellow citizens. I hope to stimulate your thinking on this topic. Thanks.

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Hello Betzee:

I am not sure why you also singled me out.

You either didn't fully read what I wrote or misunderstood what I wrote.

I do not believe the government should punish people for being able to earn more money and being successful simply because taxing them higher stifles initiative, risk-taking, economic growth, and job creation.

Anyway, one thing I did not write is that I do believe in a flat tax system, like in Estonia and similar to Hong Kong.

Tax everybody in the U.S. 15 percent no matter how much they earn and eliminate loopholes.

That would help to get the U.S. economy going.

But I do not think it could ever get passed.

Sincerely,

James Graziano La-Giglia Hong Kong

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