Thursday, October 30, 2008

"We're not racists" for Obama

Before the first Spring buds opened the campaign signs and bumper stickers started blooming all over Portland. I thought they were related to Snowdrop or Winter Aconite, but they last well into November and sprout like crazy. The Obama-Biden variety propagates best in the mild, wet climate of Oregon West of the Cascades. There's just a few lonely McCain-Palin blossoms.

Our nearest Post Office is on Northeast Killingsworth Street, just above Martin Luther King Boulevard. It isn't as bad as the Chris Rock routine about Martin Luther King Street, but it's in the heart of the historic Red Line district. Ever since the first blooms there's been a table selling the the political version of cut flowers - Obama posters, t-shirts and bumper stickers.

The guy running the stall told me about what sells and what doesn't. In areas where Black people live anything with Senator Obama's picture sells. Downtown, at Saturday Market and out West he moves a lot of merchandise. But the (White) people there won't buy anything with the candidate's face on it. Not one single "Hope" t-shirt. They're happy to have bumper stickers and "Change We Can Believe In" memorabilia or Obama-Biden. But not the image.

He's a businessman talking about his business. He knows what sells and what doesn't. We've made a lot of progress in the last few decades. Forty years ago nobody would have believed a hapa kid who grew up in Honolulu would be the Presidential frontrunner. I suppose we'll have come further when people who will vote for a Black guy won't be afraid to have a picture of him.
Update: Thanks to Keef of the K Chronicles for letting me use the whole picture, not just the offensive parts

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