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Essaibi George tells the Globe she is too a person of color so they can just get stuffed

In a story the other day, the Globe noted just how diverse this year's major mayoral candidates are, i.e., not a single white guy in the bunch. But the story included this bit about Annissa Essaibi George:

Some residents have raised questions about her identity.

“People tend to be a person of color when it’s convenient,’' said Jacquetta Van Zandt to the councilor on Van Zandt’s Politics and Proseccopodcast [sic] during Black History Month. “How do you identify? And how do you show up in the world?”

How dare the Globe quote somebody saying something like that, Essaibi George thunders today.

Since the Boston Globe has determined that I do not meet their self-established definition of a person of color, and reported that "some" are questioning who I am and how I show up, let me summarize: I'm a proud first generation Arab-Polish American and identify as a woman of color.

She continues that identifying as a person of color "does not mean I equate my life with, or discount, the struggles of other races and ethnicities. I'm open about how people project an identity of their choosing onto me - and that can be both a privilege and a burden." And while the Globe will be tut-tutting, she'll be out on the streets "as my authentic self," learning from Bostonians and leading the city forward.

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Comments

Go get em!!

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Voting closed 79

I am watching the Jamaica Plain People's Front trying to outdo the People's Front of Jamaica Plain below on who has got the most POC street cred.

High comedy writ large.

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Hummus Gang 4 life my friend

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Watching Eiresatz Internet Tough Guy complain about parodies is even higher comedy.

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So, in a round of discussion on whether someone is POC or not, you categorize me owing to my ethnic origin? You are not a well person and I guess a racist.

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or fake

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It was a word coined by a writer at the Globe about 25 years ago to make fun of Irish Americans who think they know a lot about Ireland because their great grandmother was from County Mayo.

Think people who think the Quiet Man is a documentary and that Lucky Charms is produced in a bog in Westmeath or guys with Notre Dame tattoos who couldn't get into Massasoit.

Swrils was making fun of my heritage and a place I have been to more than I have been to Hartford. It is a fairly scummy thing to do.

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Voting closed 21

I assume eiresatz is pronounced the same/similar to ersatz? If so, that's a useful nuanced thing to keep in mind, in case I find myself in a similar bind.

Google wasn't helpful, but the link to the Hartford Courant (byline MA Turner) [had to read a cached version] used it like an Irish sell-out. So this word with German roots is nearly a slur for the Irish? Not used to learning stuff from the Uhub comments, thanks

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Double Post

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Got any nasty comments about Jews or Arabs in your repertoire, too?

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This is the same person who, just two weeks ago, voted against a bill suggesting that cops should maybe give a warning before they tear gas and shoot ‘non-lethal’ rounds into a crowd.

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Voting closed 38

Arabs are white according to the US Census.
Add to that she's half white.
Add to that's she appears white.
Add to that she panders to a white voting base.
Add to that she lives in a white area with a white spouse.

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Arabs are white without the privilege of being white.

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2020/1/24/elsayed-whiteness-without-p...

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But anyway..you think Annissa has no white privilege? I don't buy that at all. She looks white and until recently-presents as white. She's only half Arab and if she didn't tell us, we wouldn't know.

In the 'Boston of yore' shed probably identify as 'Annie George of Dorchester'. Now that it's advantageous to be POC there different methods of presenting oneself...These are things POC understand well-which is why Jessica Van Zandt, and Meghan Irons, and myself are saying it.

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Voting closed 27

Middle eastern immigrants have a long history of being forced to assimilate and not embrace their culture after migrating to the states . Such as changing their Arabic sounding names similar to what east Asians did.

Sorry that you feel you’re a gatekeeper of sorts

Diversity is a palate of colors not just black and white

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Voting closed 65

of a man born in Africa, but not African enough. Continental drift takes a really really long time. Your target seems to move as you see fit. Would you be more comfortable saying her father has roots in Gondwanaland? My family is originally from Pangea.

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According to her website and other online sources, her father is from Tunisia. Tunisia is in Africa. Where is the ambiguity?

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South Africa is in Africa. Where is the ambiguity?

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Mozambique is in Africa. Where's the ambiguity?

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Hugo Weaving.

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The woman who wrote the opinion legalizing same sex marriage in Massachusetts is from South Africa.

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n/t.

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There's a lot that's truly disgusting above.

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Ah, or could it be that some people are more POC than others? It's complicated.

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Nowadays, more and more people here in the United States are bi-racial, or of mixed races--whatever one might care to call it.

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How to label a person who is not quite a POC? Person of Tint?

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"Add to that she lives in a white area with a white spouse."

So, to be a person of color, you have to live in person of color area and have a person of color spouse? Can there be any white people in that area? Can the spouse have any white blood?

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Voting closed 78

For 1-shes technically and legally WHITE, despite what she's selling.

For 2-theres something called culture shes culturally in white spaces, affirming her whiteness.

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There is no legal definition of who is what race. No "technical" definition either.

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I guess we just make up demographic data on the fly?

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They are asking how you personally identity. There is no wrong answer.

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David Ortiz.

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Ah, yes, the premiere source on race in America - the US Census.

Also, Arabs range from blonde hair and blue eyes to quite dark skin. She looks pretty Arab to me. Maybe try learning what actual arabs look like first.

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Would Jon Santiago be a white candidate, as "Hispanic" is not considered by the Census Bureau to be a race?

And I hate to get into what Cape Verdeans do when they get that Census form, but check out the large number of "other" found in Brockton. Would this affect how people view John Barros' place in the all important race debate?

On your last point, does living with a white spouse in a white area mean that Michelle Wu has somehow become white?

Or we could just look at these candidates on their merits, and probably elect Kim Janey because, well, that's the Menino origin story.

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Perhaps I have been living under a rock for the last few decades, but I thought the Boston mayoral election was all about finishing in the top two in the preliminary election so that you could advance to the November ballot.

Wouldn't the best strategy for finishing in the top two be to be characterized as different in some way from the other candidates?

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The Globe quoted, by name, someone who questioned the candidate's background. There's nothing inappropriate about that. I don't care how she "identifies," but I'm not going to support someone who either can't comprehend a news article or is comfortable lying about its content.

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Voting closed 49

Here's the thing... her Father is from Tunisia... Tunisia is in Africa
What is all this emphasis on "He's an Arab" and I think I can hear some of you saying A-rab... SMH.
In my book her Father is an African. We come in all shades, hair textures, languages, religions and cultures... this American and particularly Boston small town flat world view is telling.

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I mean, as long as we're getting distracted by things that are beside the point.

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Plays in the African Cup of Nations with Egypt.

Plays against Sadio Mane from Senegal.

Yet both are on the same team in Liverpool.

Makes you think.

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Red!

Same with Mane.

Same with Becker.

Same with Alexander-Arnold.

Same with Shaquiri.

Same with the whole squad.

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whether you like it or not. So is Morocco. So is Libya. So is Tunisia. So is South Africa. If someone comes from these counties, they are African. If you want to talk color or people, then talk color. But if you are talking about continents or countries, many nations and lot of different looking people are from Africa.

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Egypt is mostly a part of Africa. Sinai looks like it should be considered part of Asia. And the occupied territories which formerly were known as part of Egypt, now look like they should be considered part of New York City.

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Arab-Polish-bootlicker.

I just hope that she never identifies as "mayor."

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Regardless of how you identify, how you are treated in the world is based on how others perceive you. Nobody would look at her and think she was anything but white and she would be granted all the benefits of “white privelidge. “ She is trying to have it both ways.

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She can benefit from white privilege in some cases and yet still be discriminated against in others.

Speaking from personal experience as a white guy who grew up with a different religion than most people: There are haters everywhere and you can be discriminated against, even bullied, because of who you are, no matter how pale your skin and they will never accept you. I think that's what she was trying to say in that statement, not that she's trying to pretend she's lived the same life as a Campbell or Janey.

Now, as somebody mentioned above, being so thin skinned she's blasting the Globe for reporting what some people in the community are saying, that's another matter.

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Your “race is your face” though. It’s not how you identify. You can identify as a minority and still be “white” example, white Latinx folk. You can’t just say you are a person of color when the world sees you as white but you can identify as part of an ethnic minority

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There are literally millennia of history of discrimination against white people who are Jewish. A century ago, plenty of "white" people faced discrimination because they were Irish or Italian.

Even today, anti-Semitism remains a problem, and Arabs face discrimination for being perceived as being Muslim.

And can we stop with the cultural appropriation which is inherent in the word "Latinx?"

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Speaking from personal experience as a white guy who grew up with a different religion than most people: There are haters everywhere and you can be discriminated against

That's intersectionality for you, babey! The point here is that she doesn't experience racism. Not all discrimination is racism! (even anti-Semitism isn't racism, it's it's own complicated, nasty beast) She (and you) can have people biased against her for tons of things, some totally unreasonable and even some other forms of -isms, but her claiming she is SOOO POC as some way to claim she experiences racism is wrong, because until now everything about her presentation was white as fuq.

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OK, I'll grant you antisemitism isn't the same exact thing as racism, although when you get down to them being, basically, hatred of the other, it's not really any different. Telling Ayanna Pressley to go back where she came from (and they don't mean Chicago) is pretty darn similar to telling Jews to shut up and support Republicans because Republicans supposedly support the Jews' homeland (with the implication being if you don't support Republicans, you can go back to Israel, and never mind the vast majority of Jews in the US are Americans, not Israelis).

because until now everything about her presentation was white as fuq.

She's been calling herself a person of color for awhile now (it came up two years ago, after Mejia and Arroyo won seats and suddenly the council had a non-white majority, if you included her). I admit I haven't followed her closely enough to know how that plays out, but it's not new; it's just nobody seemed to get exercised over it until now.

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What do you think when you see her name in print?

Annissa , have never in my life heard it before. I do not even know how to pronounce it. It is Arabic and Latin American combined according to what I can find. Surely not a traditional name from England.

Essaibi , another name I have never seen in my life and seems to not be very present online.

I do not see her presenting as a traditional European based person at all based off of her names. I highly doubt she would have been a contender in the 80's for traditional white Bostonian of the year.

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Just curious what a “traditional European person” presents as...?

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I already decided a long time ago based on her views on rent control and now street safety that I don’t want her as mayor.

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My favorite Hollywood director Spike Lee 's movie School Daze debated the advantages that light skinned black girls have over dark skinned black girls. There is a fixation in American politics surrounding the color of ones skin. Whats next on the agenda which female candidate has the best hair? I am more concerned about whether Spike Lee's movie "Do the Right Thing" will have a repeat performance in the streets of Boston this summer.

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There is some crazy identity crap going on right now in this race but everyone is acting like the frat pledges; all chained together and looking down. No one is looking up.

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I didn't know who she was, so I googled her. White woman.

Anyway, have we forgotten Dr. King's dream that we all be judged by our character and not the color of our skin?

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This is not the hill to die on in terms of criticizing Essaibi George. Do not be one of these people. Plenty of substantive positions she holds you can criticize her for.

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She will pander to the real estate developers just like Marty did, perhaps even more so.

If you doubt me, ask AE-G what her husband does for a living (real estate developer)? If you really want to stir the pot, ask her husband how AE-G's election to the city council has been for his business.

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about whiteness as a construct, how groups "become white", how people self-identify and how the media should report on these identities.

But I don't think that kind of nuance is going to happen either from the Boston Globe or the UHub comments section.

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...will probably cover it on Beat the Press this week.

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What matters is: what would she do for Boston, and its neighborhoods ('of color' and otherwise)? What sort of executive experience, if any, does she bring to the job?

[Disclaimer: I don't live in Boston and don't vote there. We have our own mayoral free-for-all about to begin here in Somerville.]

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it’s just that we’re talking about the most tedious part - whether or not she’s actually a person of color.

otoh, i think it’s fairly notable that a candidate for mayor of a majority-minority city appears to be using the term PoC for political gain.

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The current Congressperson representing most of Boston had few policy differences with the incumbent she defeated in the primary in 2018. The key difference she herself identified was "lived experience" -- and that boils down to being a woman of color.

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about Rep. Pressley’s race, is there?

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But the point was whether it's notable that a political candidate in Boston uses being a "person of color" for political gain.

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i don’t know that a comparison on the basis of each candidate having used the same words is a good one

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I dislike the term because it is innately divisive. The definition is for the most part anyone not - I'll dispense with quotes, white. In other words, non-white distinct from white. The term assumes that the experiences of all non-whites share a fundamental attribute that whites can not share.

I believe that using the term race is affirms the lie that there are human races. There are not. Race is not real (the action if bigotry against others due to appearances however and obviously is very real and deadly).

People of color results in a similar problem. It is a term that assumes that there are commonalities among anyone non-white which can categorize non-whites (POCs) as a category versus whites. To use Biblical language the way it that language can be a knife that cuts, this non-white versus white conceptualizing is black and white thinking.

A white man who comes across as, to use another problematic term, effeminate, will be treated differently from a white man or woman who comes across as "normal." Are white trans folks also POC? Given the laws passed to oppress trans folks that is beyond the covert laws passed today to oppress anyone who doesn't vote in the local legislator's preferred direction.

In southerns states, until a few decades ago, a person with 1/32 of African heritage was black for legal considerations.

Same point has been made about Jews (there are plenty of anti-Jew people of all skin tones), Italians and Irish in the early part of the 20th (hard to be more white than Irish), German-Americans during WW1 and 2.

It is easier to just say white and POC. But choosing simplistic language creates its own myths about what human beings are and what promotes bigotry by any given group (of whatever definition) against another.

When people wanting to cause harm - like bigots - control language they also control the narrative and the messages and beliefs that are subtly passed along to each other.

To extend George Orwell's observation, language of the past can control the language of the future. Language of the present controls the language of the past.

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The term assumes that the experiences of all non-whites share a fundamental attribute that whites can not share.

Yes, they all experience racism through white supremacism. That's why the term is the one used in discussion about white people and our bullshit, whereas, for example, if the discussion was about AAPI vs Black experience, you would use those specific terms, because the overall shared experience of caucasity is no longer involved..

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How has nobody pointed out that she has been calling herself a POC for years. She was sitting on panels after she was elected she sat on panels celebrating with the other female politicians that it was amazing so many of them were POC. Women POC for that matter. Nobody said anything at the time. None of her colleagues said anything. None of the papers. When she was not a political threat it was fine but now it is not? This sudden whisper campaign for someone who has for years been walking this walk seems weird to me.

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More than one thing can be true at the same time, for example:

  1. It would be a good thing for the demographic makeup of our elected government to more accurately reflect the makeup of our city, and
  2. Identity politics suck.
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This discussion is awful. Identity politics is awful, and any candidate who spends more than a cursory moment touting their skin color becomes less likely to get my vote.

Can we please focus on issues? Professional and relevant experience? Content of character?

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Candidates? Skin color has been the focus of the media.

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