Jeff Chang, Vibe, Obama, And Blue-Eyed Japanese

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An excerpt from Jeff Chang's VIBE cover story on Obama "The Tipping Point":

Thanks to hip hop, American popular culture has been thoroughly, to coin a word, colorized. These are all signs that we may be in the middle of an era of expansive racial change. For some, these signs point to fear. For us, they point to hope.

Rewind back to the bitter cold of this past January, when Iowans under the age of 25 delivered Obama’s margin of victory in that first caucus, jump-starting his historic march to the Democratic nomination. In the 14 most competitive states, young people made up more than half of the 3 million new registered voters. Through the primary season, young voters turned out at almost twice the rate they did in 2000.

Young people, urbanites, progressives, and people of color have been the driving force behind Obama’s presidential run. “Barack Obama owes his nomination, in large part, to the strength of those voters,” says BET News analyst Keli Goff, author of Party Crashing: HowThe Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence (Basic, 2008), “and the strength of people underestimating those voters.”

Forty years have passed since Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy fell to bullets. In 1968, Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon and American Independent Party candidate George Wallace won 57 percent of the electorate by campaigning for the so- called “Silent Majority,” stirring a white backlash against “student radicals” and “angry negroes.” Since that time, racism and generational fear have been a dependable, winning electoral strategy.
Interestingly enough I was listening to NPR over the weekend where they were talking about George Wallace and his use of the term blue-eyed Japanese.

Kinda crazy how he still seems to be relevant.