Thursday, September 04, 2008

Racism = Africans Only Supporting Obama because He's 'Black'

Take away Barack Obama’s skin colour and recent-generation African roots and I find nothing else of benefit in his campaign to Africa, Uganda and me in particular. That is, of course, if one does not (like me) consider superficial feel-good sentiments that are going around much of Black Africa a benefit. I painfully listened to a call-in programme on one of our local language radio stations in which a caller said, “… nsaba omusajja waffe, Obama, awangule naffe tweyagale ko …”(… I pray that our Obama wins so that we can feel proud too …).

Obama’s tenure, if he gets it, will be first and foremost about the US domestically. Africa would be the casualty of raised hopes dashed by an administration looking inwards, as it should, in order to guarantee election for a second term. That is of no concern to me. Obama’s would be an American government by the American people and for the American people. What concerns me is the values that I cherish as an African and Ugandan and how the Obama campaign and possible administration would affect them.

Like a significant majority of Africans, and Ugandans in particular, I am rabidly pro-family, anti-abortion, against homosexual relationships, would like strong religious-based morals taught in schools and support a pragmatic rather than idealistic approach to environmental issues. These issues are very strong to me. Given the saying that when America sneezes the rest of the world catches cold, an Obama administration would strengthen the forces around the world that do not share our values and whose pockets are quite deep. A Democratic administration at Washington would use agencies like USAID to advocate for and fund anti-African values causes.

It is also my observation that much of the support Barack Obama is getting among Black Africans at home and overseas is simply because he is black and has nothing to do with his position on issues that are dear to them. Ironically many of them would give Obama a torrid time campaigning in many African countries due to his mixed parentage. Had his father been Kenyan and mother Ugandan, I believe he would not even get nominated by any of our political parties to run for president. He would not be considered Ugandan. We all know how President Museveni’s ethnic origins have been used as a weapon against his presidency. Otherwise, for the sake of Africa and Uganda’s real hopes and aspirations, rather than assumed ones, we should look beyond Barack Obama’s skin colour. Our future should not be compromised by sectarian and racist perceptions.