A race for race: Does candidate Herman Cain fit the bill?

By on October 25, 2011

By Josh Williams–

In 2008, presidential elections made history as the first black president was elected to office. A historic breakthrough is an understatement here. In a country where once blacks were valued only for their ability to work in fields under the white man, we underwent a major step to creating equality by demonstrating that anyone may rise to the top of society and fulfill their dreams, regardless of their skin color. Although this does not apply to all minorities (as inequality still exists), this was a leap into an equal future.

As the 2012 elections approach, many are now discussing the possibility of a second black president as Herman Cain’s popularity rises in the polls. However, an interesting note is that many are focusing on just that: a second black president. Many ignore his qualifications, his past triumphs and his calls for action that other candidates stray away from. All of this focus upon race leaves a question in mind: exactly what political tactics are in motion?

Because the democrats put the first black person in the office, and in the following election, republicans are running a black man for office, it seems as though the republicans are using Cain as an attempt to break even with the opposing party. In other words, it looks as though the republicans are thinking, “If the democrats have a black president, why can’t we?” This line of thinking demeans blacks and equates them to an object, similar to a trophy. This would be equivalent to thinking, “Since my neighbor has a brand new Porsche, why can’t I?”

To put it more plainly, it would seem as if the republicans are exploiting the controversial aspect of Cain – the fact that he is black – and using it to gain momentum and votes in the upcoming election. Although there is a focus also upon his recently published 9-9-9 idea, the more popular topic is his ethnicity and how it will affect the presidency. Many are asking questions like how will he compare to Obama, the only other black president placing the focus of his possible presidency on his race and ethnic origins rather than his ideas as a person.

Perhaps this is not the case. Perhaps the republicans pushed Cain forward because of their belief in his ability to run the nation or his qualifications to be a president. Perhaps it is just a coincidence that the GOP’s strongest candidate is a black paralleling the current party in power. However, it is hard to argue that in this election, the topic of race is ruling this election’s race for power.

I am not attempting to attack the republicans or place the democrats on some sort of Angelic pedestal here. Nor am I claiming that race is the only reason that Herman Cain is successfully running for presidency. Rather, I am attempting to call to attention an issue that has plagued our nation since its birth: racism. Herman Cain should be considered a candidate for presidency because he is eligible and qualified, not because his controversial ethnic origins. I call for a reform in the way our society thinks valuing merit rather than skin color and personal presentation rather than ethnic orientation. In 2008, we demonstrated an ability to shrug off our unequal history and step forward into a world where men and women are created equal. Let us not step backwards in the 2012 election.

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Hermancain.com

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