Friday, May 2, 2008


Why do we, Americans cling so tenaciously to racial distinctions? By that I mean we're still stuck using the ambiguous definition of "one drop of African blood makes you Black." Thank goodness we've dropped the labels of quadroon, mulatto and perhaps more of which I am blissfully unaware. How should Tiger Woods identify himself? How should Barak Obama identify himself? How should so many offspring of mixed parentage define themselves? WHY must they choose one race over another?! History and medical science prove that nearly every American whose family has lived here for many generations has genetic components from another race. Frankly, I think old Southerners are more likely to accept that fact than are Northerners. Strom Thurmond has a mixed race daughter whom he publicly acknowledged. Granted, it was decades after her birth. . . And what is it with people who ask if someone is Black enough?! What does that mean?! The Nazis might have defined Aryan enough by the color and texture of some one's hair or the color of their eyes. In this case, it's not a matter of bloodlines, but rather a matter of attitude, beliefs, and lets admit it, prejudices. In the 4th grade, our teacher asked us to write down our nationality. We wrote down Norwegian, Hungarian, Scottish, German, Romanian or whatever else was in their lineage. Everyone got it wrong. The answer was, of course, American. Our family names were diverse and a few were first generation Americans but, in fact, we were all Americans. Now John McCain is confronting what some perceive as a problem. That he is not a "natural born [American] citizen" as the U.S. Constitution requires of our presidents. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, an American Territory at the time. Being a military brat, he could just as easily have been born in a U.S. Military hospital anywhere in the world. Uh, does that make anyone else wonder why our presidents have not all been Native Americans or American Indians? Think about that. Historically, native peoples everywhere have been far better stewards of the bit of Earth they occupied than those who conquered them. This whole racial/nationality thing may become moot in a few more generations. Maybe Dr. King's plea to judge people by their characters rather than the color of their skin will become reality. I can dream, too, can't I?

No comments: