Okay, I'm late, shoot me, I have two kids, but on the plus side it's allowed the dust to settle and I get to see some truly interesting comments.
I guess the one bugging me the most is assertions largely from white people that Obama isn't black enough.........*long pause*........*lots of blinking*.......*scratching my head*.........okay, I don't get it. Who the heck are these folks to say that Obama isn't black enough?
I heard one comment saying something to the effect that his skin colour is black, but his mind is pure white. The person when called on this comment then changed it to experiences are pure white. This was hard for me to hear because this comes from a elder online friend whom I've respected for many a year. She's pissed at me because I've countered these remarks, and although anyone else would have gotten a good solid blasting that only I can deliver, I've pointed out that the man was hardly born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I really don't know where she is coming from on this, so I can't say these thoughts are her own, but I really wonder what makes his experience or mind white? The fact that he's educated? The fact that he didn't grow up in a ghetto? The fact that he lives in a decent house? The fact that he can't dance worth a lick (and yes, I did hear another comment about his dancing and his whiteness). Really people WTF? You know, not every black person is sitting on the corner listing to gangsta rap. There are black people who live and grow up in surburbs. There are black people who go to university, become lawyers and doctors and veterinarians. Yes, racism does put up all sorts of road blocks so our numbers are fewer than they should be, but the black experience does include that of successful black people.
I was hanging out with a friend not so long ago from back home (aka the inner city community I grew up in), she was teasing me about being "bougie" (which for those who don't know is slang for coming into money and getting all high and mighty-coming from the word bourgeois) anyhow, I was taking her ribbing, and we went to a restaurant to have lunch and while we were trying to get service in the "please wait to be seated" line, we were passed up and over many times. Anyhow, she looks to me and says "Even with all your money, you're still a nigga." I was annoyed at the time, but I had to crack up, we went to another restaurant. Anyhow, this experience is on my mind because for all of Obama's opportunities and chances in life which he seized, he has still lived in the same colour skin as many people, that would have folks clutching their purses, policemen checking their computers and security guards taking a good long hard look.
The man has never presented himself as some superhuman character with the ability to empathise with anyone and everyone and have the exact same experience. But he has grown up in a country, during years where it wasn't all so great to be black. He has fought racism in these past how many months because of his name, his colour, the fact that his father is friggin Kenyan. He has had to work and scrabble and put in 200% just like every other black person who is successful because no one is willing to look the other way if he has a transgression of some sort, if he divorces his wife, gets angry, choses a moron for a VP. He may have had more opportunities than other black people, but he is still black in a country with a hell of a lot of racists.
To say that someone isn't black enough or acts white or doesn't have the black experience, they're pigeonholing what is the black experience, and I've got news for the whites who think they know what that is...they're lightyears off the mark!
My next rant....yeah, I got a few, go get a tea, is a rant I've seen on a lot of blogs, email lists, places for people of colour. And that is the bashing blacks are taking regarding Proposition 8. There are a lot of much better posts written on the subject than mine, so I will try to be briefer, but the simple fact is the numbers. I've been doing some crunching, and granted I failed math epicly, based on percentages (presuming everyone voted) it would seem that about 1.4 million blacks voted for Proposition 8. Some 13 million whites did as well. Now not everyone voted, but taking the population and the percentages of races, you can see that about 10 times the amount of white people voted for prop 8 than black people. Now I understand with that ever so scientific polling (I hope you can tell the sarcasm) that the percentage is higher, but excuse me, you feel let down by the black community??? 10 times the amount of whites voted for Prop 8 and no one is saying boo? Yep, those blacks may have tipped the scales, but guess what? There was about 3 tonnes of white yes votes on them already. Point the finger at people of all colours and if you think (Dan Savage) that you're going to build any bridges and close any gaps this way, you're crazy! This is scapegoating, Jacques fucking Parizeau again.
In most of the counties in California there was a yes on Prop 8, which is absolutely shameful, but there is no friggin way that blacks could be responsible for that. Breakdown by counties
Almeda No 62%, 13.7% blacks, 56.9% white
Alpine No 56%, .7% blacks, 73.4%
Amador Yes 64%, 3.9% blacks, 90.6% white
Butte Yes 57%, 1.6% blacks, 89% white
Calversas Yes 63%, .09% blacks, 93.2% white
Colusa Yes 72%, 1.0% blacks, 92.2% white
Contra Costa No 55%, 9.5% blacks, 72.4% white
Del Norte Yes 60%, 4.5% blacks, 82.4% white
El Dorado Yes 59%, 1.0% blacks, 91.1% white
Fresno Yes 69%, 5.7% blacks, 81.4% white
Glenn Yes73%, .7% blacks, 91.7% white
Humbolt No 60%, 1.1% blacks, 86.7% white
Imperial Yes 70%, 4.3% blacks, 90%white
Inyo Yes 60%, .3% blacks, 84.3% white
Kern Yes 75%, 6.3% blacks, 85.7 w3.7hite
Kings Yes 74%, 8.3% blacks, 84.1% white
Lake Yes 53%, 2.3% blacks, 90.5% white
Lassen Yes 71%, 9.4% blacks, 83.2% white
Los Angeles Yes 50% 9.6% blacks 74.2% white
Madera Yes 73% 4.4% blacks, 88.1% white
Marin No 75%, 3% black 88.4% white
Mariposa Yes, 62%, 1.1% black, 90.9% white
Mendocino No 62%, .8% black, 89.4% white
Merced Yes 71%, 4.1% black, 85.4%
Modoc Yes 74%, .8% black, 91.5% white
Mono No 56%, .8% black, 92.8% white
Monterey No 52%, 3.7% blac, 85.2% white
Napa No 55%, 2.0% black, 88.5% white
Nevada Yes 51%, .5% black, 95% white
Orange Yes 57%, 1.9% black, 78.8% white
Placer Yes 60%, 1.5% black, 89.5% white
Plumas Yes 60%, .9% black, 93% white
Riverside Yes 64%, 6.6% black, 84% white
Sacramento Yes 54%, 10.5% black, 69.5% white
San Benito Yes 55%, 1.3% black, 91.1% white
San Bernadino Yes 67%, 9.4% black, 80% white
San Diego Yes 54%, 5.5% black, 79.8% white
San Francisco No 76%, 7.2% black, 57.1% white
San Joaquin Yes 65%, 8.0% black, 72.7% white
San Luis Obispo Yes 51%, 2.1% black, 91% white
San Mateo No 62%, 3.3% black, 68.2% white
Santa Barbara No 53%, 2.3% black, 89% white
Santa Clara No 56%, 2.8% black, 63% white
Santa Cruz No 71%, 1.2% black, 90.5% white
Shasta Yes 70%, 1.0% black, 90.7% white
Sierra Yes 64%, .5% black, 95.3% white
Siskiyou Yes 60%, 1.3% black, 89.8% white
Solano Yes 56%, 15.4% black, 63.9% white
Sonoma No 66%, 1.7% black, 89.9% white
Stanislaus Yes 68%, 3.2% black, 86.9% white
Sutter Yes 71%, 2.4% black, 80.4% white
Tehama Yes 73%, .8% black, 93.2% white
Trinity Yes 56%, .5% black, 90% white
Tulare Yes 75%, 2% black, 90.8% white
Tuolumne Yes 63%, 2.3% black, 91.8% white
Ventura Yes 53%, 2.1% black, 87.5%
Yolo No 58%, 2.7% black, 80.7%
Yuba Yes 68%, 3.2% black, 80.2%
The voting results are courtesy of CNN, the census stats are courtesy of US census. First of all, this tells me that there are a hell of a lot of white people in California, next it tells me that in many of the counties were there is a strong vote in favour of Prop 8, there are a hell of a lot of white people and not a lot of black people, and look! In some of the counties that have no, there is a decent showing of black people. Imagine that!
No one isn't saying that there isn't homophobia in the black community and I know plenty of blacks and people of colour (yours truly included) who haven't struggled with it, but guess what? There is just as much homophobia outside of the black community and it's suddenly being glossed over to point the finger at blacks. Let me just remind you, that in every other state where there was anti gay legislation, whites were more in favour of it than blacks. Anyhow, as someone who has supported and fought for rights of all human beings, this is deflating. To cheer on people through email and phone calls, to write letters and make donations, all to have those efforts defeated is disappointing enough. To have then people turn around and point the finger at me and people like me for those efforts failing really sucks. Next time, try some outreach to people of colour, show them in your ads, go to their homes, communities, places of worship, engage them in meetings and meaningful discussions. If you're not going to do that and then play the blame game afterwards, you're not going to get that support at all.
Anyhow, a lot longer than I intended, but it feels mighty good to get that off my chest!