FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Barack Obama has generated an excitement and hope not seen in American politics in years, perhaps even decades. But behind the scenes, some of his field workers and volunteers are coming face-to-face with something very different: racism.
The Washington Post reports about what it calls "raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed – and unreported" in this election. Obama volunteers have had doors slammed in their faces, and have been called racially derogatory names. Some Americans apparently can't deal with the idea that Obama might become our first African-American president.
One volunteer reports being chased by dogs while canvassing in Indiana. Another woman in Pennsylvania gave up on phone-bank duty after one night... because of the negative responses from voters in her county, which is 98% white. Drivers yelled out racial slurs as they passed a group of black high school students holding up Obama signs in Indiana.
The campaign says these are isolated incidents and that most volunteers and staffers have had positive experiences. It says the election has reinforced Obama's view that "this country is not as divided as our politics." As for the candidate himself, he doesn't talk much about race.
He doesn't have to. Obama has won 30 of the 50 contests so far, including 5 of 12 primaries where blacks made up less than 10% of the voters. He also won in caucus states that are overwhelmingly white – places like Iowa, Idaho and Wyoming.
Here’s my question to you: Now that it looks like it will be Barack Obama against John McCain, how big an issue will race become?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Kel from Auburn, Alabama writes:
Being a black man, I'll tell you racism sometimes seems to show up in the most subtle ways, even in today's society. I just hope that the smarter part of America will vote for the best candidate, not let their ignorance keep the man for the job out of the office.
Mary from Wethersfield, Connecticut writes:
If Obama loses the election, the media will say it's because the U.S. is racist. There will be no talk of his lack of experience, his long-standing association with Wright, his lack of substantive realistic ideas. We'll all just be a bunch of racists who couldn't bring themselves to vote for the black guy.
Jenny from Boston writes:
It depends who answers your question. It is not an issue for me, but for the ones who are voting today, it might be!
Race was not an issue and Obama started his campaign as a champion of all people. Then came the Clintons and her surrogates, such as Bob Johnson and Bill himself. I can just see the talking heads tonight bloviating on this issue and what it all means. It means that certain parts of this country are bigots. It would have happened had Hillary won and they would never accept a woman. Only she voted for the Iraq war. Wonder how many West Virginian men and women died for Hillary's Bush policy on Iraq?
Bill from New London, Connecticut writes:
Huge. Race has been huge all along. Ever wonder why Obama can't secure older voters and "blue collar" white voters? It’s because he's black. Polls won't show it, but we all know there are just some people who won't vote for a black man. Sad but true.
I really hope it doesn't matter. Bush fit the perfect stereotype that was "safe" to vote for and look at the mess he got us into. If people are so blinded by race and hate that that is the ONLY reason they don't vote for Barack Obama, then they deserve whatever they get.