Saturday, November 08, 2008

Obama victory opens door to new black identity

Obama victory opens door to new black identity

Shortly after leaving the voting booth, 70-year-old community activist Donald E. Robinson had a thought: "Why do I have to be listed as African-American? Why can't I just be American?"

Yeah why cant you? I don't list myself as Scottish American or even American Indian even though legally I am 1/16th Cherokee Indian. Is that societies labeling or a group insisting on labeling itself?

Certainly racism did not disappear after Obama's white votes were counted. No one is claiming that black culture and pride and community are no longer valuable. Many also dismiss the idea of a "post-racial" America as long as blacks and other minorities are still disproportionately afflicted by disparities in income, education, health, incarceration and single parenthood.

White trash has all those same problem in a disproportionate number as well. Maybe that is because many of them are self inflicted problems?

"My grandmother told me when I was 5, 'Boy, if they ask you what you are, just tell them that you're an American," said Benjamin Jealous, the 35-year-old president of the NAACP. "The reality is that our heritage, our culture, our families, our community have been extremely important to us. It's always been our right, and in many ways what we fought for, to be seen simply as Americans."

Sounds like your grandmother was very wise.

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