Post-racial America?

What will change for Americans now that their President has more melanin in his skin?

What will change for Americans now that their President has more melanin in his skin?

It could have been mistaken for a religious pilgrimage. The spirit of the crowds that gathered was not loudly partisan. There was giddiness to be sure, but the overriding feeling was solemn. The sense of History Being Made was on every corner, from the Sunday-best hats and cashmere coats in the crowd to the inescapable commemorative Obamabilia being hawked everywhere. A desire among the crowds who braved the cold to be merely present, to bear witness, to breathe the same air, to be part of this national ceremony that promised a renewal, a national resurrection of sorts. In an America beaten down by recession and wars, they had come to see with their own eyes the making of the First Black President.

As many as two million people were present for President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Two days before, some 400,000 had come together for a concert at the Doric temple columns of the Lincoln Memorial. It was here that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed in 1963 that he had a dream, and now the son of a white mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya was in the process of fulfilling it. Obama’s face was everywhere—on the massive banners draping the neoclassical columns of the white monumental buildings in the city, on buttons, T-shirts, a sea of magazine covers, his smile emblazoned on everything from tote bags to earrings.

His omnipresent iconic image has been compared to the propaganda posters of a Third World dictator. But the images around Washington were not authoritarian, or menacing; often they were downright devotional, showing Obama with his eyes uplifted, almost Christ-like, as if in private consultation with the heavens. While the religious overtones of his enthusiastic following have been compared to a cult of personality, and Oprah Winfrey’s description of him as “The One” became the target of partisan mockery, the inauguration, more crowded and emotionally charged than any in memory, suggested that the excitement was less about the cult of Obama than about a centuries-awaited ritual for the nation.

The First Black President. The sin of slavery—could it be finally expiated? The parade and the pomp, while marking a long-awaited end of the Bush era, seemed to mark something deeper, a purification of the original sin: a nation built in part on slavery and in which blacks in many southern states did not win a meaningful right to vote until 1965. Was that sense of cleansing real, or the self-delusion of those who had made this moment happen: black and white Americans alike?

Certainly for black Americans, Inauguration Day, with its embossed invitations and elaborate balls, was the grandest possible statement, broadcast across the globe and repudiating the myth of black inferiority, of underachievement, of the various historical stigmas associated with dark skin. But the ritual, presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court and celebrated with an ecstatic parade, was uplifting to white Americans as well—marking an end to their moral inferiority, and a declaration of their virtue. “In the excitement around Obama’s election there is a lot of self-flattery,” observes Shelby Steele, a scholar in race relations at the Hoover Institution who, like Obama, is biracial. “The whites are proud of themselves. It’s almost like a white pride day.”

Of course, African-Americans played a crucial role in electing Obama—coming out in full force during crucial votes in the Democratic primary and casting near-unanimous votes in his favour during the general election. But in a country that is still predominantly white, it was white voters whom he had to win over. Obama did so by intentionally presenting himself as a candidate for all Americans, playing down his race until he was forced to deal with it in a speech after his black pastor’s comments became a source of controversy. Steele calls Obama an impeccable “bargainer”—who tells white Americans, “I won’t rub the legacy of racism in your face if you don’t hold my race against me.”

But Steele is one of the observers (others include some supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton) who argue that Obama was elected because of his race, not in spite of it. “This is a measure of how much whites have lived under a presumption of racism,” he says. “That they have lived under this accusation and it has been a real tension in white American life. A vote for Obama is an opportunity for whites to say, ‘See, I’m not racist, I am innocent.’ ”

Obama’s meteoric rise could not have happened to a white politician, he insists. “You don’t come from a backbench in the Illinois state legislature, and four years later you’re walking into the White House. He’s talented but not that talented. There is a hunger in white America to make this kind of a statement—and that is the wave that brought him forward.”

At a forum on race at Howard University, the day before the inauguration, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., who ran for the presidency in 1984 and 1988, said Obama’s success was due in part to black pride and a longing for “redemption” among whites. “It was the uniqueness of his personality,” Jackson said, “plus pride, plus redemption—plus, for some, desperation.”

So what will change for black and white Americans, now that their president has more melanin in his skin? For all the hype about Obama ushering in a “post-racial” America, the racial gaps remain profound. African-American men are incarcerated at six times the rate of whites. More than twice as many black babies are born out of wedlock than their white counterparts. Black students trail whites on standardized test scores by wide margins. Clarence Walker, a specialist in African-American history at the University of California at Davis, dismisses talk of a “post-racial” society as “bulls–t.” “The U.S. has come to recognize it is multiracial. But it is not post-racial. To say it is post-racial is like saying the world is post-nationalist!”

In the sky-high expectations surrounding Obama, Walker sees a return to a historical trope of a virtuous, redemptive black man such as that portrayed in novels by Harriet Beecher Stowe. “In the 19th century there was a romantic racialism among abolitionists. They believed that black people, children and women had a more Christian spirit than ordinary white folks and certainly white men. There is a bad tendency in America—and Obama’s campaign did this—to go back to this notion of the Christ-like negro,” says Walker, author of Mongrel Nation: the America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemming. The excitement around the inauguration may be the high-water mark for Obama, Walker adds: “I tend to think that sort of halo of Christ-likeness will dissipate with time and he’ll come to be seen as just another politician. If he’s anything less than Christ-like they will jump on him. The American people are very fickle about these sorts of things.”

Civil rights leaders too emphasize that America will not wake up this week and see skin colour magically cease to matter. Speaking last week to the ceremonial swearing-in of the congressional black caucus, King’s son, Martin Luther King III, said that his father’s “dream has not been fulfilled, even though a significant aspect of that dream has been fulfilled.” He added, “As long as there are 37 plus million people living in poverty, the dream will not be fulfilled. As long as we live in a nation where 47 plus million people have no health insurance, the dream has not been fulfilled. As long as we live in a nation where the criminal justice system has millions of people and just about 50 per cent of those people are people of colour, the dream will not be fulfilled.”

And for all the talk of post-racialism, the power of old-school racial politics has been on display in Illinois, where Gov. Rod Blagojevich, arrested on federal charges of trying to sell an appointment to Obama’s Senate seat, has been impeached and will now face charges in the state senate. Blagojevich has defied calls to step down, and picked a black former state attorney general, Roland Burris, for the seat—which would make him, with Obama’s departure, the only black senator. Congressional Democrats had vowed not to seat any pick by the disgraced governor. But Bobby Rush, a black congressman from a district on the South Side of Chicago, told a press conference: “I don’t think that anyone, any U.S. senator who is sitting right now, would want to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate. I don’t think they want to go on record doing that.” After senators physically prevented Burris from entering the Senate, Rush upped the rhetoric. “It reminded me of the dogs being sicced on children in Birmingham, Alabama. That’s what it reminded me of,” he told Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball. Burris was eventually seated.

Steele is skeptical that much will change because of the simple fact of the President’s race. “The relations between whites and blacks will be about the same that they are now,” he says. “On a level of cultural symbolism it is obviously important; it makes a statement. But I think we’re going to discover that cultural symbolism is not an agent of change. Change happens down on the ground in a cultural level in its own way, in its own time. The academic gap between black and white students is not going to vanish. Al Sharpton or someone like that, who is a protester and challenger, is going to remain activist. Obama will continue to support race-based affirmative action, which is a racially divisive policy. Whites don’t like it but he’ll keep it around to keep blacks happy. And he’ll avoid talking about it as much as he can,” predicts Steele.

The change that Obama represents has already taken place, he says. Steele penned a book in 2007 entitled Bound Man: Why We are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win. (He says he regrets the title and never doubted that Obama could get elected.) “I think Obama documents a cultural change that long ago happened—I think a black man who is a bargainer could have been elected 25 years ago. I think Colin Powell could have easily beaten a weak Bill Clinton in 1996. This moral evolution in white America that makes it possible for a black man to be elected has already happened. I think Obama only documents that.”

And yet, there are other visible changes—perhaps most perceptible among the black middle and upper class. The prevalence of African-American commentators on television has never been higher. The Washington Post recently chronicled the efforts of the city’s society hostesses clamouring to find a greater racial balance at dinners, the all-white soiree now being hopelessly outdated. And mothers of black teenagers talk with glee that their sons are seeking to emulate the style of the President, and not entertainers or athletes.

The political possibilities for blacks appear redefined. In 2007, an African-American state senator in South Carolina, Robert Ford, endorsed Hillary Clinton and said Obama was unelectable because of his race. “It’s a slim possibility for him to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed,” Ford said then. “Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose—because he’s black and he’s top of the ticket. We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything. I’m a gambling man. I love Obama. But I’m not going to kill myself.” Today, Ford is running for governor.

Obama has made an art of navigating between the white culture of his Kansan mother who raised him, and the inheritance of his Kenyan father. It has been the stuff of his journey, the content of his memoir that made him millions, the Democratic convention speech in 2004 that made him a household name, and the current that pushed along his campaign. He has taken great pains in the campaign and during the transition to emphasize that his presidency is for all people. There was even a measure of flattery for white audiences in his stock stump-speech line: “Only in America is my story possible.” (At the Howard University forum, Princeton professor Cornel West said he didn’t buy the rhetoric when he first heard Obama speak in 2004. “When I heard him say America is a ‘magical place,’ I said what America are you talking about now, Negro? Come on now. Come on now!”)

At the massive concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the crowd was heavily African-American. But Obama’s team did not play up the racial significance of the venue or the event. The concert was pointedly entitled “We Are One”; U2 was there, performing their song One. The day before his inauguration, a holiday in honour of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Obama issued a statement honouring King that did not include the words black, African-American, or even race. Instead, he talked about King’s “life lived in service to others” and promoted volunteerism. He talked about unity, emphasizing that “our destinies are inextricably linked,” and called on Americans to “remember King’s lesson—that our separate dreams are really one.”

The historian Walker, who has co-written a book on Obama and his pastor, Wright, says that Obama’s language is deliberately vague. “You have to learn to finesse the issues and talk in generalities and high-flying phrases. The language has become an Aesopian language—the intention is hidden in what he is saying,” Walker notes. “He is a centrist and he will pursue policies that will be more liberal than Bush, but he’s not going to do anything wild like declare universal Kwanza or something.” Yet it will be a difficult balance, he says. “In the long term, given the desperate straits of many black people, he will have to speak out on racial issues forcefully. It will be expected by black people of him,” Walker says.

But for many of those who came out to celebrate Obama in Washington this week, there was little doubt that the First Black President would make a difference. “It will change lives,” said Tarik Muhammad, a black 35-year-old school bus driver in Washington. “It will change how people look at other people and how people deal with each other in business and everything. It will change attitudes, relationships, the way people view people of other races. I do see it personally.” It would take him time to get used to the idea of a black president, Muhammad said. “It’s kind of hard to take in. It’s like a dream.”

Robert Riddick, a 40-year-old heavy equipment operator from Woodbridge, Va., said Obama’s election changes the way African-Americans feel in their own country. “It’s as if we can unpack our bags now. We are equal now,” said Riddick, adding that the same holds true for all racial minorities. “I hope the next president is Hispanic. I hope there is a Chinese one and a Japanese one,” he added. His fiancée, Kim Brown, who is white, agreed, “I am excited. It’s a long time coming. I think there will be a lot of equality now. I think there will be more respect for everyone, black, white, yellow, green.”

Some even believe the new face of America will help rehabilitate the country’s image abroad, which has been battered since the Iraq invasion and the Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo scandals. “I think it’s beyond symbolic—I think having an African-American president will send a positive message to the entire world that the U.S. can look beyond colour and have someone of African descent rise to the highest office in the nation,” said Adrian Roberts, 44, who works in technology in New York City.“Given that the rest of the world is largely a community of people of colour, it will be positive,” added Roberts, who is black.

Yvonne Matinyi, an architect from Tanzania who works in Silver Spring, Md., said Obama had already changed America’s image. “Now that people see there is a black president in America, they see anything is possible.” She also noted that “Obama is a celebrity in Tanzania. This is an inspiration for all.”

The optics are certainly good: Obama presents an erudite and bookish, yet cool and stylish, image of masculinity. And the elegant family portrait of the Harvard Law School-trained Obamas, with their two lovely daughters who will be attending the same private school that educated Chelsea Clinton, is an image whose power should not be underestimated, said Adrian Roberts. “Now you see an African-American family and what it can look like, instead of the negative stereotypes portrayed on TV in terms of gang violence and people living in poverty,” he said. “Michelle and Barack both went to Ivy League schools, got a great education, and are raising two beautiful girls. It sends a message to the world that African-Americans are doing it—and are doing it well,” he said.

Others said that Obama’s success sends a message of self-empowerment to African-Americans. “It definitely changes people’s excuses and their saying there is inequity, because now we do have equity for the races in our nation,” said Bill Wright, 53, a network engineer for the phone company Sprint from Gaithersburg, Md. “Not that all prejudice is gone, but it’s a reckoning for America to see a black man in the office. There’s no excuses for black people particularly, who feel they have been held down,” said Wright, who is black. “We can achieve. Just like the slogan goes: yes we can!”

Not everyone was fixated on Obama’s race, however. Angela Owens, a 40-year-old employee of the federal Bureau of Prisons in northern Virginia, said she was more excited by the end of the Bush era than by the President’s race. “It’s not so much his being an African-American president—I’m just excited to have a Democrat,” said Owens, who is black. For older generations, she said, the feelings may be different. But she was excited by Obama’s message of unity. “It’s a spirit of having someone in office who wants to reach out—to all people.”




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Post-racial America?

  1. Yes,Well we all saw the JZ video,using the “N” word degrading remarks about white people.Racism is alive and thriving in the Black community.Us white people thought we voted for a bi-racial candidate,the best of America,now Obama is Black,the Black President and has seemed to throw his own mother under the bus.As he did his white grandmother and his Pastor.

    • The very mention of such a piece of trash video from dead pan artist like Jay-Z is absurd. That is just Fox news race baiting in action by none other than Michelle MAulkin. But there is no such thing as Post racial America that is another stupid political buzz word that excites idiots. Having a Black president is a step forward for society but race,sex and social status will remain a fa ctor in America dare I say for some time to come. Race is created by a tribal mentatlity and a xenophobic fear of otherness, So you will see that in the white,Black,Hispanic and Asian community no one is immune. So Please leave a ignorant rap video out of any adult conversation about the non existant post racial america.

      • Easy Avenger XL……..it is possible to have an adult conversation and include the mention of a rap video. Infact if you want to practice being adult perhaps you could display your full name? :)

        • I did not use my name because I don’t like sharing personal information when I am not face to face with individuals. This is not safe over the internet and a programmer IT jerk I know this all too well. Secondly it is ok to mention a rap video but it is not ok to frame a whole communities ideas based on the actions of a few. That is the very essence of racism. Since Ozzy Ozborne plays up the darkness stuff does that mean all people who listen to it are brainwashed into a satanist cult that eats bat heads on stage? Then why is it ok to miss-represent something like this ignorant rap video as nothing more than shock by shock artists.

    • YOU’RE WRONG!! YES racism is not going away, it’s only because people either won’t except that fact that in America there are different ethnic groups that are prospering and it’s because that white will be the minority in the next 15 to 20 year.

      • You are confusing ‘race,” a political construct with no biological basis, with ethnicity, which relates to the place and culture one is born into.

        If you want to understand how deeply ingrained in the US psyche is the idea that there are different ‘races,’ read Studs Turkel’s book “Race.”

        If you want to really understand how baseless but politically volatile the idea is that there are different ‘races,’ read Stephen J. Gould’s collections of essays on the subject in “Dinosaur in a Haystack.”

        Simple understanding of mitochondrial DNA and how it is dispersed world wide will quickly divest one of the idea that there is any real difference between humans.

        Skin is an organ, as is an eye or a liver. To base political or social policy on the colour of a body organ is ridiculous in the extreme. Until we humans, who are widely varied in looks but all part of the HUMAN race, stop such manipulation in our own lives and absolutely protest it otherwise, there will be continued use of such a false premise for much negative work.

        • I don’t care how you see it, I don’t want any part of white culture…

    • Is this response for real? Racism is not “alive and thriving in the Black community” — nor more so than in the white community. What the above individual fails to undertsand is that it is ok for the Black community to address racism and race issues and if that means white people, myself included, feel uncomfortable at times then too bad. We need to be honest with ourselves and we live in a racist society that favors our white skin. This fact is something the above individual seems to not understand. Obama has not “thrown his mother under the bus” — what an insane statement — he respresents what we should all aspire to be: a quality individual who acts and reaches beyond racial boundaries. May I suggest Erica Stephens spends more time investigating and studying him rather than making sweeping, silly statements. She should also re-assess her off-base comments about JZ’s anti-white comments……come on! As a savvy business mogul he would know that the vast majority of consumers of his music are white people and I’ve not come accross degrading remarks—-no more than his critical remarks about people within his own Black hip-hop community.

    • Don’t agree with Shelby Steele. Sounds as though he’s putting down one of his own. Jealousy perhaps?

  2. No we will never enter a post racial america. too many folks at the federal, state and local level count on racial divisions, issues, worries, perceived or real grievences to provide them with jobs. However, we will add to the further balkanization of america by using shoe size to determine if you’ve been discriminated against.

  3. I agree with taxpayer above/below. Washington needs a racial division just like they need inflation, thus the trillion$$$ pork bill.

  4. Slavery did not build the US, only the South, although the South was much kinder to the native population then the North was (Georgia didn’t want to kick out the Cherokees, Andrew Jackson had to use the Federal Government to do it) which I suppose partially makes up for it.

    • Actually slavery was not only responsible for building most of the states ( North and South — check your facts because there was slavery in the North — not as long but it was there ) but the Triangle Trade ( taking free people from Africa, the middle passage to North/South America and the Caribbean — then taking the slave made products (sugar, coffee, indigo dye etc) and selling those goods back in Europe) largely created the impetus for the industrial revolution and building most of the Western Wold’s wealth.

  5. Look, folks, no great historical quandary is solved in a minute. This is a massive step, most particularly in the perceptions of the younger generations — who will think of Obama first when they think of African American males. Its only possible because Obama stands for a politics that is not exactly post race, but certainly for putting aside as much of the divisive, cynical, and abusive political rhetoric that has amplified our political coherence since the Sixties.

    I believe he is completely genuine in this; he refuses to abuse or write off any of us; he doesn’t play the old self-righteousness, but quietly calls us to carry our best ideals forward. If Jay-Z doesn’t get it, give him some time and he’ll probably get aboard over time. Same for some of my white compatriots whose images of African-Americans are all in the angry image of Jay-Z.

    Meanwhile, just as important, it’s about time we took a lead from our Northern neighbors and created a decent health system.

    JimBenton
    Wisconsin

    • Thank you for your thoughts, especially your closing sentence, JimBenton. Most of us in Canada wish to preserve and improve our system, as far as I know, and I do sincerely hope that health care will become more accessable and affordable for the American people. All the best to you folks!

  6. Sorry — fifth line should be “incoherence”.

  7. If indeed, this election ushered in a post-racial era, then when can we roll back quotas based on race??

  8. More than 95% black vote dem. is not post racial.

  9. If one stops to think about it : by definition american is no longer a racist country -> You can’t have a racist country if the leader of the country is a member of the race in question and is chosen by the population at large. Yes there are people who are and will be racist but the country’s future and path is charted by the leader and representatives as well as the general populace who elected them … therefore if the leader and the people do not judge a president by colour but character then there is no racism per se however there could be form of racism by blacks and whites voting for Obama just because he was black then that would be racist as well but this all ends up in semantics and abstact thought.

  10. Barack Obama has certainly changed the rules of the game with his unique background. However, the media should stop referring to him as Afro-American; he is just an extremely capable man who happens to be Afro-American.

    The US also needs to get over its obsession with the religion of a political candidate. Why is it important that a candidate has to declare his religious credentials? How does it matter?

    Canada is much further ahead in these matters. We’ve had immigrant Governor-generals for quite some time; neither race nor religion was an issue. The media doesnt even tell us what church our Prime Minister goes to – its not relevant.

    Canadians expect a lot from Barack Obama, as discussed in the web-site http://www.wecandians.com.
    But none of what we admire about or expect from Barack Obama has anything to do with his religion or his race.

  11. Black Americans are not African-Americans. They are black children of America, not Africa. Ancestors of modern americans committed a sin. What is the original meaning of a sin? Fertilization and creation of a new life without necessary permissions. So they did – they created a new society of people with black skin and partly African – partly white genes. Then they did not want to accept their unlawful creation. The religious meaning of the event for whites is that finally the rejected relatives are accepted back. Which has nothing to do with equal outcome, rather with equal parental love.

  12. Look, Obama has nothing to do with “post racial” America or whatever. That has been for a long time. People are desperate and to the majority he seemed to make the most sense and obviously Bush was not a popular president despite doing some good things. What I always laugh at is the one-sided nature of it all. White people cannot send their kids to black public schools, cannot go into most black areas at night and does anyone SERIOUSLY think the black crime problem will plummet with the election of Obama( we all sure hope it does)? Places like Detroit, Philly, Compton, DC, New Orleans, large parts of Chicago, etc. will continue to be crime-ridden dumps. The culture is the problem. Now, perhaps Obama’s election will prompt less black racism which is a great thing and less “blame whitey” BS. That is the one good thing about this election. And for the comments on thug rapper JZ, what do you expect? These guys are nothing but low-life, ghetto trash idiots that “made it” through rappin in a microphone. Just because they have money now does nothing in terms of who they are. Rap/hip hop is based on low morals, hate, anti-white spewing, anti-police hating, woman abusing filth. He and so many other rapper crappers are nothing but ghetto thugs. They may have left the ghetto but the ghetto sure as hell did not leave them. Don’t buy his records. Don’t support rap… bottom line. They are a bunch of morons like drug dealers( many of them were/are) or mobsters. JZ is no different or Young Jeezy and all these moronic names. Hustlers and nothing more. Just because you have money does not make you smart or classy…. quite the opposite in too many cases. Just hope the “white guilt” BS IS DONE AND OVER.

    • Rap is not based on any of the things you stated. So you are missinformed about that. How about asking Viacom why they only play this shock music all the time and never show any the modern soul music that comes from black America? How about the rap group little brother who were told their lyrics where to intelligent for TV? These companies get paid to sell shock and smut because America is addicted to this kind of escapism and as far as crime goes hell no Obama can’t stop crime in inner cities just by being in office. He is the president not christ. This would start on a lcoal politcal level not the federal level but this discusion isn’t worth my time.

  13. It is Absurd because neither Jay-Z nor that idiot Jeezy represent the whole of black America or any other group. They are simply providing the type of shock entertainment they are paid too. That’s like seeing MArylin Manson Burn a bible who cares the guy is a nut job shock artist that gets paid off knee jerk reactions. Jay-Z is a over the hill rapper that hasn’t done much for his community in his whole career much like Micheal Jordan and Jeezy is just plan garbage shock dance music. People don’t look up to these idiots as role models they may where clothing like them or want to be rich like them but they don’t even give a true role to follow.

    This whole situation sounds like many White Americans are upset to see any african american say yes the president looks like me yay! Would we be this angrey if women celebrated this hard had hillary won or Paline? Don’t confuse the actions of a few shock artist as some divisive plot from all African americans and don’t forget that these idiots aren’t role models just a source of escape like the video game quake or doom. The problem is most inner cities don’t have adaquate role models and to be a role model you have to do more than be famous and show up on TV. The education system in these areas are the problem and media companies need to play the other versions of black music just as much as they play the shock garbage.

    The Bottom Line is that their is no such thing as a post racial america because race, sex and economic status will always be something debated to some degree. People need to stop looking for finish lines with these kind of issues and work to better the issues. Looking for finish lines only allows idiots to say racisim is dead so they can go out and be racist without interference.

  14. Is that you Rick from the Rick and Bubba Show in biminghell AL?

  15. Barack Obama won because he was the best candidate….well educated, articulate, inspiring…..this election will be analyzed to death but no argument can change the fact that the color of his skin neither adds to nor detracts from his intelligence and expressed values which touched a chord with right-thinking people both in the United States and all over the world…..

  16. I’m disappointed at the almost defeatist attitude some of the post-election commentary has shown. It’s as if the African American community doesn’t quite believe it – or maybe certain writers whose stock in trade is racial politics don’t want to believe it – and so there’s this noise about white guilt getting Obama elected. It was never that simple. Obama appeals to young people who feel like someone is finally thinking about them. He’s a smart guy, a good writer and a Harvard-educated brainiac who appeals to people who think it’s important to have a smart guy at the helm. Elitists like Obama not because of his skin color but because he’s one of them. And the guy has charisma pouring off of him. And look at his message – we’re on the wrong road, let’s stop fighting with each other and work on these big problems because it’s going to take all of us. So here’s a guy who’s a uniter (who walks the talk by putting former opponents on his team) instead of a divider, is smart and poised instead of a buffoon, an advocate of open and fair government instead of being secretive and a usurper of civil liberties, who got young people involved in politics, and it’s no wonder he won in a landslide. He has all that working for him, and then all these one-note commentators can say is ‘he only won because whites have racial guilt.’ COME ON!

  17. The headline here says it all. Melanine.

    For how many years have we humans allowed political, social and church policy to be dictated by the amount of melanine in skin?

    When put that way, is it not outrageous?? What if those policies had been based on eye colour? Eyes, like skin, are an organ of the body; how bizarre it would be were policies – the idea of equality – were based on eye colour. It is no different where it comes to skin.

    In 1968, the day after Dr. ML King was killed, teacher Jane Elliott demonstrated the utterly fatal flaw of “race” based thinking. See this PBS documentary:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/video/flv/generic.html?s=frol02p66&continuous=1

    The term “race” is first of all utterly baseless. The genetic markers that make us human – and the mitochondrial DNA markers that link us – are not specific to skin colour. By that reality, ‘race’ is a polictical construct designed to divide, conquor and subjugate us, people of the human race.

    If reliance on the colour of skin as a means of judgement and separation has finally passed out of fashion, we can only say how sad is it that such a stupid division ever existed and question ourselves as to why we allowed those who purport to lead us to take advantage of such a false premise for so long.

    • “For how many years have we humans allowed political, social and church policy to be dictated by the amount of melanine in skin”

      It continues to this day: affirmative action. human rights commissions. hiring quotas.

  18. As a black American, 100% Black American that is, I am tired of Obama being called the firat BLACK president, he’s not black, he’s half white, which was and still is Mulatto – White people have a way of pandering, and this election was just that – you can’t wash away the past, the people who suffered through the oppression of slavery – most of them are gone, and those that remain are damaged for life.
    If white people want to do the right thing, how about giving up a few states for the establishment of a Black independant territory – or leaving Africa and helping that continent establish viable independant goverments for and by Black people… And giving black’s the right to go back and forth between to two continents – most black people were born here because they were bought here via force -

    How about I don’t want to be your eqaul, I don’t want to promote the garbage and the filth you people promote in the name of free speech…how about i want to be better than you, free from you, in an all black society, how about that ?

    How about if you realize that not everybody wants to remain within your society and you won’t give us the option out, an option that many won’t take, but many would…

    You want to do the right thing, how about giving up the riches that was made on the backs of slaves, the Tobbaco industry, the Cotton industry, oh I forgot it wasn’t you, it was your fore fathers, but some of you are living off of the riches gained from the blood sweat and tears of the black people, and Indians’ and anybody else you devils could manipulate, well there’s a lot of us, that hate you vile nasty worthless creatures, thats how i feel, I wouldn’t help a white man from a burning house if I was the only person on earth after he burned to death.

    I’m so angry I can’t spell straight, Oh but whitey has done us, such a good thing he put an idiot in the white house, out of the people runniing in the presidential election we were only given the choice of 2, one whitey knew would lose, because the white women who put Obama in office wasn’t looking at his polices, and then that old fool Mc Cain, what kind of contest was that, a consumer survey told them who would win year’s ago, but thats whitey, the ones with money ….

    Oh I’m the respectable black man who works everyday serving you demon’s and whenever I get a chance I serve you spit….

    whitey wants to make good the evil done in the past, how about leaving Africa, helping it become completely independant, stop supporting Israel agression…..stop stomping on other countries right to govern themselves, Russia, and China were / are just as evil as Saddam, you didn’t bomb them, why not ???

    the hate I feel for you people makes my blood boil, I hate talking to you, I hate the world you created…

      • I do not want any part of the white race, hate is going to drag me down? yet hate made many of you rich for how many centuaries ? and some of your families still live well because of the hateful thing’s your fore-fathers did in the past ? Manhattan Island exists, because your fore – fathers tricked, no made fool’s of a people who had no idea of greed, and it’s still a ‘ joke ‘ today…hate

        and now you want to throw open the doors to immigration as though it’s some sign of universal acceptance . See we here in Canada, we’re not racist, we’re just getting older and we need somebody to clean our toilets, and yes our infirmed old parents butts to, but not to worry, your kids can go to University, and become ‘ ” Canadian ” and “over consumers” just like the rest of white Canada…

        • Look Mike,

          Slavery was a disgusting practice but, at the time, it wasn’t based on hate; it was based on abject ignorance….. of the kind you’re displaying now.

          If you want to be a victim, go wild. There’s no impediment to your having a great life beyond the impediments you place yourself. Anyone going to university in this country so not sure what point you’re trying to make… . There’s not a university in Canada or the US or Mexico or the UK that bars people on the colour of their skin so I’m not sure what your issue is there. I’m almost 50 and I am currently a university student…

          I’m not sure who you’re referring to when you’re saying “your” but as you’re referring to Manhattan Island – Ellis Island – I presume you’re referring to the US. So just to clear that up, I’m Canadian. If you knew your history, however, you would know that many people coming through both Ellis and Pier 21 in Halifax NS were abjectly treated by the officials because they were Irish or Slavic or Italian. I have a friend whose family came through Pier 21 and whose name was changed because the ‘welcoming’ guard couldn’t spell their own name….. Most people whose background is African or West Indian didn’t come through Ellis or Pier 21… those people were dragged here and no, it wasn’t a great practice but it was based on economics, not hate. No I’m not excusing it. It just is was it is.

          Human mistreatment of other humans has nothing to do with skin colour and everything to do with fear and hate and BUYING IN to the very useful political tactic of maintaining that hate. Divide and conquer… it’s as old as the planet and that’s exactly what you’re doing.

          Your attitude does nothing but further the problem. HOW are you different from anyone else who hates skin?? HOW? You’re not. You’re exactly the same.

          I wager most of the reason you’re pissed off is that you haven’t achieved some of the stuff you wanted to achieve but THAT, my friend, has more to do with you, how you act, your attitude and what you’re willing to do to achieve your goals. Nobody’s holding you back, man – other than yourself.

  19. In a few months this silly racial talk will be gone as Oboma becomes merely the the President and the news begins on the failures of the new administration to hold a magic wand for everything that ills the world. It”s a noteworthy milestone but he hasn’t begun work yet… let’s see how well he does.

  20. I agree with some of the sentiments below that are shared regarding Obama’s unique magnetism that brought him to the white house. Every once in a generation there comes an individual that appears to transcend the ordane personalities of the past and in such a person we see what we desire in ourselves. Obama happens to be that individual and being black is just one of those traits that sets him apart from the generic. His youth, his demeanour, his oratory, his charm, his wit, his braun- all together bring out a modern day knight in shining armor. It happens to be that though he may not be going to battle on the plains, he is carrying our hopes and dreams of liberation from this faceless enemy called economic depression. Will he succeed?
    For the black and colored populace of the world he is more than a man- a symbol. A symbol signifying that even a descendant of the most subjugated race in the history of humankind can triumph over bigotry and hate and rise to the most powerful position in the most powerful nation in the world- a nation that no more than six generations ago would have have relegated him to a life in abysmal servitude.

  21. Press release from the Chinese Canadian Conservative Association:

    Senior Ignatieff Liberal’s “cat meat” comment offends the Chinese community

    Chinese Canadian Conservative Association calls on Liberal leader to fire Senior Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella

    Toronto – Alex Yuan, chair of the Chinese Canadian Conservative Association called on Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to distance himself from the comments made by senior Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella. In a recent blog posting Kinsella likened the meat found in Chinese cuisine to cat meat.

    “Back in the Big Owe for a couple weeks, so what better way to kick things off than with some BBQ cat and rice at the Yang Sheng, hangout of our youth? Yay!”

    Kinsella repeated the offensive comment in a video posting on his website.

    “Our community is deeply concerned with Mr. Kinsella’s comments. Kinsella repeats the most vulgar and offensive stereotypes by associating the meat served by Chinese restaurants to cat meat. He has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and disrespected the Chinese culture,” continued Yuan.

    “This is not the first instance of such intolerant remarks by Mr. Kinsella therefore we call upon Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to fire Mr. Kinsella as his senior strategist and apologize to the community.”

    Mr. Kinsella was forced to apologize for another intolerant blog posting in 2007. In the 2007, he wrote a post suggesting that Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod would rather bake cookies than run for office.

    For more information please contact:

    Tom Pang, CCCA Director

    416-447-0446

    • the Chinese have done nothing to intergrate into this society, you over populate the world, and cheat people at every tuen, who care how you feel ?

      • … and are responsible for building Canada’s national railway and for all sorts of positive political changes…. And Canada’s “racist” policies – those designed to cause the Chinese men who’d built that railway to leave the country – are also responsible in large part for a vastly beneficial herb to be illegal in Canada…

        Anyway, someone like you is obviously operating from a position of fear first of all, but secondly from not knowing anything about Chinese people or culture or beliefs. Ignorance is never a defence and is certainly not in this case….

        James Clavel wrote several excellent books about the Orient: Tai Pan, King Rat and Nobel house, although novels, contain extensive research on China, its culture, its language and its superstitions. Although from your comments I doubt you read much at all, if you do decide to ‘bone up,’ you might start with Clavel’s excellent and entertaining books.

        • Yes we know all about the positive contribution’s, if you consider having to do dangerous job’s that may cost you your life because you feel compelled to have children that you can ill afford ( thats a mouth full ) positive – this was back in the day ( read history ) of course, but still the Chinese built the railroad from

          choice not force. I have some recent pictures of a beach in China, there is not room to walk, and I mean that in the most literal sense, what kind of people are so hell bent on destroying the natural resources.

          Fear ? no reality, I’m afraid of reality, the reality is that in my lifetime, the facist regime that runs that country will need more space, and they will flex their arm’s as they have done throughout history and life will become hell. Once I die, if there is no reincarnation on this planet I don’t care what happens

          • Dude, it’s hard to take you seriously given that your responses are hateful and uninformed and your posts are unedited.

            I would put money on it you have no Chinese friends and I’d also wager that you haven’t travelled much at all…. so, those things considered, it’s pretty easy to discount your rants as having very little value or substance.

    • Chinese consume not only cats but also dogs and other “exotic animals” as delicacies.

      • Yeah, and Aboriginal peoples consume grubs; African’s eat locusts; some people eat fried fish eggs; some eat lizard; some eat horse eyeballs; some eat cow liver; some eat snake; some eat monkey; some eat turtles.

        What is your point other than to absolutely prove you are entirely uninformed, unread, untravelled and unsophisticated?

        Go back to your cave.

        • I live in Metro Vancouver, so I certainly have no need to travel overseas to experience Chinese “culture” as I am living in the midst of it (and them) every day. However, I do know several people who have travelled and worked in China before and have witnessed the variety of “food choices” (with accompanying odours) that I referred to.

          Suffice it to say that local Chinese in my area also consume a wide variety of questionable dietary ietms, which I unfortunately come into contact with daily, when I discover the discarded remains of such food carelessly dumped into the recycling bins in my condo building. Sadly, I know the “contributions” that some Chinese have made to Canada only too well…

          • So what??? What the hell is your point? You think that everyone should live and eat like you? Ok. Point made. You’re an idiot… That point also made. Loud and clear. Of all the people I’ve ever read on any comment site, you win for dumb. You also win for ethnocentrism, narrow view and very probably for having a boring diet.

            Back to your cave now.

    • Chinese are remarkably adept at manufacturing alleged “offenses” against their “culture” and “feelings”, especially when it suits their monetary and political interests to do so. The Tories have become increasingly beholden to ethnic insiders like Mr. Pang and have abdicated their traditional role of representing the interests of the Euro-Canadian majority population. It’s truly ponderous to witness Chinese using the Tories party to level accusations of ‘racism” against the Liberals, especially when many Chinese-Canadians are themselves guilty of racist sentiment against non-Chinese here.

  22. I would never have thought.

  23. Why Did My Comment not Show UP?

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