Skip to main content

I am at the moment, finding myself suddenly distracted from both work and the Haiti Earthquake disaster, and SQUINTING at the political HOO RAH over Senator Ried's "light-skinned" comment concerning President, then-Senator Obama's electability.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here... No wait... Yes. Yes, I do.

It may have been politically incorrect to mention, and perhaps not expressed with maximum sensitivity... BUT IT JUST HAPPENS TO BE TRUE...

As a mixed race child of interracial parents, I will stand up and say, that Barack Obama's perception as being a man who is articulate and intelligent, very obviously part of the great American Melting pot, and firmly entrenched in the mainstream, had a GREAT deal to do with his being acceptable and even appealing to mainstream America, and therefore electable. Since I have no political aspirations, I'll say it, not putting forth a stereotypical image of what might be perceived as a "Ghetto Niggah" certainly helped to calm the jittery sensitivities of the still white majority of American voters. Let's just say that Al Sharpton's chances at the presidency, despite his prominent activism and hardly a gangsta, are a LOT slimmer, with his much more prominent ethnic image. And since in office, the Obama administration has made an effort to embrace a "Presidential" image, over any simplistic one based on class or racial identity.

It also helped that he was NOT George Bush... or Cheny/Palin... probably had much to do with his election as well.

While I'd like to think that his intelligence and articulate presentation of his message were major factors, I would be hopelessly naive in thinking that racial issues did not play a part in many people's minds. I'm originally from Brooklyn, a very racially mixed part of the planet, and trust me these issues are out there, much as we'd like to gloss them over in the media or polite (!?) political conversation. As for "negro Dialect" ... that's actually putting it politely. "Eubonics, Jive, Street, Hip-Hop, Rappa, Gangsta-speak," what-have-you are all intended as languages of identity, but also of exclusion, and intentionally so. "We be us. We sho' 'NUFF ain't YOU. Word." I've HEARD the homeboys back in 'da hood get their word on, and you can't understand them in Staten Island, much less Washington. Ay! Dat's mah home town we talkin' 'bout. So wat  YOU lookin' at?" Dialect, remember?


Both the Obama organization and his Administration, has tried rather diligently, if not always successfully, to rise above issues of racial identity. President Obama must absolutely be President for the entire nation in all it's fractious diversity, (including Republicans!) not just symbolically represent a minority slice of it. Necessary. Truth to be told, I am certain that there are Americans that are none the less somewhat fearful that President Obama is not as "one of us" as some of them might honestly prefer. Whoever the heck "us" might be, depending on who you ask. But yeah, all the previous American Presidents have been Middle Aged, usually upper class, White Males. Consider it a "comfort level" thing, if you will.

My impression of the matter is that "not one of us", seems to be more of an issue for some Americans than Barack Obama's actual African American background. But I am sure that there there are probably still a few "old-school" racists out there too.

Meanwhile, Rep. Joe "You lie!" Wilson gets off the hook while the Republicans are howling for Senator Reid's resignation. Apparently the boundaries of what is acceptable political discourse is completely dependent on what political advantage can be wrung out of either tolerance or censure.

Come ON. Like I said, he just made an observation, expressed an opinion... that JUST HAPPENS TO BE TRUE. And it's NOT SUCH A BIG DEAL. Grow the frak UP, people. But truth and politics have always had a rather uneasy relationship, to put it... cough ... politely. If there was an environment where black and white doesn't much matter and everything turns mulch GRAY, it's the Congress of the United States.

But that's just my opinion, and it doesn't matter if you think I am wrong. Sho' 'nuff.


(Note: Minor edits for language and clarity - SAG )

Originally posted to SamuraiArtGuy on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:57 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site