When will a European country elect a black leader?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Ugg, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #1
    Obama's support in Europe and for that matter, around the world is well known. Will that result in a black or at least ethnically different leader in another country sometime soon?

    England, can you see someone of Jamaican descent in No 10?

    France, a Moroccan?

    Germany, a Turk?

    Sweden, a Serb?

    Obama is the increasingly common face of the world; multiethnic, raised partly abroad and perhaps truly a citizen of the world. Is he just an American anomaly or the face of the future?
     
  2. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #2
    We'll elect a black/asian/martian just as soon as the best person for the job just so happens to fall into one of those categories. We could always give the job to David Lammy. Or... not.

    To answer the wider question...

    Part of the reason for this is that only 1.8% of Brits are black, compared with about 14% of Americans.
     
  3. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #3
    Trouble is though that while the general public might be happy to vote for a black/asian/martian candidate, there's a long way to go before the ballot paper.

    They still have to run the gauntlet of political process to become a candidate in a winnable seat rather than an 'also-ran' in another party's safe seat. I have a white unmarried female friend that has struggled for years to get decent candidacies because the local party committees prefer the 'safe' married white man. God knows that they'd think of the martian!
     
  4. windowpain macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Britain has a (minority) Scot for a leader. Also had a woman PM, and a home secretary that was blind.

    What are the chances of Nigeria electing a white leader?
     
  5. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #5
    maybe when that person has the best policies and the most public support?

    just a guess
     
  6. windowpain macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Correct answer. :cool:
     
  7. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

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    #7
    When such a person leads a party and comes up with good ideas, policy and has public support.

    I don't think it matters the race, ethnicity or gender of a person if they have good policies and good personality , thats why Obama is highly thought of around europe.

    We've had a canadian prime minister here in the UK!
     
  8. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #8
    I think that's the whole point really, politicians don't suddenly appear out of nowhere, they're a product of the political process. If minorities of whatever flavor aren't encouraged to participate in local politics, they stand little or not chance on the national stage.
     
  9. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

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    #9
    That is true. Personally i would like some more accurate representation in the house of parliament, although there is already a few black and Indian Mps, although not enough women and variation in age as i would like; the average age of an MP is 50!

    My constituency was well known as in the last election there was female candidates from the three main parties.

    Apparently a lot more MPs nominated for the next election from the conservative party are gay, so thats a good thing. On the whole I think Britain is doing better on accurate representation than the US.
     
  10. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #10
    I said multiethnic. Unless I'm mistaken, there are a lot of Pakistanis, Indians, etc. in England... I would think that the case would be strongest in England anyway with its history of colonization and lots of immigrants from those former colonies.

    How does a person get to that stage? Waving a magic wand? Being encouraged by white politicians/voters?

    Andrew was born in 1858, 13 years before Canadian Confederation. He's hardly a strong candidate for my question.
     
  11. windowpain macrumors 6502a

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  12. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #12
    Ta for that, I was going to chime in with all that, saved me from reposting :)
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    Which is one reason we don't get a lot of viable third-party candidates in the US. This kind of thing is a long-term process, and politicians generally seem to take the shorter view of things.
     
  14. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #14
    To be fair, the title of the thread is "When will a European country elect a black leader?". However, it doesn't matter. The point still holds true. I can get the demographics up again, but there all there for you to read.
     
  15. kdum8 macrumors 6502a

    kdum8

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    #15
    If there was a candidate who wasn't white in the UK, I would have no problem voting for him/her if I felt they were the best person for the job. Although bear in mind that we have a parliamentary system over here, so we don't technically vote for a leader at all.

    The social issues for minorities in the UK tend to be a little different from those in the US. Until the 1950's basically everyone in the UK was white.
     
  16. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #16
    New York State has a blind, black man as a governor.

    While I'm sure that the Scots are proud of Gordon, does he really qualify as an ethnic minority? Maggie was an incredible woman, but about as white as can be.

    It is an interesting document. To be honest I wasn't aware that there were so many minorities in UK politics.

    You're right, it was, but the bigger question isn't so much one of skin color or which continent one's ancestors came from but a question of someone from a radically different ethnic and social background.

    The examples put forth for the UK so far, have shown that there don't seem to be any nationally well known, ethnically different UK politicians. Unless of course, you include "Red Ken"!:D
     
  17. Anuba macrumors 68040

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    #17
    The thing is that most European countries don't elect a president. They vote for a party, and whoever is the leader of the winning party becomes prime minister. The people don't have a direct say about who is elected party leader. To get to the position of party leader of an established party, you have to work your way up the party ranks for some 20 years.

    We do have a few in high-ranking positions though, for example Nyamko Sabuni, the Swedish minister of integration. She was born in Burundi and came to Sweden when she was 13. She could end up as prime minister one day... in the US, she would be disqualified for the highest office since she's an immigrant.

    Also, bear in mind that African immigrants were basically non-existent in many European countries until the mid-1900's. Places like Scandinavia were 99% chalk white until the 1950's. Most black people in Sweden came from Africa in the 1990's and 2000's. They've only barely learned the language and they don't have roots here just yet. Whereas in the US, they've been around for... what... 300 years?

    Well, Sarkozy's father is Hungarian so it's not like he lacks immigrant background.

    Actually, Sweden's prime minister's great-grandfather was black. Granted, he has nothing to show for it except dark brown eyes, but I'm sure with the American line of reasoning (one drop black blood = black) he would be considered black.

    Like I said, multi-ethnicity in the US goes back several hundred years. You're all immigrants -- America should be ahead of Europe in this respect.

    When will we see a female American president, though? The first female candidate was outmaneuvered by the black dude, and I don't see Hillary running in 2016... and Palin had better not run at all.

    In Europe, we've had plenty of female leaders. Not just historically (Queen Elizabeth I of England, Queen Victoria I of Sweden, etc), but in modern times -- Margaret Thatcher (UK), Gro Harlem Bruntland (Norway), Angela Merkel (Germany), Tarja Halonen (Finland), Vigdís Finnbogadóttir (Iceland), Agatha Barbara (Malta), Mary McAleese (Ireland)... and Europe isn't alone there; there's also been Indira Ghandi, Benazir Bhutto...
     
  18. kdum8 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Every country in Europe would have voted for Obama...

    http://www.economist.com/Vote2008/
     
  19. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #19
    Lammy is well known. One of the biggest pricks in politics, though.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    Interesting question. Obama has raised a lot of interest in Europe, and I think the interest goes beyond the fact that he's not George Bush politically, to include his ethnic makeup. Europeans seem to be fascinated with race in US politics, and Obama's successful challenge to the race line as it has existed.

    To broaden the question, when will a European country elect a national leader who isn't a White Christian? Would France ever elect a non-Catholic president, for instance? Would Great Britain's parties ever select a Catholic to lead? (I believe you'd have to go back to Benjamin Disraeli to find a non-Church of England prime minister.)
     
  21. Anuba macrumors 68040

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    #21
    Without a doubt, yes.

    Die-hard republicans argue that this is because the world wants a feeble and gullible president that weakens America's position on the global stage, which is absolutely ridiculous. Why the hell would we want that? We would much rather have a strong US president who is well liked by most of the world, like Clinton was. America has never been weaker than after these 8 years of Bush, it's gone from enviable to laughing stock during his time in office. That's quite a bizarre feat, considering the fact that the world was never more pro-America than after 9/11, but Bush somehow managed to destroy that advantage in a matter of weeks.
    I can only speak for Sweden, and -- this may be somewhat difficult to grasp for an American -- we actually have no idea about which faith, if any, our leaders belong to. In a country of 85% atheists and agnostics, faith is irrelevant, and preferably kept private. Faith has no role whatsoever in Swedish politics, with one minor exception: We have a party called Kristdemokraterna, the Christian Democrats, and they usually get something like 5% of the votes.

    I think we would be OK with a "closet christian" leader, and closet muslims on higher functions within the parties, but we would utterly reject any deeply faithful person who flaunts his or her religion on her sleeve. We want rational thinkers in office and would never accept religious nuts like Palin. I guess that's why our politicians are fairly neutral when it comes to the Israel/Palestine conflict, they have no End of Days-stake in this matter.
     
  22. JG271 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Indeed, I read an article in the guardian about the religion of British PMs. Tony Blair converted to catholicism after his resignation, perhaps he felt like it would be met with negativity whilst he was in office?

    One of the future possible leaders of the Labour Party, David Milliband, is atheist. I don't think religion affects British Politics nearly as much as in the US. What is the highest office that an open atheist has been elected to in the US?
     
  23. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #23
    Actually, Africans have been present in North America for about 400 years while they've been in Europe for a lot longer, unless the Moors don't count...

    Yes, Sarkozy is the son of an immigrant and granted, intra-European immigration of his father's generation wasn't the same as today's easyjet, borderless migration. But it's still not a radical departure from the status quo.

    I'm not sure why you think a drop of black blood is indicative to Americans of ethnic identity. Sure there are some Americans who are very racist but there are also tens of millions of white Americans with drops of blood from every continent.

    Actually, Europe should be ahead of America in this respect with its centuries of colonization. The US has only been around for 232 years. Intra-European migration is also overlooked, especially during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, much less during the Industrial Age.

    Yep, you're right, the US has been slow to embrace female politicians. It will be very interesting to see which female is on the ticket in 2012.


    Your post seems to be less about Sweden's future political leaders and more about the shortcomings of American voters. Is Sweden ready to embrace a "global citizen"?
     
  24. Applespider macrumors G4

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    #24
    Technically, Gordon Brown is Church of Scotland. ;)

    But yes, Tony Blair waited until he'd left office before he converted to Catholicism. Although since the UK is pretty secular, his 'faith' comments tended to lead to more embarrassment an concern than anything else. I'd say the UK is more likely to elect an agnostic or a occasional/lapsed churchgoer than a devout bod.
     
  25. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #25
    Pete Stark is the only known elected atheist. He's a member of California's state legislature.
     

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