OK MEDIA STOP REFERRING TO OBAMA AS ONLY “BLACK” or “AFRICAN AMERICAN” – you’re not helping obama and you’re alienating everyone else who voted for him
Image by Tricia Wang 王圣捷
The media is not helping obama by referring to him as the "First Black President." (e.g. nytimes article). Even John Stewart referred to him as America’s First Black President and I rely on him for the real news. The media is also not helping Obama if they ONLY show working-class blacks as identifying with Obama – because guess what – OBAMA ISn’t ONLY BLACK and It WASN’t JUST BLACKS WHO VOTED OBAMA INTO OFFICE!
What about all the working class white people who voted for Obama? And what about middle-upper class whites? And all the Latinos who voted Obama? The Asians – well the asians we are totally absent from the story. What about all the other minorities who together formed a large bloc of voters?
My point is that the media needs to give a more balanced coverage of voters who support Obama. Obama won because he is a unifier – he didn’t JUST appeal to blacks. ANd in his speech on Nov. 4th – he ackonowledged all the people from diff classes, ethniciteis and races who helped get him into office.
So please, call him bi-racial, post-racial, multi-culti, multi-ethnic, human, mixed – whatever- just stop calling him black – that’s not helping him and it’s alienating all the whites, latinos, asians and other minorities who worked hard to get him into office.
The media discourse needs to do a better job of reflecting reality and the kind of reality we want to achieve – one that is open to all backgrounds.
addendum: I posted on twitter 2 days ago: "today is one of those days I truly feel my country’s joyful soul – we finally have our first CONSCIOUSLY bi-racial pres" so I said "consciously" because there is such thing as only black or only white – especially in the US with america’s history of slavery
addendum #2 of a comment from facebook:
my friend wrote this comment to my post:
‘m not sure what to think about this. I see your point, but allow me to play devil’s advocate: it also seems to me like insisting on identifying him as multi-racial advances a sort of biological-essentialist, where race is determined exclusively by parentage. What seems more important is that he fits the prevailing social conception of blackness, and to some extent embraces it. I doubt his white mother makes racists like him any more. In that sense, I think he’s overcome just about all the obstacles he would have faced if she had been black, and to take note of his blackness is to acknowledge the magnitude of his accomplishments in overcoming them.
well and you knowI am the first person to agree with you that "race’ is a very freaking problematic category – yes. but I was just giving some alternative "words’ for the press to use- it’s all problematic no matter what. obama himself insists that he is post-racial. i am simply echoing what obama himself has asked of us = which is to not refer to him as ONLY black, and to keep in mind everyone who voted for him
Right. I do have a major problem with the fact that seemingly few people, even people within the media, have even stopped to give any thought to this.
yah you’re right.
I mean either way -if we talk about ‘race itself" or of "social conceptions of blackness"- well its’ just that – it’s socially constructed – historically constituted – orally created – blah blah – I mean what is the "black experience" – to even single out one black experience ignores the diversity of blacks – like not all blacks are working class and etc . so even to say "black" does not refer to a singular experience. this is not to say that people can’t say he’s black – or that someone can’t just say "I’m black." What is going on is that it’s all complicated, socially constructed and messy – and when the media is as powerful as it is- it should be more concsious of how it frames a "person" as powerful as obama now – even Obama is conscious of it – he has asked us not to call him black – this is not to say that he doesn’t think he’s black or that he’s not black or denying the a "black experience."
This is simply a matter of trying to figure out what is the best way to unite a country that has had and continues to have a diffcult time with race – so that is why I think he’s asked us to consider him as "post-racial." in no way am I denying the whatever kind of life experience obama has had – or what other blacks have had . I just want the media to be more critical of how it frames obama and what kind of implications it has when it ONLY focuses on the happiness of black voters who can now identify with the president. i think the media should also focus on how iraqis can now have hope this war will end, how soldiers can know that they were will be an end to this terrorism we have waged on the middle east, on all the undocumented migrants who can have a chance to become documented, on all the gays who can now have hope that on a federal level there can be more openess to equality – for latinos who have also worked their asses off to become citizens and many who just voted for the first time – also highlight those stories ALONGSIDE the 106 year old black woman who just voted for obama – a diversity of voices is reflective of our diverse country.
first black people in america