There are more factors than race. Just look to recent history for proof.
For the first time in history, an African American looks close to winning the presidency. Throughout his campaign, Sen. Barack Obama has faced a blunt question: Can he win enough white voters to win? It's a question that's as much about race as it is about electability.
A recent study out of Stanford University suggests that racial prejudice is eroding as much as 6 percentage points from Senator Obama's support. One commentator has even suggested that white racism would be the only explanation for an Obama loss this November.
But there's another facet to this story – and it could prove to be equally decisive: the reluctance of some black voters to vote for Obama.
A New York Times poll taken this past July showed that 6 percent of black respondents say that they wouldn't vote for a black candidate (presumably Obama). Just 5 percent of white respondents said the same.
What's behind this black resistance to Obama?
More than a few blacks grumble that Obama will be blamed for the financial mess, which may only get worse on his watch. If he gets blamed for it, the thinking goes, somehow it will blow back on blacks due to the infuriating racial double standard in which the failing of one is regarded as a failing for all blacks.
Then there's the age-old rap that blacks who don't support other blacks for political office or anything else are filled with self-loathing and color phobia – in reverse. This racial self-hate supposedly rears its ugly head every time a black tries to get ahead.
And there's also the persistent fear that if Obama wins, he will be in perpetual danger of being assassinated.
But none of this totally explains the trepidation and reluctance of some blacks to back Obama.