Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama and the "Race Card"

This is not a commentary on the politics of the Democratic party of of Barak Obama... I'm not even really sure what he stands for, other than "change" anyway. But rather an observation about race.

Why is it that the Clinton campaign seemed to bring up the "race card" first? Is it perhaps because Barak Obama is not really black? Let me further explain.

Barak Obama's father is from Kenya, so he is part black. But his mother is a white-girl from Kansas. To say that Barak Obama is black is a slap in the face to the 50% of his genetic makeup that did not come from Africa. He is every much a white person as he is a black person... he is biracial.

My two children are biracial. I never refer to them as black. They are not. If I need to refer to them by description, I'll say something like "he's the little tan boy over there" or "my daughter is the little tan girl." Tan is a color that describes their color.

They are not black... in fact, they have more European DNA in them than African DNA. I'm about as European as they come... every single one of my ancestors have been in America for five generations, and at that point, some of them immigrated here from Germany in the 1800s. Some of my ancestors have been here in America for 15 generations... they came from England to Jamestown in the 1600s. I've been an amateur genealogist for about 15 years, and I know that I'm about as European as they come. One of my ancestors did come from Italy in the 1100s, lol. But that's still Europe. My husband, on the other hand, is NOT as African as they come. He does have some French DNA floating around him. His family comes from Louisiana, and that's where the French comes in. So to say that my children are black is a lie... they are more white, more European, than they are African.

In Barak Obama's case, his father comes from Kenya, so he might not have any European blood on his father's side. But he is 50% white.

Sometimes I wonder, what are we, back in the slave days? Because back then, if your great-great grandpa was black, and every other member of your family was white, you'd still be considered black. That's not black, that's mostly white.

I know that it's easier for most of the media, and probably for many Americans, to see the world in terms of strictly black and white. But it's not that way, especially now. Even those little demographic boxes that ask you what race you are are starting to catch up. 15 years ago, most of them would say "check one", but now, more increasingly, they're starting to say "check all that apply". Which is how it should be... if you're going to bring race into the equation at all.

The country might be fawning all over themselves, congratulating themselves on how enlightened they are to have a "black" person running for president, but they have a long way to come. Maybe when we stop forcing people into boxes that they only half-belong in, we can start congratulating ourselves.

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