Thread: Light skin
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:16 PM   #7
Zeke
Self-Righteous Injun
 
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Red face Zeke locates his soapbox again...

My father's tribe is filled with French blood. My mother's, black. (Generalities, but you get what I am saying. It's all about where your tribe was, and who they were aligned with, in the past.) My skin tone is right in the middle, which is to say that I look like a big Mexican or a pint-sized Samoan. Neither side defines me, nor should skin tone define anyone. What identifies someone as Native, to me, is how they think.

To some, that's inherently dangerous. Why? Because it implies that status can be earned and isn't condoned at birth. I ask, would you want it any other way?

Without entering politics, per se, many people refer to Bill Clinton as our "first black President" because he shares knowledge, personal experience, adolescent trauma, family history, and etc., with a "tribe" of small town, working class, and salt-of-the-earth types from predominantly minority areas of Arkansas. In sum, he empathizes and identifies with that. He is that, including -- via broad acknowledgment -- the incorporation of faults (insecurity) and indiscretions (personal/private) known to bubble beneath the surface of said social environments.

Many black folks understand/trust Clinton with a fervor that transcends blood. He is THEM.

Again, eschewing politics, Ben Campbell's mother was Portuguese. He was educated by Catholics before, eventually, dropping out of school to spend two years in Korea as part of the USAF (laudible but not inherently Native). College records list him as Ben M. Campbell (not Nighthorse) which he maintained as public through at least the age of thirty-one. He wasn't even a resident of Colorado, where he was elected to the US House, until he moved there in his late forties. At the same time, he -- finally -- enrolled Northern Cheyenne and added Nighthorse to his own name.

Am I trying to denigrate the guy? Hell no. Being a State Rep/Senator is a big, big deal. However, beyond having a Native father, do you see anything there that the bulk of Natives would discern as commonality? (Unless they, too, suddenly discover themselves at mid-life?) To most Natives, he is NOT them.

And blood nor skin tone is the reason in either case.

We are what we are, with skin tone and blood/quantum being the most poor definition thereof: unless it's all that you have.

The REAL folks don't give a rat's posterior about either.
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