Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Which “team” are you on?

by Annette J. Johnson, Research Associate at the Kirwan Institute

Over the last several months I have been analyzing the speeches, debates and statements of the Presidential Candidates, as well as their political party on how they “Talk about Race”. As I am reading through the speeches, debates and looking at the Republican and Democratic websites, several themes started to stick out. These themes included “unity” and the “inclusion of all Americans”. Listed below are a couple of excerpts from statements made by both political parties.

“The leadership of President George W. Bush provides an opportunity for us to work together and better include everyone of all backgrounds in the Republican Party.”

“The Democratic Party is committed to keeping our nation safe and expanding opportunity for every American. That commitment is reflected in an agenda that emphasizes the security of our nation, strong economic growth, affordable health care for all Americans, retirement security, honest government, and civil rights.”

Across the United States, there are many “naïve” voters like myself who are suddenly thrown into the world of politics due to the upcoming elections. From the surface, both the Democratic and Republican parties look as though they are committed to these themes of “unity” and “inclusion”. To show their commitment, both parties have constructed “teams” based on race, ethnicity, gender and ect. to deal with issues affecting each group. They have the African American team, Catholic team, Entrepreneur team, Faith/Values team, Hispanic team, Senior’s team, Youth team, Women’s team, Asian/Pacific Islander team, Disability team and the Native American team. I started to get a mental picture of the different teams in my head. I became disgusted because to me both parties were starting to resemble our school districts and neighborhoods- SEGREGATED.

I fail to understand why we need different “teams” to “expand opportunity for EVERY AMERICAN” and if we are going to have “teams” why do we not have teams that represent EVERY AMERICAN. On neither website, did I find a Muslim team or Somali team and of course there are many more groups who have not been represented. What team should they join? Lets say that you’re an African American woman, should you choose the African American team or the Women’s team? If the political parties and their candidates are really concerned with EVERY AMERICAN, shouldn’t we have an American team which represents America’s diversity? It is unclear to me how we can “join” together to “expand opportunity for EVERY AMERICAN, when the political parties do not give us an opportunity to “join” together by separating us into “teams”. Furthermore, like many other areas of our life, they have once again found a way to categorize and separate us into groups. It does not surprise me that our state and local institutions can not figure out how to desegregate our schools and neighborhoods when their mentors can not figure out how to desegregate their political parties.

1 comment:

  1. Team work has been very important for the peoples.
    regards, saad from
    GITAM University