Friday, August 17, 2007

Is America Ready for a Black President?

I don't like to post on politics in the US. It is not my country, and I feel I do not have the right. However, 2 of my children are US citizens and I do have the right to look out for their future prospects, and therefore, on behalf of F1-2 and F1-3, I speak out.

A couple of nights ago, I briefly saw a segment on tv titled: "Is America Ready for A Black President." I don't watch much tv, and I did not stick around for this, but the first thing that came to my mind was:

Because you feel the need to ask this question, the answer is probably "no."

Why is the color of someone's skin of any importance whatsoever with respect to his/her acceptability as a presidential candidate? Or their gender, their sexual orientation, their marital status. I can go on and on, but you get the point. The US is far behind other countries in the world, where men, women, and people of all possible skin colors are presidents, vice-presidents, cabinet ministers, members of parliament, and nobody thinks twice about it.

When I first came to the US, a colleague told me about a friend of hers, who had no idea what to fill in on a form when asked what her race was. She promptly filled out "human." On principal I never filled out those parts of questionnaires, I wouldn't know what to fill out. The whole concept of race is ludicrous to begin with, but even if I would accept US-accepted delineations of race, I still don't fit in any particular category, or more accurately, I would comfortably fit in all of them. So when the time came for me to be added to the pay-roll, I again declined to fill out the question of race. The form came back a few days later. I had to fill something out, or not get my paychecks. Surprised by this requirement I studied the form more closely. The options were something like: white, black, hispanic, asian, pacific islander, other. Aha! Other. I can live with that, I checked "other." The form came back again: You have to specify what your race is if you check "other." At my wits end I remembered the story my colleague had told me, and filled out "human." The form never came back.

Racism will persist, if people, governments and institutions continue to attach importance one way or the other to humans' physical appearance, sexual orientation, or other properties that have absolutely nothing to do with their ability to perform their functions. It's time to remove the sections of form that ask questions about race. In scientific terms there is no such thing as a race, it is a completely fabricated property assigned to humans that has no purpose other than continue discrimination.

The question: "Is America Ready for a Black President?" is inherently racist, and sadly, a reflection of a society not ready to discard racism.

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