Thursday, January 24, 2008

Race Realities

More excerpts from the Jan 22, 2008 edition of Wall Street Journal piece entitled Obama's Bid Turns Focus On Class Split Among Blacks.

'Class has divided American blacks ever since slave owners divided blacks into field slaves and more favored house slaves and interracial relationships left some blacks with lighter skin. Lloyd Kinnitt, a retired cook who grew up in Georgia and now lives in Boston, recalls his mother looking askance at some black neighbors and telling him: "They may be my color but they're not my kind." '
'Mr. Obama himself wrote about this dilemma in his autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," published before he entered politics. Describing a confrontation with some black teenagers in a car in a poor part of Chicago where he was working as a community organizer, Mr. Obama described the fear and alienation he felt: "As much as I might tell myself otherwise, we are breaking apart these boys and me, into different tribes, speaking a different tongue, living by a different code." '

'One of the things that many poor and middle-class blacks say they like best about Mr. Obama is that his wife, Michelle, who attended Princeton and Harvard Law School, is dark-skinned. Color has long been a sensitive subject in the black community, with men and women of lighter skin seen as having higher status. '

'"Many of our male celebrities, sports figures, they marry white women or light-skinned wives," says Darnell Cooper, a laborer in Columbia, S.C. "We all see that on television. But you turn on the TV and you see Michelle Obama and she looks black. I can identify with her." He laughs. "I can tell you this: He would have a lot less votes if his wife were light-skinned or white." '

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