Obama Not Just A Politician In Minds Of Black Students

This story was written by Tameka Hilson, Iowa State Daily
To some students at Iowa State, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is more than just a presidential candidate. He has been identified as a leader of the black community and someone willing to promote change.

"I think it is good for the African-American community that Obama is running for president. He is someone that we can relate to, and at this point in time, there is a much-needed change," said Reed Taylor, junior in marketing. "This is an important part in history, that we are even considering an African-American for president."

A number of black students have strong opinions about Obama and the traits he has brought to the presidential forefront - promoting change and showing that a black person is ready to take on the position of commander in chief.

Kole Agbaje, senior in communication studies, said Obama appeals to the public, in large part, because he hasn't made race a primary issue on the campaign trail.

"He appeals to everyone and doesn't promote the black agenda," Agbaje said. "Unite, rather than divide, is something that he believes in, while representing everyone as a whole."

Agbaje said that, even if Obama is elected into office, the current status of the United States will pose an immediate challenge.

"It would be tough for him, if elected as president, due to the state that we are already in right now, but it would be even harder to get things back to the way it was," he said. "Even though he doesn't have that much experience, he is willing to turn things around."

Other ISU students share many of the same feelings about the senator who originally made a name for himself as a grassroots leader in Chicago.

Rachel Iheanacho, president of the Black Student Alliance and senior in chemical engineering said that, in comparison to the competition, Obama has run a fair, positive campaign.

"The integrity in his campaign has been taking the high road within different situations, and this is causing people to look at him while bringing more attention to the campaign," Iheanacho said.

Courtney Thomas, BSA secretary and junior in pre-journalism and mass communication, echoed Iheanacho's sentiments about Obama's campaign.

"You have to be a person to make change, but in addition to that, there are dirty politics, and sometimes it seems that even though Hillary and Obama are in a race, things can be said to make the other person look bad," Thomas said.

Other executive board members of BSA support of Obama, but for different reasons.

"I am a thorough Barack Obama supporter because he has the heart to want to help people," said Tameka Greene, BSA vice president and senior in art and design. "After reading his two books, I had a better insight on what he had to offer."

Obama has always managed to draw a crowd wherever he goes - including Iowa State - in part because of his passionate speeches and desire for reform.

"I like what he stands for, as well as the different speeches he has given," said Vanessa Lewis, junior in pre-business. "I am glad to see a new face that is able and willing to make change."
© 2008 Iowa State Daily via U-WIRE