Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

August 16, 2013

RONNIE ELLIS; Race and politics

(Continued)

FRANKFORT —

It was something I’d never thought about. A couple of weeks later, I heard Obama talking about how common it is for young black men to hear car locks clicking as they walk by.

Years ago, while visiting a rural high school, I noticed several pickups with Confederate “Stars and Bars” plates in the student parking lot. I knew some of those kids and I asked them why they displayed the plates. They all told me the same thing: it was about pride in their southern heritage and had nothing to do with race and I believed most of them.

But I also knew that slavery was the foundation on which that heritage was constructed and that every African American who saw those plates interpreted an entirely different message.

A friend of mine asks me if it’s not equally racist for an African American to vote for Obama simply because he’s black as it is for a white person to vote against Obama for the same reason. Both are obviously racial responses. But there’s a big difference between having the chance for the first time in your life to vote for someone “who looks like me” than rejecting someone simply because he doesn’t.

Be honest. If the first 43 presidents had been black, would it surprise you that I – as a white man – might relish the opportunity to vote for a white candidate? If Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, don’t you think there’ll be at least some Republican women who vote for her?

We live side by side in the same world but usually in two absolutely different realities. We all should try much harder to see the other one.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

 

Text Only
Columns
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone