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African Americans Voting For Obama: Skin Color or Credentials?

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On election night, five African Americans shared their views on whether it is fair to vote for President Barack Obama because of his race.

“[African Americans] feel that it’s about time for a black president, so they say ‘Hey let’s vote for him,’” said Armoni Wilson, 21, a student at Columbia College Chicago.

In 2008, when Obama made his first run for president, he had the African American community on his side. During this election, poll watchers wonder if the African-American vote will go as strongly for Obama.

African-Americans make up 13.1 percent of the United States population compared to White non-Hispanics, who make up 63.4 percent, according to the Census Bureau in 2011.

Since Obama’s win against John McCain, African Americans have strongly supported Obama according to the polls.

According to The Roper Center, 95 percent of African Americans voted for Obama in 2008. This year, 93 percent of African-Americans said they supported Obama, according to the exit polls from CNN.

Students like Jasmine Wheeler, 19, a 5th year senior at Roosevelt University; said voting for Obama would benefit students because of his views on federal funding and not because of his race.

“How he feels about tuition and college is a great thing. So those were a lot of the things that I was looking for. Him being black is a bonus,” Wheeler said.

There are approximately 37 million borrowers who have taken out student loans, according to the American Student Assistance website.

Other African-Americans surveyed said they were opposed to voting for Romney because of the “47 percent” comment he made at a private fundraiser. In that secretly recorded video, Romney said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that’s an entitlement.”

African Americans questioned the statement.

Huron Wilson, 19, a student at Columbia, said, “Yeah, I just laughed. I would’ve expected him to say that in the first place. There’s no going back and apologizing for it. I was waiting for him to say something stupid, and that’s what he did. If people can vote against him because he is black I have every right to vote him because he is black.”

Obama won the presidential election with 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. He had 50.6 percent of the popular vote and Romney won 47.9.

“I mean what can you do, he won!” Wheeler said. “White people voted for him, gays voted for him, the only vote that he did not have was the typical white Christian male vote. And as you see by this election, you can’t just have that one vote; you have to have diversity.”

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