Category Archives: politics

THE CURIOUS CASE OF MR. OBAMA (Button)

Okay, okay– so the title’s a bad tie-in to a movie nearly as lame.  But it did get your attention, right?  In contemplating what it was I wanted to write about today, no other pithy five to eight words popped to mind.  Here’s the deal.

I’ve heard (Shhhhh) white murmurings that Barack H. Obama is not reeeeeealy a black man; that he’s bi-racial.  I’m the pale half of ZebraCouple.  I’m easily sucked in to this controversy.  I think of the physical traits of our wide-eared Commander in Chief.  Not black-black really.  Light brown.  Much was made of his white Kansan Mother, Kenyan father.  And how about having Hawaii as your boyhood home?  Talk about your haven of neither white-nor-black people.  “Yes, Barack is definitely mixed,” I inwardly agree. 

“So,” say a lot of people– and remember I am easily influenced– “Why doesn’t he call himself mixed– or biracial?  Why does he call himself black / allow everyone to celebrate the history of America’s first African American President?”  This gets a little complicated for me.  I’m a simple suburban WASP but I do have an opinion…

Save for this forum (and times when my wife and I are having “cultural” discussions & differences), I can’t really say that I ever think of myself as white.  Or male for that matter.  No more than I go around introducing myself as an Elvis loving, Cub fan, beagle owning, doting father of 3.  Identity is just something that I am.  There’s never really much cause or reason to “consider” it. 

But what about during an historic political campaign watched by ga-jillions around the globe?  Surely he thought about his identity then?  Maybe not.  I don’t think so.  While everyone else thought about race, and some feared he might even be a radical Muslim, and “Is America ready,” I think maybe he still just thought of himself as himself.  Basketball & Beyonce loving doting father of 3.  Busy community organizing, trying-to-be-a-good-husband-to-Michelle, Barack.  Not white, not black, not mixed.  Maybe thankful for a life full of blessings.  Maybe overwhelmed by it all.  Maybe even not.  Maybe born for this, but that is fodder for another post.  

Bottom line is, there are two reasons Barack never really made too big a deal about his race:  1) Everyone else did, and 2) It’s just not an issue for him.  Frankly he’s got much bigger issues on his shoulders now.  He had much bigger issues in mind seems like since he was a junior Senator.  And (pun intended) more power to him!  Look at what he’s done.  He’s our President.  He’s Jackie Robinson in the White House. 

Why doesn’t Barack go around saying, “I’m bi-racial,”? 

Do you go around saying, “I’m white,” or “I’m black,” or “I’m mixed”?  Thought not.  Neither does he.  End of story.  Now maybe we can all support the man as he goes about the more important business of digging our country out of the mess we’re in?

Hear me Rush Limbaugh?

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Filed under black and white, politics, prejudice, race, Uncategorized

Picking a candidate is like picking out hair………. huh?

For months I’ve been intrigued about the dilemma African American Democratic women faced this year for the first time ever; having to choose between a political candidate who represents their gender, and another who represents their ethnicity.

I know this post is not very timely with Hillary Clinton preparing to announce her concession and support for Barack Obama.  Still, I’ve been curious about how women of color have considered this issue.  My wife, who many of you already know is African American, says that this was a topic of great interest in the black community.  **For the record, there are still a few places she and I don’t often go together– music and radio stations we don’t force on each other.  And I stay as far away from any place that sells hair, yes– sells hair , women’s hair  as I possibly can!   (First digression.)

Other than the few African American women I specifically talked to on the subject, I heard nothing else on the matter.  Whether it was a timing issue, or whether it just went unreported, I don’t know.  But I have an inquiring mind and “I wanna know!” 

So without any further chattering from me, I ask:  HOW DID AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN DEMOCRATS CHOOSE BETWEEN HILLARY CLINTON AND BARACK OBAMA?  I’m interested in more than just who did you choose.  I’m interested in the thought process and the rationale behind your choice.  If you supported Clinton, then how did you justify the willingness to pass on the first viable black candidate for the highest office in the land of the free?  If you supported Barack, why did you, and was it a difficult choice, given that your other option was an historical one as well?

Any Republican Black women out there?  Of course there are!  We’d love to hear from you too!  As my wife might say, “Giiiiiiiiirrrrrl, what in the world are you thinking!?”  You know, that third option almost didn’t even occur to me, but of course there are African American conservatives in our audience.  Please share with us how you opted for whichever GOP candidate you did, and were there any mixed emotions about doing so?

Please be very specific with your answers.  Explaining reasons and rationale can be a tedious chore, but I think the insight into all sides of this will be fascinating, and will make for great conversation fodder.  We look forward to all your comments!     

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God

This post’s working title is God.  I don’t know if that’s going to stick or not.  If you’re reading all this, it probably did.  The title is GOD because not one of the many others I considered captured the essence of what I hope to write about.  Not religion, faith, church, belief or believers; Christianity, Baptist, Screaming Eagle Missionary, Pentecostal, etc.ad nauseum.  This post contains some of the “paler half’s” musings on spirituality.

Wow.  Big topic.  I  don’t expect to be able to say it all in one sitting; so let’s start off with the “probable promise,” to come back to this one again real soon.

‘Bout all I know is, (and I know this is true because I read it somewhere recently in the Blogosphere)– that churches are among the most racially segregated places in society.  Don’t you find that wildly ironic?  It was in somebody’s (I wish I’d jotted it down for proper blog-citation-etiquette) post about Obama, and inflammatory pastoral remarks, etc.  We’ve all gotten both ears full of that recently, haven’t we?  Beyond embarrassing a couple of presidential hopefuls, it served to remind me of the chasm that seems to separate even same-faith believers; that is, the different worship and church-styles between Christian Blacks and Whites. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s my belief that God doesn’t see color.  (He’s not color blind as some say, because technically that would be a defect.  And we all know that perfetion only exists sans defects.)  But I’m certainly not perfect as demonstrated by my inability to stick to a point!!  So God sees each of us only as His own creation.  I think a lot of believers feel as He does.  The frustrating thing is that, for the most part, on Sundays we tend to keep to our own White houses and Black houses of worship.

There are exceptions to be sure.  I’ve seen some of the Mega Church palaceson TV; they cut away all the time to show how wonderfully diverse they are.  I attended a church service once with a very balanced salt ‘n peppa congregation.  I didn’t enjoy the service.  Nor did I enjoy the service the time or two I went with my wife and family to the Mom-in-Law’s (99% black) church on the west side of Chicago.  It wasn’t my cup of tea.  Not for me.  Not the style I was used to.  I was too distracted by the many glaring differences; uncomfortable with them actually to ever go back again. 

Now I know what you’re thinking.  You want to know if my “darker half” has ever gone with me to my (99% lilly-white) church in the suburbs.  Answer, Yes.  Of course she has.  Not once but a few times, actually.  But let’s don’t forget that my wife is a beautiful, mature, woman.  Far more tolerant and flexible (and mature) than the husband she spoils.  But even she has admitted that it was a little “reserved” for her tastes.  Look, we haven’t been back to a church in a couple of years, though we both long for it.  We have talked about it, so I cannot say that it’s an unspoken issue.  But we don’t talk about it anymore.  It certainly is an unresolved issue.  It is not however, pressing at this time.  It should be, but honestly is not just yet.

Black people worship crazy!  They scream and shout and wail and jump about and fall and cry and “Amen” all the time, and “Uh-huh” the preacher.  The women wear fluorescent pant suits, dresses, and hats, and the men wear suits of red and yellow— YELLOW!!!  The church I went to passed around large gold buckets for the offering, then rushed them off, under guard mind you– to a locked room!  At “MY” Church, the offering baskets are plain and wooden.  You can see where this will end up if I keep going…..

My church and people nearly worshiped my wife into a blissful slumber.  What’s solemn and somber, serious and passionate to me, are boring and, who knows– maybe snobbish? to her.  It’s an issue as I said before that we could use some advice with.  We’ve considered alternating one week hers, one week mine, but that’s no real solution.  We’d each like to have one church family

Right now our blog readership is minuscule.  That’s okay– I’m a writer.  Writers write.  But it sure would be nice to get dozens of responses / comments about this post if only to learn what other IR couples do with this issue short of giving up as, to this point, we have.

So, in the words of the late, great Harry Caray:  Lemme hear ya, good and loud!            

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Filed under black and white, interracial, politics, race, Uncategorized

The 2008 Presidential race

I’m no political expert, no history genius either– but if I’m not mistaken the Presidential campaign of 2007-’08 is groundbreaking in that it marks the farthest that a minority presidential candidate has gone in the primaries as a viable selection. 

I was in complete agreement with Michelle Obama when she proclaimed her reinvigorated national pride.  In my opinion, the ensuing furor was entirely politically charged as opportunist candidates Clinton and McCain took an honest, heartfelt statement and did their best to twist it ugly.  It is this blogger’s opinion that Michelle’s husband, more often than not– takes the road less traveled in politics: the high one.  I too, am proud of America these days for at lease sitting up and taking notice of this intelligent, idealistic, inspiring young man.  

The politics of the recent past have not been good for our nation.  Obama has my vote, and my best hopes for him, his family, and all of our families.  We deserve real leadership in Washington – we certainly deserve better than what we’ve gotten.  I don’t know if a contemplative, respectful, compassionate, “high-road” type person like Barack will make a great, or even a good President.  I don’t know if taxes will go up– if the middle class will continue to suffer, or if national security will improve.

What I do know is that the good ol’ boy, rifle-in-the-back-window-of muh pick-up tactics of the current administration have cost us thousands of lives, and billions of dollars.  The man’s heart may or may not have been in the right place, I don’t know; maybe history will shed better light on that.  But I don’t feel that we’re any more secure now than we were 7+ years ago.  True, we haven’t suffered an attack on our soil since the Twin Towers, but does anyone really feel safe like before?

I for one am ready for a fresh face, new ideas, and yes, the “C” word– CHANGE.  Bring it on Barack, we desperately need it.  Out with the old– the good ol’ boys, girls, and  Clintons; and in with the new.  Hell, it can’t hurt at this point, and may be just the tonic this country needs.

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