What if actor Clint Eastwood gave an interview in which he explained why, in the 2008 presidential election, he voted for John McCain: “I voted for McCain because he was white. ‘Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them. … That’s American politics, pure and simple.”
No, Eastwood did not say that. But actor Samuel L. Jackson did, in explaining why he voted for President Barack Obama — “because he was black.” Jackson also said his vote had nothing to do with Obama’s agenda: “(Obama’s) message didn’t mean (bleep) to me.” If Eastwood had said stuff like this, a cry to boycott his films would come from everybody from the NAACP to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
But the popular Jackson, who played in more films during the ’90s than any other actor, makes an incredibly racist statement and it’s … yawn.
Jackson insists he just does what every voter does. If they did, Obama could not have been elected U.S. senator from Illinois (15 percent of the state is black, 72 percent white) or the president of the United States (13 percent black, 72 percent white).
How does Jackson explain Obama’s election in a country where people vote their race? Simple, you see. Obama isn’t really a black man — at least as defined by Jackson: “When it comes down to it, they wouldn’t have elected a (n-word). … A (n-word) is scary. Obama ain’t scary at all. (N-words) don’t have beers at the White House. (N-words) don’t let some white dude, while you in the middle of a speech, call (him) a liar. A (n-word) would have stopped the meeting right there and said, ‘Who the (bleep) said that?'” White voters, according to Jackson, voted for Obama because they found him un-black or semi-black or quasi-black.
Obama did, in fact, lose the white vote — as has every white Democrat presidential candidate since 1964. But Obama outperformed Democrat John Kerry, who ran in 2004, pulling in 43 percent of the white vote to Kerry’s 41 percent.
How does the vote-my-race Jackson explain the 2010 elections of black House Republicans Tim Scott and Allen West, in South Carolina and Florida, respectively? Scott won in a district that is 75 percent white and 21 percent black. West won in a district that is 82 percent white and 4 percent black.
Polls repeatedly show that only a small percentage of Americans refuse to vote for a black person. A 2006 Times/Bloomberg poll found that 3 percent of voters would not vote for an otherwise qualified black candidate.
But 4 percent wouldn’t vote for a woman, and 14 percent ruled out voting for a Mormon.
What if people chose movies the Jackson way? What if blacks only saw movies about or starring other blacks? What if sports fans only saw players or teams that consisted solely of athletes who looked like them?