"So why isn't Obama white"?


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"So why isn't Obama white"?

Postby gh » Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:49 am

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Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:22 am

The same reason he isn't black.
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Postby triple50 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:41 pm

So in response to those who don't consider him black. Are he and Michelle an interracial couple? And should his daughters also not be considered black?
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Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:45 pm

triple50 wrote:Are he and Michelle an interracial couple?
Should his daughters also not be considered black?

No, neither are white or black.
No, neither white or black.
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Postby Daisy » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:01 pm

For a while now I've been wondering what use are the ethnic check boxes on various forms. What if you're half asian and half white? Half white and half black? Half English and half French! And that's the simpler common examples. Tiger Woods type ancestary takes it to another level. Hopefully the ethnic check boxes will not be needed in the near future.
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Postby rasb » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:02 pm

Perhaps, by the end of this election, we can all be considered just people.
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Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:10 pm

rasb wrote:Perhaps, by the end of this election, we can all be considered just people.

There are very few just people. :(
I have been checking 'Other' on forms since 8th grade(I am, after all, Welsh-English-Scottish-Dutch, and they never seem to have a block for that!) and have always highly encouraged all my students to do the same, even when they might 'benefit' from identifying themselves as 'minorities'.
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Postby lonewolf » Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:16 pm

Geneticists have, for three hundred years, classified all mankind as either Caucasian, Negro, Mongoloid, American Indian or Malayasian. Obviously, there has been considerable co-mingling in every conceivable combination of the five "races". The fact is, in Western culture, presumption of race is most commonly based on physical characteristics.

IMO, Negro is a more respectful and accurate nomenclature for the race of those with Negro ancestors but I would not care to define at what percentage of Negro ancestry the classification would still apply and I have no problem acceding to the wish of those who prefer to be referred to as black.

By the same token, I believe American Indian is more descriptive than Native American. Everyone born in North or South American is a native American.

I don't know why political correctness caused Negros to segue from Negro to "colored" to "black" but, somehow, anyone with an obvious or acknowledged percentage of Negro ancestors, no matter how minute, is now deemed black.

Consequently, Obama is considered black because his father was a Kenyan Negro, even though geneologists classify him as 50% Caucasian, 37.5 % Semitic (Arab), also Caucasian, and 12.5% Negro.

I do not know how many Negroes resent the legitimate word Negro. Perhaps they do so because mentally they hear the "n-word" which has evolved from common useage to being considered derogatory; even though I have Negro friends who use the word casually, and sometimes caustically, among themselves.

I do know, being one, that most American Indians of my acquaintance do not resent being called Indian. I acknowledge that, primarily in the past, Indian also was intended as a derogatory term, albeit usually by those looking for someone, anyone, to whom they could feel superior. I suspect that is true today of those who persist in referring to Negros as "n-word"

When I was a child, 77 years ago, many of my extended family who could "pass" as white preferred to ignore their Indian heritage. Nowadays, everyone wants to be an Indian.

I would be interested in the comments of any "black" posters here on their opinion on racial nomenclature.





.
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Postby EPelle » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:40 pm

Marlow wrote:The same reason he isn't black.

Should he have drawn another card in the womb, and been born to a black Russian and a white American, what would he have been then? Neither black, nor Russian?
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Postby Marlow » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:48 am

EPelle wrote:Neither black, nor Russian?

He can call himself anything he wishes, just as I consider myself 'other'. If he were to speak Russian at home and carry the drapings of Russian culture, he could easily be considered Russian. But does he carry himself as 'black'? As 'white'? As anything but American?
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Postby EPelle » Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:04 am

There is seldom a time when one speaks of someone being "American" without racially qualifying the subject - whether that be from current or past heritage/nationality.

Obama doesn:t "sound" white, though he is an American.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:39 am

From the time this country was founded, people who looked like Obama have always been treated as though they were Black, regardless of who their parents or grandparents were. If Obama had come along at an earlier time in American history, the fact that he had a White mother would not have allowed him to demand the rights and privileges of White people. He would have had to attend Black schools, use Black restrooms and water fountains, use the Black section of public facilities such as theatres and buses, and serve in a Black unit of a segregated military. Furthermore, people like Obama have always been recieved better in the Black community than in the White community.

The one thing that I find encouraging is that young kids today don't seem to be color conscious. I've noticed on a number of occasions that if you ask them what color a person is, they become a little bit befuddled. Recently, my 10-year-old niece was telling my mother about a fight at school and my mother asked her whether the kids were Black or White. My niece then got a confused look on her face and asked, "Why do you want to know that Grandma?" It was like my mother was asking her what brand sneakers they were wearing. When I was that age, my mother probably wouldn't have had to ask that question because I would have volunteered the information. I have heard of similar stories from friends of mine about their children and grandchildren.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:51 am

Great points Jazz. Wow i never looked at it that way. And my son seems to also be of a new generation that is mostly color blind.
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Postby Marlow » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:13 am

The good news is that we are increasingly finding 'race' to be an irrelevant distinguisher. The bad news is that we are finding plenty of other ways to accentuate differences among us. This election campaign is going a really good job of illustrating that.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:22 am

Marlow wrote:The good news is that we are increasingly finding 'race' to be an irrelevant distinguisher. The bad news is that we are finding plenty of other ways to accentuate differences among us. This election campaign is going a really good job of illustrating that.


I have heard alot of people in Connecticut saying they hate New Yorkers who come up here to our parks! And so it goes. I love people but humans suck. :P
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Postby Marlow » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:29 am

SQUACKEE wrote: love people but humans suck. :P


There's a famous quote (which I'm blanking on right now) that says, paraphrasing,

"I don't hate people. I just hate everything they do."
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Postby EPelle » Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:59 am

Does Obama consider himself American, or African-American? Is there a necessity to differentiate between the two in this day and age? The consensus by Jazz and Marlow - and even by Squackee - is that, no, race doesn:t matter much today (as opposed to the past). If that is the case, perhaps one will someday see government, hospital, employment, etc. forms (the EEO ones) cease all-together asking if a person is White, Black, Mixed Black, Asian, Black Carribean, Black other, Mixed other, etc.
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Postby Marlow » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:18 am

EPelle wrote:perhaps one will someday see government, hospital, employment, etc. forms (the EEO ones) cease all-together asking if a person is White, Black, Mixed Black, Asian, Black Carribean, Black other, Mixed other, etc.


Zackly. Which is why I always subvert their efforts with 'other'. :D
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Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:24 am

Are there any countries besides the US that asks these types of questions on government forms?
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Postby triple50 » Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:36 am

Being the product of an interracial couple (black dad, white mom), I thought I would give some perspective on this topic. My complexion is pretty similiar to Obama's and I grew up in areas that were pretty racially mixed. My reason for considering myself black is that growing up as a youth when I was hanging around other black kids I was always considered black, just lighter than most. And everyone knew my mom was white. But when I was around the white kids, I was always considered different as they all looked at me and thought of me as black. Not that I was treated badly, it was just obvious I was not white. To this day nothing has changed and I don't ever expect it to. If I was to walk into a room and tell everyone I was black no one would think twice, but if I was to say I was white I would get some pretty puzzled looks. Thats just reality.
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Postby lonewolf » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:06 am

triple50, you have perfectly described the way it is.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:18 am

I've also observed that even Blacks who have a complexion as light as Lolo Jones seem to assimilate easier with Blacks than with Whites. All it seems to take is just a hint of something other than European DNA in your physical appearance to make a difference in how you're treated.
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Postby ndamix » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:07 am

lonewolf wrote: I don't know why political correctness caused Negros to segue from Negro to "colored" to "black" but, somehow, anyone with an obvious or acknowledged percentage of Negro ancestors, no matter how minute, is now deemed black.

I do not know how many Negroes resent the legitimate word Negro. Perhaps they do so because mentally they hear the "n-word" which has evolved from common useage to being considered derogatory; even though I have Negro friends who use the word casually, and sometimes caustically, among themselves.
While there hasn't been recent studies conducted to determine how Black people (Negros, African-Americans, colored, etc) define themselves, part of the reason why the adjective moved from 'Negros' to the present-day usage of 'African-American' largely came about during the 1960s.

When Blacks (I used AA & Black interchangably) first came to this country, their opinions were not solicited in what they wanted to be call'd; and practically 300+ years of history in America bear witness to that. Blacks made limited attempts to define themselves as it related to their position in American. However, the dictates of the majority society (regardless of whether it was the Northern or Southern United States of America) dictated what Blacks would be called.

It wasn't until the 'Black is beautiful' era of the 1960s/70s that Black people made the attempt to define themselves of what they would be called that had a major impact both within the Black community and the overall larger society.

While I was rather young during this period in time, I remember family conversations revolving around this topic which I believe was more of an exercise in self-determination as opposed to political correctness.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:17 am

lonewolf wrote:I would be interested in the comments of any "black" posters here on their opinion on racial nomenclature.

Black, Negro, Colored or African-American, it really doesn't matter to me as long as the word isn't meant as a slur. There are a lot more important things that we need to be worried about than trivial issues like this.
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Postby SQUACKEE » Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:36 am

I was at a jam session years ago at an outdoor keger and we were playing sex machine by James Brown. We keep the groove goin and my friend Mike, the lead singer who is black started singing, Say it loud, im black and im proud!" We all joined in for a long time until another friend playing guitar yelled, "Hey wait a minute, im not black!" Whole place cracked up. :lol:
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Postby Mennisco » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:42 am

He's not white because he's not Casper the Friendly Fookin' Ghost. That should suffice for a flippant 11 year old.
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