Conflict & Justice

Race and identity in Africa

DA was struck by the racial terminology the media used to describe Obama: the news clips were saying Obama is the first black man for the President. So the media was emphasizing the fact he was black. I needed to go out and register opinions from people here on the streets. (Let's hear some conversations you had with people about this.) I asked some people if they thought Obama was black, and they said yes, for sure. I asked them if I was black, they said no. they said I was half caste. (What does that mean?) Mixed race basically. (So what do you look like?) I am the same complexion as Barack Obama, my father is white and my mother is Ghanaian. So I had to ask why they thought Barack was black and I wasn't. I also asked one sociologist at a university here about that. She said Ghanaians would describe Obama as white but because we watched this election on radio and TV and heard about him as being black, Ghanaians have adopted that. (What does she mean that Obama would be referred to in Ghana as white?) She means that given the choice of what is white and what is not, if someone looks at his skin, they'd say he's white because there is no middle ground. (Is there pressure in Ghana, as there is in the U.S., to associate yourself with the black or white side of one's family?) No, in fact quite the opposite. There's more pressure in Europe or the U.S. I don't think people are hung up on the loyalties of mixed race people.

Player utilities

(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

Comments