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 Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?

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PostSubject: Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?   Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:29 am

The German Greens have elected Cem Ozdemir, a Turkish national, as the Co President of their Party - I think this makes him the first Islamic head of a mainstream european party?

I've lived in Germany and found the Turkish population in general warm, friendly and hard working people. Their status, given the amount of work they have put in, has been hard to justify, with even the German born children of Gastarbeiters families not entitled to citizenship. Its good to see a Turk in a leadership role.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastarbeiter

There have been Parliamentarians in Europe elected from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds since at least the 1890s. The UK has had a number of Jewish P.M.s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dadabhai_Naoroji

Moosajee Bhamjee T.D. "I'm just an Indian among the cowboys" was elected in 1992.
Does race matter at all, when we are electing politicians? With Obama's election, is it not again shown to be the case that people choose party and politics, and race is a minor consideration if it is a consideration at all?
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PostSubject: Re: Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?   Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:38 am

Quote :
Does race matter at all, when we are electing politicians? With Obama's election, is it not again shown to be the case that people choose party and politics, and race is a minor consideration if it is a consideration at all?
Nope - Barack Obama: First Kenyan President of the United States of America. Leo Varadkar is also foreign isn't he ?

I'd say we're more parochial here in Ireland - You'd have a harder time getting elected being a Dub or a Corkman 'blow-in' to Clare than the other way around but you'd probably find it easier to get elected if you blew in from Canada, Kenya or Caracas. I'm not sure about Poland though - we live with and respect the Poles but do we want them ruling us because they not different or exotic enough ?


Last edited by Auditor #9 on Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?   Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:53 am

I am glad to hear this especially if it can help to reduce the blatant anti Muslim anti Turkish prejudice. To my mind Europe stretches to the Urals and the Mediterranean is our zone of influence. So much of European civilisation and history is tied up in Turkey.

I hope he proves capable in his new role.

On the wider question unfortunately belonging to a minority race, or female, still tends to be a handicap to a political career.
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PostSubject: Re: Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?   Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:23 pm

The man was elected for his politics, not his ethnicity I think.

And I hate being pedantic (that's a lie, but formalities must be observed), but race and religion are not he same thing. Is he exceptional because he is Turkish or because he is apparantly a Muslim? Is there any reason to think he is 'Islamic' as cf says? On the Turkish question he seems pretty bland.

Obama's election had loads to do with race. Have you heard that he is the first black president? This would not be an issue if race was irrelevant. Someone pointed out, in the Irish Times, that all those Black people who voted for him specifically because of his racial identity were being racist too.
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PostSubject: Re: Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?   Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:06 pm

905 wrote:
The man was elected for his politics, not his ethnicity I think.

And I hate being pedantic (that's a lie, but formalities must be observed), but race and religion are not he same thing. Is he exceptional because he is Turkish or because he is apparantly a Muslim? Is there any reason to think he is 'Islamic' as cf says? On the Turkish question he seems pretty bland.

Obama's election had loads to do with race. Have you heard that he is the first black president? This would not be an issue if race was irrelevant. Someone pointed out, in the Irish Times, that all those Black people who voted for him specifically because of his racial identity were being racist too.

Good point 095 - he describes himself as a "secular Moslem who likes a gin and tonic". He is a great believer in integration and is opposed to identifying people by their religion and ethnicity.
That doesn't rule out the possibility that these were factors in his election, any more than it does with Obama. I think they are factors in determining elections, but minor factors compared
with the politics of the thing.

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=146169

I wouldn't describe a black person who voted for Obama in part because he was black, as racist. It is a legitimate political aspiration for people to see racial barriers being broken. Perhaps, if someone voted for Obama exclusively because he was black, in spite of opposing his politics, you might have an argument. In the US, the African American vote tends to be Democratic no matter who is standing.
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PostSubject: Re: Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?   Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:29 pm

cactus flower wrote:

I wouldn't describe a black person who voted for Obama in part because he was black, as racist. It is a legitimate political aspiration for people to see racial barriers being broken. Perhaps, if someone voted for Obama exclusively because he was black, in spite of opposing his politics, you might have an argument. In the US, the African American vote tends to be Democratic no matter who is standing.

Is there such a thing as partial racism (or partial truth for that matter)?

It illusrates the negativity assosiated with the term racism nowadays, like discrimination being differentiated from 'positive discrimination'. If I vote in a person I regard as black in order to break racial boundaries, am I not still making a decision based on skin colour? If I were to vote for a woman in order to help balance out gender inequality, am I not being sexist?

In this sense maybe discrimination, racism and sexism aren't automatically negative terms. Then again, where there is 'positive discrimination' there is always a matching negative discrimination. If I vote for Obama because of his skin colour I am automatically discriminating against McCain because of his. In voting for a woman on behalf of gender inequality I am discriminating against her male rivals on the basis of their sexuality.
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PostSubject: Re: Cem Ozdemir Heads the German Greens - Does Race Matter in Politics?   Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:05 pm

Interesting post 905. We should all be very discriminating about who we vote for. A person might vote for people of either colour or both in order to try and get balance. Only one person wins an election, there might be a whole rainbow of losers.

Overall though, I think it is very much a secondary consideration for the vast majority, or less. People mainly vote for the politics, not the person.
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