Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rep. Thompson endorses Obama (surprise!)

The Baltimore Sun reported at noon on Tuesday that Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson had endorsed Sen. Barak Obama for president. Here's the item as it appeared on the Sun website: Mississippi Congressman Endorses Obama

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Congressman Bennie Thompson, an African-American Democrat from Mississippi, endorsed Barack Obama in a conference call a few minutes ago.
Thompson is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
African-American members of Congress have been closely divided between Clinton and Obama. But in recent weeks support for Obama has surged among black voters.
Mississippi is not likely play a key role in the Democratic nominating contest. The state does not hold its presidential primary until March 11.

I've always hated the term "African-American." It's awkward and stilted, and no one was expected to use it until Jesse Jackson ran for president a few years back. I just find the term ridiculous.

Of course, Barak Obama really is an African-American. His father was from Kenya and he has met his African ancestors. But since everyone has used the term improperly to describe all American black people, we now have no term to use to describe black Americans with immediate ties to Africa. Perhaps the best we can hope for is that in a few years African-American will be considered a pejoritive and we can get some word for black folks with fewer sylables.

In getting Thompson's endorsement, Obama is getting the endorsement of one of the biggest racists in the Congress. In his early days in office he refused to meet with any white person in his office unless they were accompanied by a black. I hope we can't expect more of the same from Obama.

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