Are You _____ Enough?
Last night, as Michel mentioned, there were two stories we considered leading the program with for today -- one on Congressional hearings happening in the U.S. House and the other on ex-offenders being granted a "second chance" at making a positive impact on society.
We chose neither of them.
As it turns out, early this morning, we were alerted to a story coming out of Prince William County in Virginia. It's an unusual crackdown on immigration that adds a new texture to the ongoing debate about just who deserves to call America "home." (Given the nature of a particular resolution that passed, some might argue that the texture feels a bit coarse). To our crew, the story was crying...Tell Me More. Much more.
So, we switched up our game a bit, bookmarked the other ideas (for now), and decided to bring this story to your ear. Take a listen and let us know what you think.
And now...Is He Black Enough? (cue theme music from SHAFT)
The question seems to resemble an eternal flame for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in his quest for the U.S. presidency. It doesn't seem to be going away.
I'm a black male (you should know this from my previous post...I'm not telling you again). But I'm also a Midwesterner -- a northern Midwesterner at that -- representing the great dairy state. Moving to Washington, D.C., also known as "Chocolate City USA," and then enrolling at a historically black college, brought an interesting experience. I can remember the questions, the whispers...the stares. Especially from folks "up there" in Michel's territory -- the "N-Y-C" and other largely black populated metro areas such as ATL, Houston and Detroit. They would say:
"They have black people there?"
...Or, "listen to how he talks...He says, Wis-CON-sin."
No, I'm not bi-racial as Sen. Obama is. But my geographic origin, among "my people," has often lent itself to questions about the authenticity of my cultural experience...and questions about, say, even my "loyalty." (let's not even talk about perceived dating preferences...that's another blog post.)
But, really. Is he black enough?
The larger issue here seems to more one of acceptance. Is it really about about being black enough? Is "black" really synonymous for "good," "loyal...?"
So, maybe this is the real question: Is Obama good enough to represent, and loyal enough to advance, the interests of the community to which he claims to belong?
And, best believe this, an entirely different legion of folks is asking:
"Is he too black? Might he (and Michelle, his wife) be too down for the...or their...cause?"
I'd put money on it if I gambled (but I don't): Mr. Obama is not the first, the only, nor will he be the last to face such a question. Right or wrong, it seems to come with the territory of anyone striving to represent something...anything.
Look at W.E.B. DuBois, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, The Big "O" Winfrey, Antonio Villaraigosa, Bill Richardson...Rudy Giuliani ("Is he Republican enough?")
Is Pres. Bush...Texan enough?
Are you ____ enough?
Or, are you too ____?