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This is, perhaps, my first "serious" diary here.  I'm stunned by this article.  Simply stunned.  Am I over-reacting?  Look at the tag for the story - "obama_s_not_black".


I am not black; I am (literally) Scots-Irish, born in England, moved here five years ago.  I will not attempt to claim the the UK has "less" of a race problem than the US.  Let us say that it is... different; although we did not partake in slavery to the same degree, British hands are far from clean in the annals of racial inequality, so I will make no attempt at apologism here.

But this, to me, is a non-issue; a manufactured story with some deeply racist connotations lurking at its heart.  Sure, it's couched in the language of "equality", but it flies in the face of Obama's own professed stance on this: I am not a Black Candidate.  I am not a White Candidate.  I am an American Candidate. (Paraphrased, of course.)

Debate over whether to call this son of a white Kansan and a black Kenyan biracial, African-American, mixed-race, half-and-half, multiracial — or, in Obama's own words, a "mutt" — has reached a crescendo since Obama's election shattered assumptions about race.

Debate?  What debate?  Here on Kos? Debate?  On the streets, coffee shops, barber-shops, Wal-Marts from sea to shining sea?  Debate?

No; the "debate" seems to exist almost solely on the Right, judging from the rest of the article:

"Let's not forget that he is not only the first African-American president, but the first biracial candidate. He was raised by a single white mother," a Fox News commentator said seven minutes after Obama was declared the winner.

"We do not have our first black president," the author Christopher Hitchens said on the BBC program "Newsnight." "He is not black. He is as black as he is white."

Further down, the piece quotes a comic strip:

A Doonesbury comic strip that ran the day after the election showed several soldiers celebrating.

"He's half-white, you know," says a white soldier.

"You must be so proud," responds another.

The writer seems to have missed Trudeau's point entirely; the first soldier is racist, and clinging to Obama's "white heritage" to salve his hurt, and to try to grasp "how a black man could win the Presidency".

The article then goes on to make some amazing generalities about multi-culturalism and multi-ethnicism, coucjhed in terms of frank concern-troll-ism; words like "a bitter taste", "leery [of Obama]" and "concern" appear frequently in the text.

Finally, the article is rendered moot by this line:

Today, it seems no single definition does justice to Obama — or to a nation where the revelation that Obama's eighth cousin is Dick Cheney, the white vice president from Wyoming, caused barely a ripple in the campaign.

Surely this was the point?  Cultural (code for 'racial') concerns, despite the Republicans' increasingly hysterical attempts to inject them into the politicial discourse, were irrelevant to the process of electing Obama?  And wasn't that, ultimately, the point of Obama's candidacy?

Originally posted to Freelance Escapologist on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 06:23 AM PST.


Am I overreacting?

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