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Nemo




I saw a headline on salon.com today about Barack Obama. It said, "Barack Obama is black--he just isn't 'black'."

What do you all, regardless of your own race, think it means to be black? And what's the difference, exactly, between being black and being "black"?




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glibby3




> I saw a headline on salon.com today about Barack Obama. It said, "Barack Obama is black--he just isn't 'black'."
>
> What do you all, regardless of your own race, think it means to be black? And what's the difference, exactly, between being black and being "black"?
>
>
I don't want to take a stab at that definition since I'm white. Without reading the article to go along with the headline I would guess the author is taking cheap shots at Obama because he's not from the hood and does not know first hand the plight of the black man. Just my guess.

I can't figure out why someone who is not white always has to have the race label attached to them. It's only been 2 days and I'm a;ready tired of hearing about the Superbowl because all the talk has to be about the head coaches being black. I understand they are making history but it has been talked to death and now lets just talk about how 2 very good coaches are going to try and give us a great game to watch. Same goes for Obama, lets quite discussing his race and dig into his qualifications to find out if he is someone that can run this country.


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Nemo




> > I saw a headline on salon.com today about Barack Obama. It said, "Barack Obama is black--he just isn't 'black'."
> >
> > What do you all, regardless of your own race, think it means to be black? And what's the difference, exactly, between being black and being "black"?
> >
> >
> I don't want to take a stab at that definition since I'm white. Without > reading the article to go along with the headline I would guess the
> author is taking cheap shots at Obama because he's not from the hood and > does not know first hand the plight of the black man. Just my guess.

I was actually asking what people thought of the use of the words, black and, "black" and what those words mean to them, generally speaking, and regardless of their race (btw, I see no reason why you can't honestly say what those words mean to you just because you're white--I'm white, too, and I'm curious).

I appreciate your input.

8-)


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glibby3




> > > I saw a headline on salon.com today about Barack Obama. It said, "Barack Obama is black--he just isn't 'black'."
> > >
> > > What do you all, regardless of your own race, think it means to be black? And what's the difference, exactly, between being black and being "black"?
> > >
> > >
> > I don't want to take a stab at that definition since I'm white. Without > reading the article to go along with the headline I would guess the
> > author is taking cheap shots at Obama because he's not from the hood and > does not know first hand the plight of the black man. Just my guess.
>
> I was actually asking what people thought of the use of the words, black and, "black" and what those words mean to them, generally speaking, and regardless of their race (btw, I see no reason why you can't honestly say what those words mean to you just because you're white--I'm white, too, and I'm curious).
>
> I appreciate your input.
>
> 8\-\)


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glibby3




> > > I saw a headline on salon.com today about Barack Obama. It said, "Barack Obama is black--he just isn't 'black'."
> > >
> > > What do you all, regardless of your own race, think it means to be black? And what's the difference, exactly, between being black and being "black"?
> > >
> > >
> > I don't want to take a stab at that definition since I'm white. Without > reading the article to go along with the headline I would guess the
> > author is taking cheap shots at Obama because he's not from the hood and > does not know first hand the plight of the black man. Just my guess.
>
> I was actually asking what people thought of the use of the words, black and, "black" and what those words mean to them, generally speaking, and regardless of their race (btw, I see no reason why you can't honestly say what those words mean to you just because you're white--I'm white, too, and I'm curious).
>

Since you called me out I'll give my definitions-

Black - plain and simple skin color

"Black" - fitting the culture. The question is which culture? The hard working family-oriented culture, the hip-hop gangsta rapper culture, the lazy welfare recipient stereotype, the "I'm black so I'm a criminal" stereotype, etc.

The culture chosen will be based on the bias of the person that is conveying the message but my experience says it is the family-oriented culture until the person shows ou otherwise.


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mtyoung




> I saw a headline on salon.com today about Barack Obama. It said, "Barack Obama is black--he just isn't 'black'."
>
> What do you all, regardless of your own race, think it means to be black? And what's the difference, exactly, between being black and being "black"?

Let me say, I didn't read the article, but I have heard this argument before.

In this sentence, the author is saying that while Obama is black racially, he is not black culturally.

Being black in usuals refers to being culturally black. Black music is rap/hip hop music. Black movies are those such as "Friday" or "Soul Plane".


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omike015




> I saw a headline on salon.com today about Barack Obama. It said, "Barack Obama is black--he just isn't 'black'."
>
> What do you all, regardless of your own race, think it means to be black? And what's the difference, exactly, between being black and being "black"?
>
>





omike015
:-|



kandor.monkeylord.net (10.0.1.245)
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Nemo




But I was hoping to get people to think a little bit about the concepts of race and culture.

"Sure, I'll have that hemlock martini now. . ."


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omike015




> But I was hoping to get people to think a little bit about the concepts of race and culture.

I'd rather they ignore them.

omike015
:-|



kandor.monkeylord.net (10.0.1.245)
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neil




> I'd rather they ignore them.

Which is ideal but futile - so long as other people are willing to invest them with value, ignoring them just allows those others to keep getting away with it.

-neil
Evidence of My Hyper-Theory Disorder: Neil's Pop Culture Blog


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neil




> I can't figure out why someone who is not white always has to have the race label attached to them.

Because that's how we've made sense of physical difference, though with varying terminology, for half a millenium. It also speaks to a pro-white bias - there's much more room for a white person to perform in than there is for a person of another color before it's intuited that the white person is betraying their race. And it also speaks an anxiety over what it means to have a 'race' in a period where what have traditionally been seen as 'white' values are being reformulated as universal human values.

It's more complicated than this, naturally, but the history of race is complicated and often contradictory - though I'd suggest that it always comes down to power, over ourselves and over others. That the label 'black' can exert this kind of response speaks to the power that it carries and the efficacy with which people can apply or revoke it - and that's why it's foolish to ignore it.

-neil
Evidence of My Hyper-Theory Disorder: Neil's Pop Culture Blog


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glibby3




> > I can't figure out why someone who is not white always has to have the race label attached to them.
>
> Because that's how we've made sense of physical difference, though with varying terminology, for half a millenium.>

I understand that and in some instances it is needed to differentiate people. However, when talking to someone I won't say "my black friend John Doe went..." but "John Doe went..." so I don't see the need for all the media outlets always stating "Black Presidential candidate Obama...". The only purpose I can see for it would be as method of undermining his candidacy by inferring he is inferior because the race label was attached to his name. This would not surprise me.




It also speaks to a pro-white bias - there's much more room for a white person to perform in than there is for a person of another color before it's intuited that the white person is betraying their race. And it also speaks an anxiety over what it means to have a 'race' in a period where what have traditionally been seen as 'white' values are being reformulated as universal human values.
>
> It's more complicated than this, naturally, but the history of race is complicated and often contradictory - though I'd suggest that it always comes down to power, over ourselves and over others. That the label 'black' can exert this kind of response speaks to the power that it carries and the efficacy with which people can apply or revoke it - and that's why it's foolish to ignore it.
>
> -neil
> Evidence of My Hyper-Theory Disorder: Neil's Pop Culture Blog


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neil




> I understand that and in some instances it is needed to differentiate people. However, when talking to someone I won't say "my black friend John Doe went..." but "John Doe went..." so I don't see the need for all the media outlets always stating "Black Presidential candidate Obama...". The only purpose I can see for it would be as method of undermining his candidacy by inferring he is inferior because the race label was attached to his name. This would not surprise me.

If nothing else, it speaks to a bias toward white as the normative position.

-neil
Evidence of My Hyper-Theory Disorder: Neil's Pop Culture Blog


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omike015




> > I'd rather they ignore them.
>
> Which is ideal but futile - so long as other people are willing to invest them with value, ignoring them just allows those others to keep getting away with it.

Your logic is not unlike a circle.

omike015
:-|



kandor.monkeylord.net (10.0.1.245)
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Nemo




> > But I was hoping to get people to think a little bit about the concepts of race and culture.
>
> I'd rather they ignore them.

When you figure out how to get people to do that, let me know. I have this peskly little disease called, "cancer" I'd like you to work on. . .


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neil




> Your logic is not unlike a circle.

That's the best you could come up with? Use what clichés you will for whatever bizarre purpose you must, but I'm no less correct. Pretending race doesn't matter won't cause it to go away - too many people are far too invested in it.

-neil
Evidence of My Hyper-Theory Disorder: Neil's Pop Culture Blog


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Superman's Pal




> > Your logic is not unlike a circle.
>
> That's the best you could come up with? Use what clichés you will for whatever bizarre purpose you must, but I'm no less correct. Pretending race doesn't matter won't cause it to go away - too many people are far too invested in it.

True, but as long as you believe race does matter, it always will matter.





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neil




> True, but as long as you believe race does matter, it always will matter.

No, not really - not in the binary-opposite way that you imply, anyway.

The thing is, what any one of us (or, for that matter, everyone on this board) chooses to ignore or acknowledge will ultimately have a minimal effect on the racial politics of a planet with six billion people. My response to omike wasn't expressive of a philosophical platitude, but rather of pragmatics - if one person chooses to ignore something while billion of others embrace it, then it might as well be a tacit endorsement. (I mean, if you really wanted to do away with race, wouldn't you instead advocate getting rid of the category as an active process?)

All this said, I think that you're also wrong because race is too closely tied to too many other identity categories for us to ever successfully argue that it doesn't 'matter' - race implies certain gender qualities, sexual characteristics, cultural history, physical characteristics, geographies, religions, class, attitudes, and values. That many of these qualities vary across time and space isn't as important as the fact that they're always linked in some form or another - and if race will always 'matter' to some degree, then the most dangerous thing we can do is to start believing that it doesn't 'matter' at all.

-neil
Evidence of My Hyper-Theory Disorder: Neil's Pop Culture Blog


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omike015




> > > But I was hoping to get people to think a little bit about the concepts of race and culture.
> >
> > I'd rather they ignore them.
>
> When you figure out how to get people to do that, let me know.

Despite what nEIL might have you believe, I don't have all the answers -- and never claimed to (well, okay, maybe that one time) -- just merely that I'm always right. \:\-D

omike015
:-|



kandor.monkeylord.net (10.0.1.245)
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neil




> Despite what nEIL might have you believe, I don't have all the answers

When did I imply that you have any answers?

(btw, I find it cute that someone who doesn't use upper-case letters - and even includes numbers - in his name has to mock the way I spell my handle at least once every few months. passive agressive behaviour is a wonderful thing, but you use the same convention!)

-neil
Evidence of My Hyper-Theory Disorder: Neil's Pop Culture Blog


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omike015




> (btw, I find it cute that someone who doesn't use upper-case letters - and even includes numbers - in his name has to mock the way I spell my handle at least once every few months. passive agressive behaviour is a wonderful thing, but you use the same convention!)

:-*

omike015
:-|



kandor.monkeylord.net (10.0.1.245)
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Johnson




>
> If nothing else, it speaks to a bias toward white as the normative position.
>


Only in your mind.


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Deborah (CMB mod)




> >
> > If nothing else, it speaks to a bias toward white as the normative position.
> >
>
>
> Only in your mind.

First, watch the snide remarks please. Consider that is all you write, it is difficult to interpret it any other way.

Secondly, I see his point, and no, it is not all in his mind. (Pardon Neil, I'm not trying to speak for you but I've had the same response as you appear to have as well, so I'll elaborate from my own POV).

The question "what does it mean to be black" can indeed be interpreted as how does that make one different from white. The underlying assumption there (of the original question, NOT by Neil). It is similar to a book I read recently.

The book was an Indiana-Jones-type adventure, and in an info-dump section where lots of data on the ancient Celts is given, one character asks (as if making a "very important point") "How do they treat their women?"

Now the character may well have been asking what the role of women in Celtic society was, and if there were gender roles. HOWEVER the phrasing of the question is rife with bias. How do "they" treat "their" women? So if "they" are Celts, all Celts must be male, right? Implying women are something lesser? Simply objects to receive whatever treatment is dished out? With absolutely no say in the matter?

Now don't get me wrong. I am giving the author the benefit of the doubt. I assume the writer simply did not give the phrasing all that much thought. But the question does indeed seem to assume the male is the "norm" and that women have no real influence on society or their role in it.


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