Barack Obama – “the first black president.”
I find it interesting that he is considered ‘black’ when actually his mother was white. Surely he is is half white and half black, mixed race? I guess it is all relative…if he had been elected president of Kenya, perhaps they would have called him their first white president?
Anyway congratulations to him, he was surely far more electable than his opponent who was 142 years old and promised little more than to repeat the misery of W’s presidency. I thought McCain made a huge gamble on his running mate – I guess he thought he could pick up all Hilary Clintons supporters and reduce the democrats votes in half. Instead it seems he failed in that, and also alienated a lot of Republicans. I think it would have been interesting to see if Obama could have won against a younger man (for me 72 is not an electable age) with a sensible running mate. Maybe we find out in 4 years time.
Anyway I think its a huge moment for the US. I wonder if the days of positive discrimination will soon be over? How can anyone claim to be the victim of racism now that:
- the President himself is black
- 45% of white voters voted for him? (note that 95% of black voters voted for Obama)
It is going to be very interesting to see how things develop. Personally I have good feelings about him. He is promising ‘Change’ but I reckon this is just a buzzword and nothing radical will be done. I just think he will be more sensible and fair than Bush was, and this will improve relations with other countries. Maybe he will do for the US what Tony Blair did for the UK. I think there is a similar feelgood factor going on, and already people are talking about ‘Cool America’ in the way of 90s ‘Cool Brittania’. Maybe the US will start to churn out crap girl bands that cant sing/dance/interview/look pretty and lame rock groups that copy verbatim old Beatles songs.
I just noticed this book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Obama containing his feelings about his upbringing. It has good reviews and seems to be non-political, so I’m going to try and get hold of a copy.
UPDATE (Nov 19 2008)
It seems many people are expressing the same opinion that Obama is mixed race. One guy offers the curious and bizarre opinion that he is not black because he is not descended from slaves – Is Obama black? Anyway I think it doesn’t matter. Everyone is mixed race to some extent. Myself I am caucasian but no doubt a strange ‘mixed race’ of Anglo-saxon, Roman and Viking.
Of course in everyday life people in Japan refer to mixed race people as ‘haafu’. Like ‘gaijin’ this is a controversial word, though it tends to be only the extremely uptight and self-righteous that get upset by it. I’ve heard some people respond to it by saying ‘no not haafu, but double’ but this is surely ridiculous. Personally I think the way something is said counts much more than the word itself, and I rarely pick up any ill feeling when ‘gaijin’ or ‘haafu’ is used. On the contrary, if anything I would say people mean it as a compliment most of the time. My kids get worshipped everywhere they go, ‘haafu ha chou kawaii ne! ningyou mitai!’ – it is never meant as an insult.
Today in a restaurant my daughter got bored and went walkabout. She ended up getting coo-ed over by a group of 4 grannys and they were talking to her. I went over and one of them said ‘shes a haafu isnt she’ so I said ‘yes she is, actually I have another one over there, so I have two haafus – together they make One’ but they didnt seem to get the joke 🙂
KON – This seems to mean ‘mix’ or ‘blend’. I wonder if it is used as cooking vocabularly (to mix the flour and water etc)
CHI – This means blood.
A mixed race child is KONKETSUJI 混血児 where JI means infant or child.