COLOR TEST: WHERE WHITES DRAW THE LINE

Published: June 8, 2008
 
 
HOW BLACK IS TOO BLACK?
 
 
 
 
 
 
June 8, 2008    
 
 
 
 
June 8, 2008    

Obama Presidential Campaign, via Associated Press

Beginnings Barack Obama with his mother, Ann Dunham.
 
 

Millions of African-Americans celebrated Barack Obama’s historic victory, seeing in it a reflection — sudden and shocking — of their own expanded horizons. But whether Mr. Obama captures the White House in November will depend on how he is seen by white Americans. Indeed, some people argue that one of the reasons Mr. Obama was able to defeat Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was that a large number of white voters saw him as “postracial.”
 
In other words, Mr. Obama was black, but not too black.
 
But where is the line? Does it change over time? And if it is definable, then how black can Mr. Obama be before he alienates white voters? Or, to pose the question more cynically, how black do the Republicans have to make him to win?
 
Social observers say a common hallmark of African-Americans who have achieved the greatest success, whether in business, entertainment or politics — Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson and Mr. Obama — is that they do not convey a sense of black grievance.
 
Clearly, Mr. Obama understands this. Until his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, forced race into the political debate, Mr. Obama rarely dwelt on it. He gave his groundbreaking speech on race only in response to the Wright controversy.
 
Indeed, after he effectively won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, he left it to the media to point out the racial accomplishment, and the relative he thanked most emotively was the woman who raised him: his white grandmother.
 
There is a reason for this. Race is one of the most contentious issues in American society, and, as with many contentious issues, Americans like to choose the middle path between perceived extremes. “In many ways, Obama is an ideal middle way person — he is just as white as he is black,” said Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College.
 
John McWhorter, who is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, put it more bluntly: “White people are weary of the kinds of black people who are dedicated to indicting whites as racists. So, to be ‘too black’ is to carry an air about you that whites have something to answer for.”
 
That was the root of Mr. Obama’s Jeremiah Wright problem. Mr. Wright spewed exactly the kind of angry racial repudiation that many whites associate with black leaders.
 
Orlando Patterson, a professor of sociology at Harvard, argues that the one arena where black grievance is acceptable is in music, particularly in hip-hop, where an estimated 70 percent of listeners are white. But the generation exposed to hip-hop, mostly under 40, are part of what Mr. Patterson calls a growing “ecumenical” American culture that is unselfconsciously multiracial.
 
This Obama Generation came of age in the post-civil-rights age when color, though still relevant, had less impact on what one read, listened to or watched. It was the common crucible of popular culture, he said, that forged a truly American identity, rather than the “salad bowl” analogy cherished by diversity advocates.
 
Mr. Obama’s campaign so de-emphasized race that for most of the 17-month nomination contest much of the news media became obsessed with the question of whether he was “black enough” to win black votes.
 
Most African-American Democrats were for Hillary Clinton early on, until voters in Iowa proved to them that whites would support a black candidate.
 
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. said that Mr. Obama, unlike the immediate successors of Martin Luther King Jr., understood the importance of language and the need to frame social debate in a way less likely to alienate whites.
 
“In the absence of Martin Luther King,” he said, “I think the void was filled by Stokely Carmichael, James Bevel and Jesse Jackson,” who did not use language as well. “With all respect to my father, 40 years later, this is the first time we have gotten back to a very thoughtful and careful approach to language.”
 
But a crucial difference between Dr. King and Mr. Obama, said the King biographer Taylor Branch, was that Dr. King sought to point out hypocrisy and shame white people into changing the system.
 
It was not simply framing and language choice that has helped Mr. Obama reach white people. He is genuinely of a different place and time than the generation of black leaders forged in the civil rights struggle. His story is, in part, an immigrant’s story, devoid of the particular wounds that descendants of American slaves carry.
 
His father was a black Kenyan and his mother a white American. His mixed-race heritage is less discomfiting to whites, Mr. McWhorter said, than the more common source of black Americans’ mixed-race blood: the miscegenation of slavery.
 
Mr. Obama’s generation of black political leaders have benefited from the gains of the civil rights movement, and are now attempting to broaden them. They include Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark; Adrian Fenty, the mayor of Washington; Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts; and former Representative Harold Ford Jr. from Tennessee. They attended top schools, often in the Ivy League and often law school as well, and began their public-service careers in community organizing rather than in national civil rights organizations.
So far, only Mr. Obama and Mr. Patrick have won offices that required large numbers of white voters to support them.
 
Mr. Ford made a run for the United States Senate, but fell short — thanks, in part, to suggestive ads by his opponent that featured a white actress.
 
The smaller and older generation of black Republicans who could aspire to high office seem to generate less white suspicion. The approval ratings of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — each the most popular members of George W. Bush’s cabinet during their respective tenures — suggest they would be among the most popular black candidates with non-black voters.
 
Patrick J. Buchanan, conservative commentator and former aspirant to the Republican presidential nomination, said it was Mr. Powell’s military credentials that made him appealing to whites.
 
“Barack Obama’s got problems — in central Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky — that Colin Powell wouldn’t have,” Mr. Buchanan said. “Colin Powell did his duty in Vietnam, he’s a soldier, a general.”
 

(Mr. Obama was too young for Vietnam.)
 
For decades, pollsters have found that one of the prejudices white Americans commonly hold about African-Americans is a belief that blacks are less patriotic, despite serving in the armed forces in greater proportion than their share of the population.
 
Ms. Rice, who grew up in segregated Birmingham, sounded as if she were refuting that very prejudice when she was asked for her reaction to Mr. Obama’s race speech.
 
“What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn’t love and have faith in them, and that’s our legacy,” she told The Washington Times editorial board.
 
A rising generation of black leaders has opened up new possibilities. But so have the increasing levels of white tolerance. What is impossible to know, today, is how far that tolerance will extend.
 
For instance, Mr. Patterson said research consistently showed that roughly one in five whites continues to hold racist views. Indeed, a poll by the Pew Research Center in March found that 20 percent of white Democrats over the age of 44 found interracial dating unacceptable; only 3 percent of white Democrats under 44 felt that way.
 
Mr. Buchanan said Mr. Obama’s monolithic support among blacks was likely to stoke such white animosity.
 
“There’s a sense among some folks that if African-Americans are voting 90 percent for ‘one of us;’ then you’re going to vote for ‘one of us,’ ” he said. When Norm Kagan, a white 62-year-old supporter of Mrs. Clinton’s, was asked in St. Paul, Minn., if white voters in the state would support a black man, he immediately raised the specter of crime, as if the mere mention of blacks brought it to mind. “We’ve all had our problems,” he said. “Every now and then someone gets mugged or robbed. The most economically challenged — which are mostly black — are most often the criminals and not to be trusted.”
 
Some Republicans have used such associations to defeat Democrats. But political analysts point to signs that the culture-war tactics are losing steam. They note the Republican loss in 2006 of both houses of Congress, and the recent Democratic victories in traditionally Republican districts in special Congressional elections in Mississippi and Louisiana.
 
Rick Perlstein, author of “Nixonland,” about the G.O.P.’s political strategy since the 1960’s, said many of the issues like crime that allowed Republicans to divide and conquer no longer exist.
 
One of the biggest issues this year is the economic downturn. Shared distress may trump racial divisions, he said.
 
Democrats shouldn’t think that things will always be the way they have been, said Mr. Perlstein, a liberal. “Change does happen,” he said. “And it happens overnight.”
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Hmm.
 
How “black is too black“? Apparently for many white Americans, there is much that is still too black.
 
 
“In many ways, Obama is an ideal middle way person — he is just as white as he is black,” said Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College.”
 
Yeah, and like many black Americans he is not pure black. Pretty much impossible for black Americans to be considered “black” with all the rape-mixing during slavery, Reconstruction and segregation that went on. In that case, many black Americans are “middle way people” already, thanks to white men sexually abusing black women and girls, via slavery and segregation white supremacy.
 
 
“Most African-American Democrats were for Hillary Clinton early on, until voters in Iowa proved to them that whites would support a black candidate.”
 
Of course he won many “white” states, like Iowa. How many black citizens live in Iowa or any of the “white states” that Obama won? One question that should be asked is why did Obama win so many so-called white states? If there is less than 1% black population living in so-called white states, you have to ask yourself why, and why would the whitest states vote overwhelmingly for Obama, when he lost so many so-called “white working-class American” voters support, as he did in states like West Virginia? Were the voters of states like Iowa trying to send a message that they were not as racist as some people may perceive them to be?
 
 
 
“And if it is definable, then how black can Mr. Obama be before he alienates white voters?”
 
Depends on how far over Sen. Obama is willing to kiss white people’s asses to keep from not only losing their votes, but also, to keep their support if he is elected president. White Americans have a long history of vicious racial cruelty against black Americans, they know it, and Obama knows it. White Americans have known (no matter how much many lie to themselves, that the legacy of slavery and segregation has left a sordid scar upon this country.) That many whites still benefit from the vestiges of slavery and segregation, and they would be lying if many of them say they are ignorant of the high costs black citizens have paid because of white supremacy, and the high costs that black citizens still pay.
 
 
“John McWhorter, who is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, put it more bluntly: “White people are weary of the kinds of black people who are dedicated to indicting whites as racists. So, to be ‘too black’ is to carry an air about you that whites have something to answer for.”
 
So, what constitutes being “too black” to many white people?
 
Wearing your hair the way God made it (Afro, braids, dreds)?
 
Not being ashamed of your black ancestors sacrifices and contributions to this country, a nation which has sought for decades to erase black people from this country, both in body, and in the history books?
 
Or is honoring your black ancestors and not forgetting or forsaking all that they have suffered through, by praising and remembering the many trials enslaved black women and men endured to make a way for today’s black Americans, a little too black for many whites?
 
Speaking to fellow white Americans about racism/white supremacy is in no way wrong. This country needs to own up to the legacy, as well as the continued legacy, of white supremacy, be that structural/institutionalized WS or individual WS.
 
 
Orlando Patterson, a professor of sociology at Harvard, argues that the one arena where black grievance is acceptable is in music, particularly in hip-hop, where an estimated 70 percent of listeners are white. But the generation exposed to hip-hop, mostly under 40, are part of what Mr. Patterson calls a growing “ecumenical” American culture that is unselfconsciously multiracial.”
 
 
“The ‘one arena where black grievance is acceptable is in music, particularly in hip-hop.”
Wow.
 
So, let me get this straight.
 
As long as black people speak the truth in hip-hop music (progressive take care of your family/respect yourself and your race/go to school, “fight the power”/fight racism/sexism/heterosexism hip-hop, that is; not the degrading self-hating hip-hop that masquerades as music), then that is all on the okey-doke? Any other format of truth-telling just won’t sit with millions of whites?
 
Yeah.
 
So, I gather that gangsta rap, which disparages, degrades and attacks black women and girls, is  also another music format where whites can see eye-to-eye with blacks, since many, many whites buy up hardcore anti-black woman rap filth? Oh, I see. Let us all continue to beat down on black women, cause everybody knows that those black women are not humans. Everyone else is, but, God help us if black women are considered as humans and as women. Of course many white males (who still constitute the largest bulk of buyers) love them some black-women-hating/black-self-hating gangsta-rap music. Which is why black women-haters such as Snoopy Dog, Fitty Cents and others of their ilk are so rich (with the help of white male buyers who buy the most rap filth.) Gangsta rap lets whites keep their racist stereotypical myths about black Americans, plus the whites who buy up rap filth get to listen to garbage that is the greatest form of self-hate, not to mention that whites do not have to get to close to those black people. You know, the millions of whites who live in their sterile all-white suburbs/gated communities/all-white Sundown Towns.
 
 
““In the absence of Martin Luther King,” he said, “I think the void was filled by Stokely Carmichael, James Bevel and Jesse Jackson,” who did not use language as well. “With all respect to my father, 40 years later, this is the first time we have gotten back to a very thoughtful and careful approach to language.”
 
Helloooo!
 
Blacks still have to dance around white people, doing the “tippytoe-double-consciousness” dance. Black people still have to watch and be careful with their language, and I am sure millions of black people are sick to death of having to mince words with white people. As for having to get back to so-called “thoughtful and careful approach to language”, no one should have to bite their tongue on telling the truth about this country, both past and present. There is no particular time frame or era for telling the truth, and if the truth hurts, then so be it. The greatest cop-out a human can commit is to not tell the truth. Lies will not help or save anyone. Better the truth, no matter how painful, rather than a lie.
 
 
“It was not simply framing and language choice that has helped Mr. Obama reach white people. He is genuinely of a different place and time than the generation of black leaders forged in the civil rights struggle. His story is, in part, an immigrant’s story, devoid of the particular wounds that descendants of American slaves carry.”
 
Of course Obama’s story is an “immigrant’s story”.
 
Millions of immigrants (Irish, Italian, Polish, Armenian, etc.) who came to this country were not “white” upon arrival. But, once millions of them showed to native born whites that immigrants could roll with the most vicious of rabid white racists, then so-called immigrants became “white”. Once secure in their  “whiteness”, white ethnic immigrants could breath easy that all eyes (whites eyes) were off them, and would continue to stay on black people as the perpetual pariahs of this country. Also, Obama does not have to speak to the history of black citizen’s history in this country the way Dr. King did because Obama was not raised by a black grandmother or a black mother. Black women have not lived the kinds of lives that white women have lived in this country, therefore a black grandmother/black mother would impart a different aspect of American history to their children.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
“His father was a black Kenyan and his mother a white American. His mixed-race heritage is less discomfiting to whites, Mr. McWhorter said, than the more common source of black Americans’ mixed-race blood: the miscegenation of slavery.”
 
BINGO! You hit the nail on the head, Mr. Mabry.
 
White Americans still do not want to be reminded of a sick, sadistic and perverted chapter of American history——-white men slavers, masters, sons, overseers, and white male visitors to slave plantations, who raped, sodomized and forcibly impregnated millions of defenseless black women and girls. Which is why black Americans come in so many different colors. Yes, black Americans are a race of people who were raped into existence, and this painful fact is what many whites cannot face up to. Not to mention that there are alive many black people born during the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s AND the 1970s who were raped into existence by many white men throughout the American South during Jane Crow segregation. Many of those women and men never knew their white fathers, so eager were white males ready to sexually dominate, abuse and impregnate black women and girls, and then abandon those mixed-blood children. So quick were white fathers to publicly disavow their own flesh and blood.
 
That is the bitter pill that white Americans will have to come to terms with. A jagged little pill that will be painful to swallow, but a truth that must be faced up to and acknowledged.
 
Not to mention the fact that there are many whites living now who have “black” brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews, all because white grandfather, white daddy or white uncle could not show respect and honor towards black women and girls. All because millions of white men could be only one type of creature towards black women and girls:  cowards and rapists.
 
Of course with a Kenyan father and a white American mother, Obama is very much palatable to millions of whites.
 
Cares to think that he would be considered palatable if he had a black mother instead of a white one? Would whites be able to identify with Obama then?
 
 
“For decades, pollsters have found that one of the prejudices white Americans commonly hold about African-Americans is a belief that blacks are less patriotic, despite serving in the armed forces in greater proportion than their share of the population.”
 
Yes, black citizens. So, un-patriotic. Yeah.
 
Tell that to my deceased father who served under Blood-and-Guts himself. Tell that to the many black men veteran’s families and their descendants, that they were not patriotic. Tell those descendants that their black ancestors who fought in the American Revolution and the Civil War (and as slaves no less) that they were NOT patriotic. Tell it to the many black descendants of black veterans who fought in WWI to bring democracy to Europe, only to come home to America, to the American South, to be LYNCHED WHILE STILL IN UNIFORM.
 
Tell it to the families of black veterans of WWII that they were not patriotic while serving in a segregated military that treated German and Italian POWS better than its own black servicemen who fought to keep this country safe from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Tell it to the un-patriotic black veterans of the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War (Daddy Bush’s weak attempt to off Saddam Hussein), and the present Afghanistan/Iraq War (or as it is properly known as:  “Oil For the Blood of Our Soldiers War”).
 
Those black men (and women) veterans.
 
So un-patriotic.
 
 
“Ms. Rice, who grew up in segregated Birmingham, sounded as if she were refuting that very prejudice when she was asked for her reaction to Mr. Obama’s race speech.
“What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn’t love and have faith in them, and that’s our legacy,” she told The Washington Times editorial board.”
 
No, Sec. Rice was not refuting anything. She stated what many black people already know:  that we have loved this country so much with all that it has done to us, and unlike this country, and many white people, we have not given up on its Constitution and the many laws that so many whites broke to show their racial hatred of their fellow black citizens.
 
Yes, black people have loved this country back more than it has loved us. We have stood by this country’s principles of democracy, when so many whites were breaking and nullifying those sames laws and the Constitution.
 
 
“A rising generation of black leaders has opened up new possibilities. But so have the increasing levels of white tolerance. What is impossible to know, today, is how far that tolerance will extend. “
 
Yes, white tolerance can only go so far. For now Obama is a “safe black man”. He makes sure not to threaten or upset the delicate sensibilities of millions of whites. Yes, must not do anything to frighten the many white voters he needs before and after the election.
 
Something tells me that Obama will throw more black people under the bus to garner support from white people. Rev. Wright is only the beginning.
 
 
“Mr. Buchanan said Mr. Obama’s monolithic support among blacks was likely to stoke such white animosity.”
 
Monolithic support” from black people?
 
And Mr. Buchanan is an ass. Black people are no more monolithic than any other group.
 
As far as I am concerned Obama, Clinton, Edwards—–were the lesser of three evils. Obama will kick more black people to the curb as this campaign winds down. He will do whatever he can to win and keep white support, and if it means alienating millions of black voters to curry favor with whites, he will do it. Besides, when Obama courts black voters as people with minds of their own, it will certainly alienate him from whites. There are many whites who do not like black candidates to tend to the needs of ALL Americans, especially black Americans.
 
Must not ruffle the feathers of the white voters. Must not lose their precious votes.
 
With all that millions of whites have benefited from at the expense of blacks, many whites will not stand for a black candidate (or any candidate for that matter) to all of a sudden recognize and validate the humanity of black Americans. That would be way too much for millions of whites.
 
““There’s a sense among some folks that if African-Americans are voting 90 percent for ‘one of us;’ then you’re going to vote for ‘one of us,’ ” he said. When Norm Kagan, a white 62-year-old supporter of Mrs. Clinton’s, was asked in St. Paul, Minn., if white voters in the state would support a black man, he immediately raised the specter of crime, as if the mere mention of blacks brought it to mind. “We’ve all had our problems,” he said. “Every now and then someone gets mugged or robbed. The most economically challenged — which are mostly black — are most often the criminals and not to be trusted.”
 
Crime.
 
Oh, and millions of whites are just peaceful, law-abiding citizens? White Americans do not have a criminal history of atrocities against black Americans? White municipalities do not commit present-day abominations against black neighborhoods:  hazardous wastes dumped in black neighborhoods; trash collection sites located in black neighborhoods; poor continued separate-but-unequal substandard schools, to name just a few crimes committed by whites on school boards. Oh and for everyone’s edification, blacks are harmed by black-on-black crime, whites are harmed by white-on-white crime. So, Mr. Kagen, who uttered this comment is more likely to face crime from one of his fellow white citizens than he is from a black person.
Especially if he lives in a predominantly white neighborhood.
 
Oh, but, I forgot. EVERY BLACK PERSON that white people pass on the street is a  bonafide CRIIMINAL.
 
Makes one wonder where do  all those law-abiding hard working black people who go to jobs every day find the time to be criminals.
 
Oh, also must not forget that white people are not capable of committing crimes. White people never commit arson, rape, armed robbery, murder and embezzlement. Only black people commit crime. How silly of me.
 
“One of the biggest issues this year is the economic downturn. Shared distress may trump racial divisions, he said.”
 
Somehow I don’t believe that.
 
Poor whites have had more than a century to wise up to the fact that rich, monied whites will always practice the old divide-and-conquer tactics. As long as white voters, such as Kagen, vote with racist consciousness, millions of whites will continue to remain how shall I say it—–behind the 8-ball, until they learn to join coalitions with black people, and give up their white-skin privilege hate against their fellow black citizens. But, that day will not happen. At least not in my lifetime.
 
Obama wants desperately to win this election. He has shown that with his so-called “Race Speech” which was nothing but “I care more for what white people think than I do for what black people think”, proved that point.
 
Sen. Obama may think that all black people are mere ciphers in his pocket, but, I would advise him not to count on all black citizens walking lock-step into that voting booth just for him.
 
Of course, no one in this country should want to see more of the crap that has masquerade as so-called leadership in the last 8 years.
 
To vote another Republican into office (McCain, that is), would be more than a hate crime. (Those humans who voted Bush back in for a 2ND term committed a hate crime as it was.) Anyone who votes for McCain has to be beyond racist and hateful. They would have to have serious psychological problems, and most assuredly want to see this country attacked by every nation on this earth, not to mention decay and fall from within.
 
To be honest the jury is still out with me on Obama.
 
But, if he gets the nomination and if he wins the general election, I will have to decide whether to vote for a candidate who takes my vote for granted, (just as the Democratic Party has done for decades towards black voters).
 
Otherwise, there is always voting Independent.
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6 Comments

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6 responses to “COLOR TEST: WHERE WHITES DRAW THE LINE

  1. Stephanie

    Thank you Ann! Americans prefer to see Black entertainers with nonblack mommas than Black mommas. This has been on my mind since Obama clinched the nomination last week. I was thinking Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Carol Moseley Braun, Leonora Fulani, Alan Keyes, Al Sharpton, Colin Powell.

    These Americans don’t want to be reminded of the fact that a lot of mixing were done before 1960s, before Loving. They ignore the past and present IRs as being progressive, esp. Black men w/nonblack women. Then, they pat themselves on the back on how progressive they are when in reality they are really not.

    Stephanie B.

  2. Ann

    Stephanie, thanks for stopping by.

    Yes, before 1967 there was very minimal humane consideration of the feelings of black women. There has been *some* progress in IRs, but, as can be seen in every day life, not all IRs are equal.

    Sadly, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Diffferent day, still the same old myths and stereotypes. Only clothed in a different set of fabric, a different warp and woof.

  3. Ann,

    I agree. Mainstream “white” Americans want their version of the history of IR to make themselves feel good. Just about every mainstream media outlet present IRs as being progressive, ignoring the seamy, sordid, and violent miscegenist past, i.e., the sadistic rapes and exploitation of Black and mixed women. When they do talk about the history of IRs, they talked about the Black male/White female experience of IR. They talk about how those pairings were forbidden by law and lynchings of Black men for looking at white women. They purposely leave out the major part of our past, that is Black women/White men IR or, shall I say, exploitation and rape.

    Would mainstream America respond positively to a biracial president with a Black mother? Heck to the Naw! They’re turned off ASAP at the prospect.

    St

  4. san

    I totally agree. I hope Black people don’t get their feelings hurt when Obama shows his real self. What about former house represenative Cynthia McKinney? Obama will be more of the same mess we see now. Why do we as Blacks believe that America loves us?

  5. Ann

    San, thanks for stopping by. Your comments are appreciated.

  6. Pingback: NEWSFLASH TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: GROW A SPINE, AND STOP YOUR COMPLAINING | BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

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