08 June 2008

Black Enough? Too Black? Why Do We Have to Have This Talk??

"For many, Obama's skin color is deeply symbolic. As the son of an African and a white woman from Kansas, Obama has the brownish 'everyman' skin color shared by hundreds of millions of people. 'He looks like Egyptians. You can walk in the streets and find people who really look like him,' said Manar el-Shorbagi, a specialist in U.S. political affairs at the Cairo university."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/04/AR2008060402360.html?hpid=topnews

This part of the article, dealing with foreign reactions to the Obama candidacy, really struck me. See, here, all the talk is the fact that he is a "black" man. Now this article makes me wonder if Obama would be as well-liked all over the globe if he were a blacker shade of black like most Haitians and Southern Africans. I don't know about you, but were I describing a the shade of a lighter OR darker-skinned black person, I'd use the same descriptive adjective of "black" to describe them just as "blonde" for another regardless of exactly which shade of yellow a person's hair is.

Do you think Obama's particular HUE made a difference to the voters? Do you think some of the talk earlier on the campaign trail of his not being "black enough" is true? Then do you wonder if he may lose the general election because he's "too" black?

It's just such a strannnnge sort of election. On the one hand, it looks like by law, every major media *must* gush about how Obama is the first black presidential candidate for a major party. We're supposed to be elated that this fellow won the candidacy and we could have the FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT EVER (this part must be shouted in some sort of victory voice), thus proving that people are voting based on the content of people's character and not the colour of their skin. And now we're proving it because here's this black fellow becoming president although his Senate voting record bespeaks bad character.

Go back and read the last two sentences again and tell me why I'm confused. Perhaps because I think my politicians should at least pretend to value life? Yet it almost sounds racist to say you WON'T vote for him.

It's a big accomplishment for Obama to achieve the nomination. Do we have to get so hepped up about the fact that he's darker? Presumably he had to run for his Senate seat and it wasn't won by affirmative action. He EARNED the seat based on what the voters thought of him. He deserved the seat not because of his skin colour or lack of colouring, but because people voted him in. And he happens to be black. Is that a political plus? Do we have to play fantasy football with race and gender during elections?

But when I read news articles, it's almost like God The Father Martin Luther King Jr. Himself has given his unqualified endorsement *just* because Obama is black and has secured the nomination. So are we voting against black progress if we simply don't like Obama, don't trust him, and don't vote for him? If we send him home in November, is there going to be an outcry of progress delayed in race integration? Will people accept that McCain won the election fair and square, or would it be "the man" keeping Obama down? Will there be riots? Should we vote for Obama if mass racial violence looms otherwise? Often when a "racial" case goes to court, the police are prepared if the verdict won't be one the masses are happy with. How about the election? Just thinking out loud here.

I'd like neither one to win, really. I'd like to hope people are voting for or against the CANDIDATE based on the candidate's views, but even I find myself looking at McCain and going, needs more make-up! Looks too white! Like a ghost! See, I'm hatin' my own kind. IT SHOULDN'T MAKE A DIFFERENCE. But I guess it does.

8 comments:

  1. It does seem kind of silly for talk like this to be going on..I suppose in this age of 24 hour news channels the reporters need to have something to talk about to fill up all that time! Considering it wasn't all that long ago that segregation was part of life in this country, I'm glad that men of other races can be considered now. I wonder what the racial makeup of candidates will be when our kids are adults?

    I'm not too thrilled about the candidates getting all the attention now. I'm just encouraged that lots of young people like Ron Paul, a sign of hope for the future. I think our governments could use a good dose of Libertarian common sense! I see way too much dependency on the government. The current "main" candidates, Obama and McCain, assume everyone wants the government to "fix" everything!

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  2. Just so you know, in case it ever helps in this debate...

    MLK, Jr. was a republican!

    LOL!!

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  3. I can't even believe racism exits. Even more I can't believe Obama is so openly racists and people would vote for him. I mean, Geez, you should see the video I posted recently, (or gave link to) called Wake Up America. It sickens me to hear some of the evil stuff Obama, his wife, and his pastor has said. But... because people believe the liberal media, they will buy his sweet talk without themselves studying to see what he's really aboutt. I have never been racists, I hate how people play the racist card. I myself am disappointed that I have McCain to choose from on the Republican side. But it's certainly better that the other option. We don't need a person who makes racists comments steering our country. That is scary. Skin color has never mattered to me. We are all equal in God's eyes. :D

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  4. Yep, Daja, and the Klan was started by Democrats to battle those EVIL Republicans what with their wanting to give rights to those newly-freed slaves.

    Laa,somehow it seems, though, that the more liberal folks interpret the more "pull yourself up by the bootstraps and don't expect the government to take care of you" must mean that the party is somehow anti-(fill in race here).

    I think the Democrats have some ideas about the fact that big companies polluting our environment that I agree with (Al Gore and the like aside). The idea of smaller government and social issues is more appealing to me, however, though the lines seem to blur a bit as Republicans scramble over themselves to give tax cuts to "seniors" and vets, and pass bills that SPECIFICALLY aid public schools and public entities with more money than is necessary seem to be the norm.

    Seems like you throw a few pet issues like abortion, gay rights and the like out there right near election time and watch us all scramble for each others's throats while the politicians collude and compromise.

    Not that we shouldn't have morals and standards, but... well, anyway. The libertarian idea appeals to me but I do think we need a standing army, roads and a police system.

    Jenny, I'm SURE racism exists and I have seen the milder non-lynching forms even within my own family. Came from a mostly liberal family, so you have to be *extra* nice to minorities. Must work very hard to go ahead and remind myself that it's OK TO DISLIKE SOMEONE if you woulda disliked 'em if they were white.

    Make sense? Because I've thought about it and concluded that "be extra nice" idea is a bit patronizing. THOUGH we should try to see things from the other guy's perspective, sometimes especially if they're a minority. I'd hate to have that mandated by law, though.

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  5. Mrs.C, we Black conservatives are villified as not being in touch with our roots, not Black enough, etc. How is it that this TRULY African-American liberal can be not Black enough? And what does that mean anyway?!

    I dislike his policies, so he can't get my vote. But the honest truth is that I do believe his biracial background and fair skin make him more palatable to Democrats- who despite their reputation for being pro-minority are the most racist and race conscious bunch of people. If anyone doubted that before, Bill Clinton's behavior during Hillary's failed presidential bid should put thse doubts to rest.

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  6. What's funny to me is that Obama is literally just as white as he is black. I heard him say once "I identify myself as black because that's how people see me." It's kind of weird to base your identity on what other people think of you.

    Some people have said Obama has a sort of insecurity about not being black enough so that's why he joined that church with Pastor McCrazy in a very black city. He was raised more "whitely" than me...Kansas and Hawaii with only his white mother in the picture, and an Ivy league college.

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  7. Actually, I have a vested interest in the not black enough argument. The argument of black social workers against placing black children in white homes has traditionally been that the children won't learn the black culture and won't be "black enough." Even racially mixed children who, like Obama, self-identify as black are sometimes seen as "not black enough." Here is a newsflash, a people living in a diaspora will have to some extent taken on the values of the culture they live in. Even in the Bible, the Helenized Jews were seen as having compromised by taking on the Greek culture and language. Before that, the "lost tribes" of Israel were so assimilated into the culture that enslaved them that they ceased to exist as a distinct people.

    My problem with Obama has nothing to do with his race, his identifying himself as black or anything external. I will not vote for Barack Obama because I disagree with almost all of his politics. I am not voting for John McCain either. I am voting for a third party candidate. I will probably vote for Bob Barr. I was surprised when the Libertarian Party selected him because I think his political views are Republican; he financially supports Republican candidates even when there is a Libertarian candidate running for the same office... but perhaps it was a smart move. Certainly, some of those supporting Ron Paul in the Republican primaries will vote for Bob Barr.

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  8. I've been screaming this for months.. wouldn't he be the first "mixed race" or "bi-racial" pres?! Why do they always say BLACK.
    I think there is some serious mindplay going on.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)