Monday, April 26, 2010


I saw a comedian do a bit a few years back -- I think it was Chris Rock -- about the racial stereotypes of Jews and Asians being smart and good at business.  His point was, what's so terrible about a stereotype like that?  Wouldn't it be great if someone saw a black person on the street and didn't think they were a criminal or from the 'hood, but rather automatically assumed that they were an intelligent business owner?

I thought of that this past weekend when I was waiting in line at the ticket office at Coors Field to swap out Friday's rain-check for tickets to Saturday's game.  Jason and his brother Simon were waiting off to the side with the kids, and Zeke was running around and going back and forth between Jason and me, being silly and playing and practicing saying "excuse me" as he barreled through the crowds.

At one point he came to me and held up his arms to be picked up, so I reached down and pulled him up onto my hip.  We stood there chatting for a minute.  Zeke was looking around and flirting with the people standing around us, as he is wont to do.

The ticket window we were in line for was being manned by a late-30-ish, thin, light-skinned African American guy.  As Zeke was scanning the crowd, he looked toward the ticket window and when he saw the guy behind the window, his eyes got really big.

"Mama!  Mama!  It's Obama!  Look, Mama!  Obama!"

I don't think the guy behind the window heard him (there were still a bunch of people ahead of us in line), but the people standing near us cracked up.

And I was thinking to myself, "does it make my kid a racist if he assumes that every light-skinned black man he sees is the President of the United States?"*

*In his defense, he doesn't do this with darker-skinned black men, only men that actually do look like President Obama.


  1. Hee-hee. Walt's little playmate Jaden (who's African Amercian) called our Persian doorman "Obama".

  2. Becker did the same thing when he was 2 1/2! Now he's got it figured out that all light-skinned, shaved-head black men are not in fact Obama. My only concern was and is that Becker just doesn't know enough people who look different than he does. But mostly I loved that he was so excited when he thought he was seeing Obama in person. Just like I loved it when Becker said recently with much enthusiasm: "Mom look, it's Barack Obama's flag" about the good old stars and stripes.