July 4, 2020

Does Obama use Race as a Benefit?

Of course! Why wouldn’t he? If it is going to help him win the election, then why not. However, because of the fact that he is non-white, does that give him the authority or more reason to be able to use race as a benefit? I could say “imagine Bush using race to win his election” but if you think about it, Bush ran against another person of his race. It didn’t really matter as much. Now that Obama is running, he has the benefit of connecting with the people by being an “other.”

When Mitt Romney uses the race card, of course he gets attacked and criticized. Yet, when Obama uses the race card, he receives more positive feedback than negative since he gains a supporter through the use of it. Four years ago Obama would say “our goal is to have a country that’s not divided by race…I don’t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be president of the United States of America…There is not a black American and a white America and a Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America” (The Washington Journal). But don’t you think by saying that, you are kind of actually getting people to think in a racially divided mindset? Obama also often uses phrases that are subtly meant for those that are different (non-white), such as “the very core of what this country stands for is on the line — the basic promise that no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, this is a place where you could make it if you try”; and even Michelle Obama uses race to her advantage at fundraisers for example, “will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just the few at the top?  Or will we give every child — every child  — a chance to succeed, no matter where she’s from, or what she looks like, or how much money her parents are?  Who are we? That’s what’s at stake here” (White House Dossier). Obviously, it is easier for Obama to get away with using race in his statements because it raises enthusiasm in his supporters of all races. It creates pride in them which simultaneously convinces them to vote for him. On the other hand, Romney is heavily criticized when he indirectly comments on race during the election, such as when Romney spoke to his supporters saying “‘this is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like,’ suggesting Obama should ‘take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago'” (U.S. News). Toure, a co-host on MSNBC’s The Cycle, said about Romney’s speech “you notice he said anger twice; he’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man” (U.S. News). Romney gets attacked more vigorously than Obama would. Do you think it has more to do with the fact that Romney is white? If so, why? Why does Obama and many black Americans get away with saying racial comments? It’s an interesting subject to think about because many blacks are not attacked as easily, whereas someone white would be attacked more easily. It’s a shame that when people think about this election it’s mainly about race, but that’s the reality of it. By Obama using race, he can easily convince the people to support him, especially if you are Latino, Asian, and most of all, African-American. Do you think by Obama using race as a benefit makes the election unfair? As a citizen, do you find yourself being influenced more often when the subject is towards your race?


  1. As stated in the blog post of course Obama uses the race card, what politician wouldn’t? If there is another black candidate for president or someone of a different ethnic background, they are going to use the race card in order to gain the most number of votes. I feel Romney plays the race card as well, trying to gain as many white votes as he can, but he isn’t able to come out and say that’s what he is doing. As people have said, Romney receives negative feedback for attempting to play the race card, and personally I think he looks ridiculous when he tries to. Should Obama and other politicians play the race card? Maybe not, but I think it plays a huge role in voting rather it should be used or not. Politicians are known to using anything and everything to their advantage so I don’t know if Obama using the race card can be considered unfair because it is something every politician has done, use an aspect about themselves or an idea that they stand for to their advanage.

  2. I have found myself wondering the same thing. I definitely think that it is the fact that President Obama is not white that allows him to receive such positive, almost inspirational feedback from pulling the quote “race card” in his public speaking and events. On the contrary, I do not think that he intentionally intends to use this to his advantage, he cannot help what his race is or how other people view his certain comments as positive or negative. Yes, the fact that Mitt Romney is white does allow him to get attacked more vigorously on the playing field of the election. I think, however, that this is true for any playing field, be it the United States Presidential Election or a simple classroom environment, if a person of white ethnicity were to say something percieved as “pulling the race card” then they would clearly receive more negative feedback than would a person of non-white ethnicity saying the exact same thing simply because that is the way our society is right now. That is the way our society views these comments, when they come from a white person they are automatically assumed to be derogatory, which is often not the intent of the comment or the commenter. So, when asked if i think if President Obama using race as an advantage makes this election unfair I will have to say that I do not think that he in particular is using his race as an advantage, but that society is giving him the advantage because of the way we have been brought up to think on issues of race and what we perceive as just.

  3. I really enjoyed this post! In the 2008 election, many of my Republican friends complained that most of the African Americans will vote for Barack Obama. I told them, “Naturally!”. In the previous election, I believe race was an important factor; as well as his message to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those points and obviously others (health care reform) got him elected. However, I do not think he either has the race card or needs the race card in this election. He has had four years to make things better for the American people, and is relying on that, and the promises of more growth and sustainability to be reelected. Also, it does help that Romney self-implodes at times. I believe the only way race in general is being used here is President Obama consolidating support, especially from the African Americans and Hispanics.

  4. megan rebennack says:

    I really hate how political candidates use the race card to try and gain supporters. I don’t think that race should be used as a deciding factor when choosing who to vote for. Candidates use race as a crutch and I think that they should be more focused on the issues that they believe in and stop hiding behind the race card. If they were more confident in themselves as candidates and confident in the issues that they support, there would be a stronger bond between citizens and the political system. I also think that using the race card in your election is insulting to the political system. Using it to influence the way people vote, minorities in particular, is taking away from the issues that are facing the country and puts more focus on whether or not this candidate is going to get elected based on the number of people who share the same race.

  5. You posed the questions “As a citizen, do you find yourself being influenced more often when the subject is towards your race?” Personally my answer is no. First off Obama is only half Black meaning he has an entire white side of the family. I do not by any means think by him stating that America is not just White, Black, Latino, or Asian caused people to think in a racially divided mindset. People have always been thinking with a racially divided mindset. Obama is not the first president to talk about helping the non-white community and gaining support by saying so. The Democratic Party has always tried to increase the life style for the working class and underprivileged, and most non-whites fall under the category of underprivileged. In this class we have discussed the idea of “white privilege” and that it means when one is white they are more likely to receive respect and trust and have a higher chance to succeed. Obama is only saying that he would like EVERYONE to feel this privilege. It only looks racial because of his race. Other presidents have said similar statements about no matter what one looks like or where one is from that America is a place of opportunity. I do think that Romney gets more bad press when he makes racial comments, not because he is white, but because the way he states his comments sound slightly racist. The example you gave seemed as though he was saying he wants white privilege to always exist. Obama is trying to unite people, but as we have discussed in class the way to stop thinking of someone as less than an equal is to acknowledge and respect their differences. Obama is simply trying to make everyone feel important.

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