Sunday, November 17, 2013

Concerning the interracial marriage of New York's new mayor

A mayor is the leader of a city in America.  A governor is the leader of a state (there are 50 states in the USA).

The person who was voted to become New York's new mayor is a white guy and several years ago he married a black woman.  This is called an interracial marriage.  Actually, interracial marriages between Asians and whites is not uncommon, but interracial marriages between black and white folks still is a bit uncommon.  Obama was the result of an interracial marriage.

So here is an article that looks at the fact that the next mayor is married to a black woman.

Actually, the fact that he was married to a black woman *helped* him in this election. Because New York City is so racially and ethnically diverse (there are so many different types of people here), we saw an example of what is called "identity politics" in the last election.  Politicians ran for mayor because they felt their racial or ethnic 'identity' would help them.  (What's the difference between race and ethnicity?  If you were born in Japan your race is Asian and your ethnicity is Japanese. I am considered white (race) and German-American (ethnicity)...even though I was born in the USA, my ancestors came from Germany.)

For instance, John Liu is Asian, so he thought all the Asians in New York would vote for him.  Bill Thompson is black, so he thought he'd get the black vote.  Anthony Weiner is Jewish and expected Jewish people to vote for him.  Christine Quinn is lesbian and she expected to receive the votes of all the gay people in New York. Bill de Blasio (the guy who won) is white, so nobody expected him to win (there are fewer white people in New York than any other racial/ethnic group).  But, because his wife was black, he did many TV commercials with his black wife and mixed-race children and he won.  It was later revealed that most white people and black women in New York City voted for de Blasio, while most black men voted for Bill Thompson.

So the article seems to claim that this election shows that racial issues in America are getting better. The article claims that de Blasio's victory shows that people are becoming more open-minded.  No, not exactly.  This recent election shows that identity politics is strong in the USA (which is a type of racism) and that politicians can use their race and ethnicity (and nothing else) to get votes.

The article:

Definitions of difficult vocabulary words from the article:

to shatter something - to break it, like shattering glass. To shatter an image means to break or destroy a belief or concept people had

a milestone - an event which shows that progress is being made. If you pass a milestone it shows that you have moved beyond something

a spouse - the person you are married to

striking a deep chord - this means the event is very meaningful, very important, of great significance. To strike a chord, literally, means to play a note of music.  If you play the guitar, you create chords of music buy placing your fingers in different positions on the fret of the guitar.

embracing - accepting

unions of white men and black women have retained a forbidden aura - an aura is a feeling or atmosphere.  According to this journalist, to this day many people seem to feel there is something 'wrong' about a white man marrying a black woman.

slavery and Jim Crow - 'Jim Crow' laws were created in the southern USA to stop black people from having any rights or political power.  A crow is a black bird and apparently in the south they sometimes used the name Jim Crow to refer to black people.

a taboo - a taboo act is something you can't do because your society says you can't do it; it is something considered to be very wrong

a deterrent - this is an action taken to harm someone in order to stop someone else from doing something.  If a person steals something and he is punished, this is a deterrent to other people to stop them from stealing. The person in this article seems to be saying that in the past if a white man married a black woman he was criticized and this became a deterrent to other men marrying black women.

a pool of eligible black men shrunk by unemployment and incarceration - a pool of eligible black men is the overall group of black men from which black women can choose.  It is shrinking because many black men do not work or are in jail. Incarceration means to be in jail.  So black women have a hard time finding black men to marry according to this article.

littered with troubled tales - litter means garbage. If a story is 'littered' with something, there are aspects of the story that are dirty or nasty or bad.  Basically the writer is saying that there have been many bad stories of interracial relationships - for instance, Thomas Jefferson, a US president, apparently had sex with his black female slaves.

matrimonial script - the usual way things are done when people get married; when the author says this script got flipped, he/she means the story was reversed or changed

to fester - to get worse and worse

confirmation - when you believe something and then you discover what you believed was absolutely right

a repercussion - a negative consequence

resonance - here this word means 'good feeling,' if something resonates it makes a nice sound

an affirmation - if something is affirmed people say it is a good thing; it is as if you are saying 'yes' to something.

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