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Post By
neil

In Reply To
glibby3

Subj: Re: What does it mean to be black?
Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 04:31:08 pm EST
Reply Subj: Re: What does it mean to be black?
Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 at 02:25:53 pm EST

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> 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.

> 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