Black, white, or woman president?


Xao Yang, 75, of Oakdale, Minn., isn’t voting for presidential aspirants Sens. Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

“We are not ready for a black president,” says Xao, who came to the US in 1989 and became a citizen in 1997.

Neng S. Yang, of Cottage Grove, Minn., disagrees.

“This election is what I have been waiting for,” Neng says, who is an Obama supporter.

Xao is neither racist nor sexist. “All my life,” she robustly says, “there’ve been just white men running this country.”

Neng claims: “Obama reflects my life struggles. He knows the kind of life that the underrepresented Americans go through.”

Xao feels uncomfortable having someone different being president of the United States. “Poj niam tseem ua tsis tau tus nom nyob teb chaws Ameliskas no,” she adds, which translates that woman (Clinton) is not ready to be president yet.

She assures herself that she will be voting for Sen. John McCain, the preemptive Republican nominee.

“I think this country can use a different person, whether it is a black or woman president,” Neng says, “we are ready for a Democratic-lead country.”

When asked how rare of an occasion the US will have another black man and woman running for president again, says Xao: “I might not see this happening again.”

“Obama and Clinton have opened the door that all Americans, too, can achieve beyond the glass ceiling,” states Neng.

The fact of the matter is: Is America ready for a black or woman to be president? And, whoever becomes the Democratic nominee will face McCain in the general election.

“America is ready, the world is ready,” Minnesotan author Bryan Thao Worra says.

Although Xao’s view differs, but some Asian-Americans concur that this country has transcended beyond the issues of race and gender.

“The United States is extremely diverse and will continue to become even more diverse,” says Hlee Xiong, of Michigan, “it is only critical that our leadership reflects this.”

According to the 2006 US Census, a general view of the US population consists of about 80.1 percent white, 14.8 percent for Hispanic or Latino origin, 12.8 percent for Black or African American and 4.4 percent is Asian.

In a survey conducted by CNN, Essence Magazine and Opinion Research Corp., majority of the 2,184 voters say that America is ready for change. Of the survey, 76 percent say the country is ready for a black president, where 78 percent of whites and 69 percent of blacks agree.

The number appears to be lower if America is ready for a woman president: 65 percent of whites and 59 percent of blacks agree.

Lee Her, of Minnesota, believes America, too, is ready for anyone to lead.

“I do believe America is ready for an African American or woman president,” Lee says, who is a Clinton supporter. “There’s no more reason to deny this because if we look at the unprecedented momentum behind Hillary and Barack, none of us would have predicted this to be the case…”

She continues: “In my opinion, previously when everyone simply rendered it impossible for a non-white or non-male candidate to run, much less get this far, it had a lot to do with the fact that it was assumed no one had the audacity to run. Now that Hillary and Barack have transcended that marker, from now until the national conventions, it’s just a matter of who can sell themselves best.”

The Democratic race is far from over yet as Obama and Clinton are still competing for the party’s nominee. They both are virtually tied in the polls. With the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, an NBC/WSJ poll shows the candidates are square at 45 percent each.

Xiong states: “It’s hard to tell right now [who will win] because there are so many different polls and speculation from all sides of the spectrum.”

Lee has another prediction about the Democratic ticket. “I think Obama will get the Democratic endorsement,” she says.

However, she thinks McCain will be president. Says Lee: “This will not be because America wasn’t ready; because McCain will be more successful than Hillary [and] illustrating Obama [as] inexperience…”

“This isn’t to say those qualities won’t factor in, won’t be used as weapons for or against a candidate during an election,” Worra says, “but ultimately I think we’ll find people who will accept and prefer being governed by people we trust over how they look like.”

Like Neng, Yanky Sayaovong, of Wisconsin, also likes to see a Democratic president.

“I don’t really have a prediction on who will win, but as far as the democratic race, I would love to see either Obama or Hillary win the election,” he says.

Many Asian Americans say they will see an Asian running for president of the US some day.

“This land is about opportunity,” claims Nao P. Vang, 44, of St. Paul. “To be president is one of those rare positions that is possible to all US citizens–even to Hmong-Americans.”