Thursday, April 22, 2010

Our First Black President?

"Obama... invented an African-American persona, rather than inheriting one as a product of upbringing," reminds Howard W. French — Dirt off his shoulders: Barack Obama and the question of race. I guess with the general consensus that "race is a social construct" allows Mr. Obama to "pass" for black, but he is in no way rooted the experience of Black America.

I would have liked our first Black president to have been rooted in that experience, perhaps even surnamed Washington or Jefferson, but would such a candidate have gotten the wide White liberal support that brought Mr. Obama to power? Doubtful. As Mr. French notes, he "impresses whites – winningly – as a black without torment."

"For all of Barack Obama’s intelligence and charisma, if one could somehow strip race out of his life’s equation, would he have ever made it to the national stage, much less the presidency?" asks Mr. French. "Would we even care about him?"

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Blogger Tracy Fennell said...

When this has come up before in talking with associates, I always argue that I'll give it to him, since we had the complete opposite in effect with the "one-drop" rule, which in slavery and segregation times made you automatically "black".

1:59 PM  
Anonymous mcmlxix said...

Are one drop laws still in effect, or is such thinking still widespread?

I've also heard it said that since his wife is black and his daughters are blacker than him, he's somehow more black than he is.

I don't know if this flies.

My nephew is Mexican on his abandoning father's side, raised by my Anglo sister and her upper middle class husband, was a mediocre high school student, and thought he'd get a free ride though college because he's Mexican.

I told him that his life is hardly representative of the Chicano experience...and in Texas of all places.

How does this compare with the Obamas?

3:00 PM  
Anonymous love the girls said...

mcmlxix writes : "How does this compare with the Obamas?"

Depends of what you mean. Ken Salazar is Spanish, and Chicano since Chicano means of Mexican descent of which we are being here before the U.S. was. Although beyond that I don't know much about him except that I've been told that he's of the other Salazar family from my own.

Btw, acceptance cuts both ways. My sister's experience was less than pleasant when she went to the 'hispanic' center at the local university to apply for funds as a protected species.

Because of her being fair skinned, blond haired and blue eyed and from the upper echelons of society, those who ran the center made it well known to her that she was despised by them.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Dano said...

I saw him speak in 2005 (I was close enough to throw spitballs... not that I did, of course). He struck me as a not-particularly-impressive politician whose platform was nothing but the kind of tired, boilerplate left-liberalism that we had seen a thousand times before- and not even a particularly well-presented variety of it. Of course, I had just read the man's first autobiography (well... most of it. I couldn't quite drag myself through the last third or so), and perhaps that made it hard for me to be impressed with the man.

I was naturally surprised when one of the audience members asked if then-Senator Obama had an eye for running for any "higher office". Obviously, some people were seriously in love with the man, for reasons I could not then fathom.

I was relieved, however, when he said that his wife would kill him if he tried to run for any other office. Apparently, she must have shown him clemency.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous mcmlxix said...


Remember Obama selected black (not mixed race) on his census form.

I guess my point is that Obama, like my nephew, chose to identify with a particular ethnicity for likely cynical gain, when their life experience had very little relation to that ethnicity. I don't know about Michelle, but their daughters also have had a life experience vastly different from from, e.g., the blacks in my neighborhood.

I've too observed friends growing up who were weto and were treated like trash. Is this only true in the United States as opposed to say in Mexico City?

1:36 PM  
Anonymous love the girls said...


Ethnicity and country of origin is not the same as social status. Perhaps they should do away with black. Or do away with hispanic and instead ask if a person is from the lower orders, something I would never claim. Nor would the Obama's.

But as it stands, that is not the question asked. Nor is it the question wanted because then those guilt laden libs would have to actually associate with the riff-raff because the Obama's and the like would be good enough.

As it stands, we are far better off with the existing state of affairs because it spares us been ruled by the lower orders more than we already are.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous love the girls said...

that should be : "because the Obama's and the like would NOT be good enough to assuage their guilt.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On one drop laws: I and my brother had one Jewish and three Irish grandparents and were raised as Irish Catholics with a non-Jewish surname. My brother became a priest and 40 years after my Jewish grandfathers death was referred to by some ignoramus as "that Jewish priest."

12:43 AM  
Anonymous mcmlxix said...


I agree that race (a ridiculous construct) and ethnicity (also a construct, but not so ridiculous) are not coextensive with social class. But in practice, i think the intent (by some) is to make it so. The census is being designed and used promote agendas of identity politics toward this end.

2:10 AM  

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