October 17, 2008

Dyson: Race Has Affected the 2008 Presidential Election

Posted: 08:13 PM ET

Professor, Georgetown University

There is little question that race has affected the 2008 presidential election,

Michael Eric Dyson is a successful author, college professor and minister

Michael Eric Dyson is a successful author, college professor and minister

though often through inference and innuendo. Initially, Barack Obama's historic quest for the highest political office in the land was rife with suspicion from white and black quarters.

Eventually, millions of black voters signed on to his campaign after relinquishing skepticism about his being black enough and after he proved in Iowa that he could win over white voters.

(Read More)

Michael Eric Dyson's commentary is an LKL Blog exclusive. His thoughts are his own.

Filed under: Commentary • Michael Eric Dyson

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Herb McCorry   October 17th, 2008 9:18 pm ET

Why isn’t our voting system protected by the IRS database, so we know who has the right to vote – such as a GOV issued Voters Card you could use at any ATM so you could vote no matter where you are and do away with mail ins

Boiling Springs, South Caroling 29316

gary blanchette   October 17th, 2008 9:28 pm ET

Ask your republican guess how they are going to steal this election?

kenny   October 17th, 2008 9:28 pm ET

Yes,once again race is involved. Started by some in the White community. Some can't bring themselves to vote for a Black Man,Why,why,why. Some Republicans call themselves evangelical Christians. So much hate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! from some white people

Jeff   October 17th, 2008 9:29 pm ET

Race is not affecting this election, the media is.

Why isn’t other candidates, such as Chuck Baldwin, not being given the same chance to be heard by people of this country like Obama and McCain? Is somebody out there afraid of Chuck going against Obama and McCain? If so, why? Is it because Chuck is carrying a true message of what it will take to save this country?

If CNN is suppose to be telling the whole truth and nothing filtered, then why is Chuck Baldwin being filtered from the American people by CNN?

This is our country we are talking about and getting to vote about and yet, the American people are not being presenting the whole cart of what is available to them. It is sad that America has come to this.

Zewdie B   October 17th, 2008 9:36 pm ET

Hi Larry, love your show.

I think there is an error in your reporting the point spread in the polls between Obama and McCain. The Gallup daily tracking poll shows Barack Obama with a 50% to 43% for John McCain. I'm not sure if your source of information is the same as mine?

Thank you and keep the good work.

Deloies   October 17th, 2008 9:38 pm ET

of course race is a factor, the many years i have lived in this fine country, where its echoed all men are created equal, sure, until a person of color runs for president, then we see, that in the eyes of many, all men are not created equal..go figure and if they had their way we would always live on the other side of the railroad track. Thank God many has out grown that bigotry. and many still carry on the legency of their forefathers and holds on to bigotry. Its like I was born a baptist, i'm going to die baptist. If you get my drift.

James Smith   October 17th, 2008 9:39 pm ET

Yes, race has entered into this election. Senator Obama represents the best of both races White and Black. Senator Obama is a smart American man. He is not Jesse Jackson (A Black Candidate) that white people like me fear. When people compare Obama to man like Clinton, Regan, Kennedy, and King, who are not all black, is show something. America (This American) will pick the right person for the job.

Here is something to think about, we will have a Black/Woman/Hispanic President one day in the United States. I want this to happen now, not when I am in my Grave.

Dan - Dallas, TX   October 17th, 2008 9:41 pm ET


Margaret in PA   October 17th, 2008 9:42 pm ET

Race is affecting the elections, most unfortunately. I am white. I do not look at Obama at all as a "Black" person. It is a sad thing that blacks in this day still fight against these prejudices. They have to fight for their civil rights all the time - winning the Civil War all over again, the 60's civil rights movement, and Dr. Martin Luther King getting killed. But racism is much worse in other countries. I am disabled and also fight prejudices and preconceived notions as to who I am and what I can and can't do. Also, I have had many good friends in my life who are black. I never thought of them as black. Possibly race could be blamed if Obama loses. There are too many Americans who are truly bigoted. I do not believe I am. It will be interesting to see just how many whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, etc., end up voting for Obama in the end run.

r.j.   October 17th, 2008 9:42 pm ET

Is race involved? Are U kidding me man?
John Murtha was so right about western PA.
Born and raised there, stayed for 30+ years.
I would witness that it is an institutionalized form of racism - extremely virulent! The people think that because no one is being hanged currnetly, that racism does not exist. Or as my family taught me, the rces should never mix.

Obama had better not relax for a moment, because we are virtually guaranteed to see a huge proportion of white people change their vote in the privacy of the booth. They may say they can vote for a black man, because it makes them feel good about themselves, but actually following through on that intention is quite another matter.

Stephanie   October 17th, 2008 9:43 pm ET

Mr. Dyson just said on LKL if BO were a white man he would be up by 25 points. If he were a white man he wouldnt even be in the race.

Wanda   October 17th, 2008 9:43 pm ET

Race will be a factor. In the 21st century this should be an outrage to the American people when we have persons is qualified to lead. However, I do understand as a "black female", teenage mother, never used welfare, worked full-time while attending college, and married for 18 years; the bar is raised higher for me. After accomplishing my many degrees, I do not believe I will reach the bar because it continue to be raised. I would agree with the Dr. I am ashamed of the McCain camp, and another thing McCain stated he would not tax the American public I do not see how he can not with the economy. Lastly, I do believe Mr. Powell will endorse Obama; believe it or not I stated this to my husband a month ago.

Stephanie   October 17th, 2008 9:44 pm ET

Mr. Dyson just said on LKL if BO were a white man he would be up by 25 points. If he were a white man he wouldnt even be in the race.

Mike Jones   October 17th, 2008 9:44 pm ET

I am so tired of the RACE card! I AM the next generation and do not look at race to decide my allegiance. I look at the person, his policies, and then align myself with who represents me....fact is, we don't have a good candidate, black or white, man or woman. Heaven help us.

bill TX   October 17th, 2008 9:44 pm ET

copied by me:
an article by marie:

Marie October 17th, 2008 6:17 pm ET

I want to address the racial aspect the news is covering. I was hoping that it would stop, but then I was thinking on something sent to me and what has been really concerning.
If Obama and McCain traded places:

What if things were switched around? Think about it. Would the country’s
collective point of view be different?

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, following
the debate, including a three month-old infant and an unwed, pregnant
teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his college
graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain
killers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five?
(The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if Obama couldn’t read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included
discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to publicly display a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama’s family had made their money from beer distribution?

You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected a reality, if the tables were turned, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as th ey are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes
qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative characteristics in
another when there is a color difference.

And, think of this – the candidates’ educational backgrounds:

Barack Obama:
Columbia University – B. A. Political Science with a Specialization in
International Relations.
Harvard – Juris Doctor (J. D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:
Unive rsity of Delaware – B. A. in History and B. A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J. D.)

John McCain:United States Naval Academy – Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University – 1 semester
North Idaho College – 2 semesters – general study
University of Idaho – 2 semesters – journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester
University of Idaho – 3 semesters – B. A. in Journalism

Education isn’t everything, but this is about the two highest offices in
the land as well as our standing in the world.

You make the call.

These are the issues the media should be addressing. The Keating 5 was mentioned and faded. Sarah Palins commericial Rick Sanchez covered about the AIP and her husbands connection and hers from the commercial wishing them luck and support at their event. I am more disappointed in the media than anything else. You guys are a reflection of the same pitiful racism by not driving these stories home. But let’s keep Acorn and Ayers in the news! It has always been a fact that a black man has to out shine trememdously his white counter-part in corporate america for lead positions. Obama is smarter by far than his opponent with the credentials to back it up. So let’s make that the on going coverage for the next two weeks. McCain graduating 5th from the bottom of his class. We all see how the average C student worked out the last 8 years. Let’s give Obama the credit he deserves.

robert murakami   October 17th, 2008 9:47 pm ET

michael eric dyson is a genius when commenting on race issues...larry king, please have him on more often..our family loves listening to him whenever he comes on cnn!!

Bill Golodner   October 17th, 2008 9:47 pm ET

Mr. Dyson says if Obama was white he's be way ahead in the polls. I submit if her was white with his limited experience and dubious associations, he'd never be permitted to run, or expect to win. It's only that he is black and America is frightened to be called racist, that he has gotten as far as he has.

charles S.   October 17th, 2008 9:48 pm ET

I am sitting here watching your show.
I do not know your guess name who says race will not be a part. What place is he from. Race will play a part from white and from blacks.
Maybe not has bad has 20 years ago but it will play a part.
Oh by the way I am a black from texas for Obama

Ahmad Jarrad   October 17th, 2008 9:48 pm ET

I think one Key idea we are forgetting, that is crucial for this debate, is the fact the United States has never had more unity between the races as post-9/11.

This I believe is the main reason Mr. Obama even has a chance to win.

Ahmad Jarrad-State of Michigan

fredyt3   October 17th, 2008 9:48 pm ET

put down the pipe!!! of course race will be a factor but Barack Obama strategy has addressed this issue to deal with it head on, nevertheless expect "The Bradley affect" to rear it's ugly head!!!

Rudy   October 17th, 2008 9:49 pm ET

I'm hispanic, 54 years old with a Masters Degree. Obama appeals to me because he speaks to helping the majority and not just the rich. McCain is truly an American hero, I read his book, but he is out of touch with every day Americans, in my opinion.

Milton   October 17th, 2008 9:49 pm ET

If race could be a factor in Obama losing the election, then why is he the Democratic nominee?

Angel   October 17th, 2008 9:49 pm ET

I am a huge Obama supporter, but this Dyson guy makes my blood boil. He can hardly take a breath between his rants. He speaks in separatist terms. PLEASE SHUT UP BECAUSE YOU ARE THE DEFINITION OF A PERSON THAT MAKES A WHITE PERSON NOT WANT TO VOTE FOR A BLACK PERSON.
Do you hear Obama out talking to his "brothers". Shut up and learn .

pamela   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

Race should not be a factor! Mc Cain and Palin are clearly the best choice. Obama wants to raise taxes. We are in the midst of a serious recession and raising taxes is detrimental! I don't care what race you are! Raising taxes and making us a gov't run medical system is nonsense! Quit saying it has to do with race!!! It has to do nothing to do with race! Mc Cain gives us years of knowledge! Obama is a baby! Let's get serios America!!! Obama knows nothing about politics!!! He is not connected with our government and what we need in America!!!

Michele in Chama   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

Baloney! Race is not a factor at all. If anything is a factor it is age! I have not heard one person use race as a reason to not-vote for someone, but I have certainly heard how old McCain is. People who think that race is an issue need to get on with their life and quit looking for ways to place blame. McCain and Obama have very different platforms and can we not look past the color of their skin? I am voiting because of what they stand for. I want legalized murder aka abortion, to be eliminated and will be voting republican because of it.

Colin   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

Race is definitely a factor in this election but i dont think it is a negative factor for Senator Obama (as it may have been in the earlier 20th century but i havent heard anyone ask this question "how many black people are going to vote for Barack Obama because he is black regardless of political policies?"

Steve Cass   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

If Barack Obama is elected in November he will take office on the 200th birth year of Abraham Lincoln. Inauguration would be about one month before his actual birthdate, interesting.

charles anderson   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

A democrat on his worst day, is ten times better than a republican on his best day. Since George Bush and his cronies have ruined this country, ruined the name of America around the world......I now understand the term........"yellow dog democrat" I would vote for a yellow dog before I voted republican.

Alice   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

if you're going to make race and issue, you must make age an issue. It is only fair!

Sarah   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

Race is playing a part in this election. Joe the Plummer said to katie Couric yesterday that when he spoke with Barack Obama he was tap dancing as fast as Sammy Davis Junior. There is also fake money being mailed to people homes with a picture of Obama, a bucket of chicken and a slice of watermelon on it. I watched a White lady on TV say she did not find anything wrong with it.

Ahmad Jarrad   October 17th, 2008 9:50 pm ET

The main reason Senator Obama has a chance to win this presidency is the fact that the United States has never had more unity and respect between the races as post 9/11 America.

Ahmad Jarrad
State of Michigan

Rudy   October 17th, 2008 9:51 pm ET

I'm hispanic, 54 years old with a Masters Degree. Obama appeals to me because he speaks to helping the majority and not just the rich. McCain is truly an American hero, I read his book, but he is out of touch with every day Americans, in my opinion.

John Skwiertz   October 17th, 2008 9:51 pm ET

I'm voting for neither Primary candiate. I was voting for Obama until I Rev Wright and His wife convinced me his wife is racist and I am not no more want a white racist in the white house than I want a black racist in the white house.

If Collen Powell were to run for President I'd be working for his campaign.

Yes, I am afraid of Mrs Obama. I'm also tired of paying taxes, and giving my money to welfare programs. I'm tired of being part of the 66% who pay so the others can sit at home. BTW: I have a relative who benefits from welfare, so I'm not totally disconnected.

Rhonda   October 17th, 2008 9:52 pm ET

Race was mentioned, in my opinion Obama has done an excellent job of keeping race out of this election. I have notice more racial issue on the McCain Ticket. I went to the speech in Cincinnati and I did not hear one person make any comments about McCain being OLD or about how angry he appears. I'm voting for Obama because I believe he can turn things around. I am not voting for McCain because I believe he is another Bush. Not only is he another Bush he appears to be a very angry man who should try anger management. He also has poor Judgement. Why would you put someone on your ticket who has been found guilty of ethics violations.That's the last thing we need in the White House.

Russell   October 17th, 2008 9:53 pm ET

Michael, I think you're comment moments ago regarding a possible "reverse" Bradley effect was right on point! I agree that the privacy of the voting booth will afford MANY white voters the comfort factor to vote their hearts and minds, dispite their mouth, or outward statements & comments. Very good point Sir.

Gabe   October 17th, 2008 9:53 pm ET

you are so on point!! You can see the effort to paint Obama as "other" is racially coded. The McCain campaign lit the fire and those fringe elements are started to express racial sentiments that were boiling under the surface for years.

DCook   October 17th, 2008 9:53 pm ET

I am a conservative Democrat who plans to vote for Obama. However, i want to commend LKL for having Joe Hicks as a commentator. We need more commentators (like David Gergen) who don't spout partisan politics. In particular, I agree with his comment that Race is unlikely to be a deciding factor. Many African Americans will vote for Obama as a result of his race, and some white voters will no doubt vote against Obama because of his race. Overall, however, I believe we are at least one generation beyond this being a deciding factor. Obama and McCain represent a distinct choice with decidedly different points of view and this will be the basis for most voters making their choice. Moreover, Obama has done a remarkable job of staying above the fray which is one of his great strengths.

Robbie   October 17th, 2008 9:53 pm ET

People say that race will not impact the election at all. To those people I suggest you tour the deep south for a little while. I have lived in Georgia my entire life and I have came across several racists in this area. People want to act as if this country has been striving for equality for hundreds of years, but the government has only been trying to reach this goal for the past 40 years. I believe that race will play an important role in this election for the simple reason that when I tell people I support Obama for election people blurt out racist comments and then throw out charges with no validity to them.

Guy Launière   October 17th, 2008 9:53 pm ET

Larry how do you explain that Obama gets 95% of the black vote in the poll? If you are a black person and you vote for Obama just because he is black , you are racist. The black people are racist. Colin Powell will vote for Obama. I rest my case.

Evelyn   October 17th, 2008 9:53 pm ET

There seems to me to be a lot of racial voting and it is on the part of the black voter. There will be more people voting for Obama only because he is black than white voters voting against him because he is black. Black pride, give me a break, this is an election for someone to run our country. I'm a female and I have gender pride but would not vote solely because of that reason. I'm an independent voter and was for Obama in the beginning and changed my mind simply because I don't like his policies not because of race. Oh, by the way my ex-husband is black and we have a child. I don't think I am racially motivated.

Patrick   October 17th, 2008 9:54 pm ET

1st, I am in awe of Professor/Minister Dyson!! I think we have seen great improvement in the area of race but, there still a group of people who are torn between issues that they agree with and voting for an African American. Hopefully the overall well being for them and their families will trump their fears.

robert   October 17th, 2008 9:54 pm ET

larry king please have michael eric dyson on cnn more often..he is a genius when commenting on race issues..wish you had him on longer today...please be even when giving equal time to both parties..thank you,all the way from hawaii

ED   October 17th, 2008 9:58 pm ET

Why do the blacks keep throwing this race thing in our face? What about the interviews in Harlem where they reversed the issues from the candidates and then interviewed the public? They asked the public if they thought Obama made a good choice by choosing Palin as a VP and they replied yes. These people are not watching your show, or getting the information the media is putting out. More blacks are voting black because of the race issue. Frankly the race thing has become reverse discrimination. Lets look at the issues and forget this race thing, it makes me sick.

JD   October 17th, 2008 9:58 pm ET

I guess it's not racism if the black population votes for someone based on skin color. "Black Pride" is nothing more than code words for "Black" racism? I'm black and therefore it’s ok that I vote based on race but since you are white it is not ok for you to vote based on race. Sounds like a politically-correct double standard. Of the majority of "White" people who vote for Obama, the main reason will be "White Guilt" and not his qualifications as a leader.

Q   October 17th, 2008 9:59 pm ET

I agree that it is going to be a small # of Americans that will vote against Obama due to race, but some of these state are going to be close enough to tip it McSame's way. And it's an act of despiration on McSame's part to bring all of this negetivity against Obama. And I believe that they are and don't care about the division thats coming about due to it. I'm a dem. ,U.S Marine and , a plumber,honestly Obama, at this present time would be the only candidate that I myself would die for. That woman Bachmann is depressed or something. I make less than $50'000 a yaer and as an American I am willing to sacrafic more money to save my childrens future

lynn   October 17th, 2008 9:59 pm ET

when it comes to race.the female senator tried to talk about that it did not make a difference between Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama,da of course not they are both minorities.When it comes to a white male candidate and and black canadidate it will.If the presidential election were between a woman and a black candidate it would not be a chance for a bradley affect.Thats why the polls are so close!

D. M.   October 17th, 2008 9:59 pm ET

It's clear that racism was an issue from the beginning of the race.
I know in my heart that this is true. I've witnessed this too many times, in and out of the military. The closer Obama gets to victory, the worse it will be in the media for him. Know this, I'd die first before I choose not to vote for Obama. No matter what! Thanks!

Sophia - Canada   October 17th, 2008 10:00 pm ET

Michael you are a straight shooter.
Keep up the good work.

Angel   October 17th, 2008 10:01 pm ET

Nobody has made race an issue other than a few pundits who make a living out of making race an issue. They must be starting to feel a bit uneasy with Obama.

K   October 17th, 2008 10:02 pm ET

I can't beleive the republicans with all this crap about Bill Ayers Can all of you mediaheads question McCain like David Letternan

Ira   October 17th, 2008 10:03 pm ET

I believe that most Americans know that racism still exists and if they don't they're playing naive.

From personal experience; co-workers have commented that they would never vote for a "black person," or " a Ni@#@$#". They've made comments of sexism towards Hillary Clinton and I've over heard some even hope for the death of assassination of Obama if he would be elected to office.

Now; because I have personally witness these racist comments I, know that it will have an effect on the voting outcome. To believe that racism can't or won't affect the election, again you're playing naive.

Of course the political parties are not instigating racism. Both sides, are trying not to make an issue about it because it won't benefit either parties. However; because the presidential election is where citizens implement they're constitutional rights. Each individual will vote based on they're preferences and that includes they're racial, sex, and poverty preference.

melissa   October 17th, 2008 10:03 pm ET

i agree with michael. race will be part of the reason obama loses. to the other african american gentle man who hasn't experienced racism in his lifetime, he is either blessed or blind. try living in alabama. my husband had a noose hung in his workshop. he is the only african american on his job. there are still parts of the south that we can't drive around in at night.

Patrick   October 17th, 2008 10:03 pm ET

Republicans don't understand that this country is rotting from the inside out! If the middle class(the backbone of this country) falls apart,
the nation as a whole will soon follow. there ewill be no one to make money off of!!This selfish "those people, get your own, I got mine" idealogy has got to change in order to get us back on track. The rebulicans have and will run this country into the ground. Don't you know this is a new day, the country, the world has changed. What worked for the elite can't even serve the elite anymore. The comb over crew has got to just give up the steering wheel before we total the car!!

Mavis Brauer   October 17th, 2008 10:04 pm ET

From a psychological perspective, Obama is clearly more emotionally and intellectually mature than McCain and Obama doesn't appear to operate at a level where race is even relevant. It's easy to see this by a quick comparison. McCain quickly resorts to ego-based comments when threatened like "Obama hangs out with terrorists." Obama simply sticks with the larger picture of providing a good plan for governmentmental policies that provide for the overall health of this country's citizens. I find it strange that the color of one's skin is even considered to be an issue.

moniche   October 17th, 2008 10:06 pm ET

this election process has shown more that ameria is still racially backward and its citizens ar living in denial.untill they wake up to face this demone it might keep affecting the countries development

Karen   October 17th, 2008 10:07 pm ET

As always, Prof. Dyson, you are on point. Most importantly is the sad aspect that many either do not want to admit racism exist or they are just 'plain dumb' (sorry, but I couldn't think of a better word to use). Nevertheless, ignorance is bliss. Answer this question for me: Why is it that Gov. Palin can go on SNL for comedy, but does not have the courage to face real journalists (i.e. Larry King, Prof. Dyson, Campbell Brown, Roland Martin, Brian Williams)? Which is more important? Why is it that she can continue to hide under the radars, but yet, her mouth spews hatred - and it's racism at its BEST. How shallow can people be?

Colin   October 17th, 2008 10:07 pm ET

i thought eric dyson was almost militantly racist? how can a people move on if we dwell on the past? Jewish people have fluorished since german oppression (to put it mildly), the irish have fluorised since english oppression from being labelled "the blacks of europe" (an unfortunate term but historically accurate), where each diversity has different historical stories each have pretty much got on with it while not forgetting there identity, just look at st patricks day and how quiet traffic was in

Reggie   October 17th, 2008 10:08 pm ET

Of course race is affecting this election. This is the first time we have an African American man running for the highest office in the world. We don't have any other comparison we can draw against as far as people's real attitudes towards Obama and his race. However, judging by the reaction and the behavior of the Grand Old Party, race has become center stage and has reared it's ugly head gladly by the GOP and 527 groups because the Republican Brand is tarnished and they have tarnished this country terribly.

Joyce Kershaw   October 17th, 2008 10:09 pm ET

I am always amazed when middle class people vote for republicans. As a girl growing up, my father always said that republicans are for the rich. That has never been more true than these last eight years under George W. Bush.

Linwood Haynes   October 17th, 2008 10:09 pm ET

That is a great point Michael. I watched you on Larry king, and you are exactly right about if Obama was white he would be leading by much more than what the polls tell us But Barack knows that he has to run a superior campaign against McCain, and he has. I do hope that race is not an issue, but we do have to be real about how race has played an important factor in this electionamd may god bless you.

chris coston   October 17th, 2008 10:10 pm ET

I believe race will determine the outcome of the presidential race. But not how you see it. This country has come a long way and if you put a Democratic Powell/Rice ticket on the books. I would easily predict 90 percent of the popular vote would lead them to victory. You are doing an injustice to this country by already predicting the loss of Obama because of his race. Could it possibly be this man is just not qualified for the job? Could it be that the Democratic party has the lowest Senate approval rating in history? There are lots of reasons I would and would not vote for Senator Obama. But to play the race card with the backing the senator has from the media and all of his supporters. It is you who needs to let go of the past and quit making this election about somthing its not.

concered   October 17th, 2008 10:11 pm ET

race has to effect this race ..because a black manis running for the highest office ..but it is a sad thing that it has to be an issues ....when shall we move on of this race factor ..... and really belive all men are create equal

Fred in DC   October 17th, 2008 10:11 pm ET

I love this election. It puts race right in your face. You can't run from it you can't hide from it. The beauty of this country is that you can vote for whoever you want for what ever reason you want. Let's just vote already and see what happens.

Patrick   October 17th, 2008 10:11 pm ET

To Ed: Race is still an issue because in our day and age, some people still think being black is being "less than" Politicians who know this use peoples fear and even perhaps racism to push their political agenda. If you don't know your constituants, your ticket can not work them over! Politician know what to evoke to get a desired affect...ex robo calls.

crowe   October 17th, 2008 10:11 pm ET

Mr. Dyson has got it right on ...I would take it even further with race and god forbid bring up the very real possibility that one of these lunatic racists may try to erase all the progress that has been made with race relations over the past 20 years....that is why the vice-presidential race is so important....McCain won't make it through the first term due to health problems and Mr. Obama will have to have the greatest security forces ever known in the Whitehouse to be allowed to affect the change he espouses. Every time the people of the USA relax and assume everything is okay some loon starts killing people...wake up and smell the coffee....Palin and McCain have planted some very evil seeds

Susan   October 17th, 2008 10:13 pm ET

My biggest concern used to be the economy and health care. Now everyone seems so far left or right that our children are in the middle watching America become a land of hate. The new evil seems to be racial terrorism. If we don't have respect for the views of others what good is freedom. No matter who wins Obama OR McCain, We need come together and give them a chance to show us what they can do.
If we don't AMericans will destroy this country more then ANY one man could ever do..

Steve Perzan -Philadelphia.,PA   October 17th, 2008 10:15 pm ET

I am white and an Obama supporter, and I think that race dose have some effect - not great on the election. I think that telling people a racist is like telling a drunk that he is a drunk at this point. It is simply nagging and really doesn't help "change" the drunk or the racist. There are so many other really imprtant issues on peoples minds who want to vote with reason and for a reason and not for or against a race. So in reality Stop the nagging!

Deb Geissler   October 17th, 2008 10:17 pm ET

I have recently become a proud US citizen (formally from Canada) and lived in Alabama for 12 years. I was very proud to volunteer during the Primary campaign in AL and SC. Senator Obama was the only candidate in the Primary campaign to open HQ's in AL (5 in all) and that made me feel like the people of Alabama mattered to him in this process. We have recently relocated to Delaware and I was looking forward to voluteering for Sen.Obama in our new home State. What I have discovered is Delaware is unimportant in the upcoming election. I am tired of only hearing about "battleground States". EVERY AMERICAN'S VOTE SHOULD COUNT!! I understand the history of the Electoral College but with technology and communications this process is certainly outdated. I am very disappointed that nothing has been done since the 2000 election that Pres.Bush won even though Senator Al Gore won the popular vote. The popular vote should be the process to ensure that EVERY American interested in democracy can vote and the importance of their vote is not depended on the State in which they live!!!!

CJ   October 17th, 2008 10:18 pm ET

I think if Obama was a white candidate, he would not have come this far.
His ambition would have been caught off long time ago when people found out about the radical associations he has had with that is if he was a white candidate.
As a registered democrat, my vote goes to McCain because I think he will serve this country much better than the radical, liberal, arrogant, Obama.
No racism here whatsoever! I hate racism.

Candace DeLaney   October 17th, 2008 10:18 pm ET

I just have to say i agree with Dr. Dyson, race has been a factor through this whole race the race is always played. American people just don't want to think for themselves whatever the media feeds them about anyone that have to be so. I know this world always create crisis creation to keep us fighting one another while they are killing us.
I don't believe McCain cares anything about the poor people black and white people him and his wife never have to do their own laundry or take the trash out pay a trash bill that eats us up on taxes all I know everything you have you pay triple in taxes since President Clinton left office.
In this country it's not about the crime it's the money and color of the skin that committs the crime.
They are some rude people McCain and Palin to me. I see it got drown out when Kennedy Jr,. brought up the fact that Palins husband belong to an organization that wanted to separate Alaska from the US again it's not about the crime it's the color of the skin.
And the republicans will do anything to have this country in a whole and rich sit up and laugh at us all. At least Senator Obama knows what it feels like to live off of food stamps and it is harder today than it was when his mother recieved food stamps. But the rich say we are useless eaters

Patrick   October 17th, 2008 10:20 pm ET

to JD: yours is a good point without (education) taking into consideration our US History. the whole black thing evolved from the history of being excluded from the mainstream by a racist society. I am so proud that our country is living up to its name. that society is evolving into a multicultural society that is scaring the pants of some. It is United! Living up to the name!!!

All cultures, races are getting together to vote for a man they all believe in. Issues and ideas that all these people share is a mighty force. This scares the minority to death older, white men). Don't be fearful. Obama would be a president for ALL people....despite a small segment of hatred of of him/non white people.

dee   October 17th, 2008 10:22 pm ET

How is it that O'Bama is b eing hailed as a black man? Was not his mother white? If so he is 50% white and seems to have renounced the white part of his 'pedigree' (this is a word used by him, not me). He has interjected racisim another time when he made a remark abbout him not looking like the other fellows on our paper bills. Hilary also accused him of using racisim against her. Seems to me anything Rep say is dirty politics but the Dems can say anything and that is o.k. I do not claim to be for any party, and have always voted for the person I felt most qualified. I was a Dem for 47 yrs til 2000 when I became disgusted with them and felt they were more socialistic then liberal. That is what it is to take from one person who works for a living and give to someone who doesn';t so they can live equal to me. This is thru my tax money. AGAIN, how can o"Bama be solely black when his mother was white???

Thomas   October 17th, 2008 10:23 pm ET

The outcome in the race for the presidency this year will be based on race. In my opinion Senator Obama is a very intelligent and cable individual to preside over the Unite States of America. In saying that, I think that his being a black person is the only thing that will hinder his chance of being president. I also think that because he is of an ethnic background it will help U.S. relations around the world. Countries such as the Arabs nations, Afghanistan, Cuba, and Venezuela would find something in common with Obama which they never have with any other president. I strongly believe that his only hope in this situation is that young people of all race, race out on November 4th and vote in high numbers.
P.S. Americans must keep in mind that the presidency is not just a one man show. They can add all the veteran advisors to Obama’s intelligence.


JD   October 17th, 2008 10:24 pm ET

Hey Deb Geissler,
Maybe we can go with a popular vote right after the Democratic party gives up its super-delagates and allows the popular vote to exist in its own primaries. Can't have it both ways!

Alex's Mommy   October 17th, 2008 10:25 pm ET

I agree with Bill from Texas who switched the stories. If Obama's family situation was as tacky as Palin's, there would be outrage. There should be outrage that this parody of a person is on a ticket. She is not at all intelligent, does not appear to be capable of critical thought and represents that group of people who, depsite mediocrity, have been able to "make it" based on ambition and ruthlessness. It is sad that people who call themselves Christians support and spread the hate that has been such a part of this campaign.

Ironically, the leadership of the republican party has depended on the limited intelligence and fervor of these one issue people to win past elections. I truly hope it doesn't happen again. One would hope that Bush would've been enough to cure the ignorance.

Karen   October 17th, 2008 10:26 pm ET

To those who wonder why we can't move on from the pertinent issue of race is because - simply - it still exist. If it were not a factor in the society and culture of the USA , then we could then move on to other pertinent issues, and then trumpet racism's death. I, for one, who have dealt with racist practices, policies, and people know that it is alive and well. I would celebrate the day that we can say racism does not exist, so let's do something to rid its ugly face.

Mike   October 17th, 2008 10:27 pm ET

Here is what I'm not understanding about the people that make up this great nation. Since the beginning of time there has been a white man in the highest position of government service. Each and every one of the men that employed that seat has brought more trouble in many ways than they brought good. Yeah, there has been some good times to remember in America but with every good time there was/are multiple troubled situations. So, if we as the people of America learns from our history, why aren't we the American people looking for a better or another way of living. We are so wrapped up in our parties to represent who dominates the nation that we as the American people never think of our country. If this is the land of promise, milk and honey or an opportunity for a better living – most of all the pursuit of happiness, why are there parties that divide us. Why do we allow race to divide us?

Regardless if you vote for Obama or McCain – if you are poor than you will probably continue to be poor, if you are middle-class than you will live as such and if you are rich, yeap you will stay rich. So, is it important to divide the nation with race or ignorance based on who is president?

ED   October 17th, 2008 10:27 pm ET

Stephanie, I disagree. The people of whom you speak most likely did not run out to register to vote, as did the black population of whom have never voted before, until word on the street was that a black man was running for president.

Tom   October 17th, 2008 10:39 pm ET

The election is full of race, but it is not all coming from the white race about 42% of white Americans are going to vote for Obama and 98% of African Americans are going to vote for Obama, where is the racism coming from, what the Obama campaign wants you to think is if you don't vote for Obama you must be a racist, if you are white and don't vote for Obama can't that mean you just don't agree with his views

CH   October 17th, 2008 10:41 pm ET

Past presidential candidates lost the elections not because of the race, why should this race be judged differently?
WE ARE ALL HUMAN. If Obama loses, it will be because he is trying to turn this country into you know what.

Richard Thaxton   October 17th, 2008 10:43 pm ET

Some of you suggest that African Americans will vote for Obama because he is black. Sounds to me like you are saying the African Americans are not aware of the policies in this campaign. I vote for the policies that benefit the people; this is coming from a social worker. Why should these corporations get bailout money from the government. Now when there is a candidate that will fight for the middle class and grassroots level people, there are outcries that he is a socialist. It is obvious that those who vote for McCain want to keep the status quo the same: The rich get richer and the poor get worse. Can we be real and see that permanent tax cuts and trickle down economics does not work. It did not work for the middle class and poor under Reagan and it is not working now. The problem with the Republicans is that they do not care about the people in the inner cities, just the good ole' boy network which features the wealthy. To go back to my earlier comment–saying that African Americans vote for Barack Obama because he is black, is insulting

JD   October 17th, 2008 10:44 pm ET

Patrick: You are 100% correct that the "whole black thing evolved from the history of being excluded from the mainstream by a racist society." It was a horrible time in our nation's history. But that is still not justification for voting FOR someone because of the color of his or her skin. Just because it happened to “me” doesn’t make it ok for “me” to do it to someone else. To truly combat racism sometimes it is necessary to look inside ourselves and question our own motives, whether we are black, white, brown, red, yellow, or any other color of the spectrum. There is not a majority or minority ethnic population today that does not exhibit its own form of racism, either blatantly or discreetly.

Richard Thaxton   October 17th, 2008 10:47 pm ET

I meant "permanent tax cuts for businesses" in my 10:43 pm ET blog.

Tom   October 17th, 2008 10:54 pm ET

Being an Irish American let me tell you that racism does not only apply to African American remember the NINA signs (NO IRISH NEED APPLY) OF THE LATE 1800’S AND EARLY 1900’S it still exists today ask yourself how many times you have related drinking to having Irish blood.

NELDA PARRISH   October 17th, 2008 10:54 pm ET

Obama has never had the experience of running a lemonade stand, just always had a "cushy" Government job.

Sarah had been a Mayor and is an acting Governor of the biggest State of the Union, Took on the Big Oil Boys and didn't back down.

I have a personal friend whose daughter is a college student in Alaska with her military husband, both received a check for over $1,000 each. Further, she received a grant check for $1,500 that she never applied for. She knows how to stimulate the economy!

Sarah beat the press by announcing her daughter was pregnant when she accepted the VP nomination. Also she chose to have a down syndrome baby and is not ashamed of her choice, that is an example that she can handle adversity. If & when she is VP, she will be able to cope with whatever fate hands her way, she can handle it! She made me proud to see a real "lady" with good judgment, also known as "horse sense"! She's made dresses and long hair popular,
GO GET EM SARAH. Nelda Parrish, Corinth, Ms.

Dave   October 17th, 2008 10:56 pm ET

I am European American. I feel that since the polls show that 98% of African Americans are voting for Obama, that is racism.

Mickie   October 17th, 2008 11:09 pm ET

Michael Eric Dyson – right on the money – Larry, you really sholud have him on more often – and I thought you did well tonight – but then at the end f the show you had all republicans???

Lynn   October 17th, 2008 11:10 pm ET

God bless us all. whats the point to all of this madness? Is that we do need the best person to take this job. but we are missing the true point.
I feel That Mr. Ayers need to speak up, Rev. Wright is someone who I think is completely miss understood, The problem is america has different cultures through out our great country ,as long as we dont see them all on a daily bases we react in odd ways towards others also because we dont listen clearly due to only the information from our personal cultures,
this causes" a great miss interpretation. Yes it will always bring up and out the ugllness along with the worse racism. when things are different we need to not panic because in the long run we are the same.Hey dont believe everything you see or hear .Go make new and different friends this will help, food always brings us togerher. I CHALLENGE you all to sit a table and listen, YOU WILL LEARN SOMETHING. all the hate in oneself is hate against oneself

Dave   October 17th, 2008 11:18 pm ET

what's wrong with having on all republicans? shouldn't we get a bi-partisan viewpoint?

Hugh Carpenter from California   October 17th, 2008 11:34 pm ET

Are you for real? I don't care if you're European-American. I'm about 75% European-American–maybe that's not enough to suit you. So what if 99% of Black Americans are voting for O'Bama. Have you watched any McCain rallies lately, or do you only own a radio? 99% of the people at McCain rallies are white. Probably, 95 or more % of the republican party is white. I guess us white folks never gave black folks a reason to be racist. Give us all a break! The white people in America voting for O'Bama is going to get him into the white house. If just black people voted for him, he'd still lose. You're not part of the solution, you're just another white person who is part of the problem. I truly believe most of white America wants to see racism become a thing of the past. It's people like who only make it harder to become a reality.

willy   October 17th, 2008 11:45 pm ET

no more ignorant in the withe house .We need tauthful and smart people to run this country, america wake up remember the last 8 years of w.bush.If we do not want to go deeper in the hole we better
do something now.Other wise after 4 more years,we will be fithing
all over again,wars.hungers and more.

Dave   October 17th, 2008 11:51 pm ET

OK, Hugh. Do you think that the 99% of blacks voting for Obama are really voting for him because of his views and positions...or are they voting for him because of his race? That, my friend, is called racism.

Since 45% of whites are voting for Obama, that clearly shows that whites are over the race issue and that the racists are the blacks voting for Obama.

Luc St-Juste   October 18th, 2008 12:21 am ET

Larry, I think the whole ACORN voter fraud accusations by the Republican is fabricated by the Mccain Camp to distract the voters from focussing on main issues facing the country. I think the ACORN workers who created the mess in the registration have been infiltrated by the Republican to contest the Democrats' effort to register more young voters. I also think the American People will be very disappointed later if they let Mccain elected to renew Georges Bush's messing policies.


Amory Sanders   October 18th, 2008 12:21 am ET

No matter what anybody says, regardless if Obama is mixed or not he is still cosidered a black male. This country has been ran by White men since the United States begin, and now to have a black president candidate scares the hell out of a lot of people. I don't care how smart or educated he is. It doesn't matter all people see is a black man may be the President of the United States. I know to some people that might sound crazy, but it's true. I had a co-worker tell me that if Colin Powell ran for president he would win hands down. That is false, he would still be seen as a black male running our country that's been dominated by white men since the existance. Our country was founded on the back of slaves. We as Aftrican-Americans didn't get our civil rights until, what when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed and that was in 1968 I believe. It's 2008, so wake up. I don't want to say that the election is based on race, but look at the facts. I like John McCain, but I think Obama is a better fit for our country now. I don't think he will win. I have to see it to believe it. I'm not racist by any means. My fiance is white my best friend is white, but sometimes people feel that if it's not white it's not right.

Luc St-Juste   October 18th, 2008 12:34 am ET

I aggree with Robert F Kennedy about Mccain on continuing Bush's policy on the war and I think the American People know better. I know race is a big factor in this election but I am very confident that BARACK OBAMA will bring a real change in washington. For those of you who might be racist, please give change a chance, sit back and see how an OBAMA administration will change your life in bringing us together as the " GREATEST NATION ON EARTH. " The Bradley effet will not prevail. We need a Democratic President to clean the Republican mess.

Luc, from Hartford, CT.

Dave   October 18th, 2008 12:37 am ET

Hey Amory, Give me one actual fact that makes you think Obama is a better fit for our country. Dont use any talking points either.

If you truly like his policies better and you have studied both sides without prejudice, then you are the exception. However, I feel you are just like the rest of the black Obama vote for him because he is black.

Dave   October 18th, 2008 12:39 am ET

Hey Luc, Are you aware that it was a Democrat congress that put us in the mess we are in now? Do actually think Nancy Pelosi is an effective leader?

Hugh Carpenter   October 18th, 2008 12:43 am ET

So here's my question. How many people are voting for McCain becauses he's white? I already said some blacks are probably racist, so what's your point? If more blacks are racist than whites do you feel vindicated? We'll never know which race has more racists than the other. That is just ludicrous. I want to heal the racial divides in our country, you seem to want keep it divided. Your thoughts and actions only proves that you are a racist.

debbie miner   October 18th, 2008 12:45 am ET

i am a 56 year old white female. i have never been racist and i feel obama will win. race issues will get better if people stop being bitter about the past and move on. i am voting for obama based on his policies not his color
thank you

Chekogiqlohm l   October 18th, 2008 12:48 am ET

A lot of americans seem to have forgotton the first Black President of the united states was JOHN HANSEN in the year 1781
send me a link and i,ll send you the vidoe clip.

E. Davila   October 18th, 2008 12:49 am ET

Race could be a factor, but not enough to carry weight in this election.
I will like to believe that I live in the new America. The America of 2008.
Therefore, Obama should win, because people are ready for change!

Joseph Lett   October 18th, 2008 12:49 am ET

Doctor Dyson, know one really mentions the fact of McCain's age and the probability of something happening to him, and Sarah Palin becoming President. Now that's scary. Of course we wish the best for McCain, but probability is still out there.

Dave   October 18th, 2008 12:50 am ET

OK Hugh,
My point is that whites are voting for the MOST QUALIFIED candidate and blacks are voting for Obama. I know which race has more racists and it is blacks. I will vote for the MOST QUALIFIED candidate.

If ALL blacks voted for Obama and ALL whites voted for McCain, then I would say that both races are equally racist...but that isnt the case now is it!

Mitch   October 18th, 2008 12:50 am ET

Race is affecting this election but not in the way most suspect. Black people are going to vote for Obama because he is black not because they may agree with him and his policies. Don't kid yourselfs by saying this has anything to do with "Black Pride" either, this is basic discrimination no matter how you look at it. One would think that after all of the discrimination the black community has had to deal with over the years they would know better.

dan donahue   October 18th, 2008 12:50 am ET

Shouldn't Americans that are so concerned with race focus on the fact that if Senator Obama is elected to the highest office in this nation, then no longer will there be room for excuses from any other minority? This would help to reduce the validity of any "supression" argument and defuse the stagnant state of cultural affairs. Barack came up from nothing, as can anyone else; no matter the race, gender, color nor creed. Long live the USA.

Shikago   October 18th, 2008 12:53 am ET

I am voting for Obama because he is...............................................


FazilM   October 18th, 2008 12:57 am ET

I think one has to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see the racial overtones in the Republican platform. Yes there will always be a racist element in politics, but to have it espoused in such an overt manner is a new low in American politics, and speaks volumes of the Republican party.

Loy Hart   October 18th, 2008 1:00 am ET

Only Obama has himself used the "race card" in the Primarys and now again with McCain.

Len   October 18th, 2008 1:02 am ET

Race and religion is always a factor in the United States. It has nothing to do with this presidential race, but with the lack of educating our children. Perpetuating the idea that we are better because of our color or religion has been, and will be a problem in the United States. Is Senator Obama black or is Senator McCain white? If this is the question you are asking then you truly not an American. Is one or the other going to make a better president because of their views then vote for this individual and not their color.

Jay Cathey   October 18th, 2008 1:04 am ET

Of course race is involved. Anyone that says other is frankly just not being honest with themselves and/or ignoring history. I catch Mr. Dyson from time to time and i appreciate his intellect on being aware of the issues that are dealt with on a day to day basis of black people in America. I think a lot of people are scared to talk about the true issues about race because their fear being labeled a racist and how it would effect their career or how they would be perceived by others. I give it to people that are just honest and straight forward with their "ignorance" or lack of education or willing to get to know another race or culture. Cramer, Dog the bounty Hunter and the list goes on with examples of how prejudice and racial our society can be "behind" close doors, or as seen today in the news with some of the McCain supports, blatantly in open public.

The way i see it as a 33 year old African American whom grew up predominately around white people as a child and spent nearly a decade in Europe on a professional level, is that this is one fo those times in history where, whether you like it or not, things are changing. there is a different non racist "educated" culture that is breaking out to the forefront of our political structure, who are tired of people running things with ideals from the past and afraid to talk about the "elephant in the room". We need to embrace that fact that we are different and its ok not to like everything about every culture, BUT as law abiding hard working Americans we are all due the same respect and opportunities to serve are country and to continue its world leadership in this every so needing world of uncertainty. And whether you are black , brown , white . green, or purple in the end we all bleed the same blood as human beings and with a ever so complicated world we are going to need to come together more and more to come up with solutions to keep our great nation moving forward towards making sure the freedoms and liberties we fought for years ago were not in vain.

Jeremiah Cathey

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