American

by Michael O. Allen on February 3, 2008

Chris Rock on Obama: “Sometimes I feel like Barack forgets he’s the black candidate in the race. He’s running like he can win this s— fair and square.”

Of all things that have amazed me about Obama’s run for the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States, the tone that he set for his campaign is the one that has impressed me the most. Obama is multi-racial but, as if he has choice in our society, he consciously cultivated a “black” outlook without diminishing other parts of his heritage.

His earliest and biggest hurdle was whether he was “black” enough. Then, it turned out, he might be too black. Yet, he persevered.

I still have my doubt Obama will win the nomination, much less the presidency, but is a credit to him that his campaign has focused on his character and qualifications and (despite Hillary and Bill Clinton’s best efforts) not on his race.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, despite playing up the significance of her gender, at least earlier on, has made it possible for a woman to be taken seriously because she is clearly competent and is qualified to be president.

Her run bodes well for many of the current group of female governors and other leaders to credibly consider that option.

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