But what will the community think?!

padma and russell simmons.JPG

Ah, Padma.

Padma, Padma, Padma.

Potentially Mallu (I thought you were TamBrahm!) beauty, accomplished author and Television ish-tar, you speak so uniquely and that takes some talent. What sort of talent, I haven’t a clue, but I’ll credit you anyway, because I’m fond of you like that.

A few years ago, you made every Desi man’s heart beat a little bit faster, from the joy of the improbable occurring; if a supermodel would marry an award-winning, uber-protective, “distinguished”-looking author, then everyone had hope (as long as they did something extraordinary. Or had a looooot of paisa). It was the ultimate Revenge fantasy and that’s exactly what it was, because the dream, it died. You and the man who defended your intellect, who insisted that you were being shortchanged by the focus on your outsides, you are…kaput.

So, what to do, except to follow the well-established mores of our culture. You don’t recall? I am happy to remind. Now comes the time when you cast your eyes downwards, marinate in the somber reality of failure and wait an appropriate time before you are back on the scene, the ultimate “Innocent Divorcee, no issue”. It is imperative that you be seen alone, that you not be photographed with strange men touching you, because if a potential groom from Madras or Bangalore sees that, chee, vat he vill think?

So it is paining me, Padma-akka (chechi?!) to see you emulate the controversial example of that Sarita Denzel Masala of Mississippi, especially since you chose to do that in the front row of the Marc Jacobs show, where everyone could see you! Aiyo! What’s the one thing your Amma told you, edi?

“Don’ bring home a Kala or Muslim.”

Stop lying, you aren’t special, she totally said that. [Aside: whenever I hear that oft-repeated phrase, I wonder what would happen if one chose to bring home a KALA MUSLIM, but I digress]. I’m well aware that all of our parents ignorantly shouted this rather nonsensical order at us, in an attempt to be helpful (though I’m sure for our Muslim friends it was “Don bring home a Kala or a Hindu!”, since the hate goes both vays).

So, what are you doing? Yes, this Russell, he is healthy, wealthy, wise. He does yoga. He is a vegan (unlike you! Naughty, naughty omnivore!) and he seems kind. BUT. He has two children! And his ex-wife will smear Vaseline on her face, take her bamboo earrings (at least two pair) off, hand them to her assistant and then CUT YOUR ASS UP. Have you not seen Life in the Fab Lane, starring Kimora Lee Simmons? Put down the bong and pay attention: you should be terrified!

Worst of all, when I was watching the Today show this morning, I saw your “friend” Russell. He was wearing his “uniform” of baseball cap, sweater, shirt, jeans, sneakers. Ek tiny problem: there was an OM symbol on his jeans pocket. Now I am both Christian and a quondam lover of status denim (Diesel, Blue Cult, James et al), so I am just slightly, less offended than half of those who are sure to comment AND I get that the kundi pockets must have some elaborate design on them, to show people you have rs.5500+ to burn on a pair of pants which was once worn by the working class…to WORK, but I was taken aback when I saw that, much as I was when I viewed this commercial. Someone who is so entranced with our culture should know better than to put a sacred image on a back pocket!

Om on pocket? Home with two kids, and a fiercely mean ex-? Far too friendly hand on your leg? What are you thinking? Who will want you, if you continue with such shenanigans? They will burn you in effigy, I tell you. Or worse. They will call for strikes. The sweatshops in Bangladesh will stop stitching Phat Farm and Baby Phat crap! There will be chaos!

I only say all of this to be nice. I am concerned for you! If you ask me, you should try to be more homely and make sure you fast on Fridays for a good husband; perhaps your kinda-boring cooking show can tape on other days? Vatewer. I care, so I advise. I am like this only. You should be, too. Hangari!

Photo via NYT. A big, juicy “thank you” to Rumor Monger, for the tip. :)

415 thoughts on “But what will the community think?!

  1. But that particular misspelling gets on my nerves, especially when it is done on an indo centric blog.

    That particular misspelling is very common, partly because ‘g’ and ‘h’ are next to each other both in the alphabet and on the keyboard. They were placed there on the keyboard because, ironically enough, they rarely occur together in English words. Anyway, it’s always good to be a little tolerant, because that’s what he would have wanted, surely. Also, let’s not completely forget that some people actually do spell it that way.

  2. Also, let’s not completely forget that some people actually do spell it that way

    chachaji, Sure they do .But the specific context is of Mahatma Gandhi here. And I agree with Pradeep that its a hugely annoying mistake that can be spotted on the likes of NYT, Salon etc etc and should be avoided at all costs on SM :-) - Trying to find my inner Gandhi and failing miserably

  3. so? the president of city college wrote a book about how he went from seeing himself as white to seeing himself as black. wentworth miller still sees himself as mixed.

    Just a comparison between two men who most would classify as “White” due to their physical appearance. I saw Gregory H. Williams on a talk show and was quite surprised when he stated that he was Black. Not mixed, but Black. He acknowledges his white ancestry, but has chosen to identify as an African American. Gregory Williams could’ve easily “passed” and lived his life as a White man, but he didn’t. I’m sure that given the same choice, many people would not have made the same decision regarding their identity. I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, but isn’t Wallace Fard Muhammad, the founder of NOI allegedly half desi?

  4. slightly o/t:

    Not every desi uses a hair straigtener – sometimes it’s natural. Oh,And I try and make my hair curlier most of the time.

    Me too! I thought I was the only brown girl who did this… the ones I know all go for that super-straight, silky look. I’ve tried it, but I don’t think it looks good with my face shape (round

    Well this is a me too moment – that’s why I like my hair curly b/c I do have a round face and so looks good (IMO) with curls. When I’m thin, it’s cool to have my hair both ways.

    You know that pic of Padma – that’s how my hair usually ends up…if I don’t brush it and dry it while it’s in a bun so that the curls sometimes stick. That’s probably the only thing I can compare to with Padma.

    By the way, I saw the Kimora show for the first time. She is all about showy wealth. I don’t know what Russell Simmons was like, but if he was married to Kimora than I’d think he’d be into the lifestyle that flaunts its wealth — somehow I don’t think Rushdie is like that (and yes, this is all conjecture on my part), but how strange would that be to go from an intellect like Rushdie, to Russell Simmons? of course this is all just based on my perception of these men’s public persona.
    Gandhi’s leadership was based on many factors but this is the first time I have ever heard of his complexion coming into it. Also the first time I have heard anyone suggest that Gandhi was fair complexioned. – for some reason this cracks me up. In many ways I think India’s colorism is different than than what happens in the US.

  5. I don’t get the problem with ghandi. There are many other big important names from languages written in non roman script with variant spellings, like muhammad vs. mohammed (with mahomet being the more objectionable nineteenth century term, often used disparagingly but not always (Carlyle)). Even Hindoo is only bothersome because it was usually used as a neutral term against a people that were disparaged. Then siva or shiva, seth sheth usama osama, etc. Among 20th century figures, you have mao tse tung doubling as mao zedong. The first consanant in gandhi/ghandi/ghandhi DOES have a slight aspiration. It’s especially funny since I can’t imagine the person in question would ever give an iota of a fuck.

  6. so? the president of city college wrote a book about how he went from seeing himself as white to seeing himself as black. wentworth miller still sees himself as mixed. Just a comparison between two men who most would classify as “White” due to their physical appearance. I saw Gregory H. Williams on a talk show and was quite surprised when he stated that he was Black. Not mixed, but Black. He acknowledges his white ancestry, but has chosen to identify as an African American. Gregory Williams could’ve easily “passed” and lived his life as a White man, but he didn’t. I’m sure that given the same choice, many people would not have made the same decision regarding their identity.

    ah ok. sorry if i seemed defensive, it’s just that one of my pet peeves is when people try to deny others their own identities. and while it is ‘brave’ of this man to ‘come out’ as black, the fact is that if he looks white to people, he still reaps the benefits of being white on a daily basis. i’m not sure that necessarily makes mixed people (like wentworth miller) who identify as mixed ‘weak.’

    RE: gandhi/ghandi the latter spelling gets on my nerves b/c i associate it with holier-than-thou upper west side progressives who think they are h0t $hit and soo much smarter and more open-minded and ‘cultured’ than everyone else, but are really just closet racists and orientalists. they may ‘love indian culture! chicken tikka masala is so good!’ but they can’t fu*king spell gandhi’s name right.

  7. naz #344, not one but two statements guaranteed to get under people’s skin, raise their hackles, set the cat among the pigeons, and so on. i bow to you. a career in subcontinental politics awaits you.

  8. noblekinsman, You are so right

    Lets all call him Ghandi and add that his daughter was Indira Ghandi and that he led the masses because of his fair complexion – what does it matter anyway?

  9. Quoting Runa:

    Trying to find my inner Gandhi

    That would make for a totally cool remake of Alien and Total Recall. :P

    Of course, post-independence and post-Partition, Gandhi never led the nation of Islam. That was done by Jinnah.

    /runs away

  10. If Ghandi is just an honest typo, i really wouldnt care. Or even if it was a misspelling based on phonetics. And in that poster’s case, he is not at fault because too many mainstream publications have misspelled his name in the west. But it is good if we can nip it in the bud at least on this site.

  11. Al Ghandi is an English language of a completely different, Arabic, name.

    Maybe so. But there are also Gujarati speakers who spell their name with ‘Gh’. Sir Jehangir Ghandy, for a famous one.

    Getting all upset is great (or not so great, actually) but the world is just more complicated than people think at first, so a little humility and a little tolerance go a long way.

    We’re totally OT, though, of course.

  12. Getting all upset is great (or not so great, actually) but the world is just more complicated than people think at first, so a little humility and a little tolerance go a long way.

    darnit chachaji! now i feel bad about disparaging upper west siders. :)

    but yeah, bapu would not care how we spelled his name.

    to make it somewhat more on-topic: here’s a picture that shows PL’s scar

  13. bapu would not care how we spelled his name.

    On further thought, even if Gandhi’s name is spelled correctly, there will always be confusion around. Sometime in 1996-1997 (leading up to the 50th anniversary of Independence), MTV India had caught hold of random teens on the street and asked them random questions about India’s history (mostly 20th century history). Some of the answers were breath-taking:

    Q: Who wrote the national anthem? A: I don’t know. Q: His name begins with an ‘R’. A: Rajiv Gandhi?

    Q: Who was Indira Gandhi’s father? A: Mahatma Gandhi.

    Q: Name any of Indira Gandhi’s children. A: Sonia Gandhi.

    It also included gems like:

    Q: Who was called the Iron Man of India? A1: JRD Tata. A2: Dara Singh.

    As far as I could tell, this was not one of those Bakra-style programs that MTV India is famous for. It sounded like the real deal, except maybe they showed only the craziest of the answers in the final version.

    But yes, however Gandhi’s name is spelled, it’s not going to help some of these people.

  14. I must confess that I don’t know either who wrote the Indian national anthem! But I’m forgiven I guess for not growing up in India!

  15. “Obviously,in her book, to be authentically “black”, you have to be poor. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t like Obama, becuase not only has he beat her own biracial kids to the punch bowl, he’s happy to call himself black. I do not think that b-w Americans, in 2007, have fundamentally different ‘cultures’.”

    Well, if I’m not mistaken, Obama is about 40 years older than Dickerson’s offspring, so it is unremarkable he would beat them to the punch bowl. Dickerson’s article in Salon seemed to center on the fact that her kids had no African racial type in their looks and this affected the way they were identifying even as small children. Dickerson herself is certainly of ancestral “mixed” background, and she acknowledges this perhaps more than most people. As far as Obama being happy to call himself black, I’m sure he’s happy enough in this day and age, but it’s more expeditious politically for him to do this (while really being black-white) because the powers that be want to put up a black candidate and he’s just the ticket in so many ways. Don’t believe for a moment that any candidate for presidency just decides through his or her own ambition and faith in his (or her) own abilities. Most candidates, especially viable candidates, run for president because very powerful “interests” have decided on a particular puppet/icon. And if we think this is not true, we must grow up. George Bush, among the thousands of potential candidates, was the best and brightest? What did he have that so many others didn’t? The Presidency of the U.S. has actually become the sort of office that presidents in some other countries hold, an office perhaps more symbolic than truly powerful. In multi-cult societies—India anyone?, Lebanon, even Beglium, the offices in government must be represented by at least one person from various religions, ethnicities, or races. The heads are sorted out for that Kodak moment, where the cabinet, president, and various appointees representing the visible, manifest government, say cheese for the camera, and everybody is happy.

  16. HMF: what does UT stand for?

    University of Texas.

    But seriously though, it’s clear we disagree about this, by the sources I’ve quote, I’ve clearly read more… you’re still free to think I’m an idiot for misreading, misquoting and misunderstanding all I’ve read (you’d be incorrect to think that, but it’s your choice), but I’ve clearly read more.

    While it’s fun to mudsling back and forth (Im sure you can corroborate), As the new fall season approaches, I made a sort of pesonal affirmation to allow you to bait away.

  17. I must confess that I don’t know either who wrote the Indian national anthem! But I’m forgiven I guess for not growing up in India!

    Just so people know, I didn’t intend to convey a more-Indian-than-thou vibe with my comment #371. That said, most schoolkids in India learn at least the names of who wrote Jana Gana Mana or Vande Mataram or something like that, so these being DBD kids on MTV India, they certainly must have learned it (even if they had subsequently forgotten it). But it is unforgivably ignorant to think that the national anthem was written by Rajiv Gandhi. At least someone in the right time period would have been acceptable. This is as bad as claiming that the Declaration of Independence was signed by Ronald Reagan.

  18. i didn’t know intially either, but using my super brown skills of thinking in context, i figured it was rabindranath tagore.

  19. Nala, You are right – it was Rabindranath Tagore.An interesting but untrue rumor about the national anthem was that Tagore wrote it in praise of then King George of England . See wiki link here .

    Vande Mataram was part of a huge controversy last year as there was religious objection to singing it as it required the singer to bow to Mother India

  20. The Gita? There’s no basis for this and nobody in any NOI temples will care for it unless there’s someone who caught on to some krishna = blackman stuff.

    Give me a few days, I’ll quote the exact words from the book, “Remembering Malcolm, by Benjamin Karim”

    But don’t twist my words, I’m not saying they follow these scriptures, just made aware of them.

    Of course, any Malcolm follower worth his salt, knows he’s prayed in arabic, after converting to Sunni Muslim and changing his name to El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz. In fact, there’s video footage of him praying in the Saladin Citadel Mosque in Egypt, a shot recreated in the movie.

  21. is a program of personal reform, which is why its most successful aspects are its drug recovery successes and its security corporation and why it almost always did most of its work in prisons and with addicts. Further, it is, after all, a completely American religion, and like all American religions (mormonism for example),

    I agree with this completely, I would never classify the NOI as a bonafide “religion” in the sense of having scriptures rooted in thousands of years ago, rather think of them as a social upliftment organization, but I do believe their “the black man is inherently divine” line, while total nonsense, was at the time required to show how silly the accepted “Jesus was white, isn’t that obvious?” was and just a general, “white is more trustworthy” thought process was as equally silly.

    Sort of like Chapelle’s “black bush’ skit

  22. I just chanced upon this site. It was really interesting reading through the comments. I am one of the (apparently) few Indian men who are married to black women.

  23. What is this “media” that contains the proto-chips for our desires? While it may be coming down the pike, I don’t THINK anybody yet lives in a totally virtual world. wtf are we–empty vessels with no thoughts of our own? Some of us don’t even watch tv or movies, and do our best to ignore “supermodels” that most inane and embarrassing “celebrity” phenomena of the late 20th, early 21st century. Most of us actually pay attention to the flesh and blood humans we see and deal with every day. Most people get their information about life from life. Maybe people just prefer a certain color, race, ethnicity, etc., because their experiences and aesthetic preferences just go in that direction–they think brown is just the right cookie; some like cream, some like chocolate, some like banana (sorry, I missed lunch.) I don’t care if someone else prefers a color different to mine. That person, then, would not be for me, as far as intimacy, that’s all. I doubt they’d refuse to have a cup of coffee with me, or ignore my hello on the basis of an aesthetic preference. Not these days if you want to get along in the modern world. TV, generally, is a slough of absurdity driven by corporate greed pandering to pc identity politics and fantasies–whatever it portrays, the opposite is more likely true in real life. But my main point is exasperation with bestowing the “media” such freaking power to think for us. Do this exercise: if you never watched a movie, or tv show, or read a magazine with supermodels in it, how would you feel about the people around you? What tv show or movies has more influence on how you think about people, then the people who actually ride the metro with you, live next door, or check out your groceries? Or ask you out for a date?

  24. luna. what comments that have been made by people about the ‘media’ are you upset with, exactly?

  25. Do this exercise: if you never watched a movie, or tv show, or read a magazine with supermodels in it, how would you feel about the people around you?

    How about this exercise, think about what it was like before movie, tv, print and broadcast existed. How do you think widespread opinion was formed? Certain entities, be they government, or church or both controlled opinion by some means of streamlined information dissemination.

    It’s the same thing happening now, only technology has progressed further.

  26. thank you HMF. i feel like the poster was partly upset with my statement that the media portrays black women unfavorably. my black female friends have had too many experiences of people telling them, ‘wow, i thought you’d have a huge attitude and be really ghetto or something, but you’re actually really nice and normal!’ for me not to believe it. (normal. god.)

  27. TO; bb #382, glad you posted on here. so here’s the million dollar question, did your parents give you the infamous two prong advice anna referred to in her original post? how did your family react to your wife? also you may have noticed the stats about 1st generation (or born in US) vs. new immigrants, which are you ?

    TO: luna #383, i really liked your rant! i think it’s true though about the other ways images are depicted to us. one of the best example is through religion, just think of all the temples and churches and how they show people. Do people look to those images as reality (ex: white Jesus, blue Krishna), as the ideal, or as fake?

    TO: #386 nala, i don’t think the media does too bad of a job anymore with portraying images of black american women. there are plenty of tv shows and real life african american women who are doing their thang in a positive way. as far as the few negative images i do see, i can’t blame media for that. it is a shame if those few women choose to portray themselves that way, but only a fool would believe that is representative of a regular black woman. when people hold stereotypes about others, i don’t think they can blame it on media, but instead on their own misguided beliefs/fantasies.

  28. TO: #386 nala, i don’t think the media does too bad of a job anymore with portraying images of black american women. there are plenty of tv shows and real life african american women who are doing their thang in a positive way. as far as the few negative images i do see, i can’t blame media for that. it is a shame if those few women choose to portray themselves that way, but only a fool would believe that is representative of a regular black woman. when people hold stereotypes about others, i don’t think they can blame it on media, but instead on their own misguided beliefs/fantasies.

    true. we are not slaves to media, but i also don’t think we should underestimate the power it has over us.

  29. luna. what comments that have been made by people about the ‘media’ are you upset with, exactly?

    well, nala, I guess this one: ” “I think that American media in general doesn’t depict black women in a favorable (meaning attractive) way” I’m not being critical, and probably I misunderstood your point. But really, what unattractive way? Moesha? Naomi Campbell? Beyonce? Halle? Oprah and her entourage of films and books? The black lady captain (sorry, not a Trekkie so I can’t recall the name) on Star Trek? Condoleeza Rice? If you want to knock anybody for an unattractive portrayal of African American women, it would be some of those rap “artists” but PLEASE, I REALLY don’t want to go there. Sometimes I think people carry their own imagery so deeply that they might even superimpose it on what they see on the screen on the page. I don’t mean to imply that anybody here is doing that. We’re a thoughtful bunch for the most part, but these ideas of media power are so imbeded that I don’t think we always realize how quickly we attribute power to it that it has only because we give it to them. I probably mangled that sentence. Still early in the morning.

    This is not to pick on AAs, but that example emerged. Women of any race could complain — not enough roles if you’re not “hot”. Aliens from another planet looking at the stars of our films would have an interesting opinion of the average male-female ages.

    taal: didn’t mean to rant, but media and I are not great buddies.

  30. Aliens from another planet looking at the stars of our films would have an interesting opinion of the average male-female ages.

    Eddie Griffin does a very good joke on this, “How come aliens only visit the white people, are they racist too?”

    but these ideas of media power are so imbeded that I don’t think we always realize how quickly we attribute power to it that it has only because we give it to them.

    Yes and no. If a company like clearchannel has 1,100 radio channels, 30 television stations, and some satellite radio channels, that’s not “us giving power to them” they own them for real, and those who control those outlets have power to influence opinion.

    What you’re talking about is letting it effect you at an individualistic level. So after Indy and temple of doom came out, one could safely say a large percentage of people (most prbably, white people) thought Indians ate chilled monkey brains, and ripped people’s hearts from their chests. That had nothing to do with “you giving them power”, that happened because George Lucas had a contract with a powerful distribution company that could promote the movie in many theaters over a short timespan.

    Now you can change your consciousness to be unaffected by it, sure, but if someone cracks a joke, you have to fold your hands and be unaffected, if a boss has reluctance in hiring you, you have to be unaffected.

  31. But really, what unattractive way? Moesha? Naomi Campbell? Beyonce? Halle? Oprah and her entourage of films and books? The black lady captain (sorry, not a Trekkie so I can’t recall the name) on Star Trek? Condoleeza Rice?

    Ugh. this is so simplistic. If you say that african american women are portrayed postiviely at large, then proceed to name them, then you’ve really just proven the opposite. By naming them, you’ve picked the exceptions to the rule, therefore the rule stands.

    And I think it’s Uhuru.

  32. HMF “Ugh. this is so simplistic. If you say that african american women are portrayed postiviely at large, then proceed to name them, then you’ve really just proven the opposite. By naming them, you’ve picked the exceptions to the rule, therefore the rule stands”

    If you say so. Not worth arguing. btw, are you really an RRS feed?

  33. fortherecord #375In my comments, I tried to follow a progression of self identity and SES factors,w/o deviling into “other” subjective areas. It’s been my personal experience in the US and elsewhere when people- of all races, want to complement me,or sometimes they are simply curious,- they ask me about my ancestry. It is normally not the case that they can’tdetect my Afro ancestry. I think more the implication is “pure black does not = attractiveness to many, many, people,so there has to be some ‘other’ explanation for my good looks, (no I’m really not that vain) . That is not always the case- but It’s happened enough to know its true ‘for me’

    Dickerson’s article in Salon seemed to center on the fact that her kids had no African racial type in their looks and this affected the way they were identifying even as small children….

    You,and Debra, obviously have not seen many Africans. Do you think people who see her children think they are 1/2 Swiss and 1/2 German, or perhaps a Japanese and Filipino mix? I strongly suspect their African heritage is detectable, but that really was not my point. Looks/attractiveness are another point of conflation, besides, class, but I did not attempt to take that on, since you asked however: Please read comment- #173 >”You’ll see this on any of those online dating sites where the girl is clearly black and nothing but her thing says “Indian.”….Men rarely make such claims”

    Women across cultures/races/ are judged on their looks. In the west, the most desired look has always been European- and that’s why, IMV, “proud to be black” women, like myself, do straighten their hair, to fit in to what is becoming more and more a ‘global’ ideal. I also know that my partial conformity to this has helped my career ,(looks DO matter) and other interactions. Besides it’s [my hair] just easier to deal with that way. There is a clear point for me to draw the line- I do not like wigs/weaves or blond hair dye/colored contacts- but I am self aware enough to know its all on the same continuum.

    Dickerson herself is certainly of ancestral “mixed” background, and she acknowledges this perhaps more than most people.

    See above. My point which perhaps too nuanced for you. Why does SHE have to acknowledge it? If it was relevant– e.g. her mixed background gave her a different cultural insight, language /culinary skills etc then there is certainly is a place for it. I don’t think American culture-b-w are two separate things. That was the reason I mentioned my Afro-Russian friend. I know all types/races of females were/are attracted to him- because of his “exotic” biracial looks, in his case it was self evident, like most forms of attractiveness are (you generally don’t have to tell plp your cute). The “legitimacy” I mention in regards to his diverse cultural heritage should clear. Even if both his parents were both white or both black- the fact that they would have come from a Nigerian or Russian culture was the salient point,- not how light or dark his eyes are. For me to say – my maternal and fraternal grandmother’s are both non black ,means nothing. It has not changed the fact that I speak English, or have western values or the religion I follow, or the type of food I eat. I embrace all parts of my heritage, but I when I am dealing with people on a casual,businesses basis- it’s really not relevant , or of interest, for me to know that they are Welsh and not English- just as I don’t feel it necessary to explain why my last name is Scottish- if they, or I, care or need to know, most adults know how to ask.

    …but it’s more expeditious politically for him to do this (while really being black-white) because the powers that be want to put up a black candidate and he’s just the ticket in so many ways.

    Dude/Chick really- again its more expeditious for any of us to take people at face value, most non sight imparied people are going to decide your race for you, based on your looks. Which is why I thought the comment at #173 so telling- if someone cares about you/your heritage that much- they will ask. If you look “White” (Kennu Reaves), people will take you for “white”. I’m sure before he was famous, most people are not trying to find out about his Chinese ancestry- unless they were trying to get into his pants. Obama is mixed race, multicultural etc- but knowing how “expeditious” we all are based on our eyesight he didn’t decide to re-educate everyone he meets about his background, he realizes most people don’t care.

    As far as Obama being happy to call himself black, I’m sure he’s happy enough in this day and age..

    Not only that he married an obviously black woman. By “virtue” of his biracial parentage, and International upbringing +Ivy League education- he could have easily opted out of the narrow “black” regressive s e l f h a t i n g identity that Debra gave. If that is how she sees black people it’s not hard to understand why she would acknowledge her mixed ancestry perhaps more than others- maybe she wants people to know “she got some rich educated people blood up in her.” which we know means white, because race=class.

    because the powers that be want to put up a black candidate and he’s just the ticket in so many ways.

    So your saying, we’ve moved from a one drop rule, and “the powers that be” are now willing to accept up to, and including, 50% pure African heritage? You, Debra , and anybody else can be as “mixed” as you wanna be. Just don’t try and define what the ‘unmixed’ blackness you are stepping away from is.

  34. Dilettante wrote: “You,and Debra, obviously have not seen many Africans. Do you think people who see her children think they are 1/2 Swiss and 1/2 German, or perhaps a Japanese and Filipino mix?”

    I was going by what Ms. Dickerson wrote, taking her at her word so to speak, and it was a major point in her article. Don’t know the lady personally, nor have I seen her family. I live in the mid-eastcoast, U.S. area and have known people personally in inter-racial marriages of all kinds. Maybe I don’t have a working Afri-dar, but it does happen that persons born of a “black” and “white” parent turn out with no visible African traits, just as sometimes they have no apparent Euro traits. It’s a toss of the genes and depends on the individual heredity of the people involved.

    “Not only that he married an obviously black woman. By “virtue” of his biracial parentage, and International upbringing +Ivy League education- he could have easily opted out of the narrow “black” regressive s e l f h a t i n g identity that Debra gave”

    So–that’s good, right? Go Obama. But what I said for him goes equally for Hilary, Bush, Edwards, etc. They are useful tools and if they are shrewd, they themselves become manipulators of a sort. I’m just a reporter really. I long ago became very cynical about idealogies and the people who espouse them, and came to realize who truly runs this world. When I used the term, “powers that be”, I don’t mean middle-white-America deciding anything. It is not really in their power to do that. I am referring to cross-national corporate/political/financial interests that could really care less about issues concerning most of us. Whatever color or type we are, we are of interest to them only to the extent we serve their interests.

    Paler species are indeed particularly prominent among them, but they come in all colors, ethnicities, religions, nationalities–many are racist, others claim to celebrate diversity of rich people like themselves; but mostly they qualify by just being freakin’ rich and connected and owning the channels of communication. Commentator HMF is quite correct on that point. What makes them that way is beyond my capacity in this forum to explain.

    Actually, dilettante, my focus of interest is different from yours. I’m sure you are right on the subject of race identity. I was focussing more on the “deep politics”, as Peter Dale Scott would say, that are really running the show.

  35. I find it very interesting that some commenters feel they have the authority to label people based on their ‘obvious looks’ of blackness or other. Phenotype is not always representative of genotype in the way we expect. Perceptions of phenotype are also based on experience and environtment. Perhaps we need to accept that people are who they say they are and not discount parts of their heritage because we can’t see it. Maybe you aren’t really looking due to your ideas about ‘obviousness’. As a Trini I know from my experience that those outside of West Indian cultures will not ‘see’ my Asian heritage but only my African heritage. Those within West Indian cultures can and do.

    My Asian and African ancestors are not obscure branches of my family tree. One only has to look at my parents to see. But that’s is okay. I know that people who are quick to slap on their ‘well obviously’ labels don’t know how I was raised with elements of both cultures and that they don’t care to acknowledge my connection to my dual roots because my physical appearance doesn’t mesh with their ideas. I just wish they weren’t so darn smug in their simplistic categorizations of people they don’t even know. Who cares if someone identifies their Asian heritage as well as the other parts of their being. Playing the ethnicity/racial guessing game is at best a waste of time, at worst dangerous, and ultimately self-identity is not up to the public.

  36. If you say so. Not worth arguing. btw, are you really an RRS feed?

    I dont know what that is. Think about it this way, if I said “men in India love to follow cricket” do I have to follow it up with, “just look at Rajesh, Kamal, Vikas, Naman, etc..”? No, you just walk up and down every street and see tons of men watching it, talking about it, etc..

    Likewise, if I said, “Men of Indian descent love to play golf, and are super good at it too! just look at Vijay Singh!” I’m obviously pointing out an exception to the rule. If large swaths of black women say they are misrepresnted by the media, in a negative way, and you say, well “look at condi rice, beyonce, etc…” it’s a direct parallel, if you’re saying a black woman has to be a multi platinum singer or secretary of state in order to be “cast in a good light” by the media, that in itself is very telling.

    “hasn’t been been doing much research on that subject.”

    actually, he followed up with a joke about what would happen if a ufo landed in the ghetto, “that shit would be jacked in like 10 minutes” or something like that, and this incident happened someplace in new hampshire, so still woudlnt apply.

  37. just to add some color to the debate about the politics of color within the NOI, especially elijah vs. Malcom, this paper (from the columbia project) gives us some intersting background that lends credence to some of the allegations. Sort of a NOI version of the aryan invasion theory.

    Money quote:

    Malcolm X came to realize that the Nation of Islam perpetuated a racist, colonialist perspective of Africa and its people
  38. hm, i’m glad i don’t have to say anything… HMF said it all. as for ‘only fools are influenced by the media,’ then the world sure is full of damn fools.

    HMF – what does your handle stand for?