Talk:Colin Powell

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Why was this reverted? BHarlan 20:48, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

Don't you think that's a little silly? While it is likely Colin Powell has caucasian roots as well, based on the accepted definition in our culture of an African American, he certainly qualifies. If you are aware of any previous general that would also fit into this category then please make note of it, otherwise it appears to be accurate. Learn together 08:49, 15 October 2008 (EDT)
I just think we should apply the same standard to both articles. I also think that a man's achievements (or lack thereof, in the case of Obama) are more important than his skin color. Finally, if we can't be sure if any of the Presidents was black, we certainly can't be sure about the much larger number of more obscure generals. BHarlan 12:06, 15 October 2008 (EDT)
Being "black" is more about superficial characteristics than about "blood quanta". It's about shared experiences of being looked at as "other" as "worse"; it's about the shared experience of being called a N***er, spat upon for your skin color. It's about not being able to ride a bus or drink from a fountain based on what people can *see*, not based on what someone might find if they look really hard into your geology. In that context, Powell, followed by Ms. Rice are certainly black, certainly distinct from other "white" politicians who did not have as hard a path. Ms. Rice is from Denver, and I have heard her lecture on what it was like to grow up Black here. I think it is a valuable comment, though it may not need to be the first or second comment on any biography - the color of her skin shaped who Ms. Rice is, and made her one of the strongest women in America. (I wish McCain had chosen her. She would have set this world on FIRE! - can I make personal comments like that? or is that not appropriate?)--JeanJacques 11:16, 20 October 2008 (EDT)
Colin Powell is known as being an African American as both of his parents come from Jamaica. Barack Obama is known to be the product of a bi-racial marriage. It was in part Powell's "blackness" and acceptance as military leader by Americans of all hues that was noteworthy. It showed not only a change in who could reach the highest levels of importance, but a change in the cultural attitudes of the country at large. To not make mention of this, when Powell himself does, would be to sidestep an important part of the full picture. Learn together 14:12, 21 October 2008 (EDT)
How is this not the same answer on the Obama page? The only difference is biracial-ness, which I think is overcome by the fact that Obama is darker and running for a higher office.
Character is more important than race. BHarlan 15:17, 21 October 2008 (EDT)
It's not an either/or. In our society today, there are certain elements of race and its impact that are still considered noteworthy. That does not remove character. And yes, having a mother who is lilly white does get Obama treated separately as he is obviously not just black and to refer to him only as black and not bi-racial would be inaccurate -- although I myself seldom look at that article. Blackness is mentioned for Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., and for Clarence Thomas, as well as many others where such factors have had significant meaning. Colin Powell is one of those people. Learn together 15:40, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

People who have experienced racism/Affirmative Action first hand will tell you that the possibility of partially lily-white ancestry is not first checked. BHarlan 15:50, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

Also, there has been no discussion about how we could possibly not know that Obama is the first while knowing for certain that Powell is the first. BHarlan 15:57, 21 October 2008 (EDT)

I was trying to help here. I think we should work towards a color-blind society. If you are not willing to discuss edits on the talk page before reverting them, and without answering my efforts to move towards Truth, then I think I have done all I can here. I know you are editing in good faith, but I have unwatched this page.

May God bless you, and may God bless this article. BHarlan 16:38, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

There may come a time in the future when talk of pigmentation is no more important than talk of right or left-handedness, but that is not today. Powell is recognized as the first black person to achieve the position that he held and that is considered to be an important point. The only reason to remove it would be lack of accuracy in the statement itself, but, barring that, it should stand. Learn together 17:13, 23 October 2008 (EDT)