FRANGELA on npr.org got me to thinking.
When I was a kid in the 70s, not that long ago, the only term I heard was mulatto. I am not sure it was used or even PC, but you know what someone meant when you heard it. People today still do, I dont know if it is derogatory, I will have to ask one of my many African-American friends.
Gosh, that sounds weird, I am not used to labeling my friends, they are just my friends. I am not really sure I have any ‘African-American’ friends, atleast not first generation. I have lots of black friends. I always have. My first friend, my next door neighbor, Hassan is black. Or African-American, I guess. Not sure you knew he was black from his name. I never really thought of him as black or any different than me. Well, except for the time my Mom figured me and my brother were color blind because some of our friends weren’t ‘green’ like Hassan. (turns out we were both red-green ‘color-blind’).
Anywho. Apparently Senator Obama has a ‘white’ Mom from the mid West, wonder if she is “German-America” like my third generation ‘white’ Mom was? His dad is Kenyan. So maybe African American doesnt denote first generation, then again that would make my Mom German American. However, maybe my definition is wrong. Maybe Sen Obama is truly African-American, or as we in the medical profession write on the chart, AA. I have never seen GA (German American), HA (Hungarian American) etc written, I guess when we right AA on the chart it means they are darker skinned than me. Hmmm. Anyway, maybe he is truly African American bec Dad is African and Mom is American? Maybe that definition of AA is right after all these years. Who cares?
Another family I was and am very close to was white mom, black dad. That Dad was a second Dad to me. Took me and my brothers into NYC and showed us around, he played with us, did youth group stuff with us. Used to due all kinds of stuff with us. He had a bunch of kids in the 60s, yes the 60s, that were mixed. As close as we were to them, it never came up. It wasnt an issue. They were just Keith, Lauren, etc.
So maybe Obama is right not to bring it up, because it doesnt matter. Because in my America, it doesnt. I serve in the US Navy with just as many blacks and filipinos as whites. There is a disproportion and maybe equal amounts of each which is unlike the civilian America.
So Senator Obama is another new term the media taught me today ‘biracial’. I am pretty sure I am at least septa-racial myself now but all that homogenized white european descent just make me a plain old white guy.
Better yet, Sen Obama’s brother in law is Chinese-Canadian. Obama grew up in Indonesia. What does that make him? Cooly diverse, that is about it.
All I can say is 35 years into my friendship with Hassan, we will both be 38 this spring. I have no idea where the name Hassan came from, he wasnt Muslim and he went the the Episcopal Church, I never thought about if he is African American, I have never asked him what he is. He is a black American and I am a white American.