Obama Has Harlem Locked

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Senator Barack Obama will have the Black vote solidly in his corner if street pundits along Harlem’s famed 125th Street are to be taken as a measure of how African Americans are weighing their votes between the Illinois senator and New York’s Hillary Clinton. Coincidentally, top Harlem politician Bill Perkins today announced his endorsement of Obama.

Some of the people interviewed say they don’t want to see a Clinton dynasty, while others say she panders too much to the right with her stance on the Iraq war and unquestioned backing for Israel. At the end of the day, Obama will win Black votes because he’s the first Black presidential candidate with a realistic chance at winning the White House, many say.

“I think he has a better chance to win then Hillary Clinton,� says a merchant who would only give his first name, John. “She is a beautiful person but she is running at the wrong time; against Obama who has a better chance.�

“He is both internationally inclined and the fact that other races support him gives him an excellent chance to win,� adds Tyrone Rose, another Obama supporter.

Kim Blackstreet, also interviewed on 125th Street, has a unique take. “The problem is that we as Black people suffer from a psychological complex,� he explains. “We never believe in ourselves. How do we expect to have hope that Obama can win if we do not support him and vote?� He says Black pessimism may keep many African Americans who believe Obama can’t win, away from the polls.

“I think unless he has any skeletons in the closet then he should have no problems,� Micheal Wells, joins in. “Me and about 52 percent of the people I know are tired of the Clinton dynasty. I would not even vote for Hillary.� Wells says the Clintons were never “for the best interest of Black people� and maintained “a façade.�

“Hillary supports the state of Israel, I feel her viewpoints on the war are too shaky and her husband is a liar,� Peter Anderson complains. “Plus neither of them is clearly for the best interest of Black people. They do not support the idea of reparations.�

Even Harlemites who concede that they don’t normally vote say the upcoming election is different. “I will still support Obama,� says Carletta Joy-Walker, who pauses from enjoying a Halal lunch at a Roti shop, to share her views. After a pause, she adds, “If Hillary was to win however, a woman president could also be a nice change for this country.�

Abu-Muhammad who doesn’t participate in “organized American politics� as a matter of principal, concedes that Obama has a very good chance of winning the White House. Yet, wining the vote is only one half of the deal. “In a white supremacist society such as America the white leadership would never give Obama the chance to become president,� says Abu-Muhammad.


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