Obama will not be the first African-American President of the United States. Barack Obama will be the first mulatto President of the United States of America. This is the myth of race in the USA. Apparently because Barack is half-black, he’s the first African-American President. But if he’s half-black then he’s also half-white. So why isn’t he just the 40-somethingith white President of the US? I don’t understand, if one half is valid, why isn’t the other?
In a way, however, I think the fact that Obama will be the first mulatto President of the USA is a more significant event. There was actually a time in the USA when people of two races could not legally marry. Even after that legal restriction was lifted, many people faced hurdles in life for being biracial. However, with more and more people mixing it up, as it were, I think Obama’s candidate signals a turning point in our country’s history. It’s not historic for him being a black President (because he isn’t) it’s historic because he symbolizes the true and logical conclusion of a melting pot society.
Up until now, the US has been more like a salad bowl than a melting pot. People came from all over the world to the US and then settled in racial enclaves – Chinatown, Little Havana, Little Italy, etc So they were Americans, but had separate experiences from other Americans. But now more and more people are choosing partners based on all of their qualities other than race. And we find ourselves in a true melting pot where children will learn about one set of grandparents from an ancient empire and another set of parents from the newer nations of Europe or South America.
So I view Obama’s (probable) election as marking the point where race ceased to be relevant. When we’re all every race, then there isn’t race anymore. Sure, all the old people who run the news networks can’t see it yet. They’re seeing everything through their generation’s eyes. Obama’s got some black blood in him, so he must be a black candidate. But historians will look back and say, this is the point where America truly became a melting pot and truly began to be wholly different from all the other homogeneous nations in the old world.
This makes me happy because racism is really the only type of -cism that can be enacted on just by looking at someone. Classism is hard in the US because our clothes aren’t so different between the classes as they were in the Victorian Age. When I see a female in jeans, I have no idea if they are designer jeans or $20 Walmart jeans. Additionally, some people with money choose to purposely dress innocuously to avoid attention from criminals. Agism, to whatever extent it exists, can be cheated by plastic surgery. Sexism is hard to do on a large scale (at least given where we are now as a society) because we’re roughly 50/50 so I think men (or women) will have a hard time convincing women (or men) to go back to 2nd class status. But with racism, it’s the worst right now. Look at the World War Two time period. It was easy to round up the Asians and send them to internment camps because you just had to look for “asian eyes” and other such features. But when everyone is mixed together you won’t be able to say, “watch out, there goes a black guy” or see an Asian and make fun of their language.
And that’s why I’m excited about Obama’s potential win.