Tag Archives: racial identity

Note to self: Check e-mail more often

7 Jul

On April 30th I did something that I never do. I sent an email to the author of an article from a national publication to state my utter disgust and disbelief in regard to the writer’s personal opinion. This is important for two reasons: A) I generally feel that people are entitled to their own opinions no matter how stupid they are and B) if crazy writers gave a rat’s ass about what people thought of their craziness they wouldn’t write crazy crap and publish it in a national publication. Having said that I’d like to draw your attention to this http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/28/AR2010042804156.html 

It’s an article by the Washington Post’s Beth Chang from April 29 in which she states why she believes that President Obama was wrong for checking ‘black’ on his census form. I found it to be utterly ridiculous. Whether or not you support the president you have to admit that some of the allegations being hurled at him are completely asinine. I simply had to respond. Here is a copy of my exchange with Ms. Chang.

To changb@washpost.com
SubjectMessage via washingtonpost.com: Prez’s census choice

 Yume Katoya sent the following message:

The irony of your piece on Obama checking “black” on his census form is that you seem really opposed to people allowing “society” to dictate to them who or what they are. But isn’t that precisely what you’re doing by being peeved at the president for exercising his right to check that box in the way that he saw fit? He says he identifies as black. That’s his business. And his right. Just as it’s your right to allow your children to identify as Hawaiian when they clearly are not. Perhaps by statehood, but not nationality. Whether you realize it or not, your take on this helps to widen the gap in the racial divide rather than close it. Saying race is mostly irrelevant and then taking a stance as to whioh race(s) someone should choose to be completely negates any rational viewpoint that you could have on this subject. It’s both inflammatory and contradictory. Wish I could have agreed with you.

Beth Chang to me
Re: Message via washingtonpost.com: Prez’s census choice

I thought that if Obama identified as biracial it might be a sign of progress. Instead, he identified as black. He said he does so because that is how he is seen and looks. *That’s* what I meant when I said I didn’t think we should allow society to tell us what we are. I’m not exactly society.
It is his business, but I don’t think that means it can’t be commented on. After all, the White House released his census choices, and the president has made race an issue by talking openly about it.  I know there are reasons for Obama to identify as black, and good ones. But as the mom of biracial kids, I was uncomfortable that he chose not to identify as both. I worry that it sends a signal that people have to choose one side or the other.

Thanks for writing.

Elizabeth Chang
The Washington Post Magazine
1150 15th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20071
Phone: 202-334-4249
Cell: 202-689-9944
Fax: 202-334-5693

 I don’t know about you, but I know double-talk when I hear it. I really wanted to keep this argument going but the problem is, I just got the e-mail today. And by now, Ms. Chang has no doubt said something far sillier that would render this point irrelevant and make revving the argument back up again a huge waste of time. PLUS, responding to her AGAIN would totally negate my “let-people-think-what-they-want-even-if-its-stupid” rule; although I probably wouldn’t have felt that way if I had gotten it the day it was sent. *sigh* Alas, a missed opportunity to win an argument that really needed to happen. Sorry Mr. President.

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