La raza y la carrera presidencial de Estados Unidos

BUENOS AIRES – Tres cuartos de los estadounidenses desaprueban hoy la gestión del Presidente George W. Bush. Dado esto, y el hecho de que las políticas y valores de John McCain y su candidata a vicepresidente, Sarah Palin, son casi idénticos a los de Bush, se podría esperar que Obama encabezara las encuestas por un margen mayor del actual.

Sospecho que la razón de ello es el racismo. Cuando se les consulta en las encuestas, la gran mayoría de los votantes blancos de más edad rechaza a Obama, incluso si muchos de ellos no están contentos con Bush. De hecho, un tercio de los demócratas ha indicado a los encuestadores en diferentes ocasiones que no votarán por un candidato negro. Un estudio reciente de Associated Press/Yahoo News  sugirió que esta carrera está costando a Obama seis puntos porcentuales en las encuestas.

La mayor parte del tiempo, el racismo es encubierto y sólo se da a entender mediante palabras en clave. Los medios de comunicación, particularmente los cada vez más populares programas de conversación por radio y prensa escrita de corte conservador, son particularmente importantes en este punto. Obama es criticado una y otra vez por ser "exótico" y por su "arrogancia", términos que traen a la mente la imagen del "negro escalador social" (“uppity niger”) de los días de la segregación, desde los que en realidad no ha pasado tanto tiempo. 

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