Did you know…?



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

Related Post Roulette

63 Responses

  1. Obviously, I don’t really *know* the answer. But not knowing has never prevented me from opining before.

    I tend to believe it would work something like this: there’ll still be a very strong inclination to look at both Obama and Clinton as aberrations, as THE FIRST black person/woman to be president. But you have to start somewhere. If I recall correctly, the fact that Kerry was Catholic wasn’t even an issue, and perhaps that’s owed in part to the fact we already had had a Catholic president (and in part to the fact that Catholics, as Catholics, are a much larger and better privileged group in the US than blacks are).Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      Maybe it’s because religion isn’t so visible a characteristic or maybe it’s because Kennedy was elected the same year I was born. Or perhaps in my case, as an atheist I just truly don’t care that much about someone’s religion as long as they don’t try to impose it on me. In any case I’ve never really thought much about “the first Catholic” president. Perhaps it will be the same for these kids and the notion of a non-white or female president being noteworthy will seem sorta strange to them.Report

      • Well, at the time, there was a lot* of concern that a Catholic president would be a shill to the Pope in Rome, and Kennedy had to give a speech in which he basically promised that if elected, he would follow the Constitution.

        Catholicism was, and in some ways might still be, a marker of a quasi-ethnic identity. It wasn’t like Judaism, in which being Jewish can be a religious and/or ethnic identity, but it had some of the characteristics. The KKK in Colorado in the 1920s, for example, was largely an anti-Catholic enterprise, although it certainly didn’t shed its racism and antisemitism.

        *”a lot” perhaps being in the eye of the beholder.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Road Scholar says:

        I’m aware of all that, @gabriel-conroy , now. But at the time, I was preoccupied with developing from a zygote into a baby. I was three years old when he was assassinated. When I actually learned much about him I was in high school and half of the kids I was running around getting in trouble with were Catholics. I understand the political dynamics now, but at the time it all seemed sorta silly and strange to me.

        Now, again, I’m tempted to compare this to the mainstreaming of gays and lesbians, something which was something of a personal journey for me and many others of my generation but which my kids are just “whatever” about. On the other hand, I’m psychologically predisposed toward liberalism so I could be expected to make that journey. For folks with conservative personalities making that shift is very difficult. For them it needs to be something that’s normal during childhood to fit into the matrix of acceptability.Report

      • Ah, okay. I had misread what you were saying. Yeah, that’s a good point. I was born in the early 1970s and perhaps because I was kind of raised Catholic (but with a strong dose of protestant evangelicalism from about 6th grade on), it was perhaps made more clear to me that jfk had been an exception to a general trend. Of course, by the time I was in my teens, a certain brand of Catholic that had before been registered Democrats had begun to migrate to the GOP, at least in their voting patterns if not in political affiliation.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Road Scholar says:

        Speaking of firsts, popes, and breaking barriers:

        The streak of Italian popes since the end of the Avignon papacy in 1378 is not completely unbroken. The two Borgia Popes were born in Spain, and Pope Adrian VI, who reigned for two years, was from the Netherlands. But It’s accurate to say that for a span of six centuries, that the Papacy was solidly Italian.

        But John Paul II shattered that streak. He was from Poland. Benedict XVI was from Germany. And Francis is from Argentina. What was so interesting is that after John Paul died, there wasn’t really any question as to whether we’d return to an Italian Papacy. Few of the names being thrown about in 2005 and 2013 were Italian.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      What made me think of this is the show “Blackish” (which us awesome, btw). The family’s 6-year-old twins don’t know Obama was the first but then say he’s the only one. The teenagers are similarly indifferent. Dad is chagrined, mom is enthused. Though a running theme of the show is a black family that “made it” but the dad’s concern over his kid’s connection to black culture as he knew it, so I don’t know how representative the kids are supposed to be.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’ve never heard of that show. Is it netflixable? (You don’t have to answer. I can always go on netflix and look it up.) Sounds interesting, though.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        It’s brand new on ABC. Three episodes in. On demand. Very funny.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’ll second the recommendation. The pilot episode was actually a bit disappointing on the whole, though it had enough moments for me to give it another shot. But….it was a pilot, and the problems with it were mostly just the types of chemistry problems that exist in most pilots. The other two episodes have been unbelievable, to the point that it’s got to be the funniest family sitcom since at least season 1 of Modern Family. Laurence Fishburne’s performance is putting him into “national treasure” territory.

        Larry Wilmore’s influence is crazy obvious, though, so I’m a bit worried for how season 2 will wind up looking without him behind the scenes.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        I’m curious how the show is being/will be received by “white America”. Are they going to laugh with the show or at the show?

        For instance, take the story line about ‘The Nod’?

        Are most white folks looking at that and thinking:
        1.) Wow. I had no idea that was a real thing but that is really interesting.
        2.) Wow. I had no idea that was a real thing and that black people were so silly.
        3.) Wow. That is totally not a real thing. What a ridiculous joke.

        And then you have subtle jokes, like the one about CPT which made me laugh and flew right over Zazzy’s head.

        Of course, not all the jokes are racial in nature. When Dre’s ‘friend’ from work said, “Which bathroom is no one planning to use the rest of the night?” I lost it.

        But I agree that, right now, it’s the best new comedy — family or otherwise — to come around in some time. And it’s on network TV, meaning they don’t have the free reign that the cable sows do.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kazzy says:

        If the ratings make it a cash cow, they be able to do what they want. And ironically, if the ratings are so bad that nobody’s watching, they’ll also have a lot of flexibility (of course, only for a very brief period).Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yeah, I’m curious about that as well.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        As a guy with a big beard, it does not surprise me at all to hear that “The Nod” is used in other groups.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        Haven’t seen the show, but I checked a review of The Nod to see what it was, and if I understand correctly, like JB I’d say that’s not a black thing at all in my experience, but (AFAIK) a guy thing (not sure if girls also do it?).

        I’ve seen/gotten/given The Nod for: Beard. Shirt/clothes/music. Car (not that it’s *impressive*; that it’s *like* the Nodder’s car). Being a dad.

        Probably others I can’t think of right now.

        It’s interesting to wonder what the root of all that is.

        I assume it’s some sort of instinctive (or perhaps widely-socialized) tribal cue that communicates “If zombies show up and everything here suddenly goes to s**t, I am LIKE YOU, and we’ll have each others’ backs.”

        ETA: I’m not saying it’s NOT done for ‘black’ as well; just that black guys aren’t the only ones that do it. It’s anyone who perceives themselves to be in a minority or subculture. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever gotten a Nod just on being white when I was in the minority, and I wonder if I’d feel weird about that if I did.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        “The nod” among black people is definitely not just a male thing.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        @chris – so maybe just anyone that perceives themselves to be currently in a minority surrounded by a majority, upon spying another member of what they perceive to be in their minority. It’s maybe a general encouraging/fear-assuaging gesture, and theoretically a preparatory introductory ice-breaker should the fit actually hit the shan.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        Very well could be. I am not a member of any visible minority, so it’s hard for me to say (not like people look at me and say, “Look, an atheist!”).

        I do know that everywhere we go, other black people make a point of saying hello to R. It’s more than a little awkward to walk down the street and frequently have someone say hi to her and not even acknowledge me, so much so that she and I have made a bit of a joke of it.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        Maybe this doesn’t happen in Austin b/c I assume they are very common there, but when you go home to visit your folks or whatever, do you ever get The Nod on the strength of your tats? (Can’t remember if they are visible or not, and anyway maybe tats are common everywhere now and so useless as subculture tribal identifiers).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        They’re not visible except at the pool, and in Franklin, TN, that gets me stares, but not a nod. Last time I was at the pool in my parents’ neighborhood, the only other person with a tattoo was a guy with a military tattoo on his arm, and I suspect my tattoos were not going to elicit a nod from him if he even noticed me (I noticed him, but he was way over on the other side of the pool and chasing a few kids the whole time). I dunno if I’d get one if there were a person whose tattoos were non-military at that pool. It’s entirely possible.

        Here in Austin at the pool everyone has tats, including the infants.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yeah, to really test it in Franklin you’d need to be in the minority (check) but not the only one of that minority (which it sounds like you are, so there’s no one to Nod).

        I know my friends with tats definitely used to compare/contrast/comment/use them as icebreakers with strangers, but I don’t know if they ever just Nodded.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        I would assume that two dudes who happened to both be wearing Iron Maiden shirts would nod at each other.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        I can confirm that band shirts (not necessarily for the same band, and only one person need be wearing it) can elicit The Nod.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        I never see anyone else wearing my Blue Cheer t-shirt.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

        The two guys wearing Iron Maiden t shirts would nod their walkers at each other and silently check out each others skullet.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        But do stoner metalheads give you The Nod? I KNOW there are stoner metalheads in Austin…there have to be….Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        The problem with children today is that they don’t listen to Iron Maiden. They’ve got all of this “hey, let’s autotune our synthesizer guitar solos” going on and get the lyrics from whatever mom’s fridge’s magnetic poetry is saying boy bands who have more skill at taking pictures than laying down tracks.

        That’s the problem with children today.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

        The Iron franchise went downhill after the first edition: Iron Butterfly.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        I suspect I’d get a nod for my Blue Cheer t-shirt from the folks wearing Iron Butterfly t-shirts.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

        I would proudly nod back in my King Crimson shirt.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        My wife was so happy when she thought she’d found a vintage Peter Frampton t-shirt and brought it home, until I pointed out that it had ‘www.frampton.com’ on it in small print.


      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        I actually do own a Blue Cheer t-shirt, and I remember very clearly the one conversation it has sparked. It was with a young, very drunk woman, who kept asking me what “that one song they did” was, and interrupting me every time I started to answer. “Summer…” “No, you know that one song. What was it?” “Summer…” “No, I mean their hit.” “Summer…” How do you not know? You’re wearing their t-shirt!”Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kazzy says:

        A girl came up to me at a show because of my Spacemen 3 shirt and was rhapsodizing about having attended Austin Psych Fest 2013, where Spectrum (Sonic Boom) had played.

        It probably would have been a pleasant enough convo, except she was so wasted she was swaying and slurring and smelled of barf. Eccch.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

        Sounds exactly like someone who’d go to an Austin music festival (I avoided ACL this weekend like the plague, despite the fact that R. had 3-day tickets).Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

        Did anything truly crazy go down at ACL?

        [As with all things, there are levels of crazy. You undoubtedly did not get “locked person up in jail because they would not stop biting live wires” levels of crazy.]Report

  2. Avatar J_A says:

    i was in the UK in the summer of 2008, and one of those discussion panels came in on BBC. This one was about the US election.

    Midway through the discussion, one of the panelists made the following comment

    “I’m mildly surprised that so far no one has even thought worth pointing out that a year from now the U.S. Will have its first woman president or its first black president” (no one gave the slimmest chance to McCain in the UK in those days)

    And I thought, he’s right, I hadn’t thought it being remarkable, eitherReport

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to J_A says:

      I remember having a “wow” moment when Edwards dropped out. One reason I supported Obama then was the fear that the Clinton brand held enough toxicity among conservatives then to motivate opposition voting in a way Obama wouldn’t. What has since surprised and deeply disappointed me is the depth of racism his election made evident.Report

      • It’s sometimes hard to remember back to 2008. Even Republicans (at least in Illinois, which might be a special case) were falling over each other to show how much they were okay with Obama, or to run commercials in which there as a picture of them shaking hands with Obama. All that changed really quickly, however, and I agree with your assessment of how much racism his election seems to have brought out.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Road Scholar says:

        Right. At the time the questions, “Is America ready for a black president?” and, “Is America ready for a woman as president?” were both unanswered. In the UK that Rubicon had been crossed a full generation earlier with Thatcher so for them it had been partially answered. It should also be noted that they had been living with a female Head of State for many decades so female leadership had been thoroughly integrated into the conservative worldview in a way that’s not available here.

        I think we’re well ready for female leadership now, even among conservatives, but I still doubt that Clinton could have pulled it off in 2008 given the negative valence of the Clinton brand among right-leaning independents at the time. I think she’s very likely past that now with her tenure at State.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Road Scholar says:

        I can’t say if cars go the same way as houses go, that I’d be happy voting for Clinton, barring her burning a LOT of bridges.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Road Scholar says:

        @road-scholar @gabriel-conroy I’m not remembering things the way either of you did. Once Obama was the frontrunner (and esp after the mathematical delegate lock, pending the fight over Florida and Michigan), Fox News et al became very solicitous of H. Clinton (and her husband). Granted, this was premiere league concern trolling, and the right wing media sphere loved nothing better than to air the charges of racism that the Obama campaign made against the Clinton campaign (and vice versa wrt sexism).

        But I think it is incorrect to say that Clinton was a toxic brand in center-right and center- mushy-moderate America in 2007-2008. Clintons (of any variety) had undergone a renaissance as opinion towards the Bush administration became increasingly negative. The votes she tallied up and the victories she did win came from the non-progressive wings of the Democratic party. It was attacks from the left (mostly but not entirely on her Iraq vote) that doomed her candidacy.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Road Scholar says:

        do you remember the ball breaker nutcracker with Hillary’s thighs on it?Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:


    I would say that the Nod is not unique to black folks, but probably carries greater resonance. I do it with other dads alone with young kids. It’s sort of an, “I understand you.” I think it carries greater weight with black folks (and probably other groups) because being understood — knowing someone has your back — was of greater import to those groups because of the constant risk of violence, oppression, mistreatment, etc.

    Of course, that won’t stop some people — people who might have exchanged nods of their own! — from watching the show and thinking, “Crazy black folk!”

    @chris reminds me of an interesting story with Zazzy that I’m trying to figure out how to write about. In a nutshell, I sent her to a local park with Mayo while I got my hair cut. They were the only white folks there (because of course I will only get my hair cut at a barber shop in a predominantly black neighborhood… let’s be serious here…). A woman was handing out flyers about some sort of community event and gave them to everyone save for Zazzy. Zazzy relayed the story to me and said, “I think it was because I was white.”

    And I said, “It’s very possible. It’s also possible that woman knew the locals and identified you as a non-local. It’s also possible she knew the community enough to know that no white folks lived there and thus assumed you didn’t. Or maybe she just didn’t want to give it to a white person. Who knows…”

    “That kind of sucks.”

    “Of course it sucks. But if you can take anything away from that sucky feely, think about how quickly and easily you were able to assume you were treated differently when you were the only person who looked like you in a group. You were different because you were white and you were different because you didn’t get a flyer and you naturally linked the two. Do you see why it might be easy for black folks — who are so often in the minority numerically and/or by power structures — to look at disparate treatment or outcomes and assume it is the result of racism? Even when they’re wrong — and sometimes they are — it is a very natural reaction to have.”

    “Holy crap!”

    “Yea! Empathy! Who knew? The problem is, most white folks are never in the minority. So they just think black people are freaking out over nothing. Because they don’t have an analogous experience from which to draw on.”

    “Holy crap!!!”

    Of course, Zazzy is inclined towards being empathetic so she was able to accept the ‘lesson’. Too many people would be too disinclined to think beyond the tip of their own nose.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

      We frequent a few clubs that are almost exclusively patronized by black people, and are in predominantly black neighborhoods. Most of the regulars and employees know me by now, but when we first started going (particularly to one of them), I would frequently get a sort of reverse nod. One of the bouncers told me as we were entering, “Good for you.” Just for going in. I had no idea how to respond. People would also come up to me and ask if I’ve been there before, which never really happens anywhere else (unless it’s a place with weird procedures, like the Alamo theaters).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:


        I’m curious… do you think his “Good for you” was a reference to R or do you think he was applauding your willingness to hit up a black club?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:


        Also, I thought you’d appreciate the following quote from “Black-ish”, when Andre was trying to determine how “black” a black social club for teens was:

        “Are we talking raw uncut Biggie-black, or low-cal Drake black?”

        Drake’s new nickname should be Low-Cal.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Heh… that is good.

        I’m not sure about the “good for you.” We were with a group of 5 or 6, so I’m not sure how obvious it was that I was with her, and not just a member of that group.Report

  4. Avatar notme says:


    Of course the demographics are changing. With Obama encouraging all the illegals to come here what did you expect? I’ve always wondered if this is an attempt to increase the number of democrat voters.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to notme says:

      Yup, performance art.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to notme says:

      With Obama encouraging all the illegals to come here what did you expect?

      First, that’s linguistically impossible. Since they’re not illegal until after they are here, you can’t actually encourage an illegal to come here.

      Second, Obama has deported plenty o’ people, even though illegal immigration actually declined because of the recession.

      I hate to put facts in the way of blind ideology but…oh, who am I kidding, I love to do that.

      I’ve always wondered if this is an attempt to increase the number of democrat voters.

      As an open-borders libertarian, can I make a crazy suggestion? Maybe if Republicans would embrace people taking great risks to make a better life for themselves instead of trying to limit America to those who are already here they wouldn’t have to worry about immigrants voting Democratic.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to James Hanley says:

        All that may be true, but I still thought it pretty uncool that Obama was personally driving that ice cream truck up and down the Calexico border.

        I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:

        Remember, kids, if someone pulls up to you in a van and asks if you like puppies and ice cream, he is not your friend: he is probably the President trying to get you to eventually vote Democrat.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to James Hanley says:

        It is sad but not surprising that liberals are in denial or don’t know what their president has been doing.

        As far as a decline, I guess your link doesn’t take into account the surge this summer. Maybe the fed gov has dumped some illegals in a town near you.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to James Hanley says:


        Do you have some actual data on the illegal immigrant population size, or did you just look this one up in your gut? All of the data I can find seems to confirm @james-hanley.

        Is this one of those situations like the deficit where everybody assumes it’s always going up, even in years when it’s going down? That type of weird misperception has perverse effects on our leaders’ behavior. Why incur the costs of solving a problem when nobody will notice because they all just run on gut feelings instead of data?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:


        To take your perspective, liberals are kicking conservative ass on winning immigrant votes.

        I think that’s funny as all get out. We’re talking about hard-working, self-sacrificing, family-oriented people, just the type conservatives claim are their base, and y’all are letting liberals win those votes, and instead of rising to the challenge you sit around and whine about it?

        Good on you! That’s how to win a democratic election!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Maybe the fed gov has dumped some illegals in a town near you.

        Heh, I live in farm country, in a town with a large Latino population. I’d bet my bottom dollar there are illegal immigrants in my town, and I welcome them. And when I lived in California I had friends who I knew were illegal immigrants.

        You can’t scare me with illegal immigrant horror stories. I said I was an open-borders guy, didn’t I? Bring ’em in and fight for their votes!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Hmm, did your noticeably partisan sources mention the cuts to ICE resulting from the sequesters?


        That’s ok, we didn’t have high expectations for you anyway.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to James Hanley says:


        Since you can’t or won’t rebut the numbers and facts you try to discredit the messenger. Nice try but I really expected more from you.

        Even if the sequester was a factor it certainly doesn’t have anything with the current catch and release policyReport

      • @notme I should know better than to treat you as someone actually interested in a discussion, but I actually read your link and the partisan study on which it was based. That study begrudgingly acknowledges that until 2014, the Obama administration had in fact significantly and consistently increased deportations overall. It then claims that deportations in 2014 are significantly down from the previous two years (and indeed, 2012 was the most deportations ever despite lower immigration as a whole, with about double the number of deportations as the Bush Administration had in 2006). And if that is your metric, overall deportations are in fact down somewhat (although it’s worth mentioning that this report was issued before the fiscal year had even concluded, so there’s all sorts of problems with that). But they’re still going to be higher than every single year before 2008.

        No, the complaint in that study isn’t actually about deportations as a whole being down. It’s that, after years of demanding that ICE focus on guarding the border, ICE has done exactly that. That, not surprisingly perhaps, resulted in a lot more deportations. But it also meant there were less resources for deportations of people caught away from the border.

        In other words, that study doesn’t show how “catch and release” amounts to lax enforcement of immigration laws; it shows that conservatives want to have their cake and eat it too and pretend that there is no such thing as limited resources.

        So, which is it – do you want more enforcement at the border (and thus fewer immigrants entering the country in the first place) or do you want more enforcement on the interior (and thus more immigrants entering the country in the first place, fewer being caught, but a higher percentage of those who are caught getting deported)? Because you can’t have both.

        Also, just making blanket references to “criminals,” as your link does, is pretty disingenuous since “criminal” includes an awful lot of nonviolent, victimless offenses.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Even if the sequester was a factor it certainly doesn’t have anything with the current catch and release policy

        Yes, the sequester matters, because the budget agreement built off those numbers, not increasing them significantly.

        What’s amusing in all this, notme, is how your arguments are so obviously driven by fear. I’m not scared of the illegal immigrants, and your fear amuses me.Report

  5. Avatar Will H. says:

    I’m still waiting for the first eunuch president.
    We’ve had a few that were fairly large, but I believe they were functional.Report