Is this the end of racism? Or is this racism 2.0?

VINUTHA MALLYA writes: Amidst the victory cheers, liberal Americans are shining proud to the rest of the world. Finally, America is walking the democracy talk.

The president-elect symbolises a shift in American politics. Even John McCain has asked all Americans to be proud of their citizenship for electing the first black president.

A Japanese city has thrown a party because it is the president-elect’s namesake. ‘Obama for Obama’ they screamed and celebrated. Kenya declared a national holiday because Barack Obama’s father was Kenyan. The ‘native son’ has put Kenya on a whole new map.

If the status lines of my fellow Indians on Facebook™ and instant messenger programs are anything to go by, a Martian would easily mistake Obama to have been elected India’s president! Pratibha Patil, India’s first woman president, had not received such adulation from the H1-in-waiting urban Indian.

Apparently, when America goes to polls, the constituents are not Americans alone, but most of the rest of the world too!

It should not be long before someone campaigns for non-American citizens to be given the right to vote.

Despite the unquestioned acceptance that the president of the US of A is the leader of the ‘free world’, this victory of the ‘under-dog’ has given a cause for hope to Americans and non-Americans alike.

However, is Obama’s victory a testimony to the beginning of the end of racism?

Or is it merely a display of another facet of it?

What makes a half-white man black? Is it his looks (lean, angular contours, but not pale-white enough) or his middle name (Hussein, not a white name by any measure) which makes him more black than white?  Add a Kenyan father and a few years of living in Indonesia to the mix, and all the whiteness is stripped off!

For a man whose mother was white, who didn’t have much to do with his black father, who grew up mostly in the care of his white grandparents, and who had an Ivy-league education, wasn’t the ‘black’ platform his best bet to contest the election?

In distancing himself from his white heritage, and holding on to his black identity, Obama, and indeed America, has sent another message to the world.

Looking at the glass from the half-empty end one can see that a half-white is never a white, but a half-black is only black.  It will be a few more decades before we will ever know if the US of A could truly pass the test of democracy and elect the blackest of black men to be president, and not because he was black, but despite it.

Racism is still alive and kicking in the most powerful democracy in the world, and will continue to be, until it stops mattering whether Obama or his successors are black or white. Michael Jackson’s hope for a miracle might just come true then.

Illustration: courtesy Gabi Campanario/ The Seattle Sketcher

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30 Responses to “Is this the end of racism? Or is this racism 2.0?”

  1. Tathagata Mukherji Says:

    Obama is a big hype created by american media and faithfully copy-pasted by third world media. Economic, political, strategic agenda of both parties in USA are almost same- specially after post 911. Israel is one such example. Clinton will screw India on Kashmir (not Israel), because we have weak leadership.

    What has happened in recent times is, democrats has moved MORE to the right.

    A JFK, or Jimmy Carter (both democrats) though were religious, never used to time visit of Church for public consumption- sending clear message to voters which is now being done by Obama/Clintons.

    I think Clintons uttered the word “God” 100 times more in last 2 years of campiagn than they uttered in his 8 years of presidency. (However, as Pritish Nandy once opined, if Vajpayee/Advani were to invoke God so publicly, it would have been scandalised by our English media. “H(indu) is a dirty Word” to our media.)

    Race is unscientific- whole human race originated in Africa and irrespective of one’s skin color we all have african gene. Racism exists in USA in academic analysis, and old generation. Its dismantled some time ago thanks to real leaders like Dr. King Jr.

    Our misfortune is, caste is politicalized in India (caste and racism though are completely different, but a rough similie can be made how these issues were handled in completely different ways in two countries).

    Lots of blame goes to people like Lohia for thus caste politics. His chelas like Lalu, Mulayam are now out of control.

  2. Karihaida Says:

    Sorry out of topic comment but had to put it somewhere on churmuri..

    Our proud son of the saarayi angadi “Dr” Vijay Mallya is going to be the chief of Force India F1 team. Not just the owner, but actually run a Formula1 team. :)

    This is equivalent of batting, bowling, fielding all by himself for the Royal Challengers.. ;)

  3. Tathagata Mukherji Says:

    And here comes the Obama Bomb that is awaiting for India to explode- reward Jehadi Terrorism of Pakistan and India must compromise on Kashmir !

    “A first step could be the establishment of a contact group on the region authorized by the UN Security Council. This contact group, including the five permanent members and perhaps others (NATO, Saudi Arabia), could promote dialogue between India and Pakistan about their respective interests in Afghanistan and about finding a solution to the Kashmir dispute…”

  4. Socialist Says:

    Best Platform to contenst Election as a Black?? I Think the author is totally ignorant of how racially divided the US society and polity is. Pre-Obama nobody could even conceptualize that a Black Man can even win one Primary, let alone the main presidential election.

    Obama has shown Exemplary courage and conviction in embracing his black Identity proudly in an environment that was totally hostile to blacks.

    We need to understand the seismic shift that has taken place. Obama has not only bridged the Great racial divide through his brilliance and capability but has put to rest the cocept of Supremacy (Racial supremacy in the US context, Caste supremacy in the Indian Context).

    Do Not forget that in the late 60’s Blacks were not even allowed to Vote. There was a segregation policy that did not allow blacks to sit in “White Seats” on greyhound Buses. Blacks were brutally beaten Just for the sin of sitting in an empty vacant seat.

    Not to forget the impact of slavery, that still lingers in the black youth, The sense of hopelessness borne out of systematice deprivation of oppurtunities to the black youth in teh name of “meritocracy”.

    Obama’s triumph against all odds is powerful symbol not only to the blacks but also to all the opressed sections all over the world.

    In the Indian Context, The Scheduled Castes and Tribes and the Backward Castes can draw inspiration from Obama and emulate him especially

    1. To own their Caste Identity Proudly a la Obama and not suffer from Inferiority Complex. (I have seen some my Brothers hiding their caste Identity to escape the harassment and victimization)
    2. Dream Big and acheive It a la Obama.
    3. To embrace everybody and not be Bitter. The current crop of politicians (Ambedkar,Lalloo, Pashwan, Mayawathi and our own siddaramaiah) are bitter. They have actually experienced the high-handedness of the Upper castes and react in a way the Black leaders did in the 60’s during the Civil Rights Movement. They are Justified in being bitter and raised awareness and have laid the foundation for the “Obama of India”.

    I am sure a New “Obama” for India will raise, from the bowels of our Lower castes who will break all the caste barriers and unite all sections of India. Only then can we acheive our full potential as a country

  5. clash Says:

    Just to add up, while we hear 80% of campaign funds where raised by the Jewish lobby, we wonder if he is a mere man of the those who are creating an unwanted buzz about colour and the prospective “change” this colour offers. In reality it is easy to bundle up the whole mess on a man who is charismatic and who conjured up an uncanny ability to inspire younger generation. It is a ploy to masquerade the truths of an immense rip off which the rich staged before this election – the economic collapse with some help from a refreshing personality who is not an archetype American president . After all will a sensible white man inherit this stalemate? I wonder….

    If he is the man who is going to rescue “the dream” it is well and good but that seems to be a distant possibility and his failure will bring insurmountable backlash from the white neo-liberal with a ruthless man at the helm. Let us wait for him than praising this occasion being an end to rascim and sorts. It is not over anyway!

  6. Ashok Says:

    Vinutha is back !! With all the adulation that America is getting post-election it was high-time for a commie to show that the glass is half-empty. Just a couple of points:

    1. When did Obama “distance himself from his white heritage”? AFAIK he was very proud of his upbringing by his grandmom and even broke off his campaign when she was ill. Moreover he disowned his black preacher. He has been critical of the black community about parental/family values. He has got criticised in private by black leaders like Jesse Jackson for being too “white”.

    2. Pratibha Patil would have got adulation had she gone through the grind of 19 months of gruelling campaign/primaries/debates. You could have compared Obama to Mayawati and maybe the comparison could have been a little reasonable.

  7. Ashok Says:

    And guess what !! Vinutha Mallya, who is so critical of H-1 in waiting junta being in awe of Obama, didn’t write a single article adulatory article in Churumuri when President Patil was sworn in. Such a “momentous” occasion deserves a few words, no?

  8. Jayalakshmi Says:

    I am a common Indian, urban middle class woman. I wondered all along how is he termed as “Black” , when his mother is a white American. Your blog is the first place I could see the doubt reflected!.

    As always , it is the media created frenzy ;after a few months , his glamour will wear off as usual and he will sing the same lines as his predecessors.

    Chalo hum apna kaam kar lein! What we need to do live our lives. LEt our respeced NETAs do the assessment and management of Obama.

  9. tarlesubba Says:

    aha the Jewish lobby!! those damn zionists!! Where did you hear this? let me see the friday dispatch?

    and what exactly is wrong with it? in kannada they kayy-laagadavaru mayy parchkonDrante.

    well crisis or no crisis it will be a long day in hell before something even as remotely similar to this even happens in the non-zionist utopia imagined on fridays.

  10. tarlesubba Says:

    Ms. Mallya

    What makes a half-white man black? his half blackness. i honestly could not make any sense of what you wrote. what the fuk is a full black? a significant chunk of AA community is mixed race, including major civil rights activists. They all have the full black experience and thats what makes half-white man black.

    despite their genealogical bonafides and birth certificates at the local gas station and the diner and even at harvard, they would be privileged with the ‘full black experience’. he earned his degree by doing is assigned work and paying full fees with money borrowed on interest at harvard.

    my half full glass: is obama black enough, is abul kalam muslim enough. most cynical perhaps even bigoted line of thinking.

  11. Democracy Says:

    A noted temple in Varanasi was purified with milk when ex home Minister
    Jagjivan Ram visited that temple. It is historic but racism lives in heart and minds! and has become a genetic disease.

  12. tarlesubba Says:

    race is not like caste. people in india mistake of thinking that they are the same.

  13. Azamgarh Says:

    Barrack Hussein Obama is his name. He is neither a BLACK or WHITE…

    He has been Genetically Modified at Birth. Our Blog and Press have been Gung Ho about this “BLACK MANIA”

    They need to wake upto realities.

  14. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Lots of gossip about who Obama will appoint the Chief Technical Officer (a first if it happens):

    BTW very likely the H1B issue of great interest to many Indians in the US is going to come up soon:

  15. Palahalli Says:

    Now imagine a whole host of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Bhutanese, Afghans, Thais, Chinese, Japanese etc etc…settled in India purely for their own economic betterment, one fine day, “dictating” how “multi-cultural” the Indian polity should be.

    No, the “white Americans” are not racists, they are simply suicidal.

    Let us not forget that the US is a country like any other. Don’t insist that it has an obligation to the world to the point of “self” immolation.

    It was a better world when the Americans considered themselves as such. It’s a mess when they consider themselves “world leaders” and “world citizens”. At least then, they had an identity.

    American liberalism has proved to be just as poisonous as Indian liberalism!

  16. Harkol Says:

    Jayalakshmi: Per the laws that used to exist in some of the states in USA, a person with 1/16th Black blood (6.5%) is categorized as Black!

    He had 50%. So, he is ‘colored’ with a ‘colored’ wife, and ‘colored’ children.

  17. Chokka Lingam, LA, USA Says:

    Is Sangh Parivar the cause? To me it looks like.
    Link :

  18. Caveat Says:

    Ms. Mallya, what a sick joke ! You are questioning Obama’s blackness ?

    May I ask your understanding of a multi-racial upbringing ? Yes, his mother was white, and he has been openly greateful of his mother-grandmother’s influence in his life. But as a teenager when he was searching for his identity, with an alien name to add to his multi-racial upbringing, he choose to follow Dr.King’s fotsteps and has done much for Chicago’s south side — predominantly black and poor. He married a black woman, went to a black church. x

    I don’t think Obama or USA need question his blackness and they did not ! Though race was a factor, the candidate, his charisma and history played a much bigger role. USA is much less racial than it was pre-Obama election.

    Unfortunately, by questioning Obama’s blackness and suggesting America is still racial as it did not elect blackest of black, you sure sound like a racist…

  19. B.N.Gururaj Says:

    To be fair to Barak Obama, one must recognise that though might have enjoyed better life than the average afro-american, Obama did not ride racism or black politics to reach white house. He contested and won as an American. That is more than we can say for the minorities in our country, who now want prime minister’s post for themselves! Begging for more! Typically, indian minorities have excelled in grievance mongering, demanding everything, but so far, gave nothing to the country, except dissidence, strife, separatism, not to speak of partitioning of the country.

  20. Anonymous Guy Says:


    Maybe you shouldnt take Ms. Mallya’s posturing seriously. After all she thinks Amway and other pyramid marketing schemes are God’s gifts to people…

  21. Simple Says:

    By electing Obama, Americans have changed the way the world looks at their country.

  22. Doddi Buddi Says:

    ‘X’ Guy,

    A great comment:)

  23. Ravi Says:

    What a drivel coming from Ms Mallya belonging to a country where casteim, subcasteim religion and even colour. Thiru Karuna says he is dark and hence a true Dravidian and a true Tamilian and for example MGR or Jayalalitha was /is of light colour an Aryan stock!

    Pratibha Patil the woman president was Sonia’s candidate and will ‘crawl on the floor’ if Sonia says ‘stand up’. Nearer home, Karnataka flip-flopped between Lingayat and Gowda CMs and when Nijalingappa bribed his opponenents and declared himself ‘elected unopposed’, he later justified his CM ship as the opportunity for Lingayats! There is a load of casteism muck at home , Ms Mallya which needs your attention. Let Americans solve their problems the way they want to

  24. Palahalli Says:

    Ravi, Obama will attract all sort of attention as long as he (his supporters rather) induce global orgasms ;) It’s only fair.

  25. Caveat Says:

    Thanks for the info :-). I did go back and read the fracas that created ! My my …

  26. larissa Says:

    Obama has not even called the Indian PM yet. Hello! Hello! Why are people so in love with him in India when he is not favorable towards India in any sort of way?

  27. Palahalli Says:

    Larissa… can you be soooo……racist (?!) :)

  28. Anonymous Guy Says:


    Why do you have suuuch a problem with Obama? Is it because he is a black guy? Or is it because he is an American Democrat (liberal to you) whose party just posted a thumping victory?

    Wake up dude. The neo-cons lost. Let me repeat that – they LOST.

    And if the US should only be a place for white people, why dont you stop commenting about it? I assume you are not white yourself.

    And that makes your blinkered views and simplication of everything (even in India) to liberals and conservatives a bigger load of crap.

  29. Dr. Sree Reddy Says:

    @ all Obama fans
    Obama is not a fan of India and not favorable to India in any sense. If some Indians he is trying to put in his government, it is not bcoz he likes them it is just he can not ignore their existence. ashte.

    Why give so much importance to him? He will be like any other American president.

  30. Palahalli Says:

    AG –
    Why do you have suuuch a problem with Obama? Is it because he is a black guy? Or is it because he is an American Democrat (liberal to you) whose party just posted a thumping victory?
    – There is nothing special about Obama. He won a brilliant victory and is now the US President elect. US Democrats call themselves “Liberals”. It’s not my label. I have a major problem with liberalism in India. It is ruining my country. I review US current affairs and I see it ruining the US too. Therefore, I comment.
    Wake up dude. The neo-cons lost. Let me repeat that – they LOST.
    – So what? Did the Democratic Party wrap up when Reagan won? I’m not a supporter of Bush nor of McCain. Their policies were confused and without focus of any sort. Not really different from the Democrats.
    And if the US should only be a place for white people, why dont you stop commenting about it? I assume you are not white yourself.
    – You amuse me no end. Do I look at India as “for Browns only”? The “White Christians” are a Civilizational entity in themselves. Their nation has a right to survive just like the Hindus do. It does not surprise me that you cannot understand either position. Termite like, liberalism hollows out its adherents. Look at positions on Illegal immigration in both countries. Who do you see being against it?
    And that makes your blinkered views and simplication of everything (even in India) to liberals and conservatives a bigger load of crap.
    – Please make better sense of your arguments. Simplification of what?

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