Tuesday, February 20, 2007

race and obama

bumping this post back up because i want it to have another day or two before i move on...

i am a bi-racial american. not a single week goes by without someone stopping to ask me, "where are you from?" and even though i know that it's not the answer they want, i say, "i'm from chicago." and then they'll say, "what are you?" and i say, "american." and that's not the answer they want either. what they want to know is that i'm half chinese.

balding ex-work boyfriend once told me, "you're not a minority. you're white. you act white."

the comment was so wrong/ignorant/pathetic on so many levels that i still don't really know where to begin. at the time, i said, "who the fuck are you? who are you to tell me what my ethnic background is?" and by "act white" i think he meant that i don't speak english with the accent so often parodied (something that he had to remind his racist ex liz every time she made racist comments about me and impersonated whatever accent she thought i had). for all i know, he could have had a more racist bent: i'm white because i am educated and cultured.

but i was raised by my mother and my grandparents. and they were white. but i was eating with chopsticks before i could hold a fork. but because my father took off when i was so young, i lack the kind of cultural awareness he would have instilled.

so being bi-racial carries it's own set of problems. which brings me to barack obama. and all this utter nonsense being written and the shit being spouted in interviews on national television to talk about how obama isn't black. at least, they seem to say, not in the way that "matters." because he isn't the descendant of slaves in america, he doesn't count.

i have been the victim of racist remarks and i'll bet a million dollars that over the course of Obama's life, so has he. and i'll bet that white supremacists consider obama worthy of their hate. and i'll bet that there are people, whether or not they'd say it out loud, who won't vote for obama because of the color of his skin (or for hillary because of her gender). and so i don't understand why black americans would try to differentiate themselves from the man who could very well represent a great step towards what all minorities claim they want: equality.

then there are the white idiots on the other side of the aisle: he's clean, eloquent, and non-threatening for a black man. i think the country is regressing before my very eyes in terms of racial equality here.

why is it when a vast part of the the country is trying to make the statement that race and gender don't matter (we haven't had strong presidential contenders as women or as blacks EVER, and now to have them at the same time!) that blacks AND whites are making an issue over obama's race? isn't it enough we have right-wingers (and fox news network) trying to convince everyone that he's a terrorist because his middle name is hussein and trying to re-write history to put him at a terrorist camp preschool?!

but as always, jon stewart, my love, has his two cents.

"right now only 20% of black people support obama. that's bad. but is it bad enough for him to win? it works like this, for every three black votes you get you scare away five white votes. do the math. black support is only worth 3/5ths as much as white support."

10 people who played with me:

Blogger Ale said...

nice one!

the only reason we here in america, are able to keep it together and refrain from killing each other is because we have so many different nationalites here. if there was only two or three there would be a blood bath- as we see on the example of every war that has gone on in history.

2/15/2007 5:26 PM  
Blogger The Stormin Mormon said...

I guess that my negative opinion of Hillary has nothing to to with her gender, it's the same thing that I hate about Mitt Romney...

Experience

2/16/2007 2:40 AM  
Blogger Moody said...

Thank you.
I've been feeling and sharing the same things over the last few weeks. It is comforting for me, a white-as-can-be dropout from northern michigan, to know that my opinion on the topic has some relevance to what these ethnic,(or ethnic-looking,) people really think about it.

2/16/2007 6:26 AM  
Blogger omar said...

I didn't get a chance to comment on this sooner... I really liked this post. Though I'm a black American, neither of my parents are from this country, so I haven't always been able to relate with my peers. I had been told several times that I "don't act black," which I think is the most absurd thing ever.

Anyway, I'm taking notes on the bi-racial difficulties, for my kid's sake.

2/16/2007 12:59 PM  
Blogger Joefish said...

I've never thought of you as a Sino-American, but rather a Cutie-American.

2/16/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Janine said...

Hi. I've been lurking around your blog for a few weeks.
I don't think it's an issue of Obama not being black enough - since that just doesn't make sense. I'm concerned with the fact that Obama is lacking political experience, and he's lacking a real connection to black leadership and issues... I'm not against Obama, it's just tougher to know his stance on issues concerning the black community than it is to be sure of Clinton's stance or Edwards' stance. I'm really not convinced at all that black people look at Obama as not being black enough - that seems more like the sort of convenient simplification that american media loves so much.

2/16/2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger piu piu said...

i agree with ale about the excess of nationalities resulting in a kind of harmony. still, its a predominantly 'white' harmony (as the ones who hold all the cards, but...)

i get asked where i'm from a fair bit of the time... funnily enough. i'm completely british, apart from a spanish great grandma. people think i'm eastern european or french, and i've even had an oriental question thrown in a few times. but whatever, i see it as a great compliment that people think i might be a bit more exotic than i am.

anyway- the x boyfriend comment 'u act white'.... is just SOOOO ignorant and embarassing. especially when u know that he qualifies 'white' as being 'american' and american is, as ale said, absolutely every culture thrown into one big melting pot

ew ew ew. move on from him.

and vote!

2/18/2007 5:10 PM  
Blogger cadiz12 said...

ex-wb is a moron.

this racial stuff is exasperating. the worst part is that most offenders have never been put in that position.
i honestly believe that if everyone had to experience that just once, there would be a lot fewer problems in this country.

2/18/2007 7:02 PM  
Blogger Peter DeWolf said...

As a Canadian, I wonder how Obama's candidacy would be viewed if he was in the running to become Prime Minister up here. I like to think that the racial stuff would be less of an issue. Though I'm not sure what I am basing that on.

We did have a female Prime Minster... for less than five months. And she wasn't elected, she just took over leadership of the party in power.

2/21/2007 12:18 PM  
Blogger laurzeilei said...

I am also asked frequently (almost on a daily basis) what my ethnicity is. However, it is never stated as eloquently as "What is your ethnicity?"

Instead, it usually goes a little something like this...(kick it!)

Stranger: So, what is your background?

Me (Turning around swiftly to see what is behind me): Right now? Three buildings, a black car parked illegaly and a dying palm tree.

Stranger (laughing uncomfortably): Ha. I mean, what are you?

Me: Human. And you?

Stranger: I mean...

Blah blah blah and so on and so forth. You know the schpeel.

2/21/2007 3:02 PM  

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