2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Ferraro's Affirmative Action Offense


Send Letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton:
United States Must be fully Participate in United Nations Conference
 on Eliminating Racism (Durban Review).



Home March 13,2008 Hillary Clinton and Gearldine Ferraro     February 26, 2008 - Tim Russert;     February 21, 2008 - Bill O'Reilly;       February 20, 2008 - Bill O'Reilly;          January 30, 2008 - National Organization of Women - New York;          January 15, 2008  - MSBNC, Brian Williams and Tim Russert Discussion Forum
This site focuses on one issue: racial inequality. It does not endorse or oppose any party or any candidate.


Home                                                    x
Worst Person                               x
Institutional Racism                                    x
Inequalities & the Election                                  x
Race and Racism                              x
Racial Groups                                       x
World Perspective                               x
NAACP Questionnaire                            x
Primaries and Caucuses                             x
Site Map
This website is always under construction please email me  relevant links related to any of the candidates or to race and racism and the election.
African Americans                                         X
Asian Americans                                                   X
European Americans                         X
Latino(a) Americans                                          x
Native Americans                                 x
Pacific Islanders                                       x
Institutional Racism                                     x
01 Race and Racism                                     x
02 Citizenship Rights                                     x
03 Justice                                     x
04 Basic Needs                                     x
05 Intersectionality                                     x
06 Worldwide                                     x

Imani Perry

Geraldine Ferraro's formulation that Barack Obama wouldn't have the success he's experiencing if he were a white man is troubling. She obviously was trying to apply an affirmative action image to Obama, an image of unmerited acclaim and achievement. Leaving aside the race-baiting and incorrect information that enters almost all discussions of affirmative action, I just have to say: C'mon, Geraldine.

 Get real.

To begin with, at best this would be the pot calling the kettle black. When Ferraro was a mere 43 years old and had spent six years in Congress, she became the Democratic party vice presidential nominee. Despite the experience at the top of the ticket, Ferraro with her relative inexperience undoubtedly helped the campaign. She was a better candidate than Mondale. But I wonder if she considered herself just an unqualified woman candidate, a female novelty disrupting the legitimate meritocracy of American politics.

See how offensive such formulations are?

But let's return to the question raised by Ferraro. What if Barack Obama were a white man? If Barack Obama were a white man with his extraordinary intellect, commitment to excellence and charisma, people would be far less likely to raise questions about his "funny name" (he calls it that) and unpreparedness. (JFK anyone?)
No one gets to be president of the Harvard Law Review by being an "unqualified minority". He's the frontrunner on the Democratic side because he is a superb politician and because more people have voted for him than for Hillary Clinton.

But we can look at this another way: If Barack Obama were a white man, these gifts he possesses might not have developed in the way they did. Each person comes into the world with a unique spirit. The interface of that spirit with the body into which he or she is born and the society and family in which he or she lives and grows, creates the human personality. Perhaps Obama's encounters with bigotry and the diversity of his experiences shaped many of the qualities we admire in him. Perhaps being born on American soil as Barack Hussein Obama, a biracial second generation American in a body that is always perceived as a "Black man", gifted him with a second sight that voters are looking to in troubled times.

I often think of the experience with inequality and adversity as one that cuts at least two ways. It can be demoralizing, devastating and wounding. On the other hand it can build extraordinary character, insight and strength. I have taken great pains in my own life to channel it to the latter kind of development and perhaps I have chosen to support Barack Obama because I see that in him as well. I never denounce those who buckle under the pressure of inequality, but I believe we must also champion those who thrive in spite of it.

All that to say: It is perverse and dishonest to present Barack Obama as the privileged one in this equation. We know why Hillary Clinton doesn't want to reveal her tax returns. The image of her as a working class champion will suffer with the revelation that her power is not simply a product of being a political insider and public servant. She also has enormous personal wealth.
There is no affirmative action in politics besides that which comes from nepotism, wealth, and inside connections. If there is an affirmative action candidate in this election it is Hillary Clinton. And if there is a bootstraps candidate, it is Barack Obama.

Imani Perry, Ph.D., J.D. is a professor at the Rutgers School of Law-Camden and visiting professor at the Princeton University Center for African American Studies.

Discussion Forum


This Page Last Updated:
Thursday, July 03, 2008  

You are visitor number
Hit Counter  
Since February 17, 2008


Submit for Periodic Updates
Update List

DEMOCRATIC                   x
Obama                                                    x
REPUBLICAN                            x
McCain                                                    x
McKinney                                         x

This website is always under construction please email me  relevant links related to any of the candidates or to race and racism and the election.
Minnesota Public Radio                        x
WQAD  TV                             x
Australia - US Survey                                 X


Same level:
A Husband-Wife Debate: Obama v Hillary ] A New Type of African-American Politician ] A whiter shade of guilt ] Black and white world ] ColorBlind America - A Real Fairy Tale ] Obama VS. Clinton-Black Or White (VIDEO) ] The Irrelevance of Obama's Color ] The peril of pandering ] Racism and Sexism still count in elections ] Elements of ethnicity are now second to humanity ] The Ongoing Evolution Of Obama's "Post-Racial Politics" ] Race Card and Rep James Clyburn ] Understanding the Magic Negro ] Obama' Biggest Obstacle - Voter Suppression ] Some people are blacker than others. ] Chris Rock's 2008 Election Analysis (VIDEO) ] Democrat's Class War ] Democratic Family Splits ] Does Change of Face Mean Change of Pace? ] McCain, Obama or Clinton:  Bush Wins in 2008 ] The Daily Show – You’re Not Helping ] Dreams of 'a new Martin Luther King' ] I-Love-Obama-thus-racism-no-longer-exists phenomenon ] Jesse Jackson on the South Carolina Primary ] Lens of race persists ] Minimal Differences Between Clinton, Obama ] New York's Newest Citizens and the Election ] Plantation politics ] Polls show gender and race won't help or hurt candidates ] Psychological Gang Bang of Hillary ] Racial Diversity in Presidential Campaign Staff ] Racial Stereotyping & the Election ] Setting Up Easy Targets for Karl Rove ] Unfortunate Headline: Obama's Rout Rejiggers the Race ] Using the Race Issue to Carve Up the Electorate ] Voting for devil you know ] Why Isn't Poverty an Issue? ] When is a Bargain a Challenge ] GOP fears charges of racism, sexism ] Fox Attacks Black America ] Bill Clinton talks of race and politics ] Walking on Eggshells ] The New Black ] 'Barack Hussein Obama' an all-American name ] [ Ferraro's Affirmative Action Offense ] Ferraro puts her foot in her mouth ] Voters try to look beyond race when picking candidates ] Pride, Patriotism and Black Americans ]
Child Level:
Home ] Up ]
Parent Level:
What is Institutional Racism? ] Institutional Racism in America ] January 2008 Articles ] March 2008 Articles ] Racial Inequality in America ] February 2008 Articles ]
[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]

Always Under Construction!

Always Under Construction!

Copyright @ 2008
Vernellia Randall. All Rights Reserved

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, some material on this website is provided for comment, background information, research and/or educational purposes only, without permission from the copyright owner(s), under the "fair use" provisions of the federal copyright laws. These materials may not be distributed for other purposes without permission of the copyright owner(s).


Last Updated:
Tuesday, April 07, 2009  

You are visitor number
Hit Counter  
Since January 9, 2008