Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Who's Got Next: Which Ethnic Minority Will Follow Obama In Office?

(The NY Mag feature on Wesley Yang's Asian-American identity crisis made me think about this old post on Who Will Be America's Next Minority President. Asian, Puerto Rican, Female, gay? And how will they express their authentic-assimilated brand of identity politics? I CAN'T WAIT. the best part is, IT HAS TO HAPPEN, because what cultural or ethnic minority can run for office without some "hi-signing" about their roots? It makes me think the GOP messed up back in the days by putting their devil[ed] eggs in the Steele/Palin basket. Now I think the only way they beat O is with a GOPecan-Rican. amirite?)


I wonder what a "Puerto Rican Obama" would be like.

Would he/she charm America by dropping just enough español in the speeches? (he/she would have gone to Yale or some Ivy, obviously, so it's not like all he does is hablas español. Just saying, it's part of his charm.)

We've gotten a little spice this season con, "si se puede!" Now throw in a little "Ahora!!" o "me gusta el culo más grande!!!" and I'm confident we could get primed up for cambiar all over again.

But yeah, who's gonna get that Freedom-To-Dream USA Certification next?

Because, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that's what the superlative nature of the celebration seems to be about, right? The African-Americans have graduated! On their own merit! One got through the labyrinthine maze to power (a cool one we've been rooting for, like Ratatouille), and now we can really, truly look at them with the deep down respect they deserve. And that's so awesome!

And it's true. All you non African-American ethnics, let me tell you, it's pretty cool being official right now. I'm already drawing Obama's face on all my money, yo. Five Baracks gets me a macbook pro, cashmere hoodie, and an hipster chick that appreciates it ... And she expresses her love through comments on my blog.
And I still get change back (lots and lots of Bushes?). And, and, AND, I might not even keep that change cause I'm thinking about giving all my white-people money to charity. Like, uh, Goldman Sachs. Ha. Word. I'm out for presidents to represent me. Knahmean?

AnyhahahahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah, soooo I flash back to Obama brushing that dirt off his shoulder, and wonder how an Asian-American would flash their badge of "realness"/ethnic authenticity? Would/Could Jackie Chan be involved?

And will it take another 40+ white (and Black!) presidents to get to the Next? Don't we need to feel out how negroes run things ish? What new policies are put in effect. I mean come on, maybe I'm racist, but if you're a chicken or a white girl you have to feel just a little nervous right now, don't you? (ed:I'm trying to get off the white girl jokes, but it's so hard! obama, please help.)

What I mean to say is, we don't want to be judged after the first week; we want a little time to get comfortable, so we can really put our foot in it.

... I suspect a woman will be there soon, but that's different. We're way late on that. Whenever we fix it, the question remains: will she be non-white? Will we care?

Ultimately we probably won't care, because it looks like all that Puritan repression in the bedroom has taken its toll, and this election is essentially a kickoff to the US Ethnic/Multi-Racial Bowl Extravaganza. Minorities line up and be accounted for! The culture war is over, and culture has won! Proceed to your nearest Benetton and receive your uniform immediately!

So it's all adding up to it being a nice time to be alive, with a blog... and I'd say more but these two white-girl hobos just broke into my crib looking for crack Uggz. So I got to shoo them away by throwing some bootleg designer bags out into the street. I'm seriously thinking about giving them a couple Girls Gon Wild DVD's so they can learn them some history and make something of themselves.


But, um, yeah, just so I can be taken a smidgen seriously, I'm going to close out these "Who's Next?" ramblings with an excerpt from an interview, currently in progress, with Hip Hop Professor, Jeff Chang.

Jeff recently crafted an Obama cover story for Vibe. And his book "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" is one of the new-school bibles on hip hop. His personal blog is here. Some real talk on racial/identity politics below:

TAN:A lot of your piece is premised around the new multi-racial majority, reports have whites becoming minority in 2050. It strikes me as a great new reservoir for comedy, but how do you see things changing once ethnics like us are running this piece?

Jeff: dude. now the census bureau says 2042. and the brookings institution says 18-29's hit that g-spot in 2028. 2028!!! i might even live that long.

so yeah, this is the big question now, right? this is where whiteness as the identity of power is crucial--i think of all the anti-black racism of my folks. it's pretty viscerally about both being higher up the food chain AND being lighter skinned. that, i think, was part of the real fear behind the 'is he black enough?' talk--but it was the Fear That Could Not Be Named, except perhaps by a cadre of folks who lived through COINTELPRO with a gun under their pillow. and generationally, some of us have been so eager to crash the party that those folks just sound really old. that's the flipside of 'post-racial' if you will.

the truth is probably somewhere in between--and my sympathies probably lie closer to the cadres than the david broders of the world, who are ready to call it a day for racism before driving home to their gated community.

lots of folks i spoke to this year, especially bun b and david banner, really wanted to emphasize that obama would be the president of america, not of non-white america, and that we needed to deal with that. which for me raised the obama and faith question. do we place our faith in him that he's gonna make things right? in this sense, 'yes we can' was a neat little rhetorical device--it allowed obama to wipe that dirt off his shoulder. it's not me, it's you. barack is getting ready to let us down easy. but then again, i truly buy his sincerity. i'm feeling that earnestness. after so many years of 'kick me please', it's nice to hear someone say, 'have it your way' and like really really mean it.

i guess my best hope is that the difficult conversations around race continue, that obama's presence puts a ceiling on the biliousness and the viciousness, and that the general arc gets pointed again in the direction of justice. as for the rest of it, i take his challenge seriously--if obama's in the office, then let's get it.


in the future, ethnic girls will gone wild and uncensored too?


  1. Difficult discussions around race will only stop being difficult when they're not about differences. Damn, that's a lot of "D"'s. One might say it's "Heavy" in them. Heh, I made a rap joke.

  2. i just hope the red states
    dont desire to return to the history pre 1960

  3. the next minority president will without a doubt be Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana. He's insanely popular and is doing a great job rebuilding that place post-katrina. Most importantly of all, the dude is only 36

  4. Just when I think that I can't be bothered with TAN, that he/you are trying to hard to be funny, a little superficial, etc, etc.
    You write a post like this. While funny, it also expands the dialogue about racism, ethnicity, and racial hierarchy. Dang. Keep doin' what cha doin' TAN.

  5. ¡Ay! You speak espanglés like McCain speaks ebonics.

  6. Anonymous11/08/2008

    i think the truly amazing thing about america electing a black man is that many non-black americans (it ain't just whitey) are afraid of black people and specifically black men. Sure everyone's got it hard but latinos, asians, the american indigenous and others do not engender fear.
    ooh and that spanish. yikes. maybe you should leave the white girls alone and invest in a latina, i mean a language class.

  7. I don't know who's gonna bew next up to bat yo. But I do know that white girls are gonna start throwin madd pussy at brothers because of Barack.

    Hell, they might even extend some love to Africa. Instead of adopting Black babies from Africa, they're gonna start bringin in nuff Africans to shut down the Nigerian scam trade. They gonna fuck around and make the Asian bride thing a joke son!

  8. was linked to your blog from another and just wow. loved it and looking forward to more...

  9. Anonymous11/11/2008

    How bout the day we get a real "African-American," president? Someone with lineage from American slavery. Although we talk so much about how Barack Obama is symbol of how far we've become he's had a lot of advantages growing up that most black Americans never had (an educated white mother, an absent black father, two parents with advanced degrees, private school, harvard educated father), all the things many black kids from the hood have never had.

    I'm happy about his accomplishment but I gotta be real. When Michelle Obama becomes President or Leroy or LaDaniel Jones from Bed-Stuy (who makes it to Harvard or is a changemaker) makes it to the white house then we know we've come far. American whites love exotic blacks(Africans, Jamaicans, West Indians) and biracials (Halle, Vin Diesel, Rashida Jones), put it together and you have the son of a god. We'll see what the next minority will be but I want to see if a black American can make it.

  10. Yeah, I guess in that case it wouldn't be about an African-American (or Asian, Latin etc), but rather a Disadvantaged-American become President.

    the first Crack-baby President, now that will be something to cry about.

  11. no disrespect to you crack babies out there, of course. yes you can.

  12. yo-
    not getting why you want to follow up good thoughtful analysis and some, like you said, real post-racial critique by Jeff Chang with the titty picture of the white girls. you're and we're mad at white people, a white establishment, so say so. don't be a wuss and use a white girl to stand in and make the point. that's what white men do to establish their own power. come up with something better. otherwise you seem just like in-the-closet bill maher, desperately trying to make his progressive points on the back of some retro machoism. you're better than that.
    there's your help.

    not a white girl, and not in the habit of defending them. (see what you made me do)

  13. Hmm, a woman is a definate and the next minority may be Bobby Jindal, Gov. of Louisiana if the rebuilding of that state goes well...and if the rebuilding of the Republican party goes well too...and he'll have to ditch the extreme pro-life position though...and probably get right on his enviromental views.
    Wow, that's a lot of maybes LOL.
    You'll know we'll have REALLY come up on the minority side if we fix the problems within our Native population and elect a Native American president.

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