Stereotypes Are Made to Be Broken

For over a couple months, the Clinton campaign and the media have attacked Barack Obama of shepherding politically naive voters to the political circuit. Obama has generated more voter turnouts than ever before, in many cases doubling or tripling the amount of voters in an area. However, this new turnout raises suspicions from many who argue that the people voting based on emotions and not critical issues.

One infamous example came on the Hannity & Colmes show, when Hannity asked people who support Obama to cite one of his accomplishments. None of the replies were considered substantive. This and other instances have fueled the argument that Obama supporters are swept up by his words, not his actions. In fact, the argument was so compelling that it became a tag line for the Clinton campaign.

Unfortunately, stereotypes have a tendency of sticking in the public memory and evidence to the contrary rarely gets equal media coverage. The “Obama-Supporter-Stereotype” was probably what prompted Mike to interrogate an Obama supporter waiting to watch a Democratic Debate in Hollywood on January 31, 2008. Outside the Kodak Theater, Mike chose a young African American in a baseball cap and challenged him to provide details for why he liked Senator Barack Obama.

Mike was both shocked and surprised to find an extremely articulate and intelligent respondent. Even though his plan backfired, Mike published it on YouTube a few days later. It has since generated over 900,000 views and a short article in the New York Times. Below is full clip of their encounter:

Mike’s would-be-victim Derrick Ashong is a graduate student in ethnomusicology at Harvard University, and has lived on multiple continents. On many levels, Ashong’s experience, intellect, and candor repudiates the stereotypes carried by the media, and in this particular instance, one lone camera man called Mike.