The role that Barack Obama's race plays in the the 2008 election is being talked about more and more openly as Election Day approaches. Nicholas Kristof in his Op-Ed piece The Push to Otherize Obama, posits that "religious prejudice is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice. In public at least, it’s not acceptable to express reservations about a candidate’s skin color, so discomfort about race is sublimated into concerns about whether Mr. Obama is sufficiently Christian. "
But an AP-Yahoo News poll, conducted with Stanford University, found that racial prejudice is not too hard to identify: "The AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles. The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points. "
I'm sure that here in rural Pennsylvania, race will be a big factor in the election. In NY it may not be acceptable to express racism in public, but that's not the case here in Upper Bucks County PA. That the local newspaper would publish the letter to the editor (referred to in my earlier post Letter to the Editor from my 'Hometown Paper') in which the writer is afraid that "our great country is going to develop a bad case of BO," is evidence that racism is clearly acceptable here. It seems that race is another one of those polarizing issues - like abortion, gay marriage - that deeply divide the right from the left. While some of us look to a post-racial society, others still don't even believe in 'separate but equal.' In all likelihood, these are the same people who don't understand why it is important to learn another language. If all those who are embittered and "cling to their guns and religion," then Obama won't win Pennsylvania.