In a column in this past Sunday's Washington Post David Broder wrote:
"To win the election -- and not just the debate -- Obama must show enough of himself that voters come to believe that despite not being able to identify with aspects of his exotic life story, they can trust him to look out for their interests as president."
And there's that word. Exotic. Whether Broder was speaking for himself or trying to describe the mindset of others he allowed some codifying to slip into his analysis; the idea that somehow Barack Obama's life is so vastly different than the quintessential American Story as to be "exotic."
If you've followed my Guide to the Palin-guage at all you know that I -- and literally thousands of readers -- have tried to track the little isms and signifiers that are routinely and sometimes reflexively used by the media to describe others in America. Others being blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Muslim-Americans, women, GLBT, the disabled... Pretty much any group that is underrepresented in the media, which is pretty much every group other than white guys.
As to be expected, there were those who've never had to decode codification who've taken the stance that sometimes words don't have surreptitious meaning. Arrogant doesn't mean uppity, inscrutable just means inscrutable, exotic is a compliment and bitch just isn't that bad.
I have to tell you, it gets tiring running from show to show and from outlet to outlet trying to point out the media's own myopia let alone that of sensitive folk like Rush Limbaugh and U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland.
So, I'm done running.
Instead, I've gotten together with an incredibly diverse group of folks and formed That Minority Thing.com. That Minority Thing is a place where minority voices -- ethnic, racial, religious, the disabled, gender and sexual minorities -- can come together, united in their interest and need to express themselves. In our beta version we've covered everything from the Paralympics in Beijing to National Hispanic Heritage Month to the discovery of previously unknown Jimi Hendrix material. Our bloggers have written about their perspectives on being Asian-American, black, gay... Our Executive Editor Saira Baig wrote about the effect of the creeping violence of Pakistan's extremists on the civilian population prior to this weekend's horrific terrorist attack.
And -- yes -- we've even got a white guy writing for us. White guys, by the way, are in the minority in America. But at That Minority Thing they're part of the great mosaic rather than the keepers of the gate.
And with an eye on finance we try to remind folks of the vast economic power of people of color. It's estimated to be at more than $1.5 trillion annually.
At That Minority Thing.com our motto is that "Knowledge Kills Myth." Our hope is that by the next election quadrennial the Barack Obamas of America will be thought as regular, rather than "exotic."