Ferraro, Clinton: Learn From Obama’s Mama

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It is Obama’s antecedent that makes the ignorance of a Geraldine Ferraro so palpable. Of course, an Italian-American like Ferraro who until recently was not considered a true white, would be quite jealous of the kind of accomplishment that Obama on his own has achieved.

[Elections 2008: Commentary]


The last several days in the Democratic presidential primaries has been dominated by the foul-mouthed ignorant and patently racist ranting of a former congresswoman and a former vice-presidential nominee of the Democratic party in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro. 

Ms. Ferraro was chosen by Walter Mondale as his vice-presidential running mate.  Ms. Ferraro had told a California newspaper, The Daily Breeze, that Senator Barack Obama’s meteoric performance in the current Democratic party primaries was only due to the fact that he was black. 

Her actual statement, “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.  And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is.”

When the controversy over her comments burst open, she became defiant, said she wasn’t going to apologize, and charged that “Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?”

Everybody has been tip-toeing around the fact that Geraldine Ferraro has always been a racist.  She is a racist, pure and simple.  The chorus has been “Oh, I have known Gerry for a long time, she’s not a racist.”

Give me a break, a la former President Bill Clinton. Pure bunkum. This is the duplicity of the American political class, not calling spade a spade. The so-called non-racist Gerry Ferraro said the same thing of the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1988, when she told Chicago Tribune’s Frank James that “If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn’t be in the race.”

It is a pattern that says that blacks can never get anywhere, if they were not black, which conjures the bogey of affirmative action where blacks are taking the positions of whites only because they are blacks.

This is of course a pattern that the Clintons have tried to steer this campaign; to marginalize Obama’s candidacy as a merely black candidate, appealing only to black voters. Coming before the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, it certainly looks like a calculated strategy to frighten white voters who have voted for Obama in droves in so-called ‘red states’ where there are hardly blacks in those states. 

As a strategy, it would seem to have worked in the Mississippi primary, where 74% of white voters voted for Senator Clinton, though on closer examination it really was an improvement for Obama in those southern states. 

This brings me to the decidedly disingenuous discussion of race and prejudice and as to why Obama should not be considered white? No, no, guys sheath your swords and let’s look at this as civilized individuals. 

It is Obama’s antecedent that makes the ignorance of a Geraldine Ferraro so palpable.  Of course, an Italian-American like Ferraro who until recently was not considered a true white, would be quite jealous of the kind of accomplishment that Obama on his own has achieved. 

If we were to measure what Obama should be called through the life he has lived, he should be attributed with about 75% of white, and 25% of black. I know everybody is already shouting blasphemy.  But that should be the truth.  Let’s examine the fact. 

Barack Obama, Sr., married Obama’s mother and they had Obama, Jr. But after only two years, his black father abandoned him to be raised by his single white mother and his white grandparents.  In actual fact, out of Obama’s 45 years of existence, only two years of his life we can really claim to be our black. Of course, this is tongue in cheek as we understand that an ounce of black blood is all that is needed to classify anyone as black.

Obama’s white family has as much claim to him as he has allowed us to have 100% claim to him. Why shouldn’t they? He speaks of his single teenage mother raising him, and then taken over by his white grandparents. Hence the anger that the late mother would have felt about the piranhic frenzy with which so-called angry white women are attacking her son. For God’s sake she was his mother. 

A single mother abandoned by her black husband when she was only 20 years old.  But she didn’t break down and raise a vagabond as a son.  Not only did she not break down, she on the contrary achieved a stellar career that allowed her to influence the lives of the indigent, achieving her Ph.D. in the process. 

Writing in the International Herald Tribune, a sister publication of the New York Times, Janny Scott of the New York Times wrote of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, “Fluent in Indonesian, Soetoro moved with Maya first to Yogyakarta, the center of Javanese handicrafts. A weaver in college, she was fascinated with what Soetoro-Ng calls ‘life’s gorgeous minutiae.’” That interest inspired her study of village industries, which became the basis of her 1992 doctoral dissertation.

She became a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development on setting up a village credit program, then a Ford Foundation program officer in Jakarta specializing in women’s work. Later, she was a consultant in Pakistan; then she joined Indonesia’s oldest bank to work on what is described as the world’s largest sustainable microfinance program, creating services like credit and savings for the poor.

Visitors flowed constantly through her Ford Foundation office in central Jakarta and through her house in a neighborhood to the south, where papaya and banana trees grew in the front yard and Javanese dishes like opor ayam were served for dinner. Her guests were leaders in the Indonesian human rights movement, people from women’s organizations, representatives of community groups doing grass-roots development.”

It is the above kind of stellar achievement that feminism is made of; a teenage mother who didn’t wilt in the face of abandonment, but on the contrary went back to school and achieved success on her own terms, not the pampered life of a Hillary Clinton. Shame on the so-called angry white women. They cannot carry the shoes that Obama’s mother wore. What would Stanley Ann have thought of their bunch? Disgraceful. 

We have claimed 100% of Barack Obama because he has allowed us to do so, though in the final analysis he has nothing to do with how he is defined; the world defined him because he has black blood in him, disregarding the white blood he also has and the antecedents of how he was raised. 

We have claimed 100% of Obama because he has made us proud, becoming the “first black man” to be named editor of the Harvard Law School Journal, marrying one of our most qualified, brilliant and gorgeous black woman who has proceeded to bear two beautiful children for us. 

The politics of race and prejudice has been deliberately thrust into the primary, in the Clinton “win-at-all-costs strategy,” using surrogates like Geraldine Ferraro. Only the uninformed and bamboozled would fall for it.  Obama has as much claim to being white as we have to claiming 100% of him.



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