I’m Black…

I just thought I’d get this out of the way: I’m black. I know you probably didn’t notice that from the picture over there on the right but yup, I am. At this point you’re probably wondering why I wrote that; you know I’m going to tell you.

photo of Mitch Mitchell I'm Just Sharing
See, black: photo courtesy
of Custom-Photogenics

Just about two weeks ago a young man named Christian, definitely an up-and-comer, wrote a post titled I’m gay. The fact that he typed “gay” with the small “g” was interesting and probably poignant in its own way. Frankly, I’m not typing anything in my titles with small letters, especially “black”.

Anyway, it was a very personal post, and by its tone I’m thinking that somewhere along the line he must have taken some heat from someone who probably made a comment based on his look, since I can’t figure out any other way they could have made the determination. I knew he was gay (don’t ask how) but my thought was “who cares”. That’s always my thought; if a person isn’t racist or hateful I could care less what they are.

Anyway, he put some of his feelings out there, basically stating his case that he is what he is, other things that he is, and that’s that; you either liked him or you didn’t, but that was that. I thought it was an interesting and powerful post, and it got lots of comments that, unfortunately, he didn’t respond to. Probably too close to him in a way.

So, what’s my explanation for my statement? Because it’s the political season, a presidential political season, and President Obama is going for a second term as president of these United States. And, well, those folks who didn’t vote for him are of two minds. One, he doesn’t really count as black, and two, black people only voted for him because he’s black.

I’ve heard it over 4 years, and it’s starting up again. I could make the argument that all things being equal Obama just might be way more qualified than Romney for the job, but it wouldn’t make much difference. Frankly, I hate getting into those types of political discussions because neither side is going to convince the other, and it won’t be long until either I’m being accused of voting one way “because” or I’m having to say their voting against “because”.

And then a friend of mine wrote something on Facebook Friday night that made me feel good. So of course I’m sharing it here:

For those of you who are proud of having Obama as the first African American president don’t allow people to make you feel bad about it. You have every right to your feelings. Stop letting folks make you feel like you are wrong for doing so. Stop letting folks pigeon hole you and try to attack your intelligence because you like Obama. Don’t allow folks to try and make you feel that you are incapable of making informed decisions because you like Obama. Especially don’t let anybody insult your intelligence by saying the only reason you voted for him is because you are black. Your intelligence and ability to make decisions runs much deeper than that.

We still live in a time where black folks are still having firsts after what over 400 years in this country. The first black president, the first black mayor in a town, the first black governor in a state, the first black legislator in a state and the list goes on. We are still having firsts. Having a love of your own does not mean you hate someone else. Be proud of who you are. Peace

Yes, that’s how I’ve been feeling since 2008. I wasn’t going to vote for Obama because he was black; I was a Hillary Clinton fan. But when all was said and done I wasn’t voting for McCain – Palin and that was that. But the accusations… I don’t back down from those kinds of fights in person but online, it’s an argument that makes no sense to have.

So it’s been stated, I fully agree and feel vindicated, and that’s that. If I don’t have to deal with any stupid mess from this point until the election I won’t be talking politics here. If I do, as I had to do late in October 2008, I’ll do it, but man, please let’s hope I don’t have to go there again.

Yeah, I’m black. With some Cherokee & some other southern tribe as well; none of us are totally one thing, right? πŸ™‚

44 thoughts on “I’m Black…”

  1. I’m colorblind Mitch. So, colors can be the least of my concern. πŸ™‚

    I have friends from all walks of life. I have rich friends, I have not-so-rich friends. Yes, I have gay friends too. And thanks to the internet, I also have friends around the world.

    1. I thought true color blindness only involved pinks and greens Roy. lol I know what you mean and I agree to a point. Unfortunately, I don’t get to be as color blind on a daily basis because no matter how equal I think I am, eventually there’s going to be someone who’s going to set me straight in some fashion. But like you, I know and have friends of all types and stupid stuff won’t stop me from being friendly with anyone. We need to let people be as long as it doesn’t infringe on our rights to be what we want to be and live as we want to live.

      1. Oh, Mitch, honest – I don’t think I’m superior just because I’m a woman!! πŸ˜‰

        Interesting bit of trivia: Who got the vote first in the US – blacks or women? How many years was it before the other got to vote?

      2. And which one is the one that the Republican party is trying to keep from voting now, and the one that every so many years has to campaign to have the Voting Rights Act updated? I’m just saying…

  2. You’re black? Had no clue πŸ˜‰

    Well said Mitch! I remember back in the early days when Obama announced his presidency, I got so sick and tired of people saying black people are ONLY voting for him because he’s black. Yes, that may have been true (especially with our “firsts” we are continually having so can you blame people?). Obviously since he was elected many people thought he was the better option over his running mates, and some can argue whether or not his skin color had that much to do with it. Honestly, I think McCain/Palin did themselves an injustice by all the shenanigans they had going on but that’s another story!

    So, yes, I am proud that Obama was elected and am proud that he is our first Black President but that doesn’t negate my common sense in electing who I think should run this country. Right now, the republican party is not helping themselves by more of their public shenanigans which is causing a lot of people to choose otherwise!


    1. Kesha, it was just something that had to be said, and I’m glad my friend said it to give me the spark to write this point. As we get closer to election day I already know that, based on 4 years ago, it’s going to get ugly, and at some point it’s going to get racial. My writing this post won’t dissuade those folks who are predisposed to believing black people aren’t capable of voting with our minds but at least it’s out there now. Of course this is the type of post that will scare a lot of people away from commenting but it still had to be written.

  3. I cracked up when I read this, Mitch. So, let me get this straight: You’re a black man who was for Hillary Clinton in 2008. I’m a white woman who caucused for and served as a delegate for Obama in 2008.

    Now, wouldn’t they have just made the dream ticket?

    All this says to me is that you and I can think for ourselves and make informed decisions based on who represents our ideals, not based on assumptions based on who LOOKS like us.

    Kesha, I don’t know if you watched the DNC, but I think Lincoln Chafee spoke for a lot of Republican conservatives. And who was it who said, “I didn’t leave my party; my party left ME”? I think that’s true. I never used to care; I always felt as though I could “live with it” either way. But I don’t feel that way anymore. And I feel for the good, conservative folks whose party left THEM. They’re welcome over here on the Democratic side, and I trust Obama has the good sense to represent them, too. Nobody’s perfect or right all the time, and that goes for Obama, but I’ve not seen him say or do anything hateful. He made a POINT (as did others) of saying nice things about his opponents and the GOP. I can’t say the same for the other team.

    1. Holly, I’ve always thought Hillary Clinton was one of the smartest people I’ve ever seen and she was a great senator for New York, and very politically savvy. I really didn’t know Obama I must admit, until he won the Democratic nomination, as I hadn’t watched the Oprah show when he was on there.

      Still, when all was said and done, if I didn’t know anything about politics would I have voted for him because he was black? To answer that one, I can easily say I wouldn’t have voted for Herman Cain, Alan West, or a host of others who represented the Republican party extremists if it were them against a white Democratic challenger; I think that answers that question.

  4. Well, my wife is black, my kid is mixed, I like Asian women. I think the world is beautiful because it is very complicated and offer wide variety of colors and ideas.

      1. Well, the story goes deeper, here in Thailand darker Thais are not well accepted, darker skin, usually means that she is from family of farmers. There are no actors, news readers or any celebrities that have darker skin color here.

      2. Actually Carl, that’s the way it is across most of the world except in some African countries, where the trend is reversed. It’s funny hearing members of other countries trying to say they don’t have racism in their countries; they’re just kidding themselves.

  5. I think what color or race you represent is immaterial. When Obama came to power, I think the world celebrated the change not just in terms of color but in terms of acknowledging that if a person has potential, he or she will get her due irrespective of whether they are black, white, brown, green, orange or any other color. Who made these differences based on color, caste, gender, sexual orientation anyways? We did. Now it’s just time to undo these traditions and live in a world where everyone is equal. How does it matter if the President is White or Black, straight or gay, male or female? What matters is how he or she leads the country and its people.

    1. It should be immaterial Joseph, but I have to say that your comment and the comments of a few other people kind of shows that it’s something that, unfortunately, you can’t identify with if you’re not black in America. This isn’t a post about what should or shouldn’t be; this is a post about what it IS. This happens; it’s something I, and others, have had to deal with.

      From the day Obama was elected president there were people who went nuts over it and he hadn’t even taken the job yet. Folks were clamoring “A Muslim’s in the White House”, which was ridiculous, and some were saying “He’s going to take care of only black people, not anyone else”, as if that nonsense was not only illogical, but as if it wasn’t the way it was towards minorities under Bush, Bush Sr, Reagan, Nixon… do I go on?

      Man, I’m hoping for the day when being minority or female and running for the top office in this country isn’t such a big deal because it’s been done. I’m not sure I have enough years left to see if it will happen, but I hope so.

  6. Well, Mitch, I must say, I’m a little shocked. I didn’t notice you were black. Why didn’t you tell me earlier?

    Okay, we just talked about this a day or two ago. So over the weekend I’m at my daughter’s house for dinner (it was awesome – homemade pizza pie with Italian sausage) and she had a young (about 35 & white) friend over that we know. She’s (the friend) is so pro Romney she changed he Facebook profile picture to his photo. Who cares, right?

    So I pick on her a bit about her new β€œlook” and it turns into an “Obama is black” debate. She actually said, “The only reason blacks voted for him is because he’s black”. She said why else would they (sorry, her word lol) come out and vote in record numbers? Too me, this is a ridiculous question.

    First of all, everyone has their own reasons to vote and cannot be grouped into a single group like there’s a nationwide mind-mesh or something. That’s science fiction reserved for shows like Star Trek.

    Second, is it too unreasonable to accept that people tend to be motivated more by what they relate to? Is that bad? I mean, is it unreasonable for SOME people to become more motivated to take action for someone they relate too more? That doesn’t mean they were ‘sold’ on his blackness? β€œRelate to” would also require some common ideology and political views. Did some people vote for Obama just because he is black? I have no doubt; just as I have no doubt a lot of people didn’t vote for him because he is black.

    Here’s how I look at it: We’ve advanced enough to put race behind us enough to elect a non-European looking person as our President. And we haven’t advanced enough to have a non-European looking person as our President. A shame really, after all, it is 2012.

    Politics is something I avoid discussing because people are so passionate in their views there’s simply no way to convince anyone they are wrong or even get them to see another point of view. I thought it alright to discus race here since I just learned you were black. πŸ™‚

    1. If the President was a sailor would more sailors be more likely to vote? That doesn’t mean they would have voted for him because he was a sailor, they would have already decided that before the decision to leave the house.

      Is it wrong to be passionate about our heritage and culture? When did that become a bad thing? Sorry, I’m done.

    2. Brian, I feel vindicated by this post with you sharing that story, and it’s amazing that it even came up. To me though, when someone says that it stops being political and becomes racial, and that’s why I can get passionate about the topic. Thanks for sharing this with us, and I’m glad you learned I was black. lol

  7. Mitch, what I would like to say is best said through a cartoon. I shall send it to you by separate email. That would give you a perceptive from a different angle. India is a complex place with many contradictions and almost all of us have to learn to wear our skin and move on. The politics of the USA is nothing compared to that of ours and except for the rare exception,every one of the members of that glorious profession is venal and does things to benefit him/herself bar none.

    I wear my skin comfortably too. And come election time in 2014, provided of course the present dispensation lasts till then, I will be doing what needs to be done with exactly the same feelings that you have experienced.

    1. That was a funny cartoon Ramana, but oh so true! lol Actually, India probably has some of the same issues we deal with here when it comes to skin color, but since I don’t know whose president there now or even if a person of a darker complexion has ever been president there I can’t say if this particular instance is similar. I hope not though; I think we’ll reserve that kind of stupidity for ourselves.

  8. Very well written Mitch! I’m from Asia.I’m not black nor white but I’m Tan.I’m proud of it as I know many americans will do anything to have a Tan skin color.But sad to know there are people has discrimination attitude. They look in to someone’s color and not in the personality.

    1. That’s funny Becca but oh so true. Healthy looking tan they can get away from when they want to. It’s a strange but not unexpected thing to deal with unfortunately.

  9. Here is a question. Are African People considered black too?

    Are American Blacks Africans?

    Is black also an idea or a status? How did Clinton get to be the 1st Black President?

  10. Now don’t get mad at me Mitch but when I first read your headline I thought who the heck said something to him that made him want to write about this today because we all know that you’re black.

    I get the reason for it now and I’m that person who could care less whether you’re black, white, blue or red. I also don’t care if you’re gay or a lesbian, we are all people and we are all equal. Or in my opinion we should be.

    All this crap about the excuses why people vote or think the way they do is a bunch of it. Those lashing out those words are the ones who don’t want to listen to anyone’s views. Whether we agree or not isn’t the point.

    Like you, I have my views and no matter who spews what in my face about it they will not change so I prefer them not to even bother.

    But I always want everyone to be able to voice their opinions on whatever subject they want. As long as this country remains free, let’s do it while we still can.

    Thanks for sharing your view Mitch.


    1. No problem Adrienne, and thanks for the support. People decide they want justification because their candidate lost, and that’s fine. But let’s look at it this way. Every Democratic presidential candidate since 1984 has gotten at least 90% of the black vote; why would anyone think things would change? And the reality is that yes, black registration went up by 2 million people, but white registration went down 8% and only 76% of eligible white voters decided to show up, deciding they didn’t like either candidate. So, what really drove the election, based on the numbers?

      And yet, I end up having to justify my vote? Please!

  11. I was completely in support for Obama and I’m not even black. I’ve seen prejudice against black people (I have to stop saying ‘black’, it sounds wrong to me). I do not pretend to know how it feels like because I don’t. I can see how some people I know treat people of any other color, be it black, yellow or brown. I will never know how such people hold back. I swear if I was in their place, I would have punched the front person’s face black and blue.(Now, here I don’t mind using ‘black’.) I just hope that there comes a day when we look beyond colour and accept people’s opinions without judging them.

    1. David, I say “black” because when I grew up we were “black and proud”. When African-American came around I didn’t like it because I wasn’t African and knew they didn’t accept me as an equal, and it was just too many syllables. In any case I also hope one day these types of things don’t come up because frankly it’s got to be too much work being prejudicially stupid on a continual basis.

      1. Let’s just call an American an American, it doesn’t have to go any deeper than that. You’re American Mitch, plain and simple.

  12. Hey Mitch,

    we’re all just human my friend. When people ask me where I’m from, I say it’s just geographical coincidence.

    We are all creatures of the earth.

    I’m British, but not particularly proud to be British. I am proud of my home town though, somehow. I identify with it and I’m proud of it’s history and of being from there.

    It;s still just geographical coincidence that I was born there rather than somewhere else though.

    Too many problems are caused by people making judgements based on race, nationality, religion, color, sexuality, sex… at the end of the game, we all go in the same box.

    Something just occurred to me, I have lots of black friends who are proud to be black. I’m white, but something I would never say: “I’m proud to be white”.

    I’m not particularly proud to be white. I’m proud to be me.

    Proud to be white has a strange sound to it, doesn’t it? Or is it just me? If someone said “I’m proud to be white” I reckon that would cause some concern – but proud to be black, yeah, why not, why shouldn’t you be?

    In any case, it was a great, thought-provoking post,

    take care & best wishes,

    1. Thanks for your comment Alan; you “get it”. People are people, and in some ways we will question why others do what they do. But when the reasons come down to stupid stuff like skin color or gender or nationality as the only reasons one might do something, that’s when it’s not quite fair unless people are specifically saying it.

  13. Hi Mitch!
    i read your blog .i feel first of all we are the same it doesn’t matter that we are black or white.because i don’t care about this.i have a lots of friend who’s skin have black and some have white.and in India there are many variety of the black and white skin people.

    1. Anshul, it’s an interesting conundrum in the States. The Constitution says we’re equal but actions don’t always seem to go along with that. I tend to be one who believes we should all sit down and talk about race but those with issues don’t want to even consider it. Until it happens we as a people will never truly come together.

  14. Nice photo Mitch :). I have to say it is sad that in our online society there are people who judge others on anything other than what they type. I’m glad you raised the subject Mitch; however I am hopeful that the Web will bring people together and make those with discriminatory opinions realise that people they thought were different to them are not.

    1. Thanks Richard. The whole thing is that it’s not just online people who are saying it. As Brian mentioned in his comment, he was at his daughter’s house for dinner and one of her friends said it. I’m also hopeful that at some point people will modify some of their outrageous beliefs about others because of skin color, gender, or nationality, but there’s a long way to go.

  15. I just checked Christian’s post, and he did eventually reply to the comments. I read most of them and didn’t see anything other than supportive responses to his post. Maybe he got caught up with something else for a time.

    I think the secret to shutting down the superficial remarks about any candidate is to stay focused on the issues — and there are certainly enough of them that are much more pressing than the quantity of pigment in a person’s skin. Remember all the nonsense about Hillary’s wardrobe and hairstyle? We’ll grow up sooner or later, Mitch. I think it’s happening, but maybe too slowly to notice at any given moment.

    1. I just went to check Charles and you’re right, he did eventually respond – six weeks! lol I didn’t get notification of it though; that’s why I tell folks to make sure people are getting their responses.

      Yeah, I dealt with the stupidity of remarks until I just had to write about it. Obviously it’s a conversation that no one had to have before 2008, at least as far as the presidential election, but I remember the same type of conversation back in 1988 when Jesse Jackson was a prominent candidate, and it was probably way more true then.

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