389 years ago
November 7, 2008 7:18 PM   Subscribe

That's pretty cool. And way too long.
posted by mmahaffie at 7:25 PM on November 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

Many years too long!

This made me happy
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:30 PM on November 7, 2008 [4 favorites]

No love for Jackie Robinson?

Seriously, that was cool, but it left out a lot of major historical figures in its drive to end with Obama.
posted by yhbc at 7:31 PM on November 7, 2008

I thought correlation between typography and scale of significance was inconsistent, but it had some good moments. Thanks for the link.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

See, this is way cooler than a babble tower.
posted by Caduceus at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2008

Whoops. It did mention Robinson, it just didn't name him.
posted by yhbc at 7:33 PM on November 7, 2008

79 years ago the first African American is elected to Congress since the Reconstruction.

55 years ago Hulan Jack becomes the first African American borough President of Manhattan. He is the highest ranking black elected official in the nation.

posted by CKmtl at 7:42 PM on November 7, 2008

Oh. Is there an assumed "... at the time" that I didn't catch at first?
posted by CKmtl at 7:48 PM on November 7, 2008

East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: "This made me happy"

Awesome article. In good times and bad, The Onion always nails it.

Said Lakers forward Barack Obama to the entire world on his team's victory: "Yes, we can."

Fucking right we can. We did! We really did! I don't mind telling you I spilled out into the street along with all my joyfully screaming neighbors and danced right there to whatever songs anybody wanted to sing, including—and I can't believe we actually did this, but compared to electing a black man to the presidency, absolutely nothing is unbelievable anymore—an impromptu version of "God Bless America," which is the least danceable song in the world, but fuck it, we sang and danced to "God Bless America," and I'll bet you anything that no one there ever meant it more.

"I just wish that my mother, father, and grandfather could have seen this," said 52-year-old African-American Mark Booker, a Lakers fan who called this the single greatest moment of his entire life. "We won. We won. We won."

posted by Rhaomi at 7:51 PM on November 7, 2008

Black people are so cool this week.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:52 PM on November 7, 2008

Yeah, it's a good week to be black in America.
posted by Knappster at 7:57 PM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

They forgot, "110 years ago..."
posted by NoMich at 8:02 PM on November 7, 2008

Two steps forward, one step back.
posted by Class Goat at 8:20 PM on November 7, 2008

As a former nerd-boy, who had about as much love for professional sports as a serpent has for St. Patrick, I'd say, "Robinson who? Hank Aaron what?"

Now, as an adult nerd-man who lives and dies by random sports statistics... Bill Russel and Jackie Robinson matter. More than entertainers, who could, did, and still do make themselves millionaires by living phony lives based on the worst fears of white racists, black athletes had to work, and work harder than their white counterparts, to make the numbers they did.

American Sports Fans, while being resolutely conservative in nature, live and die by the stats. The numbers on the back of the trading card tell the story, nothing else. Boston bigots boo'd "The Captain" even as he established himself as, arguably, the best or second best basketball player of All Time. Irascible Ted Williams became more irascible when the racist Yawkeys refused to sign arguably the best or second-best outfielder of All Time to the Red Sox, Jackie went on to fame and fortune and racist assholes in New York.

This is progress. This is manhood measured, and black men more than measured up.

Then came Jimmy the Greek. Black men only did well because they were bred as athletes, like livestock. They became bufoons who performed for the whites as much as any step'n'fetchit, hitting the long ball like a good-bred buck.

This was a lie. A clever lie, but still a lie. Polynesian linebackers, Japanese sluggers, Argentine forwards proved it was a lie. White linebackers, white sluggers, white forwards, proved it was a lie. The stats are cold and stark and unfeeling. Blacks or whites or asians or whatnot... what you achieve is what you achieve.

For this alone, I thank Barack Obama, a black man who made it to where he is by merit and skill and talent, a man who makes giants proud of their broad shoulders.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:21 PM on November 7, 2008

Black is the new Black.
posted by delmoi at 8:27 PM on November 7, 2008

Nice... but I wish the designer had used past and present tense consistently.

"That same year Emmett Till is lynched in Mississippi, he was 14."
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:29 PM on November 7, 2008

It's wrong, Colin Powell was National Security Advisor under Reagan, I believe.
posted by OldReliable at 8:31 PM on November 7, 2008

Hm, no mention of Ralph Bunche. Or that slavery goes back further than 389 years.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:38 PM on November 7, 2008

We should also recognize that yesterday, in 1968, Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to Congress.

In 1972, she was the first (major party) black candidate for President (receiving 155 votes on the floor).

Ms. Chisholm died just a few years ago.

On a personal note, I played in a rock and roll band in an election campaign for her in 1968. This was the only time my parents let me play in a band. They thought if I were to get into the rock and roll scene in the Sixties, I would be hanging out with potheads. Of course, I did, anyway...not all potheads played in rock bands.
posted by kozad at 8:43 PM on November 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

Two steps forward, one step back.

Pretty good article about a nasty side-effect of that ballot measure and campaign.

But I wish I could smack the smarmy feigned ignorance out of that Alex Blaze person she blockquoted. Of his listed categories, only four (african american, protestant, catholic, white protestant) have had their civil rights trampled upon. Of those four, the african american category is the most salient because their struggle is within living memory; most of the big incidents of catholic/protestant inter-oppression played themselves out centuries ago and an ocean away.

That doesn't excuse what happened at the rallies, but c'mon... don't pretend that it's a mystery.
posted by CKmtl at 9:13 PM on November 7, 2008

All of those identified groups are equally open to blame for the outcome.
posted by rocket88 at 9:40 PM on November 7, 2008

So for the past three days the pattern has been:
1. Spot black child
2. Think "Oh my god they get to have a black president this is so exciting wibble"
3. Think "What the fuck, that's kind of patronizing and weird"
4. Shame

posted by showbiz_liz at 9:41 PM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

my mind wasn't really blown until it came to the point about barack being only the 5th black senator.

I guess i was really un-educated in that regard but I thought for sure there had been more black senators
posted by tylerfulltilt at 9:49 PM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Knappster, that was a bit spooky - I've seen Get Your War On in Rolling Stone, but I didn't know it had been animated. The animation made me think of those Charles Schwab "Chuck" ads or Waking Life, where rotoscoping just makes things uncanny.

Amusing, but spooky. And I want to see more. (I like Get Your War On).

In summary - MetaFilter: Some Kind of Special Mustache
posted by filthy light thief at 10:02 PM on November 7, 2008

One quibble- Mennonite Quakers? Last I checked those were two separate denominations. I think it should have been "Mennonites and Quakers"

Other than that, pretty cool.

I had a black kid jump in my face and yell "Barack Obama!" I jumped, startled, then smiled as he and his friends passed. I thought about saying something about how I voted for him, but no matter, I was happy to see him excited. I walked home grinning, actually. (I live in Brooklyn)
posted by Hactar at 10:53 PM on November 7, 2008

Nice... but I wish the designer had used past and present tense consistently.

Good grief this person needs an editor.
posted by rhapsodie at 11:24 PM on November 7, 2008

I'm not denying anyones right to identify with any particular group, but is his mum not white?

Wouldn't it be just as powerful or more a statement to say he's the first mixed president?
posted by Not Supplied at 1:44 AM on November 8, 2008

Good grief this person needs an editor.

Send him your list of changes, then.

posted by secret about box at 2:43 AM on November 8, 2008

Wouldn't it be just as powerful or more a statement to say he's the first mixed president?

In America, it's about how you look as much as anything else. Doesn't really matter if you're half-white, if you don't look white, and don't "act white," you're black. He did face questions of whether he was "black enough", but for purposes of being exposed to racism, he is black as he needs to be.
posted by explosion at 3:57 AM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

I keep being overcome by the knowledge that my year-old daughters will grow up thinking it's perfectly normal for the president to be a black guy. How cool is that?
posted by EarBucket at 5:14 AM on November 8, 2008

11 years from the last slave ship to the right to vote.
posted by dragonsi55 at 5:36 AM on November 8, 2008

I'll almost never poo-poo folks trying to get Americans interested in history, but this is not a very good way to present historical information. In fact, it's very stilted. Essentially, it's a bad time line of somebody's idea of "greatest hits" given with out explanation or context. In short, it looks a lot like propaganda. Simply because it bears a message we like (and I like) doesn't make it any less propagandistic in form. This thing is like cake: yummy but really not very good for you.
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:43 AM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Obama is not a black man.

Obama is not a mixed-race man.

He's a man, plain and simple.

Or in the context of the big picture, the man.
posted by bwg at 6:52 AM on November 8, 2008

I guess i was really un-educated in that regard but I thought for sure there had been more black senators

And only one of them has been a woman. We got a long way to go, people.
posted by piratebowling at 6:58 AM on November 8, 2008

James Byrd was not lynched, he was dragged to death behind a pickup truck. Far worse.

Add this to the growing list of errors and inaccuracies in this piece. Fun with font-weights and all, but this isn't that good.
posted by Bokononist at 7:21 AM on November 8, 2008

>>> James Byrd was not lynched ...

Yes. He was.

Despite the common association with hanging, lynching is not confined to one horrible method of execution. "Lynching is an extrajudicial punishment meted out by a mob." (Wiki)

In that sense, Byrd was lynched, indeed.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:10 AM on November 8, 2008

rocket88: All of those identified groups are equally open to blame for the outcome.

Yes, they're objectively just as 'responsible' for it.

But if someone's asking why some of the reaction was focused on african american voters, pretending that said reaction took place in a vacuum won't lead to an answer to that question.

It's as useless as looking at the exit poll data, pretending that those votes occurred in a vacuum, and concluding that african americans are monolithic homophobes. Doing so ignores the nature of the campaign and the fact that african american churches/groups were targeted by the Yes side as much as, if not more than, other churches/groups.
posted by CKmtl at 8:11 AM on November 8, 2008

All my life. I've tried my best to stay away from backward, ignorant people. That way, I would never hear or learn their hatred and racial slurs for their fellow man. I don't see a persons color. I see how they act. If they are cool, then I'm cool with that. If they're preaching hate.
I'm out the door. I didn't vote for Obama because of his color. I don't only speak to people of my race or class. (Class...that's a funny term). I mean, last night I was talking to a homeless Russian guy about Popeye cartoons. I've dated women of different colors. My friends are from almost all nationalities. I once dated a white woman and one day she threw a Halloween party. I was the only black person there. I was told to leave the room. I came back in and she was wearing a Klansman costume and holding a noose. I never knew that people were that ignorant. What was the joke? I work for the government now. A few years back. A co-worker applied for a high position. He didn't get it. He was told. "That's a lot of money for a black man." 389 years seems like a long time ago, but I'm still dealing with now and the future.
posted by doctorschlock at 8:30 AM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

I am not sure that all this focusing on Obama's race actually proves anything about how far we've come regarding race relations in this country.
posted by m0nm0n at 10:10 AM on November 8, 2008

I'm a white guy, and I think all this "Hurray! Obama is president... now everything will be great and fair!" attitude is counter-productive. Racism is still widespread, and ignoring the problem is harmful to this country.

From this CNN article:

Exit polling shows that while whites in the rest of the nation leaned toward McCain by only a hair, two-thirds of Southern whites backed the Arizona senator. In fact, the deeper South the state, the more overwhelming McCain's victory among whites — even young whites.

In Alabama and Mississippi, just one in 10 whites voted for him, and the figure was only slightly higher in Louisiana.

These problems have been allowed to fester for too long. Something has to be done, while we have the opportunity. Maybe having Obama as president will help... but it could also be polarizing, and we, as a country, need to see to it that these attitudes don't continue on for more generations.
posted by markkraft at 10:28 AM on November 8, 2008

"I am not sure that all this focusing on Obama's race actually proves anything about how far we've come regarding race relations in this country."

All it really shows is that a reasonable majority of registered voters in the U.S. are willing to overlook race and vote for a highly-intelligent black candidate with excellent leadership capabilities who ran a far superior campaign, in a race where the opposition had to deal with horrible economic problems and the least popular president in recent history.

It says nothing, however, about the strong current of racism in large swaths of America. (I'd call it an undercurrent, but this contest has brought it to the surface.)

Why should the rest of this country show *ANY* tolerance for this kind of thing after all this time? It's time for some tough love and bitter medicine for the racists out there.

As a friend of mine in Tennessee recently said:
"My euphoria about last night was tempered this morning with our local East Tennessee news, when I learned that not only did Tennessee vote overwhelmingly for McCain, but also appeared to vote straight Republican, so that our state senate and house are now overwhelmingly Republican.

It feels like an anger vote here, a fear vote.

We have had much meanness here lately: one woman reported to a local TV station that she was almost run off the road by some young men in a truck. She had a photograph of Obama in her rear window and a bumper sticker. They called her a b---- and a n------ lover. She was too shaken--they tried to make her car go out of control--to take down their license plate number.

My own bumper sticker was pulled off my car while I was in a movie theater."

posted by markkraft at 10:46 AM on November 8, 2008

"320 years ago Mennonite Quakers sign an anti-slavery resolution", the third thing on the list. My background is Mennonite, and while I know quite a bit about our history I never knew about this, so I searched around on the net. This was apparently the first such protest against slavery in the not-yet-U.S., and the text of the resolution is really stunning. An enlightened and thoughtful condemnation of slavery as written in 1688. And of course you can also read about how they suffered for beliefs like this.

And for Hactar -- I have seen the term "Mennonite Quakers" before. Quakerism is in some ways a meta-religion about personal freedom in religious belief. So you could be a Quaker whose background and beliefs are Mennonite, and that's not contradictory.
posted by madmethods at 10:59 AM on November 8, 2008

Obama is not a black man.

Yes, he is, has been, and always will be. Barack Obama is a black man. No one other than he has the right to determine how he is identified, and he has spoken decisively on the matter.

No matter the fact that his mother was a white woman, Barack Obama is a black man, and attempting to erase his identity as a black man in some "we're all equal, race doesn't matter" effort is insulting and wrong. Being black in this America is a part, perhaps even a large part, of what has made Barack Obama who he is.

Attempting to be "post-racial" and equivocate all men may be nice in ideals, but we do not live in ideals, we live in reality, and the reality of America in this time is that we are not post-racial, and, more importantly, it is not for white people, even "allied" progressive "anti-racist" white people, to talk about transcending race, or the lack of importance of race. By saying that race is no longer important, you diminish and denigrate the identity of those who are your so-called friends, you deny the meaning of our experiences, you put our efforts toward racial reconciliation to shame.

There is no virtue in this pretense of "color blindness." It is not a victory to say "he is a man who is my equal and oh, he is also black." The victory is "he is a black man and my equal." Period.
posted by Dreama at 3:00 PM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

There is no virtue in this pretense of "color blindness."

How sad for you that you think it's pretense. You think it's wrong for me to see him as a fellow human being first. My first thought when saw him for the first time was "He's so young".

Does that mean I didn't see that he's also black? Of course, not, don't be ridiculous. But it's of far less importance than who he is as a person. And besides, I'm not American; I don't have that baggage to lug around.

What has been lost in all the hoopla over Obama being the first black president is that people are still first judging a man by the colour of his skin. That may be reality, but the question is: why should it be?

In your fervour to castigate me, you also missed the punchline.

He's still a rock star.
posted by bwg at 5:10 PM on November 8, 2008

But it's of far less importance than who he is as a person.

No, quite the opposite, its an integral part of who he is as a person. It is not judging to take note of this, it's stating the truth.

Once again, you don't have the requisite experience or moral position to make this call.
posted by Dreama at 5:17 PM on November 8, 2008

I didn't say it wasn't an integral part of who he is as a person, I said it was of less importance than his humanity.

I'm personally happy that he's the President-Elect, because I feel he's going to bring that humanity back into the White House.
posted by bwg at 5:50 PM on November 8, 2008

Salute, Dreama.
posted by Student of Man at 6:18 PM on November 8, 2008

I'm not so impressed by his race, as I was by the fact that he gave a major press conference on the economy yesterday, without any embarrassing facepalm moments. Eight years I've waited to do that.
posted by fungible at 7:48 PM on November 8, 2008

I'm watching 'The Patriot' on History Television.

The scene where this cocky young punk in the revolution Militia is reading a poster to a black slave was just on. The poster states that George Washington is offering freedom and payment to any escaped slave that serves for 6 months.

The cocky guy says, all outraged, "See? They're not only going to free the slaves, but they're going to pay them!"

Black guy looks wistfully at the poster, and mutters something about "That's gonna be a long six months..."

Cocky guy snaps at him: "What're you going to do with freedom?"

Black guy just smiles a bit.


He knew.
posted by CKmtl at 7:55 PM on November 8, 2008

The first slaves in America were here longer than 389 years ago. They actually didn't even come in boats.

Then the Spanish came and enslaved the slaveholders.

Then the English came with their white slaves in tow.

Then the Dutch and Portuguese brought boatloads of Africans...

Eventually we elected a man who's African ancestors were never slaves in America. His name is Barack Obama. He is the decendant of Africans, not African-Americans.

On another note of sunshine, slavery exists still in America in many forms, but we continue to work human slaves on plantations in this country.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:26 PM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thank you slaves.
posted by Artaud at 11:35 PM on November 8, 2008

Sinfest wins.
posted by bwg at 1:13 AM on November 22, 2008

« Older There he was with his immigration face giving me a...   |   SFMOMA ArtScope Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments