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Larry Elder
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Actor Samuel L. Jackson -- Vote Your Race


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 for 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?

Back in 1980, an advertising magnate named Ted Stepien purchased the abysmal Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. Stepien thought he had a formula for success. White fans, he said, like to watch white players. Because the Cavaliers' stadium was then located between Cleveland and Akron, a demographical area that is predominately white, Stepien felt fans would come if the players looked like them.

Stepien employed the Samuel L. Jackson formula. He stacked the team with white players for the white fans. Stepien made a series of bad player trades that hurt the team's competitiveness for years. The team played even worse than before. Embarrassingly, the league eventually instituted the "Stepien rule," forbidding any team from trading its first-round pick in consecutive years. The team also drew even fewer fans. White fans, Stepien learned, did not enjoy watching white players lose anymore than watching black ones lose.

Confused? According to the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., a black president is a problem — for black people: "A white president, frankly, could be pushed a great deal more than we would push President Obama because nobody would accuse him or her of having partiality toward African-Americans. So it's a tough spot. It also means we still have a long way to go in terms of race relations in this country, and the President has, I think, moved through these troubled waters about as well as any African-American could, becoming the first black president."

Cleaver says black lawmakers make fewer demands of the Obama administration than they would have under a McCain presidency. To follow Cleaver's logic, blacks should have voted for McCain because he would not be labeled as preferring blacks — unlike the way a black president would be so labeled.

To sum up, Rep. Cleaver tell us that he expects a black president to do less for blacks than would a white president. And actor Jackson tells us that he votes for blacks just because they are black. This might explain why moviegoers stayed away Jackson's recent movie, "Snakes on a Plane."

Why, how could people decide whether to see the film — without knowing the race of the snakes?

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




7 Comments | Post Comment
No one cares when blacks make racist remarks because they've been taught that it's okay when blacks are racists because they're victims of white people. It's all very stupid but let's face it - most people are stupid.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Diana
Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:02 PM
Good article and awesome zinger at the end.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:31 AM
How sad you hang your hat on and malign a well-respected man with an excellent body of work just to appeal to your base. Samuel L. Jackson voted his race and that is held to ridicule. Good for him! A slow week, Mr. Elder? Our nation's history is rife with a people that voted their race. If that were not true, what need would there have been for the great Martin Luther King or the events that followed his passing, or even this dialogue.
...I am old enough to remember President Johnson's comment at the time of signing civil rights legislation that "this will cost us the South for a generation". Two generations, now and counting . . . .The resultant flood of millions of white "social conservatives" (as the segregationists and white supremacists called themselves) out of the Democratic Party to the "Southern Strategized" Republican Party changed the Electoral map. Our racial problems, after all, had not to do with "Democratic vs. Republican", but liberal vs. conservative. As a Democrat who cheerfully watched the "unseating" of the Mississippi Sovereignty** delegation at the 1972 Convention, I watched the Party do the most noble thing about its ignoble past. What a great opportunity for the GOP to tell those bigots it was a new era; there was no room at their inn, either. But the GOP, which had been a somewhat progressive party on civil rights, took up the rallying cries of their newly "out" racist members. If you didn't want blacks in your restaurants, neighborhoods, workplaces,colleges, voting booths, etc.well, there was a party for you! Of course, the party didn't say it outright: Why, it was only against "reverse discrimination". It was for Strom Thurmond's "States Rights". "Neighborhood schools". "Property rights". Nod, nod. Wink, wink.
White conservative politicians, authors, etc., have since tried to convince each other and themselves, of these preposterous fantasies. Overwhelming majorities of black Americans, as well as all conscientious Americans, are not misled by these transparent and self-serving efforts.... though I am sure they do rally your "base".

***Mississippi's Sovereignty Commission was a secret state police force operating from 1956 to 1977 to suppress the civil rights movement and maintain segregation. The commission kept files, harassed and branded many as communist infiltrators via agents who were retired FBI, CIA and military intelligence. No one was safe in Mississsippi. A form of the Sovereignty Commission continues today in Mississippi. Ask Haley Barbour. A google or Wikipedia search for the commission will give a quick fact check for those doubters. The records were to be sealed until 2027 but were challenged and opened to public scrutiny in 1998 and are available to search.
Comment: #3
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:47 AM
Hilarious, liberal sheep Demecra has to go back a half century to justify a typical knee-jerk racist Liberal defense of liberal racism. While the rest of America has moved on from racism, liberals are still rabid racists who belong in last century. Not surprising since the rest of their stale ideas failed all around the world last century. Calling themselves progressives is nothing but a lie since in reality liberals are nothing but regressives.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Thetruth
Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:17 PM
@the truth, many thanks for your remarks on this and other columns on which I have posted and you, having no intelligent, thoughtful response to the columns, have chosen instead to attack my comments.

So thanks.... for again proving "Ignorance is bliss". I could say you're a fool, but I'm not certain you are. Your ignorance, however, is undeniable.
Comment: #5
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:03 AM
How shocking, Demecra has taken a page right from his or her liberal masters playbook, attack the messenger not the message. Of course all that shows is that you have no intelligent response that actually relates to this issue, which really is not shocking coming from a liberal racist who espouses ideas that failed all around the world last century.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Thetruth
Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:28 AM
Re: demecra zydeem
I am a white woman in her late 40's. How unfortunate to read your blog and to read the words of Samuel Jackson. I have lived in Chicago, been to the east and the south. I have said to people so many times, that during my life and through my travels, the most friendliest and helpful people we run into are black folks, not white. We are in almost a 100% white community and even the surrounding area is mostly white. I love listening to Allen West of Florida regarding political opinion. My favorite football players are black, many news commentators I enjoy listening to are black and this black gentleman here above, I enjoyed very much his story. I have always surrounded myself with people of similar viewpoint, similar likes, similar goals but never of just similar race. Never. I wonder why we cannot, as an America, get past this stigma of race, but between Mr Jackson's words and your words here, I see why we cannot. It is very sad actually, because you hold back both races.
Comment: #7
Posted by: JustTina
Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:36 AM
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