i have tried very hard on this blog to not be political (at least as far as matters that i am not directly involved in). i have resisted the urge, time and time again, to make political comments- and i have done this for a variety of reasons, which still hold true. but i am going to tread on quasi-political ground, and i hope i don’t drive you too far into crazyville.
i have a real problem with barak obama being referred to as our first “black” president.
don’t get me wrong here, he can have mad props that he is a minority holding the highest office in the land.
but when someone of mixed race is referred to only as the non-white race, it smacks to me of some sort of contamination.
before you totally freak out, please allow me to explain.
one of his parents was black (an actual african, in fact- but more on this later), but one was also white. by calling this 50/50 blend “black” it seems like once you mix a drop of pigment in with white, you become a non-white. once you aren’t “pure” white, you are something else. so, in his case, he is now black. and i wonder, exactly how little of any other coloring does it take to cancel out whiteness? if he had a black grandparent, would he still be the first black president? how about if his grandparent was from india- would he be the first beige president? how little non-white blood does it take to taint one’s whiteness, and do we really want to ski down this slippery slope?
in the case of barak obama, isn’t he equal parts of both? isn’t he just as white as he is black? so why isn’t he our x# white president or our first biracial president? why is it better to call him our first black president (which in fact is a lie) than to give him the credit he is due for who and what he really is?
does his mother cease to exist just because she procreated with a person of color?
so barak obama has half of his identity erased (that of his mother’s genetics) just so that some agenda-driven people can make a false claim of accomplishment.
what i do breathe easy about is that at least when he is called an african-american, that is accurate. he does indeed come from one part african (his aforementioned african father) and one part american (his white bread and apple pie mamma). what i cringe about sometimes is when “african-american” is used to mean black but sound more politically correct.
now, again, stay with me.
if you are black, and you like to be called african-american because you imagine that your people came from africa (but you have no way of knowing for sure because the white people messed you all up when they brought your ancestors over from who-knows-where and didn’t keep track) then you go on ahead. you are absolutely entitled to the respect of choosing your own descriptor. own it and wear it with pride.
but if you are some guilty white person and you mean black and you are trying to be all politically correct and you trip over yourself to not say black when you know good and well that black is what you think and black is what you mean then gosh darn it- say “black”. because i will tell you honestly that the only true african-americans i have ever known in my entire life have been as white as i am and they all have blue eyes and they learned to speak afrikaans in school and they came here when the south african society started falling apart because they were afraid for their lives and they all got laughed out of the financial aid offices in college because (haw haw snicker snicker – “you are not really african-american! that’s for the black kids to get money! not you guys! hahahahaha…”).
so am i some big huge closet racist? (or now some big out-of the-closet racist?) no, i’m really not. i just think that all of this bowing and scraping to try to call people what they aren’t in order to make what they actually are sound somehow more palatable is kind of sick.
because what it really says is that what you are is bad.
i can’t accept that you are black because that is dirty or shameful, so i must make up something kinder and softer to call you. i will invent a euphemism to cloak that hateful word (“black”, which is simple and somewhat elegant). so you become an “african-american” even though you may never have been to africa, may never have known anyone who has been to africa, may have no links whatsoever to africa, and may not even know what it looks like on a map.
yet i can be just plain white.
yes, i know that people are not technically black any more than they are white.
but has it ever occurred to you why there is a double standard? why can i be comfortably called “white” with no icky undertones of hatefulness, but if i call someone “black” i have to defend myself all over the place?
why is white ok, but black is so not?
i know this is not a comfortable topic.
i know this is not easy stuff to say.
even on a super private blog like this one.
so many people say one thing out loud but think something completely different in the privacy of their own minds.
not so much with me.
so yes, i said it…