Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is the New Minority?

I was joking about similarities and differences between our new president and myself in a prior blog. Ironically, the line of thought ended with my being even more uncertain what being a minority really means in this day and age. Is it just the color of your skin? Surely in an era where you may express yourself in many different ways, skin color is not always apparent. Is it your upbringing? Is it a cultural difference? Is it represented by how many generations your family has been in America?

Let's take a little look at that just for fun. (Don't get me wrong, I really like our new president. I'm just making a point).

High School:
Obama - Most expensive private school in Honolulu
Me - Public school in Honolulu

Obama - Harvard Law School
Me - Standard Engineering School, USD Law School

Raised by:
Obama - White mom and White Grandmother
Me - 4th generation US parents

Obama - Politics/Law
Me - Law/Engineering/Business

You should be forming an odd picture at this point. If you ignore the skin color, neither of us is very ethnic at all. The words Hoho and Twinkie come to mind (never mind if you didn't get the joke). What do we really understand about very ethnic, recent immigrants? Perhaps we have more empathy because of the discrimination we sometimes face due to skin color or other reasons. However, integrated is an understatement.

So what did we really prove in this election? On the surface, at least, that a majority of us can get beyond the color of one's skin. That's a big step. Also, perhaps that we are willing to vote for relative youth (47 is youthful as presidents go). These things are indeed hopeful. Still, I must laugh at least a little bit in thinking that Mr. Obama did indeed get the last laugh in more ways than one as he pulled in the vote from people of color. He's got at least one foot in the majority camp culturally, ethnically & socioeconomically. Let's hope the other foot is still on equal ground.

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