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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Black and white

Thank God Barack Obama has one white parent and is clean and articulate and was raised in Hawaii far from the mean streets of America. That means he is white enough for people like me, who want to seem colorblind but have never had anybody but a white man to vote for and, really, do we want to hear rap music from the Rose Garden and start seeing White House recipes for fried chicken?

On the other hand, Obama had that one white parent and is clean and articulate and was raised in Hawaii, which means he is not nearly black enough for some people:

The discourse, occurring mostly among black people, has been dominated by questions about Obama's being biracial, his immigrant father and his suitability as a presidential candidate, given that his life story doesn't parallel that of most blacks born in the United States. Some have implied that only a black candidate whose ancestors were slaves here or who have themselves experienced the trauma of this country's racial history can truly understand what it means to be black in America and represent the political interests of black Americans.

"Represent the political interests of black Americans"? Excuse me? What about the interests of Jews and Protestants and lesbians and Hispanic jugglers and Asian-ancestry deaf mutes? And not to get too personal, but what about my interests? Yes, we have become a very divisive nation, but the president is still supposed to be the president of all the people, and those who are trying to push Obama in some other direction are doing neither him nor themselves a favor.

So many millions of words have been written about this country's racial and ethnic challenges and multiculturialism and English as a second language and sensitivity and self-esteem and so many related topics. But it all comes down to black and white. Until we get over that -- or through it -- none of the rest is even remotely achieveable.

A related concern: Is Giuliani white enough? And, hey, we've already had a black president, so what's the big deal?