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See the Bush in 30 Seconds Ad produced by Mike Cuenca.


Move over, Strom and Jesse! Geraldine wants a place at your table.  
By Mike Cuenca | March 12, 2008
To hear Geraldine Ferraro tell it, hundreds of thousands of voters across the U.S. have somehow conspired to make Barack Obama the front runner in the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, solely because they all decided that it's time the U.S. has a black president. It's not because he just happens to be the first real candidate they could choose who gives them a hope that he might usher in a new era of American politics, free of the nastiness, the win-at-all-costs immorality, and the unchecked corporatization of our government. Nope. It's all been only because he's a black man.

Obviously, Ferraro is deliberately conflating the popularity of Barack Obama with the bad kind of affirmative action from which she says she benefited.

While defending her indefensible statement that Obama is in his current position as front-runner for the nomination solely because he's black, she has stated that if her name had been Gerard Ferraro rather than Geraldine Ferraro, she likely would not have been the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate in the 1984 election. More than anything, that makes her sound a lot like staunch affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly, because what she's describing is how detractors of affirmative action love to characterize it: the awarding of a job to a person of color or a woman regardless of their qualifications and solely to make points with those who would care.

It's the kind of affirmative action that was crucial to the rise of mediocre appointees like Clarence Thomas and Alberto Gonzales. No one thinks they were the best qualified for the jobs they've held; they got their jobs because some white guy was trying to make it look like he had a social/racial conscience. Those white guys also knew that there would be a lot of people who would see it for what it was and that that would help undermine the intended, appropriate kind of affirmative action wherein steps are taken to ensure that people of color and women will not be hindered by their race and/or gender. Such steps can include reviews of hiring decisions and widespread job advertising--but they most definitely do not include purposely hiring unqualified and/or less qualified minorities and women over more qualified white males.

No one who promotes affirmative action is advocating hiring people of color and/or women who are not qualified for a position. Proponents of affirmative action are advocating taking action to level the playing field so that minorities and women are not unfairly denied jobs and/or promotions for which they are the most qualified.

In her case, it's entirely likely she's correct. She probably was offered the vice presidential nomination as a political gesture, based on her gender, as an appeal to women and men who would be impressed by the choice of a woman.

But Barack Obama has shown over many years an ability to generate votes by proving himself as a qualified, capable professional. It is ludicrous to argue that thousands, now hundreds of thousands, of voters have voted for him only because they wanted to vote for any man who happened to be black, just to show that they are race-blind.

Sadly, Ferraro is appealing--seemingly intentionally--to those who share the racist/sexist perpetrators' attitude that minority men and women are being given unfair help in our workplaces. Obviously, that's intended to help Hillary Clinton by casting the race for the nomination as a black vs. white choice in the minds of many people who might be negatively influenced by the thought of a black man in the Oval Office.

Shamefully, Ms. Ferraro is also helping perpetuate the bigoted idea that minority men and women don't get ahead unless we make an exception and give them a job for which they're not qualified.

For both of those reasons, she should be forever thought of in the same vein as others who have used negative racial politics to influence white voters.

Move over, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, Geraldine needs a place at your table.
 

Originally published by Buzzflash.
 


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