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Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Paddling Rules in the Urban Archipelago

posted by on November 9 at 14:54 PM

So, one new theme developing after Obama’s victory that everyone focusing on messing with the Mormons might have missed is Obama’s real citizenship: a proud adopted son of the Urban Archipelago.

As Tom Hundley points out in today’s Chicago Tribune,

Not only is Barack Obama the first African-American to win the presidency, the Chicagoan also is the first winning candidate in more than a century to openly adopt a Big City ethos.

One has to go back to Teddy Roosevelt, who was born in Manhattan and once served as New York City police commissioner, to find a president who unabashedly identified himself with the city.

Apart from the irony of Obama resembling McCain’s putative President-hero, there will be a lot of practical results from Obama’s Chicago connections. Beyond upping the odds that Chicago will land the 2016 Olympics, I can also assure you that Hyde Park-Kenwood (Obama’s home neighborhood) has just become the safest urban neighborhood in America, despite its high crime stats

The real change, though, for Chicagoans: watch how you fucking drive. You try to cut off some cop cars and black SUVs and you might find yourself staring down the barrels of some serious government firepower.

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He's not african-american. He's half black and half white.

Posted by blacktivist | November 9, 2008 3:02 PM

The archipelago lives! Cities are the future. Young people are the future.

Posted by M2 | November 9, 2008 3:25 PM

@1 One-drop rule, moron. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were half white, or more. Blackness is just better than whiteness; it outvotes it.

Posted by Chicago Fan | November 9, 2008 3:25 PM

1. No, no ones missing the urban archipelago, go look at the NYT maps with big circles showing the huge OBama votes are in all the big cities, whereas McCain is all the little tiny dots in the little low population counties. Yawn.

2. No, he's not adopting a big city ethos, he's adopting an ethos of America=hope for all, and we're one America, he has absolutely nothing in his program that says cities better than rural etc. Where do you make this stuff up? And in his bio he stressed his KANSAS VALUES.

3. TR had big city ethos? WTF?

TF had ethos of being a super rich dude who was a hardy rough rider who killed animals out west who had a ranch out west and he had absolutely no identification with big cityness. In fact, didn't he run against the NYC machine?

4. As to one drop rule I can't wait till cheaper DNA testing is universal, we will find out that lots of whites are part black, esp. those born in the South.

I'm sure there's been a lot more "passing" and mixing going on than most "white" southerners would care to admit!!

Posted by PC | November 9, 2008 4:02 PM

University of Chicago Police + Chicago Police + Secret Service = Safest Neighborhood in the Country.

No shit.

I've lost count the number of times I've stumbled home dead drunk from a party or off the bus after drinking in Boys Town until four in the morning and never once had a problem or felt even remotely unsafe.

Fuck I love this neighborhood.

Posted by Jennifer in Chicago | November 9, 2008 4:10 PM

@ 3: some of us are apparently not hip. Explain "one drop rule."

He's still half black and half white. Doorstop.

Posted by blacktivist | November 9, 2008 4:20 PM

I confess to sharing Dan's fear over Obama's safety.

Please, oh please, ohpleaseohpleaseohplease Secret Service. Please keep him safe for the next 4 (8?) years.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | November 9, 2008 4:44 PM

Having spent six years in Urban Studies and Urban Planning programs, I think this is a fucking awesome development. Ever since the beginning of the "white flight" to the suburbs in the 50s, America's cities have suffered from a lack of attention and investment (except to have freeways shoved up their asses). Dense city living is the most efficient way for people to inhabit this earth, so it's about time for our government to do a better job of supporting them.

Posted by mike | November 9, 2008 4:48 PM

@ blacktivist: the "one-drop rule" is the idea that one drop of black blood makes you black. This comes from the first laws which regulated slavery in the US in the Atlantic seaboard states: slave or free status descends from the mother's status. You were free if your mother was free, regardless of the color of your skin. You were a slave if your mother was a slave, even if your father was a white slave-owner. You weren't half-white and half-black, you were black. To put it shortly, you were black because you were a slave, not a slave because you were black.

Over generations, white slave owners kept fucking their slave women, to the point where you had slaves who were 1/32 or 1/64th black--but their mothers had been slaves, ie black, however fair-skinned, so they were black.

This is why we have the taboo against black men with white women: think back to the antebellum South, where slaves who were as white as anybody were spotted as black due to the curliness of their hair or the width of their nostrils or the half-moons in their fingernails. Now imagine how it would be if a white slave-owning woman fucked a black slave and had a half-black baby: the whole ideological construct of white superiority and black inferiority would crumble.

Hence, the one-drop rule. Any black blood makes you black in American culture. The best novel on this: Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson.

Posted by Chicago Fan | November 9, 2008 5:00 PM

Lake Shore Drive is bad enough with all the damn suburbanites. Do we really have to add the Olympics to it?
@5 So true about Hyde Park. I never had a problem the four years I lived there. The two times I was mugged were in Lincoln Park.... just saying.

Posted by molly in pilsen | November 9, 2008 5:01 PM

It is so freaky to be living in the President's hood. I have always thought of the President being so far unreachable as to be not even real. Today I'm friends with some of the President's friends. I even pall around with "terrorists" and other people I keep seeing on the news. Mind freak!

Posted by Cat in Chicago | November 9, 2008 6:16 PM

The TR criticism is a good point, but it could also be said that JFK was pretty intimately associated with Boston.

Might also add that the term "African-American" is more appropriate for Obama than it is when commonly used to describe "black" Americans. The man's father was African, his mother American. While the whole initial point is pretty silly, to say that Obama, for being biracial, is less African-American actually ignores his heritage.

Posted by Ed | November 9, 2008 7:46 PM

I WANT TO KNOW if Obama's motorcade will be hybrid. With all the talk of energy independence from Mideast oil, will all of Obama's SUVs and cop cars and armed limos run on alternative fuel?!

Posted by teddy b | November 9, 2008 11:09 PM

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