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Zoethe

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Hello, Press? Stop being so lame [Nov. 8th, 2008|12:57 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |annoyedannoyed]

So, Barack Obama remarks that "Obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me," and the press squees, "OMG!!!! He's so casual about race!!!!!'

Dude, please.

This was not some magical-gold-leaf-sanscrit-on-tablets-with-a-choir-of-angels remark. The guy's been biracial all his life. It's not like he just discovered it and is surprisingly comfortable with it. He's had 47 freakin' YEARS to adjust.

Why are you all surprised that he can be off-the-cuff about it? It was never a dirty little secret. Did you think he was going to start having Daddy issues now?

Look. I am thrilled that he is president, but he does not shit gold. His every off-handed remark is not a statement on race relations.

America stopped seeing this guy as The Black President. 52% of us went into the voting booth, looked at the choices, and saw him as The Best President. Not perfect. Not infallible.

Stop trying to make issues where there aren't any.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2008-11-08 06:15 pm (UTC)
I think the whole issue right now is what usually happens right after an election, which is that the media suddenly doesn't have a ton of stuff to cover all the time about this event, so they're starting to grasp at straws to make any kind of news. 9.9 It's stupid, and if they opened their eyes they would realize that probably 75% of Americans are sick of hearing about politics and would like to go back to "regular" news again. Like, what's been happening in Iraq lately? Are we still over there? Did it turn into a mystical happy land while we weren't looking? I have no idea, because I haven't seen any news coverage on it in months. XP
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-08 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yup. They're all coming down off their campaign high and this is their methadone.
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[User Picture]From: dglenn
2008-11-08 09:39 pm (UTC)
I haven't been watching much news, but I did catch the remark and liked it a lot ... it just did not occur to me that it was, ah, newsworthy.

Your explanation for media behaviour makes sense to me, though I do wonder whether it's also partly fueled by lots of folks wanting Obama's election to mean that America's 'race issues' are 'finally over'. (Hey, his win is a big sign of progress, but it ain't the checkered flag. Still, a lot of people seem to want to be able to interpret it as meaning, "See, we're finished all that difficult thinking and talking about racism and racial inequality and stuff.")

Of course, the disproportionate amount of coverage of the whole acquiring-a-dog issue itself is pretty clearly either from your "OMG what do we talk about now that the election's done" explanation or just plain fluffyheadedness in the media, so I'm pretty sure your answer is a major part.
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2008-11-08 11:55 pm (UTC)
I'm sure a lot of people want to believe that us electing Obama has completely redeemed America for all the past racism, and is definitely not true. I'm not entirely sure that racism WILL go away in my lifetime. Pretty much the only way I can see it happening is if we make First Contact with an alien species, as it would make a much bigger "us vs. them" for us to focus on. I do believe that is the basis of most racism.

I know, why are we reading fifty stories a day concerning the next white house dog? I didn't even know President Bush had scotty dogs. XP
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[User Picture]From: dhimahi
2008-11-08 06:15 pm (UTC)
For me, I'm actually glad that there is all this hype for the simple reason that there ARE a lot of people (both voters and non-voters) who DO have race issues. Obama is only bi-racial to those who accept it. There are far too many who still say "one drop of black blood makes a person black" despite the fact that all blood is red.

Maybe by 2020 there will be a whole new generation of kids who are now in kindergarten or first grade graduating from high school who no longer see race the way my generation did.

I still remember those drinking fountains and diners that were "for whites only".

And the fact that so many people were playing the 'Bradley Effect' game so they could say that being black made Obama not likely to be elected... it's still out there.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-08 07:21 pm (UTC)
Wow. Even though we are pretty much the same age, I don't have those memories due to the simple expediency of having grown up in small-town Oregon where we didn't HAVE black people. Seriously, I saw my first black person on TV when I was 4 or 5 and none in real life until I was at least 6. When I was 8 my mom had my youngest sister. My brother and I were listening as Gramma, who was staying with us, got the news. "She had the baby!" Gramma said.

My brother Billy and I grinned at each other. "Mom had the baby."

"Black?" Gramma exclaimed.

Billy and I jumped up and down. "Mom had a black baby!!"

We honestly had no idea.

It turned out her hair was black, which disappointed us to no end.

So even though my extended family is rednecks with appalling behavior, I grew up with almost no awareness of race, let alone prejudice. Which is why this stuff perplexes me.
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[User Picture]From: dhimahi
2008-11-08 07:28 pm (UTC)
I was born a Jersey Girl, but I was raised in the south.

I remember that it seemed so weird to me that some white people saw black people as animals. They weren't allowed to use anything whites used because whites seemed to be afraid it would rub off or something equally stupid.

My mom had many flaws, but at least she made damned sure I knew that color didn't determine a person's worth.

It was a weird time. I had a 8th grade teacher who insisted that evolution couldn't be real and he PROVED it by bringing a goldfish into class in one of those old goldfish bowls. It sat there on the stage the entire school year and, the day school ended, he pointed to it and announced "See!!??? It hasn't evolved at all!!"

I remember shaking my head in amazement at his ignorance, but there were far too many kids in my class who were nodding right along with him.

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[User Picture]From: mamaursula
2008-11-08 07:54 pm (UTC)
My grandfather was born in Pensacola, Fl in 1918. Until the day he died he used inappropriate words and spoke derogatorially about anyone who was not white. My grandfather was an electrical engineer who had a very high position in our county's water works and undoubtedly worked with a widely diverse employee base. I didn't agree with what he said or how he believed, because he was raised in a culture where that was the norm. I am lucky that my mom didn't buy into that line of thinking and that she taught us not to think that way. It's very sad that what you saw when you were growing up still goes on now.
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2008-11-08 08:34 pm (UTC)
I speak to people ALL THE TIME like this, who tell me why evolution doesn't exist because monkeys don't turn into people.

I AM NOT KIDDING.

Even in college, in my biology class last semester.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-09 03:30 pm (UTC)
That's staggering about the teacher. I mean WTF?!

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[User Picture]From: dhimahi
2008-11-09 09:54 pm (UTC)
That was the Bible Belt. Scary, isn't it? To think that such people were allowed to teach?

And it's not a whole lot better now because a lot of people don't believe that kind of mentality is still rampant in our society. Yet Prop 8 in CA passed because many people were convinced that gay-marriage diminishes marriage in general.

The good news is that the Prop 22 in 2000 won by over 60% and Prop 8 only won by 52% (have they counted those outstanding 3 million votes as yet? It may bring the percentage more level.)
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[User Picture]From: caudelac
2008-11-08 06:20 pm (UTC)
we mutts have called ourselves mutts since we learned the word. But the culture has never quite figured out what to do with mulattoes, what with its one drop rules and all.

But then, the press hasn't quite figured out what to do with jokes either. Except sort-of for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-08 07:23 pm (UTC)
I would never have even thought about it. I just regard people as people - it's actually gotten me in trouble with people who indignantly informed me that they were half-Asian or Hispanic and I just plain hadn't noticed.
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[User Picture]From: caudelac
2008-11-08 07:43 pm (UTC)
it's an odd thing... being mulatto, race is never an optional issue. It's the first issue you are really aware of, for better or worse, and usually in the sense of you tend to think about your place in life and your relationship to the histories of both sides of your family earlier than maybe a lot of others do. It's something you always think about. And actually, I don't mind that. I think people like to be proud-- or at least not have denied-- their backgrounds and the places from whence their people came, so to speak. My thought, anyway.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-09 03:26 pm (UTC)
I think that healthy acknowledgment of our backgrounds is great. They just shouldn't be used against anybody.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-08 07:24 pm (UTC)
Absolutely agreed. It's the press making a big deal out of what he treats so casually that makes me roll my eyes.
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[User Picture]From: eh_notsomuch
2008-11-08 08:27 pm (UTC)
And the more he does, the less of a big deal it will become.
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2008-11-08 06:44 pm (UTC)
I get the impression that some people act outraged not because they're actually outraged or shocked, but because they're trying to look good by appearing outraged: "Oh, dearest me! Look how progressive I am since I am so shocked by somebody making an innocent joke about their racial heritage!" In other words, I think they're acting out of self-interest rather than actual personal conviction. If tomorrow it became the in thing to denounce whatever, they would denounce whatever in the strongest terms just to look good rather than out of actual conviction on their part.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-08 07:29 pm (UTC)
I can't wrap my head around people thinking like that.
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[User Picture]From: roaming
2008-11-08 06:56 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!

(Not to mention, but of course I will, 1) neaerly everyone in America is some kind of mutt, and that actual doggy "mutts" are said to have less inbred issues that "pure"breds. You know, temperament is better, sturdier hips, etc.) ;-P

Edited at 2008-11-08 06:58 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: gravityslave
2008-11-08 07:09 pm (UTC)
I agree. I don't have the authority to discuss racism, being white, but from my limited and biased perspective I also see Obama as a decent guy, not the second coming of Christ. The front page picture in a local paper the day after the election had him from such an angle that the light behind him appeared as a Byzantine halo. It was funny, but a little disconcerting too: he's a human, after all, and while it is an important step that, in a historically racist (;colonial) country, someone with a certain pigmentation can finally become president, who he is as an individual and what he becomes as a president are what the media should concentrate on.
I have always described myself as "a mutt" too, although the majority of my ancestors were of one pasty-hued variety or another. Nobody has ever commented on my use of the term. Is the media's commenting on his use of the term not problematic in the first place?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-08 07:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, definitely! Being very white, but of German, English and French descent doesn't really say anything. Turns out that the French side probably has some Middle Eastern influence since my sister has a rare, recessive genetic blood condition that is only seen in people of Middle Eastern descent. Few of us are pure anything here.
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[User Picture]From: gravityslave
2008-11-08 07:47 pm (UTC)
Purity is highly overrated. :-) Nothing interesting ever came out of purity... except maybe war...
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2008-11-08 08:35 pm (UTC)
My family as well, we describe ourselves as mutts because of our varied (but mostly pasty) background.
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[User Picture]From: mightydoll
2008-11-08 09:50 pm (UTC)
this is pretty much what I was gonna say:

My heritage is English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, French and German. I call myself a mutt or a euro-mutt pretty much constantly.
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2008-11-09 12:17 am (UTC)
I don't think I've ever used the word mutt, but that's what I consider myself. XD My dad's dad can trace his family back to the Mayflower, but his mom was adopted (we know nothing about her birth parents) and my mom's side is all kinds of different things, including Irish, Swedish, and French Canadian.
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[User Picture]From: mamaursula
2008-11-08 07:40 pm (UTC)
*claps*

The other day an African-American woman was quoted saying "Illinois has the two greatest Presidents this nation has ever had - Abraham Licoln and Barack Obama!" (I may not have the quote exact, but that's the jist of it). Now, Barack hasn't even been freaking sworn into office, how the hell do we know that he's going to be one of the two best Presidents ever? I'm glad he was elected, if only to not have to listen to the Democrats whine for another 4 years, but seriously, this is just ridiculous.
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[User Picture]From: eh_notsomuch
2008-11-08 08:30 pm (UTC)
Everyone's on a post-election emotional swing, on all sides. Let's give everyone some time to process.
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[User Picture]From: custardfairy
2008-11-08 08:04 pm (UTC)
I think it's a big deal and not a big deal at the same time, because I look at Obama three ways --

Obama the (hu)man
Obama the leader
Obama the projected manifestation of the hopes of millions of Americans tired of the last eight years.

It's a big deal to have elected a non-white person to be leader; but it's not a big deal to acknowledge that he's non-white. Or something. This is still a thought-works in progress, be sure to wear your hard hat.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-09 03:31 pm (UTC)
It's a big deal that this country was able to see beyond race.

It's not a big deal that President-elect Obama is comfortable with his own biracial background.
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[User Picture]From: custardfairy
2008-11-09 04:11 pm (UTC)
Yes! The thing that you said. :)
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[User Picture]From: undertheivy99
2008-11-08 11:33 pm (UTC)
"Look. I am thrilled that he is president, but he does not shit gold. His every off-handed remark is not a statement on race relations."

I'm thrilled the guy is president too, but I'd like to think I'm not treating him as if he were the Second Coming. I read FARK and there are some think anyone who voted for the guy wants to lick his boots or some such thing.

No thanks - I just think he's the best person to get us out of the mess we're in AND, based on what I've seen on the news, he makes the rest of the world like us again.
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[User Picture]From: kyra
2008-11-12 07:37 pm (UTC)
I'm dreading the disillusionment backlash when people realize he can't just wave the magic wand and fix everything. I've witnessed some people saying "now we roll our sleeves up, now the work begins", and that's heartening, but I don't think enough people are there yet. I don't think this can be fixed in four years, or perhaps even eight (though I'm hoping steps can be made in that window to reverse some of the trends), and I think people are going to crash, and crash hard once they realize that.
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[User Picture]From: sunfell
2008-11-09 12:41 am (UTC)
I saw a YouTube vid with an Irish singer gleefully declaring that no one was more Irish than Barack Obama. I suppose one could call him an Afro-Celt, but I like 'mutt' better. I'm a mutt, too.

Whirl-Y-Reel, anyone?

:-)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-09 03:35 pm (UTC)
I do, however, like Afro-Celt! L!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-09 09:10 pm (UTC)
Kinda crazy. But that's to be expected.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2008-11-10 01:54 pm (UTC)
I didn't heat the "mutts" comment - I haven't been watching much news this past week. I did hear about the flapdoodle over Barack bringing up Nancy Reagan in his first press conference.

A pretty dumb thing for him to say, but much ado about nothing if you ask me.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2008-11-10 02:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, humor will kill you ever time. Walter Mondale wrote a great book calls "To Funny to be President."
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[User Picture]From: thanoslug
2008-11-10 04:46 pm (UTC)
Hey, there's a reason some of the opposition to him took to referring to him as the 'Messiah'. It is in part due to this kind of fawning, no substance, coverage of the man.
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