Friday, February 16, 2007

I am the first caucasian

I was troubled by a recent article I read on PoynterOnline. John Mills of KMOV-TV in St. Louis was actually the one to raise the issue of using the term "black" as a noun. The Associated Press in Washington in a national newspapers piece described Barack Obama as "the first black." Not only did I find the use of the term in this way as offensive, I found it to be both unethical and racist.
"Using color as a noun reduces the person to a species, and an imprecise one at that, particularly where Obama is concerned. He's bi-racial and, thus, more than a 'black.' But the larger issue for me is that it's an act of dehumanizing the person, summoning up their essence by rendering them an inanimate color."

I'm currently in a "Gender, Race and Class in the Media" course at school and have become more concientous about the way that media portrays certain things. Recent headlines have especially bothered me. "Forty-six Mexicans killed in accident" and "Cheney's gay daughter pregnant" are not an ethical way to say things. I have a hard time believing that the same headlines would read "Forty-six caucasians killed in accident" or "Cheney's heterosexual daughter pregnant." The same idea applies to Barack Obama-- would I be "the first caucasian?"

I know that we do not live in a perfect world, but one needs to think of virtue. The right thing to do would be to treat others as you would like to be treated. If we continue to base our lives on the color of anothers' skin, we can never live a virtuous life.

Barack Obama may be biracial, but he is a person just like all of the rest of the United States citizens. Nobody should be strictly defined by the color of their skin or their culture, and if we cannot even figure this out in a headline for a newspaper, our society has further to go than I thought.


Post a Comment

<< Home