Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama at School

Yesterday, I showed McCain and Obama's speeches in my math class. I thought it was really important for my kids to see them. Some of the kids were clearly uninterested, but many were really engaged. The kids had a lot of great questions and comments.

One class in particular really got into it. They were clapping and cheering during Obama's speech. One girl kept saying how much she wished she could have been there. She also mentioned how nice it was that the Obama rally was so "colorful".

I'm glad I showed the speeches.

On the flip side, there are a few staff mothers that have major issues about how race is being handled. Comments like these:

"He's not even black or African-American. Why are they calling him that? He's not. We don't say he's white."

"Who was he raised by? His WHITE mother and his WHITE grandparents. And where was his dad- back in Kenya."

"You can tell who he's talking to because he changes how he speaks depending on his audience."

"Everyone's saying it's not about race, but all the black people voted for him because he's black, so it IS all about race."

I get what they're saying, but for me it just shows that so many people still don't get it.

What bothers me the most is the assertion that he doesn't deserve the title of African-American. First of all, Obama has the right to classify himself however he wants, though I suspect it's more the media making the decision than him. Yes, it is more accurate to say biracial, but would we make the same argument about any other group? If your mom is hispanic and your dad is not, does that mean you can't call yourself hispanic? How about Native American? How about Irish? French? Portuguese? Seriously, is it necessary to argue that point? When Obama is a stranger out on the street, do you think anyone would say he's biracial? No, they'd call him a black man because in his case it's not obvious that he is biracial (and even if it were, there are plenty of folks, especially the racist ones, that would just call him black). Finally, I can't think of a better description for him than African-American. He literally had an African father and an American mother.

/end rant


Elli said...

I guess what really matters is what several African American people have noted, that now they can tell their kids they can be anything they wish and really mean it. I don't remember who said it, but it really touched me. I guess there is some danger in belittling the inter-racial differences. One might be so used to seeing people of all sorts of origins and backgrounds that one forgets, that for these people the difference is part of their identity and their personal history. I don't know, I'm just really happy America has a smart president now, whose speeches are really really enjoyable!

tude dog said...

Math class huh?

Best place to explain 15 trillion debt and the Presidents zero concept on just what that means for your students.