What Makes Him Different Makes Him Scary

Obama must overcome the stereotypes that come with his heritage, and success
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2008 3:40 PM CDT
A white couple expresses misgivings about Obama's candidacy.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama’s revolutionary candidacy is in trouble, and the very things that make him a breath of fresh air are to blame, James Carroll writes in the Boston Globe. “Race, gender, and class define American identity, but Obama, just by being who he is, directly challenges the core assumptions that undergird each,” Carroll writes. And that makes voters, and supporters, nervous.

Obama’s blackness challenges long-held ideas about parenthood and race; his gender asks voters to accept a new version of the black male; his self-made success may make other strivers uncomfortable. The alternative is a die-cast version of a president. “On gender, class, and race McCain is deeply of the status quo,” Carroll writes. Obama’s many contradictions, though representative of the American dream, are perhaps too much for the public to bear.