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Old 07-14-2008, 09:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Is Obama a black candidate?

So recently, I am getting the sense that people think of Barak Obama as a black presidential candidate? Apparently there has been all this talk about how he could be the first black president? What the hell? Are people nuts? Obama is NOT black. He is mixed: his father is Kenyan and his mother is caucasian. I thought this was absolutely absurd.

Do other people think of Obama as a black presidential candidate? Does this mean his matralineal side doesn't count? If anything, he represents blacks and whites equally.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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"Black" often means those who have dark pigment. Most black Americans have native American in them, but they're still black. Technically I believe that Obama is malato, but that's generally an outdated term.

But you're right a lot of people may not be aware of his Caucasian heritage. He's spoken about it before (I'm sure everyone remembers the "typical white person" comment about his grandmother), but any media biased against him would not likely want to make him appear white at all.
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I do not see that he represents the views of the dominant "black" culture in the Los Angeles area. This said, I have heard numerous people say it will be a huge step for America if Obama is elected simply because he is of color.
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A lot of people still have the whole "One drop of black blood" rule ingrained in their heads, even if they are not conscientiously aware of this, so in their minds he is fully black.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, I am aware of the "one drop rule" but I think it is absolutely ridiculous. All the more reason why race as a social construct is so idiotic.
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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He must be black; everybody's scared of him.
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Old 07-15-2008, 04:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well jorge: it's the same issue with Tiger Woods being the first great black golfer; that's the way our society works. It may be sad, but generally speaking I'll bet you'll find a lot of people in your area who are more or less part of black subculture, when in fact their ancestry is of mixed lineage. I think your basic point is less about the specifics of laypeople labelling Obama as "black," or more about the way our society generally handles race.
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Old 07-15-2008, 04:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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He's a presidential candidate who happens to be black.

How one sees him is a choice relating to how our personal perspective has been formed.

Mixed, mulatto ... does it matter? Why would anyone want to deny that he's black? And what do you mean by "others"?
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Obama is a black candidate in the same sense that Bill Clinton was the "blackest president so far." It's not so much a matter of his own heritage as it is of those he seems to represent and of those who stand to benefit from his actions as president. More appropriately, he's a candidate for the middle and lower classes as well as for the minority groups.

His own cultural heritage comes in to the equation only when the media attacks him because of it or when he plays the card to the benefit of his campaign.

Surely we wouldn't ask a candidate who claims to be for the poor to verify such claims with a years worth of bank statements.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewels
He's a presidential candidate who happens to be black.

How one sees him is a choice relating to how our personal perspective has been formed.

Mixed, mulatto ... does it matter? Why would anyone want to deny that he's black? And what do you mean by "others"?
But he's not black. he's black and white. That is the issue I have with this. Because by labeling him black, it is not true and you deny another segment of the population. It does matter because it is a unique opportunity that can be unifying and further break racial barriers in our country. For people concerned about a black candidate, well there can be reassurances too because he also represents whites. And, he can also represent the blacks. All this within the context of racial politics of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manic_Skafe
Obama is a black candidate in the same sense that Bill Clinton was the "blackest president so far." It's not so much a matter of his own heritage as it is of those he seems to represent and of those who stand to benefit from his actions as president. More appropriately, he's a candidate for the middle and lower classes as well as for the minority groups.

His own cultural heritage comes in to the equation only when the media attacks him because of it or when he plays the card to the benefit of his campaign.

Surely we wouldn't ask a candidate who claims to be for the poor to verify such claims with a years worth of bank statements.
Exactly. I wish to draw attention to this because I do find it absurd in many ways and want to point out how ridiculous race is as a social construct. Obama also represents the elites. To me, he represents a wide breadth of demographics which makes him interesting. I'm not sure I get the poor analogy though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pig
Well jorge: it's the same issue with Tiger Woods being the first great black golfer; that's the way our society works. It may be sad, but generally speaking I'll bet you'll find a lot of people in your area who are more or less part of black subculture, when in fact their ancestry is of mixed lineage. I think your basic point is less about the specifics of laypeople labelling Obama as "black," or more about the way our society generally handles race.
Wait, Tiger Woods is black?!! WTF? I always thought he was the 1st great Asian American golfer to make it big. He is a hero in all of Asia. There are literally billions of people who view Tiger as Asian. He is half after all, seems fair to me. Yet somehow he is only black? But you are correct pig in your assertion of my point. I wanted to elicit some opinions and generate discussion about this. Good points pig.

Last edited by jorgelito; 07-15-2008 at 09:35 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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What exactly is your goal in shouting out that Obama isn't black? If you want to make people realize they're being silly by labeling a man as black when he's in fact half black and half white, you're soap box is in the wrong location. If you wish to point out that race is a ridiculous social construct then you need to, IMO, present your argument a bit better. Just because you think it's silly doesn't mean it's not true. There are people that think dinosaurs are a silly social construct but that doesn't stop their fossils from being found.

People seem to think that the idea of race disappears if one simply ignores it. In theory that's a great idea but in practice people naturally tend to separate things by their most obvious differences. The most obvious difference between Obama & John is skin color and lets face it, people are afraid of things that don't look and/or act like them.
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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You're trying to argue that somehow his lineage determines whether he is black or white.

In doing so, you're confusing the relatively obvious distinction between SKIN COLOR and ETHNICITY. By ethnicity, he's not an "African American." By skin color, he is most certainly black.

Someone can be African American without being black, and black without being African American.

You're just being pedantic if you really want to argue this. In a random geographically distributed survey of 10,000 Americans, I'd wager more than 9,000 people would consider Barack Obama "black." You can go against the grain all you want, but words are socially constructed and you aren't part of the majority of society that constructed these meanings.
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Last edited by Jinn; 07-15-2008 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Well, he is African-American since his father is African and his mother is American. Can't get more African-American than that.
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:48 AM   #14 (permalink)
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You can tell he's black by how articulate and clean he is.
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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It's just a label based on physical appearance. If you knew nothing about him and saw him for the first time, what would you assume his heritage is?

However, if you want to look deeper, take a look at his life. He's married to a black lawyer and he began his ascent to politics as a community organizer in black urban communities. What racial groups do you think he identifies with more?
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:52 AM   #16 (permalink)
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If he's elected I hope he does a better job that LA Mayor Tom Bradley (politician) or NYC Mayor David Dinkins both firsts. Mr. Bradley did well for LA but Mr. Dinkins left NYC in the crapper.
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
Do other people think of Obama as a black presidential candidate?
I think the majority of the country does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
Does this mean his matralineal side doesn't count?
If you don't want a black president, vote for his white half.
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Old 07-15-2008, 11:32 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Almost everyone is 'racially mixed' - in fact, there's not really much of a hard line between one 'race' and another. Just different population groups diverging slightly over long periods of time. Racial identity is a combination of self-identification, ancestry, and judgement by other people. As far as I'm aware, Mr. Obama self-identifies as black (I couldn't find a reference to this). His ancestry is mixed, but no more mixed than many other people defining themselves as african-american or black. Most people, looking at a picture of him, would probably identify him as black.

A good reference: http://www.samefacts.com/archives/ba...bama_black.php
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:49 PM   #19 (permalink)
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We'll still have the first black first lady. Then again, she might have some white way back somewhere in her ancestry. OMG, where do we draw the line? Give it a break, he'll be the first black president. No need for denial. Furthermore, we'll have black presidents from here on. Once you go black, you never go back. With Latinos and African-Americans both reproducing in America at a much faster rate than white people, and Asians making up nearly 70% of the world's population, white people are finally going to be a minority like never before. Praise Jesus!

And yes I'm white; I just like playing on the fears of ignorant white people who concern themselves with trivial matters and fail to see things in life that really matter, like peace, love, happiness and painkillers.

Last edited by ipollux; 07-15-2008 at 02:51 PM..
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Old 07-15-2008, 03:12 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randle2I
What exactly is your goal in shouting out that Obama isn't black? If you want to make people realize they're being silly by labeling a man as black when he's in fact half black and half white, you're soap box is in the wrong location. If you wish to point out that race is a ridiculous social construct then you need to, IMO, present your argument a bit better. Just because you think it's silly doesn't mean it's not true. There are people that think dinosaurs are a silly social construct but that doesn't stop their fossils from being found.

People seem to think that the idea of race disappears if one simply ignores it. In theory that's a great idea but in practice people naturally tend to separate things by their most obvious differences. The most obvious difference between Obama & John is skin color and lets face it, people are afraid of things that don't look and/or act like them.
The point is to stimulate discussion. It's not a soap box, if you have a problem with this then please feel free to visit other threads on this forum. I find the race debate in our country to be quite fascinating and wish we would deliberate on it more. But I am interested in your reply and would love for you to expound further. Do you really think people are afraid of things that don't look like them? Does that cover gender? Obama doesn't look or act like many blacks but they are supposed to be comfortable with him? By reducing Obama to just a black label, we are doing a great disservice to the socio-political development of our nation et al. The fact of the matter is, he is both black and white. And quite frankly, if the more of us would see that, then race would be much less of an issue period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinn
You're trying to argue that somehow his lineage determines whether he is black or white.

In doing so, you're confusing the relatively obvious distinction between SKIN COLOR and ETHNICITY. By ethnicity, he's not an "African American." By skin color, he is most certainly black.

Someone can be African American without being black, and black without being African American.

You're just being pedantic if you really want to argue this. In a random geographically distributed survey of 10,000 Americans, I'd wager more than 9,000 people would consider Barack Obama "black." You can go against the grain all you want, but words are socially constructed and you aren't part of the majority of society that constructed these meanings.
This is a cop out answer (no offense). Why be satisfied with the status quo? My skin is much darker than Obama's. Does that make me black? Colin Powell almost as white as Conan O'Brien but he's still black. Someone mentioned Bill Clinton as the true first black president. Why shouldn't we break down these social constructions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shesus

If you don't want a black president, vote for his white half.
Where did I say I don't want a black president? Please reread my posts. I don't care at all what "color" the president is. I think too many people do which is why I am challenging the notion of race.

Last edited by jorgelito; 07-15-2008 at 03:17 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 07-15-2008, 03:36 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Charlize Theron and Steve Nash are African Americans.
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Old 07-15-2008, 04:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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jorgelito, you wrote, "Obama doesn't look or act like many blacks
but they are supposed to be comfortable with him?"

Jorgelito? how does Obama not look or 'act' like many blacks?

Who are 'they' ?

Last edited by ring; 07-15-2008 at 06:22 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 07-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
Where did I say I don't want a black president? Please reread my posts. I don't care at all what "color" the president is. I think too many people do which is why I am challenging the notion of race.
Oops, sorry, didn't mean *you*. I meant general you. I heard it on Air America a few weeks ago.
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Old 07-15-2008, 05:39 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipollux
Charlize Theron and Steve Nash are African Americans.
I thought Steve Nash was Canadian, what gives?
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:25 PM   #25 (permalink)
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My 7 yr. old daughter says he's brown. I think she's right.

I love that about her and wont indoctrinate her into the whole black/white thing. She'll pick up on it soon enough. She's not obsessed about skin color, but (for example) will say Caucasians range from pink, golden, to light-brown.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:28 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I thought Steve Nash was Canadian, what gives?
Born in Africa, grew up in Canada, has dual-citizenship.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:51 PM   #27 (permalink)
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His skin tone is more representing of a black man then a white one. Hence the label of him being a black candidate.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:37 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Nikki*
His skin tone is more representing of a black man then a white one. Hence the label of him being a black candidate.
Exactly.

It's really no more complicated than that. Why try to dissect it any further? Has our hypersensitive, ulta PC, culture taken away that simple ability to reason? We tend to overthink these things a bit, I think.

Thank you, *Nikki*, for so succinctly putting the belt back into the pully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ipollux
Charlize Theron and Steve Nash are African Americans.
That reminds me me of this thread
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:44 AM   #29 (permalink)
 
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Here is an interesting fact:

From the post Civil War era until the year 2000, the US government did not recognize "mixed race". The 2000 census was the first time that a person could check that designation and list the races in the space provided.

Prior to 2000, "mixed race" was not an option on the Census form. If one checked "other" and filled in "black-white"...that person was counted as black....if filled in "white-black"...that person was counted as white.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:25 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Exactly.

It's really no more complicated than that. Why try to dissect it any further? Has our hypersensitive, ulta PC, culture taken away that simple ability to reason? We tend to overthink these things a bit, I think.
I think it's hypersensitivity, political correctness and a thirst for the familiar that lead to the simple conclusion that Obama is African-American and that there's nothing else to be discussed here. Thankfully enough, reason affords us the ability to shed our preconceptions and question even the most evident of things.

Perhaps it's just me but replying to this thread only to state that there's nothing worthy of being discussed here seems a bit counter-productive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
I'm not sure I get the poor analogy though.
It was in reference to the typical assumption that only one of your own can understand your position and empathize with your own particular struggle. Ridiculous.
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:08 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Yes, I am aware of the "one drop rule" but I think it is absolutely ridiculous. All the more reason why race as a social construct is so idiotic.
Agreed
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:49 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Manic_Skafe
Perhaps it's just me but replying to this thread only to state that there's nothing worthy of being discussed here seems a bit counter-productive.
Never said that it wasn't worthy of discussion. Only that it wasn't as complicated as some would make it. Obama identifies with his "Black" heritage, and the pigmentation of his epidermis would seem to support that.

Frankly, I'm less concerned with how much he sunburns than I am with whether he's up for the job.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:08 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
The point is to stimulate discussion. It's not a soap box, if you have a problem with this then please feel free to visit other threads on this forum. I find the race debate in our country to be quite fascinating and wish we would deliberate on it more. But I am interested in your reply and would love for you to expound further. Do you really think people are afraid of things that don't look like them? Does that cover gender? Obama doesn't look or act like many blacks but they are supposed to be comfortable with him? By reducing Obama to just a black label, we are doing a great disservice to the socio-political development of our nation et al. The fact of the matter is, he is both black and white. And quite frankly, if the more of us would see that, then race would be much less of an issue period.
I find the race debate in our country to be rather pathetic in all honesty. Black people want to bring it up more often than not while white people want to ignore it all together. While I realize those aren't true for all whites & all blacks it is true for far to many of them. People are afraid of each other, they're afraid of people that don't look like them, and that covers gender, race, political standings, religion, and every other divisive thing out there. If men weren't afraid of women there wouldn't be so many threads asking how do I gain more confidence & approach this girl I like. If anti-abortionist weren't afraid of pro-choice then clinics wouldn't be burned down & death threats wouldn't be sent out. If people weren't afraid of gays then slurs and slanders wouldn't be thrown out like cheap towels as often as they are.

The fact is Obama acts & looks like a lot of black people out there. He just doesn't act like the ones we see on TV, on shows like Cops, or the ones we see at 11:30 at night lounging by the local liquor store, or the ones we notice in movie theaters acting rude, childish and as if something is owed to them. Noticing that he's black neither reduces nor elevates him to anything except in the minds of those that are afraid of him. It also isn't a great disservice to our nations politics to take note that he's black. He has the potential to become the first (half) black president of the United States, I think that's pretty major.

The fact that many black people themselves disagree on how they should be addressed should be more of an issue, IMO, than whether Obama is considered black or not. That's a whole nother ballpark though.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:59 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipollux
Charlize Theron and Steve Nash are African Americans.
African Canadian, he's not an American.

I always thought the "African American" label was stupid. Is a black man born in Germany an African German?
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:00 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kutulu
African Canadian, he's not an American.
That's interesting! What are people of African descent called in Canada? Are they African Americans there too?
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:06 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ratbastid
What are people of African descent called in Canada?
Canadian?

Oh...sorry...Canadian, eh?
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:21 PM   #37 (permalink)
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You can tell he's black by how articulate and clean he is.
I see what you did there.
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:19 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I wonder what we would call him if we as the human race were not given the gift of eyesight.

Maybe we would have more labels to pin on people. Maybe less.
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Old 07-16-2008, 02:03 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by percy
I wonder what we would call him if we as the human race were not given the gift of eyesight.

Maybe we would have more labels to pin on people. Maybe less.
Braille?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randle2I
I find the race debate in our country to be rather pathetic in all honesty. Black people want to bring it up more often than not while white people want to ignore it all together. While I realize those aren't true for all whites & all blacks it is true for far to many of them. People are afraid of each other, they're afraid of people that don't look like them, and that covers gender, race, political standings, religion, and every other divisive thing out there. If men weren't afraid of women there wouldn't be so many threads asking how do I gain more confidence & approach this girl I like. If anti-abortionist weren't afraid of pro-choice then clinics wouldn't be burned down & death threats wouldn't be sent out. If people weren't afraid of gays then slurs and slanders wouldn't be thrown out like cheap towels as often as they are.

The fact is Obama acts & looks like a lot of black people out there. He just doesn't act like the ones we see on TV, on shows like Cops, or the ones we see at 11:30 at night lounging by the local liquor store, or the ones we notice in movie theaters acting rude, childish and as if something is owed to them. Noticing that he's black neither reduces nor elevates him to anything except in the minds of those that are afraid of him. It also isn't a great disservice to our nations politics to take note that he's black. He has the potential to become the first (half) black president of the United States, I think that's pretty major.

The fact that many black people themselves disagree on how they should be addressed should be more of an issue, IMO, than whether Obama is considered black or not. That's a whole nother ballpark though.
well said, thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_dux
Here is an interesting fact:

From the post Civil War era until the year 2000, the US government did not recognize "mixed race". The 2000 census was the first time that a person could check that designation and list the races in the space provided.

Prior to 2000, "mixed race" was not an option on the Census form. If one checked "other" and filled in "black-white"...that person was counted as black....if filled in "white-black"...that person was counted as white.
It gets better. US birth certificates only had 3 boxes: white, black, other.

I was checked off as other. I am darker than Colin Powell, Obama, Heavy D and many others but I am not considered black. I find it all very fascinating. Now there's a whole bunch of bozes you can check off too. I'm waiting for the "None of Yo' G*ddamn Business!" box. I will be checking that one off all the time.

Last edited by jorgelito; 07-16-2008 at 02:07 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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