Roland S. Martin | Bio
CNN Political Analyst
One of the most intriguing conversations I had at either the Democratic or Republican convention was with a white labor leader from Ohio.
I can't remember his name, but he made it clear that he is going all around the Rust Belt state looking his white union brothers and sisters in the eye and essentially shaming them into supporting Sen. Barack Obama for president.
No, he's not saying vote for the black man for president because he's black.
He said he's telling them that it's shameful that as Democrats, they agree with him on various political issues, but because of his skin color, they are refusing to cast ballots for him.
"We have gone to our black brothers and sisters for years to support our [white] candidates, and it's wrong for us to stand here and not support one of their own, even though we're Democrats," he barked.
There is nothing more in-your-face than to hear someone speak truthfully to the inherent racism that is at play in this election.
For all the talk about inclusion and the historic nature of this campaign, the true tribal feelings of so many people will come into play, whether we want to admit it or not.
We are seeing remarkable bias playing strongly in this election. Exit-polling data in the primaries showed some evidence of bias when it came to age, race and gender, but the great concern is whether people are as honest in talking to pollsters as they are in the voting booth.
Because Sen. John McCain is 72 and would be the oldest person to be sworn in as president, there is a lot of dialogue about how old this white guy is, and how wrong it is that he's running. Age questions also have been raised about the 47-year-old black guy from Chicago and whether he is too young and inexperienced to lead.
While there is a lot of talk and excitement surrounding Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin being named as the first woman on a Republican ticket, and what that may mean in terms of widespread female support coming the way of McCain-Palin, there are some voices who refuse to vote for a woman.
We've also seen a number of prominent women - including Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn and radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger - who have questioned whether the 44-year-old white mother of five children should be vice president, considering she has five children, including a special needs child.
It's wonderful to talk about the economy, immigration, the war in Iraq, health care and education, but we can't be naïve to the reality that when voters go into that voting booth, they will, as one person told me during an interview, "vote with their tribe."
That was one of the arguments we heard during the Democratic primaries when Obama enjoyed overwhelming support from African-Americans - to the tune of 90-plus percent - while Sen. Hillary Clinton had major female support, largely white, in the range of 65 to 70 percent.
So what do we do when it comes to our tendency to follow group identification?
Editor’s Note: You can read more from Roland at RolandSMartin.com
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