Barack Obama’s campaign just sent me the following clip from Marc Ambinder’s blog:
If there were a group of questionable donations all with the name Steve
that were funneled through a guy in Jordan
who is a Jordanian national
who is under investigation for war profiteering
and it were Barack Obama
instead of John McCain
would this be a bigger deal?
Oops, I goofed. Ambinder’s blog post and the Obama campaign email had “Abudullah” where “Steve” appears.
To answer Ambinder’s question, I bet the press would pounce in a nasty way on Obama if this campaign finance violation had been his — and it SHOULD be doing more to tag McCain with it.
Obama should stand by his principles — while at the same time highlighting discriminatory bias in the press — but he and his team should not yield to discriminatory tendencies themselves.
Senator Obama — don’t be shy of the name “Abdullah.” Don’t perpetuate negative sterotypes of the name “Abdullah” — and while you are highlighting media bias — be sure to let the world know when you send emails out to the media that you yourself are not saying that a guy named Abdullah should be more suspect than a guy named “Steve.”
If one goes to Facebook and looks at Obama’s fans of which there are now 1,291,651 (and rising), there are lots of Abdullahs and lots of other non-Western names of young people who have placed their hope and trust in his style and substance of leadership.
America has more than enough institutionalized bias against Muslims, including those who are citizens of this country, that it doesn’t need to see a Barack Obama — in whom so many have hope to move beyond this kind of thing — become a promulgator of anti-Muslimism, even indirectly.
This is not a harsh criticism — but let’s not be sending more email out saying that John McCain should have been on alert for taking a donation “from a guy named Abdullah.”
— Steve Clemons
P.S. For those into Facebook, here is my page as well as a new fans page for The Washington Note.
P.S.S. Happy birthday to Marc Ambinder.