Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | August 22nd, 2011
My recent post on National Public Radio’s On-Point show, via WBUR in Boston, on the politics of race and President Obama.
As the country’s first mixed-race, White & Black president, the president has the opportunity to represent the fastest growing demographic groups in America -multiracial. The politics of race is predicated on race being created for politics and power in the first place. The acknowledgement of race as being a political construct is the first step toward removing race from our collective political mindset. If President Obama had selected more than one ‘race’ on the 2010 national census, that would have sent a strong message to the US and world that he truly exemplifies the fusion of identities that is indicative of this country. He chose Black, however, negating his mother and grandmother’s identity and his upbringing in the various places in the US and abroad, culturally speaking. If his mother and grandmother were still alive today, and stood with him at inauguration, how would they respond to him choosing only ‘Black’ as his identity on the political platform of the Office of Management and Budget? True, the president is perceived as Black, but like myself, has a ‘White’ and ‘Black’ parents, and international experiences that design him. He certainly didn’t have a typical ‘Black American’ experience, so I see the focus on him being Black as a political way in which to position him. Yes, in the race, race is important because as a nation we have lingering need to place ourselves in boxes. Must we continue to do this politically, when emotionally it’s difficult enough? The tough stance, but the right one, would be to use his mixed heritage as an advantage to bring us all together. For him, that’s White American, Black African and Indonesian experiences. This is the beauty of America.