The Whitest Columnist U Know
Kathleen Parker, author of the infamous “Obama is our first female president” column, followed up with a column declaring that she had no idea calling a black man a woman for not going apeshit in any way played on centuries of racial stereotypes. Of course, the column, in which she purports to be race blind and Obama’s eighth cousin (which immediately strips him of racial identity) was an edited draft. Below is the original.
The President is my nigga
By Kathleen Parker
Black people wrote to me and told me some things after my last column. Apparently, there are some rhetorical themes that they believe are common, and I am thus offensive when I say that the President is a sweet little girl of a man in contrast to a Samuel L. Jackson or Don King.
Some of these blacks were polite, and admitted that I was correct, but just wanted me to see how their misperceptions could color my article. I want to rub these people’s heads and wish them the best on their path towards dunking and appearing on Def Comedy Jam. I’d even be happy to share grape soda with them on a hot day in Alabama. Others, however, were less civil.
Do I think people are too sensitive? Yes. Do I think I may have overstepped the line? No. How could I? Toni Morrison, a black, once called Bill Clinton our first black president, and nobody believed he was black except for Robert Mellon Scaife and three quarters of the conservative movement.
But I also recognize that my life experience is different from that of most African Americans. And that experience allows me both the luxury of seeing people without the lens of race, but also (sometimes) to fail to imagine how people of other backgrounds might interpret my words incorrectly. Of course, given my lack of racial focus, I don’t even know that these people are of different backgrounds. I often wonder why white people so often think their skin is dark like the eclipsed sun, but then I just figure they’re beat poets. Silly folk.
As my Post colleague Jonathan Capehart wrote on the PostPartisan blog — and explained to me in a telephone conversation — black men are held to a different standard than whites. They are practiced in keeping their emotions under wraps. They can’t “go off,” as some have urged Obama to do in response to the gulf oil spill.
I hadn’t thought of it this way, but I take Jonathan and others at their word that it’s a fact of life for African American men. I trust that their inability to evolve past race gives them credence to relay the thoughts and opinions of others who see race (or, as I call them, racists).
Barack Obama is not a black man. He is just a man. I can no more see him as black than I can see Jackie Chan as Asian or Arnold Schwarzenegger as Austrian. They are all white women in my book.
But I also don’t see Barack as black for a different and more personal reason. I had intended to save this nugget for a future column, but now seems as good a time as any to brag. The President is my nigga.
Barack Obama and I are eighth cousins, once removed. Spiritually, metaphysically, that gives us a bond that makes him as much Kathleen Parker as it does me Barack Obama. As kin, we share a bond that transcends race. We shared a figurative childhood together, playing double dutch on the corner with fatass little Pookie while Crackhead Joe tried to sell us ice cream he stole from the ice cream truck. We figured nobody would ever pay 75 cents for a bomb pop, but Pookie always found the money. Then Pookie got shot one day, just playing ghetto games with kids who had ghetto names.
We shared figurative experiences not just from Barack’s childhood, but also from mine; walking down by the lake and discussing our future hopes and dreams – being captain of the lacrosse team, owning a yacht, becoming president. We would take a boat out and idly lounge around, drinking secreted cans of Budweiser as our skin became red and shiny in the summer sun.
None of this has anything to do with race. I am proud that Barack Obama is my nigga, my homey from the wayback. As his cousin, and as his motherfuckin’ ride or die nigga myself, I am pulling for him to do better.