Thursday, January 10, 2008

When and Where do I Enter? A Black Woman for Obama

Contributed by Stacie McCormick

In her 1892 essay “The Status of Woman in America” Anna Julia Cooper writes, “The colored woman of to-day (sic) occupies, one may say, a unique position in this country.
[. . .] She is confronted by both a woman question and a race problem, and is yet an unknown or an unacknowledged factor in both.”1

Today about 100 years later, there is great irony that these words ring true for the 2008 presidential election. They are triggered primarily by the now oft-cited essay by Gloria Steinem in her January 8 op-ed piece in the New York Times. It was key, however, in assuring me that I have made the right choice to support Barack Obama for President of the United States.

I would be disingenuous if I didn’t say that race and gender shaped much of my reasoning behind who I would support for this race. The concerns I had about the exploitation of those categories were very real. And I am pleased to back a candidate who is obviously sensitive to those concerns and respects me and my vote enough not to make me feel excluded from his agenda or forced to support him because of identity politics.

Barack Obama stands up for key issues on education, family, and Iraq that are all very important for me. He has a clear plan to enhance the quality of life for all Americans and I believe in his vision.

Importantly, he does not make me feel like an “unacknowledged factor” but a true participant in forging a new day for this country. I truly feel that where he enters, I will be entering also.

1. Taken from: Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought
Ed. Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Stacie McCormick is a doctoral student in English

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