Barack Obama is not a black man –or– A wack and blight issue

Monday, 15 September 2008

Have a Poke and a smile.

Major point up front. I don’t care what color anyone is. No one who has ever lived is whiter than I am and I always check “Other” or the most obscure option on the list when asked for race because you should not care either. But you do. And I care about that.

Without a hint of irony you call Mssr Barack Obama a black man. His father is a black Kenyan. His mother is Caucasian. He is half black, half white. But you call him black. Not white, though he is exactly as white as he is black. His mother raised him so one is tempted to argue that he is, as nurture tips the nature, more white than black and would be better called a white man if only given absolute chromas to parley.

This formula goes so far historically as to say that not only is 1/2 black, 1/4 is black. Further 1/8th is black. 1/16th is also still black even with 15/16ths white. And in the state of Louisiana, by God, as recently as 1983, 1/32nd black classified you as Negro in the eyes of the law. Never mind the fact that the other 97% of your heritage was German, Irish, Dutch, French, and English. 3% black African was as good as a hundred.

Why is everyone, black and white,1 so willing to accept this arithmetic? I think I know. I think you know too. I wonder if you’ll ever admit it even to yourself.

In lieu of a punchline I’d like to thank Avery Brooks for what he’s said on the issue. He’s basically the only other person with any common sense.

1 And especially Korean.

Myself: So, half-Coke, half-Pepsi? What’s that called?

Me: It’s nothing but just that, half-Coke, half-Pepsi soda.

Myself: How about a Cepsi? Or a Poke?

Me: Whatever. As long as you don’t go off on one of your fake East Coast whine fests about how it’s pop, not soda.

Myself: Halle Berry’s got a white moms too.

Me: So?

Myself: Ah… Come on? Have a Poke and a smile?

Me: Oh, shut up.

Myself: I’d like to teach the girl to sing, in screaming ecstasy. I’d like to give that girl a Poke, and steal all her money. That’s the song I sing…

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