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December 16, 2008


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Dan Tres Omi

a debate that really trips me out. I remember when I made the same declaration to some white co workers. The shock was hilarious.


And folks get paid to write pieces like Washington (man I am in the wrong field)


Love this post. Great points made. You know most so-called Latinos or Hispanics have a similar racial mixture: Spanish-speaking whites and Indians. The blend has been so blemished that we've lost track of what's real.


Hear Hear!!!


I'm quite pleased to see you in the blogosphere, as I love your writing and look up to you as a fellow historian and public intellectual.

I also truly appreciate this post. It's amazing how much white folks have invested in policing the borders of Blackness, and how willing they are to not only utterly disregard Brotha Barack's self-identification, not only to ignore the long history of race in this nation, but to quite obviously reinforce their one-dimensional notions of Blackness. If (particularly male) Blackness can only look like one particular (highly degraded) thing, then Brotha Barack obviously isn't that, and so then they get to claim him?


It makes me think, though, on how many young brothas and sistas you meet who feel compelled to say that they are not "like other/typical Blackfolks." With Obama's complete subversion of the Tragic Mulatto (Thank you!) and proud self-identification as a Black man, maybe we can see that shift...


hey, jelani -

this is a great blog post, and i wholeheartedly agree with you. i will use your comeback - it's a gem. ("so is michelle!")and i always identify obama as our first african american president.

that said, i do think his identity - to me, black, white, and asian - is important to acknowledge. i'm as light as black folk come, and i know i'm african american - emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, politically, and genetically. i'm a black girl from baltimore, one who comes from a long line of light-skindedness. :)but i was raised in black family, in black community, in blackness. obama wasn't. that doesn't make him "less black." it simply highlights the wide range of diverse experiences black folk have had in this country.

obama was raised by his white family. even more interesting to me, he is culturally asian, as his sister is asian american and he lived in asia for several years. he is a true international brother. our first black president - yes. and also something more, something that is peering into the future.

i'm carrying our first child now, and i've prepared myself (the daughter of activists so dedicated to the liberation of black folk that i will never get a top security government job and am surely on some fbi list somewhere) for new ways of thinking about race to come from this life leaping around inside me. something new - and certainly challenging to my definition of self, community, and world - is gonna come from this kid, for whom having a Black president will be no big deal.

my husband says, gq is doing what the europeans did to the egyptians, and that is, make them white. (and they still got away with the lie, my husband laughs, even though the sisters and brothers drew themselves on the wall! so let us not make that same mistake.) word. we ain't having that. obama belongs to us.

let's document where we are now, as your blog post helps us do. but we also have to acknowledge something new is brewing. my students, mostly gen y-ers, already think about love, friendship, and conflict in ways that are vastly different from my socially segregated youth. (we went to the disco and listened to house at odell's. they went to mixers and listened to led zep around a beer keg.) i'm just saying, i do think that for gen y, and the generation i'm about to help kick out, the black-white binaries will be challenged. (maybe they'll be listening to some house-hip hop-led zep mash up.)

something is gonna break out from all this discourse, and it's gonna come quietly, but it's gonna come hard.


Just want to toss something in here, as a grey haired old white guy. My grandchildren have the opportunity to go to school, play soccer, and generally associate with kids of other ethnicities. They will have known different types of people their entire lives. This is so different from my childhood, or even that of my children.

This might be the first real opening for a truly color-blind society, when today's little kids grow up to be adults. Just one more reason to be hopeful about the future. Maybe the race and ethnicity of the 54th president won't matter.

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What an awesome fajita inspired recipe!!! I wonder if my hubby would fall for this one. Looks fantastic to me!! I may need to grab that mag and try this! :)

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