Friday, April 25, 2008

Am I A Racist?

So let’s get this out of the way – right now. Am I a racist? If you mean that, I think one race is brighter, smarter or any “er” than another, then the answer is a resounding no. If you mean, by a racist, that race does sometimes “color” (pardon the pun) my thinking, well that is an altogether different animal.

For example, it would feel good to vote for Obama, – as if I were taking a personal stand on the topic of race. But in all honesty, though I think he is great speechmaker, and that he has a lot of potential, I think he just isn’t there yet. So does voting for him make me a racist feeling the way I do? Or does not voting for him make me a racist? Or does just asking the question make me a racist?

So, why is it that I am not publishing my “Thacker Chronicles” on the News-Messenger’s blog? I could give you some very concrete reasons – like I think the topic rates it’s own blog, that it would only have limited appeal to readers, that I can have the freedom to add pictures and posts in a way that I can’t with the News- Messenger gig. And they would all be true, but they are not the main reason, that I have stuck this blog in a small out of the way corner of the Internet.

The truth is that after the initial surprise at finding that I have a bi-racial limb on the family tree, I’m actually excited by the prospect. The perfect scenario for me – that I find I have, along with my European roots, both African American and Native American roots. If I find that one of those racial roots do not exist in my family history, I will be sad in the same way, you feel that momentary pang when the doctor says “You have a boy (or girl)” and you have to say goodbye to the imagined daughter or son you will now never know.

But I share that bi-racial twig with others on the family tree. Do I have the right to decide that they all should be as excited as I am about my find? Some of the immediate members of my family have greeted the news with a “how cool” attitude – others are merely blasé. Still others didn’t want to hear what I had to say on the matter, but I think they are coming around.

But do I really want to break the news to cousins I never talk to by putting it on a newspaper blog – a blog that the editor often puts portions of in print? I don’t think so.

So am I a racist – well I don’t know, maybe. But I think if you want to call me anything, the word coward might be appropriate. I prefer the term sensitive – sensitive to other people feeling differently than I do.

What do YOU think?


Becky said...


My feelings about Obama are much the same as yours and I don't think I'm a racist. Much of what we think and feel about other races does come from our upbringing and to some extent depends upon what race we are, but we also have the ability to change our minds and make our own decisions.

As far as I know, my roots are European. But it wouldn't surprise me or offend me to find that there was African American, Native American or another ethnic group in the mix somewhere. I would embrace those ancestors as much as all of the others. After all, if it weren't for each and every one of the ancestors who came before me, I wouldn't be here!

I'm looking forward to reading about your quest and wish you the best of luck, regardless of the outcome.

Randy said...

Not trying to stir up trouble but where is the "there" that you think Obama is not quite at?


Becky and Randy,

I apologize - I didn't have my comment settings arranged so that I would know when someone posted. I checked while I was on vacation and saw that you had both posted - rookie mistake!

I wanted to thank you Becky for your encouraging comments. Not everyone is enthused with my pursuit of this branch of the family and I have been second guessing myself about what to do.

I feel like you do - I embrace all my ancestors because there would be no "me" without each of them. I believe in my heart that a family historian's job is to chronicle not just names and dates, but to try and tell their stories as a way of honoring those who have come before.

So while I seek to honor other family members feelings without judgment, I don't think this subject should be taboo. It's a very sticky problem and a part of me is annoyed that it is a problem - a dilemma that shouldn't be a dilemma.

Well, since I put my foot in it and mentioned Obama (what was I thinking!)let me explain it like this. There's this wonderful cucumber and onion recipe that is served in vinegar. The recipe calls for soaking the sliced cukes in salt water for 1/2 hour to an hour, then draining them, and then adding the vinegar, water and sugar - letting them soak in the vinegar for a number of hours. The longer they soak, the more they absorb and the better they taste.

I have been known to skip the salted water part and serve the dish immediately without letting them marinate in the vinegar/sugar water. The dish is okay when I do this but definitely not the great dish I love.

I think Obama with his limited experience might be an "okay dish" but not the great dish he could be with some more soaking time. Just my own personal opinion - nothing more.

Thanks for the comments - I appreciate that you took the time and again I apologize for being so tardy replying back.

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