Yes, yes, yes, come forth Media Gods and shine your unblinking light on the black voter! I can’t wait for pie charts and graphs and statistics and expert opinions because, darn it, it must be answered: why aren’t black voters going for Hillary Clinton and, most importantly, if she’s the nominee, will this immensely important bloc of voters stand with her in the general election?
After all, that was the same type of big question we’ve been dissecting over the past six weeks, right? Why aren’t those working class white voters going for Barack Obama and, most importantly, if he’s the nominee, will that immensely important bloc of voters stand with him in the general election? And we talked about bowling and beer and shotguns and the price of ham and there were interviews on the street and, darn it, we talked and talked and talked about it. So, now, it’s black voters turn, right? Now, Tim Russert and them are going to address why Clinton can’t seem to get the black vote, right?
And we’re not going to just continue to dismiss it as a case of, well, they’re black so they’re voting for the black guy, especially since black voters support white politicians all the time and because, uh, that never, ever came up in Operation White Working Class Voter. I mean, even though there is a long and well documented history of large swathes of this bloc being openly hostile towards African-Americans, obviously, they’re not just voting for Hillary Clinton because she’s white, right? Oh no! It’s a sign of Barack Obama weakness because he can’t bowl and he won’t eat cheese steaks and he talked bad about their guns and he’s aloof.
Speaking of which, I look forward to the ABC panel featuring Cornel West, bell hooks, Avery Brooks and Nikki Giovanni where they examine the codified manner in which terms, such as “aloof,” are just another way to say, “uppity.” Oh, I’ve got the DVR already set to record the documentary that MSNBC is putting together, even as I type this, that will reveal the long history chronicling the struggle black people have had to maintain their dignity only to be called “uppity” and how a great deal of this “aloof” and “out of touch” criticism leveled towards Obama, especially by two opponents who are each worth hundreds of millions of dollars, fits into this continuum. I mean, if we can parse, “bitter” ad nauseam for three weeks, certainly, the media is going to show the same vigorous attention towards, “aloof,” right?
And, as we look towards the endgame and there’s continued worry that working class whites won’t vote for Obama in the general, now we get to truly examine whether or not blacks would vote for Clinton, especially if she gets the nomination based on something ethereal and, frankly, vaguely racist (oh no, not the “r” word!) like, “electability.” Certainly Dan Abrams is going to discuss how Clinton’s gaffe suggesting that King wasn’t as important as Johnson in getting the Civil Rights Act passed still lingers and resonates in the black community. CNN is absolutely going to get a panel to address the feelings of betrayal that many members in this voting bloc feel over Bill Clinton’s behavior and how that could affect Hillary’s performance in a general election. I mean, it’s not like black voters are just taken for granted, right? Yep, any second now the media is going to deal with all of these issues. Or maybe I’m too out of touch and aloof to understand why they probably won’t.
Vincent Williams writes the Social Studies column for Baltimore City Paper. He's also a doctoral candidate and instructor at Temple University. When he's not finishing a thesis on Octavia Butler, he can be found playing Grand Theft Auto. Williams will talk with John and Adaora on Thursday's Takeaway.