Archive for March 2008

NYT: Who Are We? New Dialogue on Mixed Race

March 31, 2008
March 31, 2008

Jenifer Bratter once wore a T-shirt in college that read “100 percent black woman.” Her African-American friends would not have it.

“I remember getting a lot of flak because of the fact I wasn’t 100 percent black,” said Ms. Bratter, 34, recalling her years at Penn State.

“I was very hurt by that,” said Ms. Bratter, whose mother is black and whose father is white. “I remember feeling like, Isn’t this what everybody expects me to think?”

Being accepted. Proving loyalty. Navigating the tight space between racial divides. Americans of mixed race say these are issues they have long confronted, and when Senator Barack Obama recently delivered a speech about race in Philadelphia, it rang with a special significance in their ears. They saw parallels between the path trod by Mr. Obama and their own. MORE …

NYT – Mixed Messenger: Multiracial issues and Obama

March 28, 2008
March 23, 2008
The Way We Live Now

A few weeks ago, while stuck at the Chicago airport with my 4-year-old daughter, I struck up a conversation with a woman sitting in the gate area. After a time, she looked at my girl — who resembles my Japanese-American husband — commented on her height and asked, “Do you know if her birth parents were tall?”

Most Americans watching Barack Obama’s campaign, even those who don’t support him, appreciate the historic significance of an African-American president. But for parents like me, Obama, as the first biracial candidate, symbolizes something else too: the future of race in this country, the paradigm and paradox of its simultaneous intransigence and disappearance.   MORE …

THE ROOT: Alice Walker “Lest We Forget: An open letter to my sisters who are brave”

March 28, 2008
TheRoot.com
Updated: 6:17 PM ET Mar 27, 2008

March 27, 2008

I HAVE COME home from a long stay in Mexico to find – because of the presidential campaign, and especially because of the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination – a new country existing alongside the old.  On any given day we, collectively, become the Goddess of the Three Directions and can look back into the past, look at ourselves just where we are, and take a glance, as well, into the future.  It is a space with which I am familiar.

When I was born in 1944 my parents lived on a middle Georgia plantation that was owned by a white distant relative,  Miss May Montgomery. (During my childhood it was necessary to address all white girls as “Miss” when they reached the age of twelve.)  She would never admit to this relationship, of course, except to mock it.  Told by my parents that several of their children would not eat chicken skin she responded that of course they would not.  No Montgomerys would.

My parents and older siblings did everything imaginable for Miss May.  They planted and raised her cotton and corn, fed and killed and processed her cattle and hogs, painted her house, patched her roof, ran her dairy, and, among countless other duties and responsibilities my father was her chauffeur, taking her anywhere she wanted to go at any hour of the day or night.  She lived in a large white house with green shutters and a green, luxuriant lawn:  not quite as large as Tara of Gone With the Wind fame, but in the same style. MORE ….

Obama Speech: ‘A More Perfect Union’

March 28, 2008

NYT – The Red Phone in Black and White

March 12, 2008
March 11, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor

The Red Phone in Black and White

Cambridge, Mass.

ON first watching Hillary Clinton’s recent “It’s 3 a.m.” advertisement, I was left with an uneasy feeling that something was not quite right — something that went beyond my disappointment that she had decided to go negative. Repeated watching of the ad on YouTube increased my unease. I realized that I had only too often in my study of America’s racial history seen images much like these, and the sentiments to which they allude.

I am not referring to the fact that the ad is unoriginal; as several others have noted, it mimics a similar ad made for Walter Mondale in his 1984 campaign for the Democratic nomination. What bothers me is the difference between this and the Mondale ad. The Mondale ad directly and unequivocally played on the issue of experience. The danger was that the red telephone might be answered by someone who was “unsure, unsteady, untested.” Why do I believe this? Because the phone and Mr. Mondale are the only images in the ad. Fair game in the normal politics of fear. More …