Thursday, September 4, 2014

How Race Is Lived In America Chapter 7 "When to Campaign with Color"

When I first started reading "When to Campaign with Color" my first personal idea was why does that matter? Then I remembered how 9/11 affected personal views of those who are from the Middle East and how some questioned Obama for a period of time based of religious rumors. As this reading continued it bothered me personally that a few of Ron Sims friends were telling him to keep a part of his personal story bottled up, the part on race because of how some would view him. When he was talking about his struggle between being a political official and being who he is as a person meant something to me; as it has been made known I am half white and half Taiwanese and some call me white it offends me others do not believe it at all. Sims is quoted as leading a "....dual life.....There is Ron Sims the person and Ron Sims the political official". One thing that I feel more then just myself will disagree upon is the fact that, "....Washington has transcended race; in the new century, in the New West, the expressed hope is that politics has shed its color barriers, and even its color consciousness." The fact of the matter, in my opinion is that as long as we have those who have some kind of predigest against a group of people whether it stems from where they are from to skin color to religion we will always have those who think a certain race does not belong in what ever field is in question. We do see those who are in a political power position who are making small changes, like Gary Locke who is the "first and only Chinese- American governor". After Locke's election in 1996 voters threw out laws that allowed Washington to hire on the base of skin ton. Sims then looks at how Locke played up his family story about an American immigrant from a hovel {small, squalid, unpleasant dwelling} in China to help with the peoples vote. From this Sims then concluded that the best way to have people listen to him in a state that is barely 3% black was to figure out what the white majority cares about and to shatter their views on black politicians. This chapter then goes into the typical stereotypes and brings up Locke and how in the mid-1980's a few of his former colleagues in the State Legislature were not sure his ethnic background whether he was Chinese or of Japanese decent but it truly did not matter because the assumption was that he was no friend of America. After reading this stereotype they dive right in another with Sims who is black; he says that, "people call me an 'inner-city politician'....." Sims also brings up that people have done this in cruel way as to remind him of the pigment of his skin. They do not even consider where he was raised and grew up which was a nearly all-white. The reading then goes into talking about how history lesson vs. life lessons, were they states examples of how a white boy at a high school basket ball game yelled at the visiting black players "Go rob a liquor store!". Sims tells a personal experience  back when he was a child how in his neighborhood used to run by his house like clock work every day and shout the N-word, one day he and his twin brother caught him and had a "in your face" type of talk with him. But once his father came home and learned what had happened told Sims and his twin do not stoop to their level. To bring this almost rant to a close in November of 2000 Locke won the re-election by a large margin defeating John Carlson. Ron Sims then completed his work on salmon recovery program and he continued race, he also told those close to him that he would like to run for governor in 2004.

After finishing this chapter the biggest take away I can find is that when someone holds any position of power or wishes to race will come up it may or may not involve your personal back story and it may or may not help you get the position you wish to achieve. Even then you must know what those who you are trying to when over,no matter their color, what they are wanting and what is important. Their is a fine line that must be balanced on to make sure that you do not give into the typical stereotypes yet do not pay special attention to just a select group. No matter what it seems the pigment in your skin will always matter.


  1. I agree that race will always ,more or less. have some affect in the political climate. Either through discrimination or being seen as culturally diverse and interesting (in Locke's case), we cannot seem to shake the racial stigma. No matter what stance or ideologies that someone has, the color of their skin will always be a factor. However we have made some progress. By electing Obama as the first African American President, we have made huge strides. Why is race such a big factor in electing our officials? Do you think race will even matter in the future?

  2. This chapter was one that was really interesting to read because of the total difference in the two politicians. I found it interesting that Locke didn't fully buy into the race factor, even after he won and the interview was conducted and he said he had never really thought about a racial hierarchy, yet he used the race card in his campaign. I would assume that it could almost relate back to the previous chapter about the slaughter house where there was a very clear hierarchy of race. Across the country, in a state that prides itself on diversity and being non-racially minded, the Asian-American who grew up as an inner-city kid (but was never labeled as such) and who doesn't see the hierarchy himself, won the election, over a black man who grew up in the suburbs (and was labeled as an inner-city politician), saw race being a factor his whole life, and believes in a hierarchy of race. I wonder what would have happened had Rice used his race as a factor in part of his campaign… Would he have been elected? Would there be more talk about him?
    To answer Dyllan, I think race is such a big factor in electing our officials because they are the face of the city, state, and nation. We want to be seen as a nation that is culturally accepting. Even though we have an African American President now, sadly, I don't think we are going to shake the racism that is still alive and kicking anytime soon.

  3. I think Faith brought up a good point that Sims shouldn't have had to disregard his racial story just because "Washington has transcended race," whether we like it or not, race is a huge part of all of our lives and we cannot simply ignore it by believing that we don't "see" race. For politicians like Sims and Locke, the most important thing to find is a balance. Like Faith mentioned, they must find a way to get through to the people and show that they view all issues as important, but never to lose aspects of what made them the politicians that they are today.

    I think race is such a big factor in electing our officials because race is a huge part of America's culture. Race factors into our lives, no matter what part of the country we are in, though it may be a more prevalent concept in some areas versus others (like in the story of the Cuban immigrants in Miami). I don't know if we will ever be able to get rid of the idea of race "mattering" in America. Because race and skin color are such a huge part of our society, I think even if the concept of dealing with these ideas gets better one day, they will always matter to us. Even if by mattering it simply means remembering where we (or our relatives) came from, like Gary Locke.

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