Saturday, September 13, 2008

Responses to Little Brown Americans

A Filipino friend who is into fashion and once designed mannequins emailed:
Does wanting a black mannequin count for me being a little less white-loving? Although I'll admit my aesthetics are sexualized - I love how black women look, but am not as sexually attracted to black men.

Oh, just one thing - and don't kill me for this: your opening sentence has two dangling modifiers.

Go, Elizabeth Ramsey!
A British friend of Asian descent emailed:
... so unfortunate that this election may well be decided solely based on the color of Obama's skin, but something we all knew could happen. Still, I am hopeful that enough americans will open their eyes and realize that they are not just voting for the POW vs the community worker, but that each candidate represents the beliefs and policies of their respective parties.

To vote for McCain and believe he is "Maverick" seems absurd to me....he is still ultimately a Republican, now backed up by a staunch conservative (who, incredibly, doesn't even know what the Bush doctrine is). What people should realize is that you cannot divorce McCain and Palin from the party they represent, the party they have supported over the last 8 years....the party, whose record over that time should speak for itself.

Of course, as a Brit, I cannot vote in these elections, but as a resident of this nation, I will still be affected by its outcome.
A high school classmate shared:
... I've always maintained that a real democracy requires an educated public that's aware of and can actually think through important issues all the way to the other end. In that regard, I don't think America is a true democracy either. It might have been, at one point in time, but is becoming more like the Philippines as the widening gap between the rich and the poor and the educated and uneducated has considerably widened over the past 4 decades. I believe this trend was triggered in the '60's by JFK's still controversial assassination (whom I believe was the last truly GREAT US President) and the Vietnam War (which, for the record, Lyndon Johnson, not JFK, started). The cynicism which it spawned ushered in the advent of the hippie movement and sexual revolution (which stressed emotion, feelings, drugs, and faux spiritualism over rational thought, responsibility, and accountability. It also germinated the first "me" generation with its focus on the self -- without regard to how one's actions affect others.).

The American political climate has always been characterized by a political pendulum, swinging from extreme to another. Let's just hope that America (or most of it) has had enough of doesn't make the mistake of what would turn out to be the continuation of the Bush Presidency (who actually lost the popular vote in 2000 by half-a-million votes and has made a mockery of democracy), and elect someone who, if actuarial tables are to be believed, will probably die in office if elected and leave us with a President Palin (the horror scenario!). If that happens, history will mark the year 2000 as the beginning of the decline of America's world leadership.

Cheers, P.

PS -- And yes, I'm voting for Obama. We need another Columbia alum in the White House -- the last two Columbia men who were elected were two of the greatest Presidents -- Teddy Roosevelt (whose bust is etched into Mt. Rushmore), and his distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only US Prez who was elected 4 times in a row and might have been elected to a 5th term had he not died in office. But that's just my own personal bias as a fellow alum :-)
Another had this to say:
Dude, You have not seen Elizabeth Ramsey's daughter have you? I bet you haven't even heard her voice either!
I searched for a photo of Elizabeth and Jaya Ramsey and stumbled on this:

From the West Coast:
interesting article...your kababayan is only one of the many filipinos torn between obama & mccain. i'm an ardent hillary supporter. to this day i have not gotten over the shock of losing the nomination to obama. i'm not completely sold to an obama presidency. make no mistake, it's not about color but experience and that alone. however, i feel there is no way for change if mccain wins. where does this leave me? the undecided i must say... needless to say, the racial divide remains throughout the nation. from where i stand i dont think we are prepared for a black president that why i feel obama is running on the strength of "change" and economic issues...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can understand how people seek the familiar. The essence of the phrase "birds of a feather flock together" lies deep in our biological roots as social animals: we tend to seek the familiar because it offers us a safe and comfortable environment amenable to survival. And as visual creatures, humans do tend to favor visual features as a primary determinant of familiarity (Humans are not the only creatures in the world to do this). So in situations such as elections, people who do not think carefully about the issues (or who are not educated about them) tend to make decisions based on this familiarity.
The trick to getting past this whole issue of race and gender is to educate onesself, and/or to think about the issues very carefully. We have two primary job applicants that represent not only themselves as individuals, but two large political organizations that have different agendas and approaches to doing the job of running the country. I think it is important for people to think carefully about the job description of "President of the United States", what it entails, etc., and then see who is best suited for the job.
(On an unrelated note, I find it ironic that, due to the requirements of citizenship, most naturalized citizens know more about American government than many natural-born Americans do!)
While campaigning strategies and voting often becomes a practice in "gut feelings", familiarity with moral stances (abortion, gay marriage, etc.), or generation of negative feelings about the opposing candidate (see: all the TV ads now...), this cannot be the way we make a decision that has so much impact on our daily lives as a country. I think we have to look as this process as we would when we hire job candidates. Do we pick people who are nice, friendly, and of the same skin color as us (but who could potentially screw up your business), or do we select someone who can do the job? We have to take the same amount of care and consideration as we would if we were selecting someone to manage a multimillion dollar property (because in many ways, we are!).
That's my two cents...