Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Nov 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

He’s the First Bi-racial President

tom_honig_sSo much was made about Barack Obama being the first African-American president, that more subtle—and more important—issues were ignored.

Obama, at 48, is decidedly not a Baby Boomer. He wasn’t part of the raging segregation debate of the ’50s, nor was he an adult during the tumult of the ’60s—black power, white rage, all the rest.

Obama’s election was instead a triumph of a new generation, one that is more comfortable about diversity than the generation that came before. Nowhere is that more obvious than the recent public discussion of whether the rude outburst by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican. A number of columnists, and no less an observer than former President Jimmy Carter, almost reflexively maneuvered themselves to an allegation of racism.

That reaction is perfectly understandable to those of us of a certain age. Anyone who’s a veteran of the ’50s or the ’60s can be excused for looking at things through a narrow lens—the first African-American president and a racist backlash. We lived through those things.

But one of the greatest things about any new generation is just that—it’s a new generation. And the one that follows the Baby Boom—Gen X, or maybe the Baby Bust (it’s been called a number of things)—has an experience far different from what came before.

That freshness and lack of experience can easily be criticized by huffy older folks, but it also gives us all a chance to start afresh. In the late ’60s, black and white people started teaming up in a way never experienced before. Biracial became a new part of the population, and biracial identity is one that really isn’t discussed much, certainly not in the mainstream press.

Rarely do we hear President Obama described as the nation’s first biracial president. Or even the first multi-racial president. But he is. Think back to his brilliant and memorable speech on race in the aftermath of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright flap. Anyone with an interest in race in America ought to remember that speech, because it will probably be one of the most celebrated speeches in our time. “I can no more disown (the Rev. Wright) than I can disown the black community,” he said. “ I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.”

Then, in the aftermath of Rep. Wilson’s interruption, Obama shrugged it off. That’s a powerful strategy. He shrugged it off.

That’s not to say that race is somehow a closed subject. In fact, race isn’t discussed—either here in Santa Cruz or around the country—near enough. But the subject of race is a far more complicated one than many of us—and mostly the media—realize.

To someone under 40, the outdated, simple story of race in America makes little sense. What race are you discussing? Diversity means just that—there are no set patterns here. When election results are announced on television news shows at election time, we hear a lot about the black vote, the Latino vote and even the gay vote. But ever-so-slowly, those descriptions mean less and less as new shades of gray are introduced into the American population.

The Census Bureau has had a tough time keeping up-to-date on its racial categories, because the increasing multi-racial nature of our population is getting harder to document.

In one of the great old-time blues songs, the late Memphis Slim weaved a tale about going back home to the South and how he had to re-learn the old ways of segregation. Happily, that song sounds dated today, and in his song, he had the answer. “It’s youth,” he said. “They’re changing things.”

That process doesn’t slow down. Rep. Wilson’s outburst reflects only on him—and his supporters. It doesn’t reflect on the president. And the president’s reaction was perfect. He shrugged it off.

And it’s not only race. The recent vote in California to support the anti-gay marriage Prop.  eight will be unthinkable in 10 years time. To those under 40, being gay is roughly equivalent to being left-handed. It’s what someone is. No big deal.

Racism, and prejudice, of course, still exist. They will as long as there is diversity in America. But what’s important to remember is that racism—like race—gets more complex over time. Race remains a subject of key importance —just as President Obama showed in his speech.

But the whole discussion requires more thought than before. And those of us who were around in an earlier era would do well to regard how things have changed, and how we live now.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Round About Now

The glory of persimmons, plus Ivéta scone mix and lunch at Assembly

 

What charities would you like to see people support this season?

Judy Allen, Scotts Valley, Consulting

 

Big Basin Vineyards

I was just in the process of purchasing a bottle of Big Basin’s 2012 Homestead in Vinocruz when Matt Ryan walked into the store. Ryan manages the tasting room, sales and the mailing list at Big Basin, and, considering the popularity of their wines, he’s a very busy man.

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control