Rebranding the U.S. with Obama
By Nicholas D. Kristof
The other day I had a conversation with a Beijing friend and I mentioned that Barack Obama was leading in the presidential race:
She: Obama? But he’s the black man, isn’t he?
Me: Yes, exactly.
She: But surely a black man couldn’t become president of the United States?
Me: It looks as if he’ll be elected.
She: But president? That’s such an important job! In America, I thought blacks were janitors and laborers.
Me: No, blacks have all kinds of jobs.
She: What do white people think about that, about getting a black president? Are they upset? Are they angry?
Me: No, of course not! If Obama is elected, it’ll be because white people voted for him.
[Long pause.]She: Really? Unbelievable! What an amazing country!
Kristof then rationalizes his friend's perspective by reminding us "that the one thing countless millions of people around the world 'know' about the United States is that it is controlled by a cabal of white bankers and Jews who use police with fire hoses to repress blacks. To them, Mr. Obama’s rise triggers severe cognitive dissonance."
So they're familiar with the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s (even if some details regarding Jewish involvement are off) but they haven't heard of the great successes of African-Americans over the past forty years? What an oddly selective memory. The ascendancy of Oprah alone would be hard to miss, I would think.