quarta-feira, 11 de junho de 2008
Bahian reactions to Obama nomination
On June 8, one of Bahia's main newspapers, Correio da Bahia, featured this headline in its Sunday edition : "What can Obama's election change in Bahia?" - "The first black man running for the White House with a real chance of being elected, Barack Obama's nomination as the Democratic candidate is being celebrated by Bahian intellectuals. According to them, his election would force Bahia and Brazil to rethink the share of power held by blacks"
Indeed, Bahia has the largest population of African descent of any state in Brazil, but the smallest number of elected black officials in the country. In fact, it has never had an elected black governor or mayor (a black man who is now running for Deputy Mayor, Edivaldo Brito, held the office of "bionic mayor" as an appointee during the military dictatorship that ended in 1985). There is a widespread belief that "blacks don't vote for blacks" in Bahia - and then there's the problem of deciding who is black, white or "pardo" (brown) - a category that effectively dilutes and reduces the number of blacks in the population and complicates the definition of whom should benefit from affirmative action.
In the Correio feature, a white anthropologist, Roberto Albergaria, makes a point of saying that Obama is not a product of affirmative action. "He is a product of the American melting pot, the son of a white anthropologist and a black Muslim," he argues. "He didn't come from the ghetto. He was raised by a white family and shows that success has nothing to do with colour."
There are so many points to this statement that I'd like to address and/or refute that it would fill up an entire blog. Suffice it to say (for now) that Albergaria mentions the white mother's educational background and the black father's religious background (erroneously, according to his daughter Auma). I wonder why?
In case you're curious, Barack Obama Sr. was a Harvard-educated economist.