back to the beers

Old-ish news, I know, but I wanted to follow up.  At first there didn’t seem to be much to say about President Obama’a beer gathering with Sgt. Crowley and Professor Gates.  And Joe Biden.  But I found a couple of interesting if not insightful commentaries, one from Gates himself…

After Beer, Skip Gates Offers Substance


…Nuance, that’s what’s been missing. And that was what those who attended his talk on Sunday got from Skip Gates.

He did not come across as an angry black man, but as a wry and funny one. The cop who busted him, Sgt. James Crowley, was no racist redneck either, apparently, but a wry and funny guy too.

“This is not a joke,” Professor Gates told his audience. “I mean, we really hit it off at the White House.

“I said to him: ‘I would have sworn you were six feet eight inches tall.’

“And he said: ‘I used to be. I’ve lost two or three feet in the last two weeks’

“How can you be mad at a guy like that?” he said.

He wants to know Sergeant Crowley better. Maybe a family dinner. Maybe a baseball or basketball game.

It has been a stressful couple of weeks. Professor Gates has not been back to his Cambridge home since the arrest and the university has recommended he move house. He has been forced to shut down his public e-mail because of “crazy, wacko messages like ‘you’re a racist and should die.’ ” He has had to change his phone numbers, which were published in the police report. There have been bomb and death threats.

But did he want to overstate his trauma. He was in jail for four hours, not four weeks, months or years. Unlike so many black and brown victims of racial profiling in this country, he had the best lawyers — Charles Ogletree and Alan Dershowitz.

Beer Summit

Obama’s brew-ha-ha

Clarence Page

Fox News star Glenn Beck said Gates-gate revealed Obama’s “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” After being reminded that Obama has numerous white staffers, Beck whipped around in a double-reverse. “I’m not saying that he doesn’t like white people,” he explained. “I’m saying he has a problem.”

Then he said, “This guy is, I believe, a racist.”

“Racist,” I have noticed, has become the sort of taboo tag to whites that the N-word traditionally has been to blacks. Black leaders partly brought this on themselves. Overusing the R-word robs it of its power and it is easy to overuse. Beck and his like are saying that whites can play that game too, even against the half-white and scrupulously evenhanded Obama.

Judging by my far-right e-mailers (some of my most faithful readers, thank you very much), Gates is a “racist” for loudly asking police to leave his house after he had established his identity. Having known Gates for about a decade, I think he was simply overly tired from a trip to China.

And I, my conservative critics say, am a racist for writing that Crowley knew all along that his arrest would not stick (which it didn’t) and that he had the power to defuse Gates’ temper simply by leaving Gates’ home. Instead, Crowley apparently chose to teach Gates a lesson for committing an unwritten offense to police etiquette: “contempt of cop.”

Can’t we all get along? Reports of a “post-racial” America after Obama’s election to theWhite House were greatly exaggerated. If anything, we are a transracial country. As Judge Sonia Sotomayor‘s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings illustrated, we Americans suspiciously watch one another across racial, ethnic, gender and cultural lines as we uneasily shed our white male supremacist past.

We alert our cultural antennae and react sharply to any signs of preference shown to any group besides the one to which we happen to belong. That’s nothing new for women or nonwhites. Men and whites are still getting used to it.

thank you, gladys

Gladys Hernblad, 79; advocate for racial understanding

By Sally A. Downey


Gladys Kinard Hernblad, 79, of Northern Liberties, an educator, author, and advocate for interracial understanding, died of heart failure July 27 at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse.

Mrs. Hernblad grew up in Saluda, S.C. Encouraged by her mother, Sadie, she walked six miles each way to high school, and after graduation moved to Philadelphia in search of better educational and employment opportunities.

She met Robert Hernblad at a gathering for young adults at a fellowship house in North Philadelphia. He was white, of Swedish and Irish descent. She was African American. They married in 1966, one year before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage in all states.

In 1992, Mrs. Hernblad established the Interracial Families United Network. She told a reporter at the time that she and her husband had experienced discrimination in the early years of their marriage. “We had no support for our situation,” she said. The new network, she said, would support, “all interracial marriages – Asian, Hispanic, and African American.”

Mrs. Hernblad was a major supporter of President Obama, not only for his political views, but because his biracial background mirrored her family’s, which she considered a symbol of improving race relations in America.



A couple of days ago I came across this crazy comment on an article about health care and the uninsured.  I wasn’t going to post it, but I keep thinking about it so here it is.


Responses to “Uninsurance in the 300-400 Percent of Federal Poverty Line Bracket”

Davis Says:


T.S. Eliot: “white trash” is a white person who fornicates with a non-white.



Obongo has supported:

(A) Reparations. Redistributing money from European Americans (whites) to blacks, mestizos, and Asians.

(B) Criminalizing white parents who refuse to let their children practice miscegenation.

(C) Using “hate crime” laws to silence any criticism from European Americans.

(D) Using Third World immigration to overwhelm European American majorities.

(E) Maintaining anti-white affirmative action programs

(F) Creating a mandatory “America Serves” community-service program to indoctrinate and deracinate young European Americans

Here comes my favorite part…..

From sociobiology email list: “Children of mixed, white-black, marriages identify 99% of the time as black and detest European Americans (whites). Why? Whites have recessive traits, so mixed-race children almost always look black (eye color, hair texture, nose shape, lips, skin color, etc.). Obama wrote: “I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s white race.'”

obama flag ray of light

Davis, Davis, Davis.  Come on!

On another note, I’m eagerly awaiting the report on the President’s beer date with Gates and Crowley.  I find it so fitting that this black and white man is getting together with this black man and that white man to bring us all to some common ground on this issue.  This is a perfect example of how Obama’s “unique experience” is helping him (and us) address the larger struggle.  I’m just sayin’.

shaking my head

story from

Conservative Activist Forwards Racist Pic Showing Obama As Witch Doctor

By Zachary Roth – July 23, 2009

The election of our first black president has brought with it a strange proliferation of online racism among conservatives.

And we’ve got the latest example.

On Sunday night, Dr. David McKalip forwarded to fellow members of a Google listserv affiliated with the Tea Party movement the image below. Above it, he wrote: “Funny stuff.”


McKalip isn’t just some random winger. He’s a Florida neurosurgeon, who serves as a member of the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates.

Asked about the email in a brief phone interview with TPMmuckraker, McKalip said he believes that by depicting the president as an African witch doctor, the “artist” who created the image “was expressing concerns that the health-care proposals [made by President Obama] would make the quality of medical care worse in our country.” McKalip said he didn’t know who created it.

But pressed on what was funny about an image that plays on racist stereotypes about Africans, McKalip declined to say, instead offering to talk about why he opposes Obama’s health-care proposals.

“I have a busy day,” he said eventually, before ending the call.

more obama love

As someone who is consistently accused of either holding negative ideas about what being black is and/or trying to be white, I cannot tell you just how much gratification I got out of reading President Obama’s response to the reactions to his recent NAACP 100th Anniversary speech.  In this Washington Post interview with Eugene Robinson he explains that though he was speaking directly to a group of affluent, successful, educated African Americans who are dedicated to raising their children to be the same that one should not

“underestimate the degree to which a speech like the one I gave yesterday gets magnified throughout the African American community,” Obama told me in the Oval Office, where a bust of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. surveys the room in silent admonition. “Folks on Friday go in and get their hair cut, they’re getting ready for the weekend, they’re sitting in the barber’s chair, and somebody said, ‘Did you see what Obama said yesterday?’ It sparks a conversation. . . . And part of what my goal is here is to make sure that I’m giving a lot of folks permission to talk about things that maybe they’ve talked about around the kitchen table but don’t get fully aired in public.”


I am no Obama, but I must admit that I feel like this is exactly what I’m trying to do.  Get everyone talking about this uncomfortable stuff in ways that almost seem too honest because we’re just not used to having the conversation.  I have been accused of airing “our” dirty laundry.  This always leaves me thinking, “Why not?  Dirty laundry just creates stagnant funk.  Let’s air it out and move on.”

This next bit really spoke to me as well.  Whenever I highlight the widely accepted generalizations of blackness that tend to be negative and also tend to inform the definitions of blackness held by both whites and blacks, I am hoping that by looking back and seeing where these ideas came from and how they seeped into our consciousness that they will be exposed for the ridiculous, limiting notions they are and then will be dispelled.  I’m never saying “that is what blackness is and we ‘mulattoes’ are not like that.”  I just mean that there are many ways to be black.  Mainly just being born black and then living your life as you.  Whoever that turns out to be.  Whoever you turn out to emulate, hang out with, enjoy the music, company, writings of.  I think we’re American first.  And yes being black in America is still not the same as being white in America.  We are still on the outside.  But, in my opinion, the tragedy lies in thinking that’s where one belongs and making a conscious choice to stay on the outside.  Perhaps in order to reject the mainstream as they have rejected us. But with all of it’s faults, this country has a lot to offer a life.  Sometimes I think people are so busy being “black” (or whatever one has been taught to believe should infom their identity) that they miss out on some of the riches of simply being American.

“One of the ways that I think that the civil rights movement . . . weakened itself was by enforcing a single way of being black — being authentically black. And, as a consequence, there were a whole bunch of young black people — and I fell prey to this for a time when I was a teenager — who thought that if you were really ‘down’ you had to be a certain way. And oftentimes that was anti-something. You defined yourself by being against things as opposed to what you were for. And I think now young people realize, you know what, being African American can mean a whole range of things. There’s a whole bunch of possibilities out there for how you want to live your life, what values you want to express, who you choose to interact with.”

…Said Obama: “I do think it is important for the African American community, in its diversity, to stay true to one core aspect of the African American experience, which is we know what it’s like to be on the outside.

President Obama, I just love you and I promise that by focusing on my “unique experience” I am not detaching from the larger struggle. K?

obama in moscow

For Russian Blacks, Obama Visit Stirs Special Interest

By Kevin O’Flynn

MOSCOW — The visit to Russia by Barack Obama, the first black man to be elected president of the United States, is significantfor many Russians.

But for Russians of African descent, in particular, the new U.S. leader is a potent symbol of triumph over the same challenges they themselves face in a country where dark-skinned people remain rare and often unwelcome.

Yelena Khanga is one of Russia’s best-known black citizens. The popular host of a top-rated 1990s chat show about sex — “ProEto,” (About That) — she became one of the few black faces regularly seen on Russian television.

Khanga’s grandparents came to the Soviet Union in the 1920s to escape the racism they had endured in the United States as a mixed-race couple.

Today, Khanga says Obama’s election to the American presidency, and his current visit to Moscow, have special meaning for her.

“He did what my grandmother and grandfather dreamed about in their day,” Khanga says. “They couldn’t even have dreamed that, one day, America would have a black president. The only dreams that they had — my grandmother was white, and my grandfather was black — was that Americans would someday allow mixed couples to live in peace, have children, and let the children have decent lives. That is what they dreamed about.”

…Still, Khanga — whose great-grandfather was a slave in Mississippi — says she believes the scourge of racism was far worse in the United States, where there were 4 million African slaves by the time slavery was abolished in 1865 and where it took another century before school segregation and other forms of racial discrimination were formally outlawed.

Khanga notes that there was a very small percentage of mixed-race and black people in the Soviet Union.“I was part of the first generation — now, of course, there are a lot more,” Khanga says. “But…we did not have the history of racism as they did in America. Not everything was easy, and I can be the first to tell you what kinds of problems we had. But, of course, you can’t compare them to the kinds of things that happened in America.”


I really enjoyed this article.  You can find the whole thing here where it’s much easier to read.

speaking of “black enough”


I was happy to come across this article ( on the notion of “black enough.”  I’m wondering today why, when I call attention to the absurd and potentially damaging rigid notions of blackness and whiteness, people feel the need to challenge me instead of challenging these notions.  And the one that says that black and white cannot co-exist without the degradation of one, maybe even both, of them.  I do not agree with Taylor’s assertion that “it may be too late in history as well as potentially dangerous to be tampering with the socio-cultural definition of blackness even though the definition is a product of slavery.”  I think it dangerous not to tamper with it.  I think the American consciousness  is infected with racism (colorism at best).  We trace the disease back to slavery.  I don’t think we will heal and prosper and achieve the greatness intended for the nation until we rectify this situation. These definitions. I certainly do agree with his last statement though.

Are You Black; Black Enough; and Who Decides?

By Robert Taylor

In the wake of the claims of Tiger Woods and the election of a mixed race but Black President, a question has been raised in black internet chat rooms around the country as to whether there is a legal or biological definition of who is black.

Actually, there is no law operable today which defines what percentage of “black blood” makes one black. The oft-repeated notion that one drop of black blood makes one black is a cultural definition which has neither a legal nor biological foundation…It is basically a socio-cultural attitude based in major measure on how a person looks.

…Simply put, in America, if you “look” in anyway black, you “are” black. That is not law. That is not science. It just is – a practical reality. Thus Tiger Woods’ mother may be from Thailand and Tiger may object to being called black. But it does not make a practical difference.

Further, it may be too late in history as well as potentially dangerous to be tampering with the socio-cultural definition of blackness even though the definition is a product of slavery. When the Census Bureau decided a few years ago to include a category called “mixed race” in the census, many people rightfully saw it as potentially divisive, asking what practical good does the “mixed race” category serve, but to further divide people along largely artificial lines.

Finally, if one just has to ask the question, the real question should not be “who is black” but instead “who is white.” The scientific theories of Evolution and “Out of Africa” are very clear: There is only one “race” on the planet Earth and it had its origin in East Africa (around present-day Ethiopia) and then spread to all other parts of the world. Adapting to environmental conditions such as the degree of sunlight and developing in relative isolation, some groups evolved lighter skins and others evolved darker skins…Thus technically every person on the planet – from the darkest skinned person in the Congo to the lightest skinned person in Sweden – is of African ancestry.

Therefore the answer to the question above is YOU decide if you are Black enough and whether you realize it or not that gives you tremendous power.


you don't have to black to love the blues

first lady love

I didn’t think it was possible for my Michelle Obama love to increase.  I was wrong.  I know it’s silly, because it is a known fact, but the fact that she said “biracial” made me really happy.  I love the the sentiment of the whole speech….

if you are going to doubt something doubt limits

First Lady Michelle Obama told Washington Math Science Technical (WMST) High School’s graduating class that they are “more than ready” for the challenges ahead and to ignore “the doubters.”

…Mrs. Obama spoke about her own upbringing and her struggle to get to – and then through – the Ivy League amidst “voices of people sowing doubts in my head.”   She said that although she was always confident, “there was a part of me that started to believe the doubters.”

…Mrs. Obama talked about other figures who have overcome hardship, including her own husband.  “This biracial kid with a funny name from hawaii, of all places,” she laughed, “who was taught that anything is possible.”,0,2983687.story