The candidate for thee, but not for me

In an amusing article that compiles examples of American and European media hysteria about Obama’s world tour (think Madonna and the Beatles, only bigger), Denis Boyles makes an interesting point about the European fixation with an Obama (read:  black) Presidency:

Anyway, the gist: Europeans really really want Obama to be the next U.S. president, just as they wanted John Kerry to be the current president. The Daily Telegraph’s poll last May showing Europe’s overwhelming preference for Obama — findings repeated today by Gallup — are everywhere in the coverage of Tour Obama 2008. Seven of every ten Italians, two-thirds of all French and Germans, and half of Britons sober enough to be able to respond to a poll question would vote for Obama to be president of the U.S.A. if they could.

However, if you asked the French, the Germans, the British and the Italians if they’d vote for a black candidate to govern their own countries, the results would be different, even if the candidate were the black JFK du jour. Those million Germans in Berlin will all be long gone before a man or woman of African descent becomes chancellor, prime minister or president of any European country. The French had a hard enough time voting for a chap of Hungarian descent; the odds of them voting for a “rat” — as they quaintly call their North African immigrants — are impossibly long.

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  1. Deana says

    The Europeans always strike me as having a very weird fascination with black Americans – and not in a flattering way.

    I lived in Spain for a year many years ago and the young black American women who were there had a very difficult time. They were viewed as exotic, sexual creatures, even though they did absolutely nothing to promote that connotation.

    But if you asked the average Spaniard about the (at that time) very few Africans who had crossed over into Spain, you got an earful of racist tripe, the likes of which I had never heard come out of an American’s mouth.

    Their impressions of black Americans and the Africans were both negative, just in different ways.

    Deana

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