Saturday, August 14, 2004

Just in time for the Olympics - race!

Maybe she's African-American now

Crappy PhotoShop work done by myself. =)

From a source I won't link to, so this link is to porn instead:
She also specifically addressed a group she called “continental Africans.” A very puzzling term. Maybe she meant immigrants from Africa? Like herself? She was born on the continent of Africa, after all. Or maybe she meant African-Americans, the black kind. Since she has already claimed, with evident justice, to be “African-American,” I guess she needs to have an elegant way of saying “blacks,” and realizes that the Spanish and Portuguese-derived term “Negroes” just won’t do these days. If this surmise is incorrect, then I am going to have to examine the possibility that some meaningful distinction unknown to me exists between Africans from the continent, and those born on islands like Madagascar.

So Teresa Heinz-Kerry isn't African American because she's not black?

From Eschaton:
If I was arrested for armed robbery and my mug shot was on the television screen, people wouldn't be debating if I was African-American or not. I'd be a black man going to jail. Now if that's true when bad things are happening, there's no reason why I shouldn't be proud of being a black man when good things are happening, too.
-Barack Obama

I'll paraphrase Atrios on this one, because he really put into words my thoughts on this sticky issue of race. We try to tie people to a geographic background... hence the terms African-American, Asian-American, and "that Chinese take-out dude". The way this great melting pot's been working for the past several decades, though, makes those terms obsolete.
Is Theresa Heinz Kerry an African-American? Would an Afrikaaner immigrant to the US be? What do we call black Hatian immigrants, or black citizens of Britain? Once it becomes complicated, we default to the term which is really the primary issue - skin tone.

This issue of race is becoming an increasingly hot topic between Obama "Keyes calls me Uncle Tom" Barack and Alan "black guy fighting for black oppression" Keyes. Keyes calls Obama's issues on abortion the same as that of a "slaveholder". I'm not sure where to begin with deconstructing that idea, I'll leave it to you, the reader. But when watching coverage of their debates, look for words such as "upstanding" and especially "articulate". Those are the most backhanded of compliments. They suggest that it's something wonderful to see a BLACK man able to pronounce polysyllabic words. Nobody harped on Clinton's articulative prowess for twenty straight minutes after every State of the Union speech. Obama has a natural gift and is a polished speaker because he's either a great liar or an extremely motivated, ambitious young politician with unlimited potential. The fact that he has a black parent doesn't make this some spectacle.