Monday, March 29, 2010

Republish: Barack Obama is NOT African-American

Blogger's Note:  I have chosen to republish this because I think there have been some very interesting recent comments made to it that my readers should have a chance to read and its been a year+ since its original publish date of 1/20/09.   And, I'm a spelling freak and found a spelling error that I just cannot let go...

Please be sure to read the comments...

I'm very frustrated by the expression of Obama as the first 'African-American' or the first 'black' man in the White House and all the hype around it.  I know I am likely to get slammed all over the blogosphere for saying it, but I need to.  It needs to be said.

What is this country coming to?  We profess to be so evolved now that Dr. King's dream has finally come to fruition.  My understanding of Dr. King's dream was that the black man in America would finally be recognized as an equal to the white man (in its most simplistic form).  It would be a day when America would not judge or define a man (blogger's note: I use the term 'man' as a gender neutral term in this post) by the color of his skin.  Isn't that what we are doing right now?  The media is reinforcing the color of Obama's skin at every turn and Obama is riding the coattails of this media hype!  This is not my understanding of what Dr. King wanted - its the exact opposite.

This country is all excited and whipped up into a frenzy about a 'Black' man in the office of the President.  Why aren't we excited about his talents and intelligence and quite frankly his youth?  Dr. King wanted America to judge a man based on the content of his character.  But, we are not doing that!  Why must the media focus on the color of his skin - does it make him more or less talented or a better or worse decision maker?  Isn't it actually demeaning him?  'Wow - a Black man is finally in the White House (as if he was somehow less qualified for the office than his competitors because of the color of his skin).  It's unbelievable to me.  We are REINFORCING the very stereotypes we've worked so hard to eliminate.

Obama is the American-born son of a WHITE woman and a BLACK man.  Doesn't that make him an American?  Not an African-American.  Had he been born in Africa, migrated here and became an American citizen, then he would be African-American.  Just because one parent was black that doesn't make him a black man - he is as black as he is white.  Isn't this the true American?  He is a physical definition of our country in its infancy - known to be a melting pot.  Isn't this EXACTLY what we're trying to achieve?  And Obama is the essence of it.  Why is no one recognizing this?  He has, in my opinion, united the races - he is an American of a new race - one that carries and plays on the strenghts of his ancestors, both black and white, before him.

The media doesn't talk about Tiger Woods as a black man - and what the black man has accomplished in the traditonally white world of golf.  We, in DC, don't talk about our mayor, Adrian Fenty, as an amazing black mayor (which he is, love you Mayor Fenty!).  He's just a terrific mayor.  What about Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice - they are typically remembered for their accomplishments, not that they were black or of African descent.  They are just great Americans.  Why can't they do this for Obama?

I challenge the Ameican media to start talking about Obama without referencing his race.  I doubt that you can do it, but that would be my dream (and apparently Dr. King's too).  A day when the media would judge President Obama based on his decisions and accomplishments, not on the color of his skin.  I wait and pray for that day.  I hope to see it in my lifetime.

I leave you with the words of Dr. King - it is clear and evident to me his meaning.  To the media - read it again.  I think you will agree with me.

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today."