Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The First Black President

And when can we stop using the Jim Crow definitions of "African-American"??

Barack Obama is "black" only under the 19th century definition that "one drop" of "black blood" makes you black. I regularly drink tea that's darker than his skin color.

It is now legitimate to list yourself on the census as "mixed race", and that's what he is, and that's what a lot of people in California are. They aren't all mixed with white, either - I've known African/Japanese, and Hispanic/Chinese, and California has a whole lot of other couples of various backgrounds who have decided that the special person they wanted to marry was from a different ethnic background and didn't have the same color skin they had. My husband works with a guy in the Albuquerque office of his firm whose last name is Hispanic - and whose mother was Japanese. All these people are American.

Can we all just be Americans, please, and start worrying about the real problems?? (Yeah, I know this is hopeless.)

5 comments:

  1. As Cornel West famously put it, "Race matters." Wishing it weren't so won't make racism magically go away. Neither will denial, or pretending this just isn't this case. Just look at this election: tens of thousands of African-Americans have been purged from the voter rolls. A United Nations study recently found that if you're black in America, you have about the same quality of life as someone from a third world country. Racial profiling doesn't affect white people - but watch out if you have brown or black skin(just try "voting while black" for one thing). And just because we may vote for an African-American as President doesn't make the issue of racism any less . "Jim Crow" never really went away. Now, they are called "Juan Crow" laws, and they affect mostly Latino immigrants in many parts of this country - both documented and undocumented. I think the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. Race matters and racism is still a big problem in America. Just my humble opinion.

    Peace,
    Lisa

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  2. I am comfortable to the degree that Obama DOESN'T focus on race. The wonderful thing about America is that education and behavior and demeanor DO matter more than skin color. Those--and hard work, and a little luck--still are the roads to advancement and improvement in the land of the free. No more moaning. No more privileging. No more reparations. Let's just get on with the work. That's the future. All that other crap is in the past. I don't care whether your great grandparents were slaves, or royalty. Whichever it was, get over it.

    The word verification code for this post is "glatooi". That's my sign off here: Glatooi!!

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  3. The comment on Obama that I really liked was Willie Brown's, in his column the Sunday before the election. Willie said the Barack Obama is the Jackie Robinson of politics:

    "...Jackie Robinson didn't get into the majors because he was black - he got there because he was a great ballplayer.

    Barack Obama won't get elected president because he is black - he'll get elected because he is a brilliant politician."

    And I think we have to admit that Willie Brown is an expert on brilliant politicians.

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  4. I've also been amazed at the number of times, since the election, that black people have been quoted on radio and in print saying things like, "There are no more excuses now. We really can do anything."

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  5. The best thing about Obama's election--from this perspective of racial integration and initiative--is that it does indeed "vacate" another of the long-heralded excuses for frustration. It isn't the "who" of identity, but the "what" that is actually done, which matters.

    So the jury's out. Obama has everything going against him here: Our foreign policy, the economy, the budget, a corrupt bureaucracy, 35 years of exploitation and degradation of everything--the environment, employment, health care, social welfare, etc.--our nation is in serious difficulty. Obviously, even with his mandate, Obama isn't going to be able to fix much. How much to we have a right to expect?

    Sadly, I suspect he'll be in a position much like Carter's, during his first term. That could make him a one-term lame duck. A well-meaning, impotent, do-gooder. His choice of Emmanuel seems destined to create as many enemies as it does to promote his policy agenda. Be tough or be soft? Stabbing the banquet table with a butcher knife seems a bad place to start.

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