"Why do Blacks overwhelmingly support President Obama?" That was the question recently put to me by a white friend. My reply was simple and straightforward, but the in-depth answer is neither. Historically, black people in the United States have been oppressed. For decades they have not felt that anyone in power truly represented them. Today, that is clearly not the case. The man elected to lead this nation, and by default much of the world, is one of us--a proudly identifying African-American.
For many blacks in this country, Barack Obama provides an opportunity to identify in a positive way with the essence of power. Therefore, it is very difficult to separate the well-deserved emotion and pride in seeing a successful black man rise to the heights of accomplishment, from enthusiastic support of the individual and his policies.
This is not to suggest that blacks are unthinking or intellectually challenged when it comes to voting; rather, it implies that we are human beings just like everyone else. African-Americans are subject to the same emotions as every other people, many of whom would probably react the same way to seeing one of their own elevated to the heights of power. Or would they? I couldn't help but turn my thoughts to an even smaller minority in this country--the Jewish community. There are some interesting parallels, but also some striking differences.
When it comes to politics, Jews cannot be counted upon to form a monolithic voting bloc. It is true that the Jewish population skews highly Democratic, but they are also well represented within the Republican Party. Perhaps one of the most astounding political observations regarding this community is their representation in Congress. While Jews make up just two percent of the population in America, they account for 22 of the 435 House Members and there are 12 Jewish senators among the 100 serving in the legislative branch's upper chamber.
Setting politics aside, Jews have been undeniably successful in so many other important fields. From business to medicine to science, technology, entertainment and beyond they have left an indelible mark on America's history. Whether inventing vaccines to end polio or bringing information and people together through technological leaps such as Google and Facebook, the Jewish people have changed this country and the world.
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