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Tonight's manufactured crisis from Drudge, Hannity and The Daily Caller almost escaped my attention. Until they started protesting his accent. Noting that it was something he "almost never adopts in public" (as if speaking at a University in 2007 wasn't "public") The insinuations here are that Obama is pandering, is fake-black, and/or, even worse, fake-white.
My mother is English and my father is from the Caribbean. Both have very distinct accents. Hearing them go from speaking to us to their parents or friends and hearing that transition in cadence was always a source of joy for me. Their changing accents held so many stories, so many different experiences, that for a child it helped me begin to understand their journeys and the depth of life's potential.
Now the American Right is labelling this as somehow disingenuous. As scary. As the Big Bad "Other." This here is the REAL Obama you elected, people. Never mind forming an opinion vased on his demonstrated legislative record, doesn't he talk scary?
In the America we hope for, this and many other things the Republicans have said (most recently, Scott Brown's insistence that Elizabeth Warren is too...well, you know...to be Native American) would disqualify them from the political process. But until that country comes, Obama must navigate his blackness carefully, women must compromise their femininity, and the American diasporas must endure the dirty looks. And the flagrantly racist legislation. And, occasionally, the bullets.
All this makes me wonder what white people in America, especially the ones who will be voting this year, are really thinking when they listen to me speak. It makes me livid. And it makes me lonely.