Newsweek: Writes Like She Talks
Why is it so easy for the Right to paint Barack Obama as both a foreigner and anti-American, despite the fact that he has served the country on a community, state, and national level and is currently running to become president of the United States? It is easy because in the American psyche, whiteness = American, and colored = something else. Back when I was in college, a diverse dining-hall table evoked an interesting comment from a white friend — one of the white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, midwestern, small-town sort. She looked around at the group gathered for lunch, which included several white students, a Hispanic student, a student of Asian ancestry, and myself. “Wow! We’ve got a Mexican, a Chinese person, a black, and three Americans sitting here!” Of course, I pointed out that the people of color at the table were Americans too. All of us were born and raised in the United States. “Well, you know what I mean,” she countered offhandedly. I do know what she meant. She meant that, even in the minds of some good people who mean well, America is synonymous with baseball, apple pie, Chevrolets, and whiteness.
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