“There’s only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate,” says Ralph Nader. “He’s half African-American.”
But Nader isn’t sure that this will result in any real differences between an Obama presidency and other recent administrations Nader has been critical of:
“I haven’t heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What’s keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn’t want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We’ll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards.”
The Obama campaign responded by calling Nader’s remarks “disappointing.”
When asked to clarify whether he feels Obama “talks white,” Nader responded: “Of course! I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should do is candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor [are] going to be defended by the law, [are] going to be protected by the law, and [are] going to be liberated by the law.”
Nader says he hasn’t “heard a thing” about any of these issues from Obama.
“Talking white” is an epithet used by some African Americans to criticize their peers for speaking proper English. This is clearly not what Nader means by the term, but the media, mainstream and otherwise, are portraying his meaning as such.
Furthermore, Nader addresses the issue of why white liberals love Obama so much:
“He wants to show that he is not a threatening … another politically threatening African-American politician. He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he’s coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it’s corporate or whether it’s simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up.”