"First day of school five years from now"

By Nate

Today I received an email from my mom with a political cartoon in it. It looked like this:


I found this to be racist. My mom did not.



At this point I know you're all thinking, "wasn't Nate's last article kinda racist with that tar baby joke, and how can we trust him to judge racism?" Well do not worry: I have since re-calibrated my "race-ometer" due to the outcry over that article. To prove my point I will now post the subsequent correspondence between my mom and me.

Now to set this up, my mom is to racial slurs as Caitlin's mom is to technology. Two years ago I had to explain to her that "Jew down" and "got gypped" were racial slurs. I quickly replied to this email saying it was racist.

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From: Sheri

To: Nate

It is not! How many kids were named after presidents? Thousands! It is just an observation made into a cartoon! Lighten up....

From: Nate

To: Sheri

Yes, thousands have been named after Reagan, but that's only one I can think of that's not an average name that you've seen more since someone with that name was elected president.

Also, those kids were just named Reagan with no "prefix" or "suffix" like the cartoonist puts on the derivatives of Barack and Obama. That implies that those kids are black because of the unique names that African-Americans come up with for their kids that are derivatives from older names (example: Tamia instead of Tamila.)

I'm going to look at the social security administration website now to see if newly elected president's names actually moved up or appeared in the top 100 male and female names the year after they were elected.

From: Sheri

To: Nate

I think you've been sick and shut in too long....take some Tylenol and relax.
But I am curious about what you find out...

From: Nate

To: Sheri

i googled the the cartoon and found that it was drawn by an african-american cartoonist who satirizes the black community. that confirms that it is racist.

I did a popularity search for Reagan over the last 40 years. After the president is elected it charts at 920. Then it doesn't make the top 1000 list again until 1993. Then it's popularity increases and becomes on of the top 250 most popular names since 2001. I would explain this by the youth turn out for Reagan in the 80s which was close to the youth turnout for Barack last year. He created a generation of conservatives who then had babies in the late 80s and 90s. In 2001 a lot of people thought Bush would reign in a new era of Reagan, but it also became a unisex name.

Kennedy did not make the top 1000 chart until 1994 when it debuted at 524. Since 2000 is has been one of the top 150 names. It should be noted that it is only a female name.

Lyndon goes from ranking 820 in 1958 to height of 347 in 1964 then becomes less popular and leaves the top 1000 names in 1970. I'm sure Vietnam had something to do with that. It made the top 1000 only a few times in the late 80s since then. Lyndon Jr's maybe?

Richard has steadily decreased in popularity since 1968 when it was ranking at #8 consistently. It doesn't look like Nixon had an effect on it. it's now #99.

James consistently ranked in the top 5 until 1980 when it started waning to the top ten. It's still in the top 15 today. Jimmy on the other hand may have seen a turn around in 1977 when it reversed it's unpopular trend and went from 101 to 98, but then back to 118 the next near. it is now at 333.

Walker becomes popular in 1988 and ranks around 500 (giver or take 100) through today. But was that popularity because of our 43rd and 41st presidents' middle names or because of the TV show Walker, Texas Ranger?

George has steadily decreased from the 30s in the 1950s to around the 150s today.

William was in the top ten in until the 70s, but has never left the top 20. It was at its lowest in 1992 and 1995 when it was at 20. it is back in the top ten today.

Jefferson has gone between 450 and 750 over the last 50 years with no real pattern.

Clinton was fairly popular peaking at 141 in 1983. Then in 1993 is falls from 211 to 316 and becomes more unpopular every year. It's now at 755.

So there you have it. A president's name doesn't always make it more popular, and sometimes it makes it less popular. you can see some correlation i guess.

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I hope this proves that I am no longer racist. I hope it also proves that the baby boomer's generation has no idea what is racist and what isn't (if you didn't all ready figure that out watching the coverage of Obama's election.)

11 comments:

  1. I should get my race-o-meter recalibrated. I said coon twice yesterday and only one time was it about a raccoon. The other time was a pun, though. Is that okay?

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  2. Come on Nate, haven't you considered naming your offspring Ba-Nate Obamalama? Maybe not. But you KNOW those BLACKS would!! There's a racist cartoon about it I sent to your mom.

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  3. While reading that I originally sided with your mom, considering all people of all racists are giving their kids crazy names and/or spellings. I was saddened then to find out that Nate was correct. Saddened and surprised.

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  4. ha. I meant races. I thought about trashing it and re-typing, but my Freudian slip typos amuse me.

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  5. No, Katy you're absolutely right that all races have silly names, and I'm sure there will be white children named Barack Obama. But I agree with Nate that the little flourishes in the name is meant as a racist joke on a specific race, like calling a brown skinned man Ahmed - emphasizing the 'Otherness' - though this cartoon is more benign about its racism. You have to really want to see it for it to be there. And luckily, I try to construe everything everyone ever does as racist.

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  6. If the person who drew it is BLACK then it is you all who criticize the cartoons who are the real racists.

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  7. Ha! I know, it's like when it's OK when Carlos Mencia makes fun of 'Beaners', and 'Retards'.

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  8. if i have a girl one day, she will be called Barackaleena (wow, that worked better than i thought) and if it's a boy, it'll be Jakama Obama-James (gotta get the 'james' lineage in there somewhere).

    katy, your freudian slip WAS quite hilarious, just saying.

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  9. racist or not, some (black) parents WILL find creative ways to incorporate obama's name into their children's names. it's what they do, and i love it. and obamalita is way better than zelberta, shuhnaeyia, michael, or retarded celebrity baby names like bronx mowgli.

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  10. I work in a hospital and on our Labor and Delivery floor we have a steady flow of James Barack Smiths and a Michael Obama Whittington the third. I didn't make that sound too white did I? Would that be racist? to be conciously creating un-racist names despite the reality?

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  11. My ceramics teacher had a baby last year. She couldn't name him Barack in Lebanon, MO, but she named him Adlai for Adlai Stevenson, in hopes that Barack would do better than her son's namesake.

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