The Instigator
RMK
Pro (for)
Losing
21 Points
The Contender
zakkuchan
Con (against)
Winning
42 Points

Barack Obama would NOT be the first black president.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,401 times Debate No: 1307
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (27)
Votes (21)

 

RMK

Pro

"Barack Obama would be the great black hope in the next presidential race -- if he were actually black."

~Debra J. Dickerson~

Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. (born in Nyanza Province, Kenya)and Ann Dunham, a white American (born in Wichita, Kansas).

Now, let me make it clear that I am not opposed to having an African-American president, but I will give credit when credit is due.

Being of mixed ethnicity, white mother and black father, Barack Obama is riding the benefits of playing the "race card" through the early rounds of the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

Why is it OK when he considers himself black? Is he not also white? Why does he not choose to say he is white? Both would be biologically correct.

Elements to dispute:

1) Barack Obama is of mixed ethnicity, thus he should neither consider himself a black American or a white American.

2) To be politically correct and honorabley ancestrial, Barack Obama should speak of himself as being of mixed ethnicity.

With these issues in mind, Barack Obama would not be the first black president...he would be the first mixed ethnicity president.
zakkuchan

Con

First, I'd like to address an issue of semantics. I'm going to assume that "black" in the resolution/topic is interchangable with "African American". Otherwise, this debate would clearly be one-sided because Barack Obama is undoubtedly "black" in the sense of being dark-skinned. I can, I hope, assume that my opponent is referring more to the ethnic terminology, and thus I will present my case as though "African American" is what is meant by "black".

Now onto the debate. I'm going to start by addressing my opponent's case directly, and then I'll move on to making points for my own side.

My opponent's case, as I understand it, boils down to the two points he made at the end:

"1) Barack Obama is of mixed ethnicity, thus he should neither consider himself a black American or a white American.

2) To be politically correct and honorabley ancestrial, Barack Obama should speak of himself as being of mixed ethnicity."

I respond to these as follows:

1) Virtually everyone is of mixed ethnicity. My opponent offered no examples of people who are "black" by his definiton, while clearly presupposing that said people must exist, by his contention that he would not be against one of them becomming president. So, RMK, tell me - who is black enough for you to give them the credit of being the first black president if they were elected?

2) When a person describes themselves as "a black American" or "an African American", they are implicitly referring to themselves as being "of mixed ethnicity". What does it mean to be a black, or African, American after all? It means that you have ancestors from Africa, and makes no specifications about where in Africa they are from, when they arrived in America, or how many non-Africans may be in your family tree. As my opponent has said, Barack Obama's father is a first-generation immigrant from Kenya; therefore, Barack Obama has ancestors from Africa, thus fitting well into this definition of what it is to be African, or black, American.

Moving onto my own case:

People take racial and ethnic considerations way too seriously. Consider, for a moment, exactly what we're debating here. This resolution/topic states that Barack Obama, who is clearly dark-skinned and whose father is a first-generation immigrant from Kenya, isn't black! Now for sure, Obama is not descended from slaves, and his life experience probably doesn't represent very well the experiences of the average African American, but that does not mean he's not one of them. That would be like saying that Einstein wasn't German because his vast intelligence meant that he wasn't average, and because he left Germany at a young age and thus didn't experience what most Germans did. Just because someone is not *average* within their societal subdivision, or doesn't share in all of the experiences that the average person in that subdivision goes through, doesn't mean that they're not part of that group at all.
Debate Round No. 1
RMK

Pro

Thank you for excepting the debate.

First, I will counter your points and questions.

1) "So, RMK, tell me - who is black enough for you to give them the credit of being the first black president if they were elected?"

It is not about being "black enough" for credit to be given. That statement has missed the mark of this presentation. The objection I have to Barack Obama claiming to be black, is that he bypasses the issue of being of mixed ethnicity. You claim that I made no mention to the definition of what I mean by "black." This by no means is my definition, but rather a biological definition. A person of "black" persuasion has a "black" mother AND father. Barack Obama, regardless of the color of his skin, his half white and half black.

2) Your second point was rather winded for such a subtle point. I understand your logic for distinguishing between black, African, and American ancestry, but this is irrelevant. Why is it irrelevant? Because the debate is not between mixed ethnicity of being black AND American...the debate is due to TRUE mixed ethnicity between two extreme factions of race (white and black).

"People take racial and ethnic considerations way too seriously. Consider, for a moment, exactly what we're debating here. This resolution/topic states that Barack Obama, who is clearly dark-skinned and whose father is a first-generation immigrant from Kenya, isn't black!"

This debate is not about Barack Obama NOT being black. Technically, he is half black. However, when a person is half of one ethnicity and half of another ethnicity and they declare themselves to be only one of those...that is a problem. This isn't about the color of his skin. I know many whites who have as dark, or darker, skin then Barack Obama. That is not the case at hand. It is the declaration of one over the other that is a ploy to make gains.

"That would be like saying that Einstein wasn't German because his vast intelligence meant that he wasn't average, and because he left Germany at a young age and thus didn't experience what most Germans did."

This is a poor statement regarding this issue. For one, Einstein was from Germany. He spent his youth there. How does this relate to Barack Obama being born and raised in the United States of America? Or, how does this have anything to do with Obama's mixed ethnicity. Being German-American is much different than being white/black American. This would be like me, of German descent by my family immigrating almost 130 years ago, to run for president and say I am German. Totally disregarding the American in me. Obama has no connection to Africa, except for the fact that his father was a first-generation immigrant.

Hopefully, you understand the issue at hand. It is not about the color of his skin. It is about declaration of what he is claiming his ethnicity to be.
zakkuchan

Con

1)You define a "black" person as someone who "has a "black" mother AND father". Let's follow this logic forward: A person is black if their parents are both black, which only happens if each parent's parents are black, which only happens if each parent's parent's parents are black, which only happens if...etc, etc, ad nauseum. In other words, a person is only black if they are of 100% "black" heritage, meaning there has never been a single person of any non-African heritage in their family tree. This is clearly an impossible thing to prove, if such a person even exists at all, so by this logic no one is black, which is obviously ridiculous.

2)You missed the premise of my second point. I was saying that by claiming to be an African American, a person is claiming mixed ancestry; and so there is nothing at all dishonest about Barack Obama claiming such.

Barack Obama never claimed to be only black, as you said in your last statement. He doesn't stand up at his speeches and go, "Boy, am I ever so black." And I like your statement that "Obama has no connection to Africa, except for the fact that his father was a first-generation immigrant." That's a lot more of a connection to Africa than someone whose ancestors came here a dozen generations ago.
Debate Round No. 2
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Capt.Herp 9 years ago
Capt.Herp
No, I said that that was what the news media would say about New Hampshire, thus the quotes. Try to keep up.

As for insulting peoples' intelligence, talking in cliches ("get a life") isn't much of an indicator of intelligence. But you hang in there.
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
Capt. Herp, if you think you are privy to insider information and the general public does not know Barack Obama's mother is white then you are ridiculously misinformed. If you can please provide any instances in which Barack Obama has claimed to be black and not having white blood- he is not white, though he has a white parent. I would love to hear these instances you speak of in which he has sought to mislead the "blacks of society" as you have labeled us. Remember, I am a "black of society" yet I have never experienced any of this deception you try to accuse Obama of. Furthermore, in his appearances with Oprah, both his parents were mentioned and their races and religious backgrounds were addressed.

You mention New Hampshire as a predominantly white state- yet it is no more "white" than the state Obama already won- 95% white Iowa. Though New Hampshire is also 95% white, it is generally more liberal as it is a New England state. You as well as RMK are speaking from the rear end, and it is a shame that even on a site like this where your statements are meant to be judged people like the both of you attempt to insult the intelligence of those of us reading. Read a book and get a life.
Posted by RMK 9 years ago
RMK
Thank you for using common sense Capt.

It is greatly appreciated and a lost form on this site.

Mangani,

I'm sorry to hear you take this site so literally. This is just something I found to pass the time while I am on Christmas break from my employment.

The liberal bias on this site is sickening. The format is laughable. And the topics are repeated over and over and over and over again (gay marriage, the Bible's falsehood, etc...you know, the only things liberals complain about).

Again, if you need to feel self gratification from "winning" online debates (as you state everyone is)...there is no envy lost here.
Posted by Capt.Herp 9 years ago
Capt.Herp
In this case, RMK is right in pointing out that people like Obama are pandering to the blacks of society by claiming to be black, even though one of his parents was white. It's the same thing as actress Halle Berry yelling in her acceptance speech about how it was high time that blacks started getting recognized in Hollywood, neglecting to tell people that her white mother had RAISED her while her black father split on them when she was a child.

Additionally, it can go the other way. For years, blacks tried to label golfer Tiger Woods as black. He refused to be labeled as black. I think he's going by the designation of "human." I like that.

The only possible reason that blacks bring up their race in cases like this is to get votes from a majority of blacks. If he had brought up his white mom, he'd take the risk of being written off by blacks as an Uncle Tom, and Oprah would have taken heat for endorsing him.

Personally I think that if people spent less time worrying about race in issues like this -- voters and politicians alike -- a lot more would get done in this country. I can almost guarantee you that they are talking about New Hampshire now that the Iowa thing is over with: "It remains to be seen how Barack Obama will fare in the predominantly white state of New Hampshire!" (Tell me if you won't hear that on the news, lol). The news media brings it up, blacks bring it up, and whites are AFRAID to bring it up because of their innate terror of being called racists.

Regardless, RMK has a good point on this one.
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
RMK, again you have no logic. What's the point of joining debate.org if not to "spread your logice for self gratification"? Are you getting paid for it? Are you doing it because you feel you are helping the world? No, we are all here for the same reason...

Problem is you didn't realize this was a debate website and thought it was "yahoo answers" where people give their foolish answers all the time and only the person asking chooses which answer is the best. This isn't a "struggle to have the last word", rather you keep posting verbal escrement and are too happy to smell your own breath when you finish speaking. I thought maybe I could knock some sense into you, but it seems you enjoy to be full of it.
Posted by RMK 9 years ago
RMK
Mangani,

You just can't let things go can you? It seems as though you "troll" around debate.org just to spread your "logic" for self gratification.

Frankly, I am, not annoyed, but embarrassed for your struggle to always have the last word.

I know people like you, people who argue "logic" is always correct, however, it has to be their logic or all else is unintelligent.

Get a life man. It's the Internet. Ruffle some feathers.
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
No you did not say something like this to me in another debate. This issue isn't based on "feelings" or "beliefs" rather race, ethnicity, and culture- something you obviously know... very little is an understatement... something you know NOTHING about. You might have the right to "say" what you "think", but it does not affect reality- Obama is black and you are too ignorant to see the logic behind that.

There is always an annoying unintelligent figure on every website, and RMK, so far you are standing out above and beyond anyone else I have encountered on this one.
Posted by RMK 9 years ago
RMK
"RMK, you have no right to say who can call themself black and who cannot- no person reserves that right, and much less a white person."

Interesting. Didn't I just say something like this to you in another debate?

Your response summed up?

I have every right
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
RMK, you have no right to say who can call themself black and who cannot- no person reserves that right, and much less a white person. I am neither African American, nor are both my parents "black" by visual racial classification. Both of my parents are of mixed race, but not of mixed ethnicities- they are both Latin American, which is a group of ethnicities which includes all races. However my mother is "mestiza" by racial classifications- which literally means "mixed". I am black by racial classification because racial classification is primarily deducted by physical traits.

My hometown is an interesting anthropological case study, and with the amount of experts the average citizen of my hometown grows up around there is not much doubt my ethnic background is Afro-Boricua, or mixed African and native Puerto Rican and Spanish heritage. Afro-Boricua is a subclassification of Afro-Latino, which includes Afro-Cubans, Afro-Colombians, etc. Physically the majority of us are racially classified as "black", but our cultures are anthropologically African, Arawak Indian, and Spanish, more specifically to Afro-Boricuas of my hometown, African from Nigeria of the Yoruba tribe, Arawak indians from the Taino Kingdom and of the tribe of Boriquen (these days reorganized as Jatibonicu), and Spaniards from Seville, Spain. All these specifics add to our ethnic identity and regional differences in speech, culture, and majority racial classification.

I could go on and on, but my point is this- your definition of "black" bears no authority within the black communities of the world. It is not up to you who is black, nor can you possibly understand what it really means to be black, African-American, or any other mixed race/ethnicity for that matter.
Posted by RMK 9 years ago
RMK
To the last comment,

That is Plessy v. Ferguson and it was a case that happened in 1896.

A little different nowadays.
21 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by mrmatt505 9 years ago
mrmatt505
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by blond_guy 9 years ago
blond_guy
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by DeATHNOTE 9 years ago
DeATHNOTE
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by maxh 9 years ago
maxh
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Capt.Herp 9 years ago
Capt.Herp
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by raptor10 9 years ago
raptor10
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Mikel 9 years ago
Mikel
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Marie_82 9 years ago
Marie_82
RMKzakkuchanTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03