21 Sep Obama vs. McCain -- 45 days to go. Race, age, gender are taboo in election

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Roland MartinIn a CNN Commentary, Roland Martin puts race, age, and gender on the table.  We identified race as the "elephant in the room" in a previous blog.  With these observations, Martin lays out the full spctrum of biases tht might affect how we vote.

It's wonderful to talk about the economy, immigration, the war in Iraq, health care and education, but we can't be naïve to the reality that when voters go into that voting booth, they will, as one person told me during an interview, "vote with their tribe."

We are seeing remarkable bias playing strongly in this election. Exit-polling data in the primaries showed some evidence of bias when it came to age, race and gender, but the great concern is whether people are as honest in talking to pollsters as they are in the voting booth.

So what do we do when it comes to our tendency to follow group identification?

1. Stop dancing around the topic. When you watch TV and hear folks talk about Wal-Mart moms or small, rural towns, they are talking about white Americans. These catch phrases never include African-Americans or Hispanics

2. Confront bias where it is. Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers and church members who they are voting for. When they give you the "I really can't put my finger on it" line, then press them. Hard. You know the real answer, so don't beat around the bush. The best folks to challenge Americans on their hang-ups regarding age, race and gender aren't the AARP, NAACP or NOW. It's Y-O-U. Don't give in to the "That's the way I was raised" mantra. When someone suggests that flags and faith show that a candidate isn't one of us, drill down.

3. Accept the fact that some people will not change. We all think that we have been gifted to the degree that our sane and logical arguments can get folks off their biased stumps. Some people just won't give in. Fine, move on. The goal is to rid our society of as much bias as possible. If someone is so hard-headed, then you have to go on to the next person and try to change them.

It's critical that we be as honest as possible about the impact of race, age and gender in campaigns. A lot of people love to toss around the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote that he hoped one day people would be judged by "the content of their character." But it's still a reality that skin tone, gender and our birth date means more than character to a lot of Americans.

Clic ere to read te full article: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/10/martin.bias/index.html

 

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