Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Transparency Of Transcending Race

As I watched O.J. Simpson being hauled off to jail on a bail violation, I could not help but laugh a little. It was not so long ago that Mr. Simpson had been anointed by white folks and transformed into one of the few and the proud black folks that had managed to "transcend race." That is until white folks thought he got away with killing his white ex-wife. White folk revoked Simpson's "honorary white man card" with quickness and have been on a serious campaign to lockup his "black ass" since 1994. In 2008, they may very well succeed in squeezing the last few drops of life from the juice!

For me, I never forget the O.J. Simpson lesson. I always become very leery when I hear the phrase "transcending race" because it seems to be such as precarious title for a black person to hold. It takes a whole lot for a black person to transcend race, but it only takes one slip up to descend quickly back into blackness.

Will Smith had "transcended race" until Jewish groups thought he praised Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in an interview.

Oprah Winfrey had "transcended race" until she put her money and her clout behind Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential race.

Tiger Woods had "transcended race" until another racial slur was directed at him by one of his own "good white friends."

Barack Obama had "transcended race" until he scared white folks and won in Iowa, then Gloria Steinem got frightened and decided to remind everyone that a "real white person" was running for office.

And why exactly is it that white people never "transcend race?" What exactly is so great about being a "temporary" member of their exclusive club anyway?


Anonymous,  January 12, 2008 at 8:11 AM  

Trascends race means you're not like the others, you're a good negro.

kimberlei January 12, 2008 at 9:04 AM  

I don't agree with this - but a lot of black people feel that Bill Clinton "transcended race"... He still looks white to me - and these days, he's acting mighty with too.


P.S - Nice blog! I really enjoyed the way you told the story about Peppermint Patty :)

Professor Tracey January 12, 2008 at 11:42 AM  

Symphony -

You should have added...until you do something bad! LOL!!!!

Kimberlei -

Thanks for your comments. Clinton! Good person, did not think of it that way.

SheCodes January 12, 2008 at 12:44 PM  

Yeah I hate the term 'transcended race'. It actually haunts me.

During my career I have hobnobbed with some of the wealthiest white people in our country (I was in the energy/oil business) and it kills me how they can embrace this one black negress to the point of asking me to live in one of their homes in France -- and try to 'set me up' with their sons.

Then these same folk turn around and act as though I am some genetic variant to the black race. IT BURNS ME UP. Always asking questions about my schooling, my parents, and then summing up my 'difference' to my West Indian roots. These 'well meaning' white folk have no idea how racist they sound. Frankly, I'm tired of 'representing my people' for them, and I pretty much tell them so. They usually change the subject real fast and offer me a martini.

tasha212 January 12, 2008 at 12:56 PM  

I think in order to transcend race one must be willing to compromise something. Whether it means not acknowledging the existence of racism, or cow towing to whites, u make it known that ur not controversial or that ur not going to challenge the white establishment.

JJ January 12, 2008 at 5:54 PM  


I've always been a little too militant to "transcend" race.

Even before I open my mouth white folk (and Black folk) get the impression that I'm not the negress the're gonna invite into their club.


However I'm often told how "intelligent" and "articulate" I am. And then they just assme that I have a differeny background then those other negros. mom was a 19 year old welfare mom. I am the OTHER type of negro.


g-e-m2001 January 12, 2008 at 7:45 PM  

Add me to the list rejecting all this racial transcendentalism crap spewing forth this election season. What they mean is that we are going to transcend all of YOUR problems. But watch what happens when folks start complaining about the Clintons "racial" comments leading up to SC. Wasn't voting for Barack supposed to end all these pesky racism issues for all eternity.

It is easy to transcend something when you have the privlege of ignoring it if you want to.

wisdomteachesme January 13, 2008 at 5:05 PM  

see it took me a minute to get full understandg of what yall, and they meant by that word...LOL--then it hit me and i remembered where i first heard it and in what context--my gma would call it
"crossing over".

and she would use it when she told us about different family members (as many of us are light brown-& light-light brown).
there were a few in my family that had 'crossed over' and lived as white people--and would not acknowledge the rest of the family that either chose not to cross or just could not as their skin tone was brown.

then another word came to mind 'assimilate'.

ok, so now they are calling it wha? transcending...?
money does not change the color of your skin.(don't go there :-)

and i wrote in another comment on this blog:
an angel once told me that wearing a suit will not make them accept nor include you--it takes more than a suit.

Wary January 13, 2008 at 5:14 PM  

White folk need not transcend race because they are the standard, the norm while everyone else is considered a variation on other. As you pointed out, some can transcend race for a minute, until they trespass some perceived boundary.

wisdomteachesme January 13, 2008 at 5:17 PM  

oh, i forgot to list this book that came to mind when i read the comments from shecodes and jj,

"it's the Little Things"
The Everyday Interactions that get under the skin of blacks and whites.
by Lena Williams

i read it a while ago when it first came out--guess i need to read it again as this issue will not go away--but how we react to it will and must improve.

i don't have time to be offended by fools. it cannot slow me down by making me give it my precious thinking and roll so the firey darts to not strike the mark! LOL

as gil scott said-'this revolution will not be televised'...and chuck d said it again years later!

wisdomteachesme January 13, 2008 at 6:37 PM  

wary said = "White folk need not transcend race because they are the standard, the norm while everyone else is considered a variation on other. "

now that is a sad truth-i thought about myself in those terms-but i had to giggle when i tought-humph, not me, i want more than what they have and who they are!

but i get what you are saying, again, an angel told me when i was young, "if you keep your eye on what everyone else is doing and getting, you won't get much, nor will you do much-
keep your eye and focus on what your purpose is-not everyone elses."

and it is true...

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