This is a posting about the
self-congratulating media coverage of the Obama presidency and race. It’s time
to remember who President Obama really is: he’s black, but he’s also white. It’s
also time to realize that the majority of voters – especially the younger
generation – are not as hung-up as those over 40.
JT is a former heavyweight
boxer turned personal trainer. I arrived at his gym in shorts and a tank top.
JT, who is black, smiles and says, “You got some black blood in you.”
It was a compliment. To
deflect embarrassment, I used sexual humor. “Not from the waist down.”
The Irish scourge is always
handy for a good laugh. JT laughed and was cool.
JT comes to mind as I watched
the pre and post election coverage as the media – as well as the pundits on the
left and the right – continue to drive home the theme of our first black
Don’t get me wrong, this is
historic. Being raised in the 1960s from the liberal northeast and who
eventually covered racial stories in The South, I was nearly moved to tears
during Obama’s acceptance speech. This is why folks fought during that
tumultuous decade 40 years ago.
And I think the celebrations
are appropriate. But let’s not continue to dwell on this. The media will,
however, continue to ride this story. Why? It’s easy.
The problem: it’s unconscious
racism. We call Barack Obama the first black president – but he’s also white.
Why don’t we call him the first mixed-race president?
Technically, he’s mulatto.
As the media continues to
roll out story after story about Obama’s race, the underlying theme to me is
this: see how good we white folk are; we accepted someone who is not pure white.
This underlying bias plays to
older white Americans. I don’t just mean the guy – who I know — who’s in his 50s
and proudly proclaimed he voted for the first time yesterday just to “vote
against the nigger.” No, I also mean the folks over 40 who strictly see Obama as
a black guy. I also want to wake up folks like Spike Lee who need to realize
Barack isn’t just your blood; he belongs to white folk too, which makes him all
I’m proud to say I don’t see
Obama as a black man. I see him as an American just as I see Jessica, the young
girl who accompanied me at the First Tee of Southern Nevada golf event on
Monday. Jessica is 12 and she could be Hispanic or Asian. I never asked her or
her mom. I didn’t really care. She was a great kid who loved golf and had a
loving family with her. They were the American Dream realized.
As I look around at various
public places in Las Vegas, I see more and more mixed race kids. And they’re all
playing or gathering with their friends who are mixed race also. But it’s not a
big deal to them. And I don’t think it’s a big deal to the many young voters who
came out in droves yesterday.
So, will the news media
please join the majority of us – spend no more time on the first black president
— and move onto the issues?
For those of you who can’t
move on, who are too racist and myopic in your views — let me open your white
Ronald Reagan was probably
our first black president. How so? Well, Ronny was black Irish. Black Irish are
folks of Irish descent who have Mediterranean blood lines. History tells us that
the Celtic line mixed with this southern European strain either in 1066 through
William the Conqueror or, mostly likely, in 1588 when the British Navy sunk the
Spanish Armada off the coast of Ireland.
Those Spanish sailors swam to
shore and mated with those fine milky skinned, strawberry hair lasses thus
changing the Gaelic gene pool. Just look at a photo of Ronny Reagan or my
headshot and you will see a classic dark hair and blue eye Black Irish.
Here’s where I go further in
my genealogical theory. I explain to folks that the Spanish blood was also mixed
with Moor blood, which is African blood. Yes, there was plenty of mating between
Spain and the northern tip of Africa. So, that makes Ronald Reagan – and me —
With all the new DNA testing
available today, many of us white folk can find out we have African blood. (Now
I could make a smart aleck remark like, “Then why can’t I dance? But I won’t
since Whitney Houston has no rhythm either.)
And just as we share the same
blood, we also share the same shame. White America should – and does — feel the
historic pain of slavery. But black America also realizes their culpability in
our racist past. Read the classic book Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison from the
1950s where Ellison reminds us that black on black violence and racism was
prevalent, too. Pick up Thomas Sowell’s recent book Black Rednecks and White
Liberals. Sowell explains how the low-income, low esteem black males took their
cue from the Southern Scots Irish of the 1800s who enjoyed drinking, loafing and
sex more than work, family, and sobriety.
To understand how far we’ve
come, watch Chocolate News on Comedy Central. David Allen Grier hosts it. I
nearly split a gut while watching his piece on a De-Negrofication Clinic for
After watching that show and
seeing how the majority of America voted Tuesday, I began to think we can all
laugh at our past ignorance – and move on. Hopefully, the media will allow us.