An Unlikely Path for a Changed Mind

In a comment over on Ian Donnis’s blog, Jim Taricani illustrates an error of thought common among his generation:

Many of my contemporaries have done a fine job of talking with political correctness about race.
But too many lacked the guts to actually THINK political correctness with real conviction.
Maybe, just maybe, Obama’s election represents the first important step to an America that is truly color-blind, both in mind and spirit.

Political correctness is a key reason that Obama’s election will not represent what Taricani hopes it will, because to internalize political correctness is to internalize consciousness of race. As long as there remain cultural differences from one race to another, it will always represent a degree of self-delusion to be “truly color-blind,” but to impose right thinking is to ensure that somebody’s race is always integral to his or her identity — that he or she is always an “African American,” and never just an American.

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mrh
mrh
12 years ago

Spoken like a white, Christian, male American.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

mrh, you racist.

mrh
mrh
12 years ago

You *do* have a sense of humor! I knew it!

mrh
mrh
12 years ago

Anyway, my point—which I can hopefully make more clearly now that it’s not 3:00 AM and I’m not on an iPhone—is as follows:
Rightly or wrongly (I think increasingly wrongly) the default category in American society is white, Christian, and male. Anyone who isn’t white, Christian, or male is to some degree the “other.”
It’s easy, but a little dicey, for someone in a position of relative privilege to tell someone in another category to subsume their identity. Here’s an imperfect analogy: if someone told you that you should stop thinking of yourself as a Christian-American and just think of yourself as American, you might be a little offended. After all, your religion is important to you, and anyway, you don’t think that being Christian is incompatible with just being “American.”
Of course, no one’s likely to say that to you, because Christian-American sounds redundant to us, because Christian is part of the default category.
Now! It’s possible I’ve completely misunderstood you, and you’re calling for something more radical: a reimagining of what it means to be American so that we no longer think of America as a default-white nation or a default-Christian nation, etc. In that case, I’m with you, but we seem to disagree about whether so-called political correctness is an obstacle to that utopian vision or not.

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Obama was born in Hawaii and first and foremost he is a son of Hawaii; 50th state of the U.S.A. and not from the City of Obama, Japan.
Hawaii is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation with 96% of the population two or more ethnic bloodlines.
There are no ethnic neighborhoods in Hawaii. Everyone lives together regardless of status, ethnicity or wealth.
Everyone living in Hawaii is considered a minority.
Hawaii being the 50th U.S.A. state is also part of Polynesia where the “pure 100% bloodline” ethnic skin tones span from whiter than European white to blacker than African black and none of the pure Polynesians are of European or African decent.
Justin I dare you to visit Hawaii and walk up to the first dark skin person and refer to them as an African-American, Black-American, Black or person of color or what ever is politically correct this week in the lower 48 states and Alaska.
You will experience a very rude awakening even trying to associate a Polynesian Islander with an African. We don’t talk color or race here like it is talked about and brought up time and time again and again on the “mainland”.
Many of the population from various Polynesia Islands have emigrated from their island nations to Hawaii and become U.S.A. citizens may look similar to what an African or African-American is perceived to look like but are in fact not of that ethnicity.

Justin Katz
12 years ago

Hey Ken: Is it true that Obama might move the capital to Hawaii?

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Justin, FDR during WW-II use to have his summer White House here on Kalakaua Ave, at the “Pink Palace” better known as the Royal Hawaiian Hotel center of Waikiki Beach; also used as an Officer Barracks during WW-II and recently undergone a full complete interior construction renovation during the last year (11+ months) reopening in December. I enjoyed the old “Pink Palace” and can’t wait to get back in to haveing more fun and enjoyment (on the beach patio: 2 beers, 3 Polynesia tropical drinks and 3 appetizers =$110.50 without tax or tip; Friday night seafood buffet dinner for 2 = $138.50 without drinks, tax or tip; don’t know what new prices for rooms will be). By the way, Obama is returning to Honolulu in December. Obama’s Grandfather (WW-II Viet) is buried in the USNPS National Cemetery of the Pacific “Punchbowl” and his Grandmother “Toot” can be interned with her husband. Hawaii will give Obama his space and privacy in this personal family matter however, as reported, there has been a tremendous out pouring of sympathy cards and leis delivered to his grandmother’s address Last time he was here visiting “Toot” (short for Tutu Hawaiian for Grandmother) for the last time alive guess he needed to walk alone on the streets for a short time and no locals or visitors approached him for three blocks. Finally the international news media started to gang up on him and a van was sent to bring him back to “Toot’s” apartment. . Oahu is the Head Quarters of the Pacific Command, hosts elements of the National and Global Missile Defense, and is currently undergoing a large military force build up across all services. This buildup started under Bush administration. With current technology, not including high-end military grade, there is only less than 3… Read more »

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“Is it true that Obama might move the capital to Hawaii?”
H’mm. Well, if he did, it would make looking for the original of his birth certificate a lot easier.

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

Monique,
Under Hawaii law, birth certificates are not treated as public records. You must be an immediate family member to get a copy released to you.
Here’s hoping the “intellectual stupidly” does not continue in this matter.
The following is from Pacific Business News Printed Friday October 31, 2008:
“Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate confirmed
Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
The director of Hawaii’s Department of Health confirmed on Friday what Barack Obama has been saying all along: the presidential candidate was born in Honolulu.
“There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate,” said Chiyome Fukino. “State law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.”
Citing her statutory authority to oversee and maintain Hawaii’s vital records, Fukino said she has “personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.
“No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawaii,” Fukino added.
Lingle, a Republican, has been campaigning on the Mainland for Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois, was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu. He graduated high school at Punahou School in 1979.”

Ken
Ken
12 years ago

ADDEMDUM:
There is really no need to move the White House to Hawaii.
Obama can setup a summer (max 88 degrees daytime) or winter (max 78 degrees daytime) White House like President Franklin D. Roosevelt did. Obama has great form body surfing!
Now that Hawaii U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye will chair the Appropriations Committee there should be enough pork floating towards Hawaii for a summer or winter presidential retreat.

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