Thursday, July 29, 2004

say what ...

Slate's Will Saletan on Barak Obama ...
Obama isn't exactly black. His mother is white and came from Kansas. His father came from Kenya. Obama is, in short, African-American — a term that Jackson Sr. has too casually applied to people many generations removed from Africa, often through other continents. Obama's father went back to Africa years ago, but that doesn't change the hue of his son's skin or remove his African name, Barack. So the son embraces his blackness. (source)
I've been coming back to this passage all day ... and I still don't get it. I swear I'm not being willfully obtuse here.

He "isn't exactly black". Good grief! There was a time, I hope it's no longer the case, when those who were mixed or light-skinned were challenged on their right to call themselves "black".

And is Saletan saying that if Obama took more after his mother physically, and wasn't named Barak, that he wouldn't have "embraced" his African heritage.

A conversation from ten years ago ...
Me: Did you know, XXXX is half black.
Friend: Which half? Left half or right half?

Check out Obama's speech. Though he identifies as black, he paid equal tribute to both his Kenyan and Anglo roots.