Black Like Us: Detroit Congressman Reportedly Outed As White

Detroit appears to have its own version of the Elizabeth Warren Cherokee controversy. Congressman Hansen Clarke, D-13th District, has been attacked by his opponents of not being black. Forced into an unusual position Wednesday, responding to allegations that he’s masquerading as black to get votes. A robocall is informing Detroit voters that Clarke is not really black in a clearly racist appeal. Clarke is running for the newly redrawn 14th Congressional District, which includes Detroit, against two black women, Mary Waters and Brenda Lawrence.

The controversy in Detroit even has the same type of birth certificate controversy involving a relative. Opponents object that his mother’s birth certificate lists her as white. However, Clarke insists that she was a light-skinned black and that such individuals were often listed as white on birth certificates.

We previously discussed the propriety of President Obama campaigning as the black candidate in appealing to African-American voters. This is the reverse: campaigning against someone because they are not black. However, the issue remains similar in the debate over whether a racial community should favor (or disfavor) a candidate over the ability (or inability) to share their experiences.

Clarke continues to insist that he is “multiracial” and says that Detroit continues to decline because “politicians want to play race all the time. The costs have been enormous on us.”

There was a time when candidates were opposed for not being white and the nation denounced such campaigns as racist. The response to the Detroit robocall has been remarkably mild in comparison. Is there a difference?

Source: CBS

28 thoughts on “Black Like Us: Detroit Congressman Reportedly Outed As White”

  1. I suspect we Americans – as a functionally-sputtering society – will continue this kabuki dance of valuating bloodlines, ad infinitum.

    Can we be more foolish?

    One has to wonder how far into our future this bizarre bent of honoring those anointed ‘special’ by sheer luck of the gene pool draw, will haunt us.

    Centuries, likely. At least, until such time as lightning strikes humankind collectively amnesic, at which point any and all reference to race – as well as hyphenated nominative resumes – historic will be long and permanently forgotten.

    And good riddance.

  2. I also believe that there is a strong possibility that Obama isn’t qualified to be President. The birth certificates that I have seen have all been fraudulent. Was he really born in Hawaii? I don’t know. Maybe. I think the bigger question is his current citizenship. When he went to Indonesia his mother gave up his US citizenship so he could have Indonesian citizenship and attend the school of choice. Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship. Once he came of age and was living in the US, did he give up his Indonesian citizenship for US citizenship or is he still a citizen of Indonesia?

  3. Bettykath wrote: “Not by everyone. Lots of folks saw him as an illegitimate Supreme Court appointment”
    I saw him that way but the difference is that the even those of us who thght it had been a coup did not keep running to the courts like Orly Taiz (?) or Arpaio, continuing to say the birth certificate is a fake, or act like Trump and declare Bush an invalid, illegal occupant of the WH who still needs to prove he is a citizen.
    I believe Gore said one reason he stopped instead of continuing the fight was because the country needed to come together and accept one person as president.
    It used to be something America was known for, no matter how acrimonious an election, we come together at the end to accept whomever won. With Obama too many people have said to heck with what used otbe the understood rule and decency of our country.

  4. The SCT accepted the case on an expedited basis. The Repubs wanted no recount b/c Bush was ahead. The electoral college is determined by the state legislature. The FL state legislature threatened to elect Bush delegates if a recount was undertaken that declared Gore the winner. A subsequent media recount of all ballots after the SCT appointment had Gore with the most votes and winning. I think the actual coup happened when Kennedy was assassinated.

  5. BettyKath and ljc,

    Not to exaggerate I saw it as a coup d état (eng?).

    And I wondered when the troops would be called from or at
    least the police in FL to enforce a stand down of the recount

    With the Repubs (Jeb Bush) calling the shots (pun??) then the risk was there.

    A most extraordinary move by the Sct.
    Who and what caused them to get involved. We have an electoral college with its regulations to follow. Who gave the Sct the right to open their mouths in the first place? Enlighten me plese.

    First the K’s. Then LBJ gives us war, and Nixon on his narco addiction gives us more. etc etc. The only honest man was a peanut farmer and then a real charmer fished out of the backwaters. In spite of his handicap, he almost (did) won.

    Around the world most of us held our breath for two days or so.

    Historic. Any comparable coups? In the USA that is?

  6. leej, by the country as the legitimate president.

    Not by everyone. Lots of folks saw him as an illegitimate Supreme Court appointment

  7. Geeba I would agree if the birther junk and the repubs meeting the night of his inauguration to plan their obstructionist strategy had not happened. No other president has been met with this nonsense, by either the other side of the aisle or the people. Even Bush, anointed by the SCOTUS, was accepted by the country as the legitimate president.

  8. In my view people who appreciate Obama’s path towards EuroInsolvency via class warfare and powergrab spin are mostly not what George says. However, the emotional gravitation towards that opinion is the result. Same view with Leejcaroll’s comment. It’s his actions and spin that results in the racial animus. Not the other way around.

  9. BetteNoir,

    My girlfriend from NYC (black) and I enjoyed ourselves in Las Cruces,NM where we lived. A weekend trip to Tucson was a mistake. Amazing what borders do the the mind. All kinds of borders.

  10. Early life, education, and early political career

    Clarke was born in Detroit, Michigan to father Mozaffar Ali Hashim, an immigrant from the region of India that would become Bangladesh, and an African American mother, Thelma Clarke. He grew up in the city’s lower east side. His father died when he was a child and his mother worked as a crossing guard to support her family. Clarke attended Cass Technical High School, and later graduated from Governor Dummer Academy, a Massachusetts boarding school.[3]

    Clarke attended Cornell University, graduating with a degree in fine arts. Clarke was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. While at Cornell, he became interested in public service & electoral politics. He was elected to the student seat on the Cornell University Board of Trustees and was selected for membership in the Quill and Dagger society. He earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987.[3]

    Clarke worked as chief of staff to U.S. Representative John Conyers, and prior to that, on the County Executive’s staff of Wayne County, during the administration of Edward H. McNamara.

    from Wikipedia

  11. “The response to the Detroit robocall has been remarkably mild in comparison. Is there a difference?”
    Sadly there is. It took me a long time to accept that a lot of the animus against Obama is a result of racism. This is just another form and obviously it is okay, with both sides, the one that runs the call and the ones receiving it and not complaining.

  12. I feel for this guy. I have to defend my ethnicity all the time, to the point of carrying a passport in case of a detour through Arizona. The question should be whether he’s a good representative, not whether he’s black enough.

  13. I’ve never understood the idea that any Black blood means you’re Black. Yes, I know the history. It’s time the labels go away. At some point most of society will be of mixed race. Can’t happen to soon as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, his claim of being multi-racial seems to be the best approach. If he has spent a significant amount of time in the Black community he should be accepted as Black. The robo-calls are out of line but in politics it seems to be the way to go.

    Over the years there has been a bias toward light skin, even among Blacks preferring light skinned Blacks over dark skin. However, some Black women I’ve had discussions with prefer dark skinned Blacks because they tend to be stronger as a matter of character.

  14. eniobob,
    Great clip!
    Detroit has to get past race and pick a representative that will actually make decisions based on the issues and facts and not if it will help black people or white people.

  15. Stupid is as stupid does……and this district is about as stupid as you can get…..

  16. If his mother is white and father is black then he’s still black. Race is a social construct.

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