Today I read an interesting story on Politico.com about a “racist” who voted for Obama (absentee). What was interesting about the story was the comment “he isn’t like all of the other N******”. I remember working at a place where a older Jewish co-worker said to me “You Jamaicans are not like these black Americans”. I encourage you to visit the site and read some of the comments to this blog.
Having written a few stories about race recently, I’ve gotten a lot of e-mail on the topic, including some fascinating stories about how intensely personal the presidential election has become to some families. I so appreciate the e-mails, and a Virginia reader agreed to let me share her story about how the election is intersecting with a family struggle about race.
Anecdotes are, obviously, just that, and many of them point in the opposite direction from this particularly poignant one. But I appreciate getting them and hope to keep posting them for the next couple of weeks.
My reader, whose family hails from Martinsville, writes:
I was raised by my grandmother and am from a military family. Everyone is a Republican. I was the first to go to college and am finishing up my graduate degree. …
I am currently in a relationship with a black man in what John McCain would describe as the “real Virginia.” My family, after three years, are just now becoming comfortable, if you want to call it that, with my boyfriend. They claim that he isn’t like all of the other *****.
Before my grandmother died, she left me with a note that she didn’t want me to open until she died. I opened that letter. My grandmother – who has never referred to blacks appropriately – had [early] voted for Obama. She called him a “socialist” in her letter but she voted for him because she said that maybe the values that her parents instilled in her, which was to hate anyone that didn’t look like her, would not be passed on if people saw Obama in office.
It was especially touching given my current relationship, and I honestly believe that there are many others out there just like my grandmother. Take it for what it’s worth but I believe that Obama will not only win my home state of Virginia, and that includes doing well in the “real Virginia” as well as win this election.