Of Racists, Bigots, and Identity Politics

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

Did I ever tell you that my great-great-great-great-great-great gramma was an Indian princess? No?

Let me ask you, what percentage “White” are you? And you “Blackness”? What percentage African-American are you?

On October 17, 2018, I logged into my Ancestry.com account and was met with an update:

Ireland and Scotland 71%
Increased by 9%
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 17%
Increased by 13%
Eastern Europe and Russia 6%
Refined from:
Europe East 12%
Refined from:
Scandinavia 13%
The Baltic States 2%
Refined from:
Europe East 12%
European Jewish1%
Decreased by 2%


Woe! What happened?!?!?! Am I still “me”?

A pretty dumb question, isn’t it? Of course, I’m still me, right? I’m a product of my DNA, yes, but I just received my DNA results last year, and already the science has changed and revised the analysis. What’s more, there are numerous articles and lived experiences of that have shown differing results from Ancestry, 23andMe, and others. Go ahead, google “ancestry and 23andme different results” and be astounded.

I am a construct of my nurture, more than my nature. My mother said I’m Hungarian and English, so that’s how I’ve viewed myself. My dad says his side is a 100% Irish, so that’s how I’ve viewed myself. I believe I’m Irish, Hungarian, and English. And, as such, because I have an Irish surname, and grew up in a part of the country with a high Irish population, I have self-identified as Irish. And, yes, that is for both personal and social gain. Do I really want to go around telling people that I’m Hungarian and that my Hungarian surname is “Naczi”?

So, to the geriatric mumbling man that stopped me at the end of my presentation today, and told me that I should be ashamed of my self, I say to you, what percentage White-American are you? In my presentation, I said that Elizabeth Warren was 1/32 or something Native American and that it really didn’t matter because -before contact with Europeans, Native Americans did not define tribal membership by blood percentages, but by lived experiences. Some of the great Oglalas were not actually Oglala. All of this was lost on my aging white male critic. Why? Perhaps because the President of the United States tweeted and spoke about how ‘Pocahontas’ is only 1/1000th Native American? Because, My White Male friend, gets to determine the ethnic and racial identity of others? Isn’t that what Plessy v Ferguson was about? Go ahead, google “Homer Plessy” and tell me that he’s “Black”? Dear geriatric vanilla White Male who told me that I should be ashamed of myself, tell me, did you too believe as the White Jeffersons did, that there were no Black Jeffersons? What is this really about? What is the fear from?

President Nixon went to Ireland, and as Ireland does for any US President, the Office of Genealogy searched and searched but couldn’t find a connection to the Milhouse family that Nixon said was Irish, did geriatric WHite male then tell Nixon he could no longer call himself Irish?

Barack Obama, too Black, or not White enough? Born in Hawaii? Really, he doesn’t LOOK “American” – Let’s see his birth certificate! (So says the same man who questions Elizabeth Warren’s claim of being Native American.) And, it doesn’t matter, really, does it? What matters is what/who we think we are…  for better or worse…

Wait! But Elizabeth Warren used her claim to get a job!! Really? And, if I humored Angry White Male in this regard, how is that different from any other bloated resume like, say, I’m a self-made millionaire…. but I won’t show you the DNA of my taxes…

Why, why, are assimilated Europeans trying to compartmentalize and determine the racial and ethnic identities of others?

Warren is not Native American enough, but Brack Obama is too Black.

What percentage of whatever you say you are, are you really?

Don’t take my identity from me because you don’t understand Identity Construction, don’t take others’ away because you are an aging vanilla Caucasian who doesn’t even know what you are. Don’t tell me to be ashamed of myself; go to Charlottesville and join your needy, wanting, angry folks who have lost their identity and hide behind jingoistic labels of I’m an ‘American’. Join your watered down club of Johnsons, Smiths, and Joneses… There are no O’Reilly’s or Jaworski’s at United the Right rallies. Because you don’t know who you are, don’t judge those who have an identity. And, if you don’t think someone else is Black enough, or White enough, or Native enough, go ahead and join the KKK, Church of the Creator, or other sectarian organization, and stop claiming to be an American. Because that is not America. American is not, and has never been a White Nation. The hypocrisy of arguing to Make America Great Again, while undervaluing the diversity that has made America great, will forever doom you to the shadows of history, you, you, my geriatric old friend should be ashamed of yourself. I am a proud American, a proud Irish_American whether I be 62, or 71%, a proud Hungarian_American, whether I be 25%,  or 12%….

For fun:

Web results (Google | 10/17/2018 | 5:41 PM:

What to Make of Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test – The Atlantic

14 hours ago – After receiving a direct challenge from President Donald Trump to prove her Native American ancestry by submitting to a DNA test, Senator …

Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test: why the Cherokee Nation is mad about …

1 day ago – Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) release of a DNA test she took that “strongly” suggested she had Native American heritage has rankled the …

Elizabeth Warren: Cherokee Nation responds to DNA test – The …

1 day ago – Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s release of a DNA test that suggested a lineage to a distant Native American ancestor has roiled the Cherokee Nation …

Kelly Hayes and Jacqueline Keeler: Elizabeth Warren connected DNA …

6 hours ago – Elizabeth Warren DNA test: Hitting back at Trump’s racism, Warren connected DNA and Native American heritage. Here’s why that’s destructive …

Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test with ‘strong evidence’ of Native …

2 days ago – Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released the results of a DNA analysis showing she has distant Native American ancestry, in an apparent attempt to …

Elizabeth Warren might have actually made things worse with her …

16 hours ago – “Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed,” tweeted Trump. “She took a bogus DNA test …

Elizabeth Warren Falls for Trump’s Trap—and Promotes Insidious …

By releasing a genetic test, Elizabeth Warren has allowed herself to be … to the video, Warren posted a geneticist’s report on her DNA test.

Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test: why so many Native Americans are …

On Monday afternoon, after a half day of debate over Elizabeth Warren’sannouncement (with a campaign-style video) that she had taken a …

John McCain, Martyr

Martyr. Yes, that’s what I said. John McCain was a martyr. Often defined as “a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs,” John McCain was a martyr. McCain died for America, representing nearly all Americans, and inviting us all to be Americans. As Jake Tapper said today, “Washington needs McCain more than ever.” Indeed, McCain (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018) is what America needs at this point in time.

In death, we are often absolved of our sins. Was John McCain perfect, no. Certainly not. And neither am I. McCain’s own epitaph about himself was: “He served his country. And not always right, made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors. But served his country. And I hope, could add, honorably.”

McCain, well-known as a prisoner-of-war during the Vietnam Conflict, dated while married to another woman. Later, McCain became embroiled in the Keating Five scandal. I mention this not as a mark against his integrity, but as an acknowledgment of his humanity. What good is a perfect man in this world of imperfection? The world needs real role models, not characters of fantastical storyland.

McCain resurrected himself as “The Maverick” of the Straight Talk Express in the 2000 Election. Losing to George W. Bush in the Republican primary for President of the United States, McCain returned to the U.S. Senate as an elder statesman of the party, and of the Senate. In 2008, the loyal party member tried again for the presidency.

McCain was magnanimous. He was the definition of magnanimous. Yes, as Carla Herreria pointed out, the campaign offered mixed signals and, ultimately, that is the responsibility of the top-of-the-ticket. But, in light of the partisan maelstrom since 1988, McCain’s campaign stands out as different. On October 10, 2008, McCain defended, not Barrack Obama, but America. Herreria correctly points out McCain could have done more, but he did more than any other candidate did. We can all do more. Always.

My own John McCain story is that he almost knocked me over in a narrow hallway beneath the capital. It was 1994, and I was an intern for Jack Reed in the House of Representatives. I was taking a shortcut by going down into the deep basements with no tourists to then get to the other side of the capital and up the staircase to the Senate. There was a filing cabinet in the hallway as maintenance was cleaning out one of the small offices. Senator McCain and I were the same distance from the gap and walking about at the same pace. Neither one of us slowed down so we hit the gap at the same time and then banged shoulders without saying a word to each other.

I’m pretty sure that I could have done more. I’m pretty sure I could have stepped out of the way of a Vietnam war veteran, former Prisoner-of-War, and Member of Congress.

There is a reason that U.S. Senator John Sidney McCain (R-AZ) has asked U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. President Barrack H. Obama to eulogize him. McCain gracefully lost elections to both men, yet served loyally despite his personal defeat. McCain put country over politics.

When Max Boot, Jake Tapper, and others across the political spectrum too eulogize McCain, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that McCain is remembered in the vacuum of history. No, we all know that McCain is being remembered within the context of Donald J. Trump. Lloyd Benson may have been speaking to Dan Quayle, but the words are just as applicable to President Trump: “I knew John McCain. John McCain was my friend. Mr. President, you’re no John McCain.”

Few of us will ever be a John McCain.

As diehard supporters of Donald Trump have echoed about McCain, McCain was just a P.O.W.; Trump likes “people who weren’t captured” (July 18, 2015). On Obamacare, McCain will always be remembered, derisively or heroically, as the vote that saved the Affordable Care Act. The Maverick had struck again.

But he wasn’t finished. In his autobiography, McCain lamented choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. McCain was always better than the low-brow, crowd-pleasing photogenic Governor of Alaska. The Maverick had struck again.

And, none of that matters.

What matters is that Cindy McCain has lost a husband. Douglas McCain, Andrew McCain, Sidney McCain, Meghan McCain, John Sidney McCain IV, James McCain, and Bridget McCain have lost a father. That’s what matters. Our country lost a leader, a rare independent voice these days, but who are we to steal a parent from his children.

McCain matters. He will be missed as Max Boot, and so many others have mentioned. But when we remember McCain, I think it is more a rejection of Trumpism, than an embracement of the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona.

Country first.

Rest in Peace, Senator McCain.


(Photo Credit: https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/iconic-photos-of-john-mccain-through-the-years.html/)

Other Related Links:


Ron Robert and RI Sports

Hello! And Welcome to this Day in Today

Today’s theme is going to be on Rhode Island sports history, specifically, the weekly sports show Lil Rhody Sports Show on 89.9 The Juice every Saturday from 10 to Noon. I want to shout-out and thank Ron Robert and his co-host Eric “E” Levy for taking my call today and allowing me part of the show. We talked a little bit about this week in RI sports history, but I want to go back and look at the previous week as well as the upcoming week in RI sports history…

Earlier this week, June 3, 2018, Chris Iannetta went 0-4 against the Dodgers at Coors Field. I know that because I watched the game! Two Rhode Islanders at the game, though I think Chris had better seats! Iannetta was born, April 8, 1983, in Providence, Rhode Island, and named Christopher Domenic Iannetta. He went to St. Ann’s School in Providence, Rhode Island, and attended St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He played in college for the North Carolina Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He previously played for the Rockies, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Seattle Mariners, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Currently, Iannetta is an American professional baseball catcher for the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball (MLB).


Also this week, on, June 5, 1987, Cody Wild was born in Limestone, Maine, however, he grew up in North Providence, Rhode Island. He attended LaSalle Academy and graduated from North Providence High School. Wild was selected in the 5th Round (140th overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Wild played college hockey for three years for the Providence College Friars until he left after his junior season to sign with Edmonton Oilers. He last played in the 2015 season for the Nottingham Panthers in the UK.


But the best story this week is that on this day, June 7, 1884, Providence Grays Pitcher Charlie Sweeney struck out 19 batters in a nine-inning game, a record that would stand until broken by Red Sox Pitcher Roger Clemens 102 years later. He is also quite famous for the rivalry with fellow Gray pitcher, and future Hall of Famer, Old Hoss Radbourn.


On this day, June 8, 1939, the Sakonnet Yacht Club was formed as a Rhode Island non-business corporation. Of course, Rhode Islanders have been sailing Narragansett Bay for hundreds of years before that, especially those little schooners that, on this day, 246 years ago, June 9, 1772, the disgruntled people of Warwick burned the Gaspée off the coast of Warwick, Rhode Island.

Looking ahead this week

On this day, June 10, 1923, Howard Shannon was born in Manhattan, Kansas. Shannon (June 10, 1923 – August 16, 1995) was an American basketball player and coach. Shannon was the first overall pick in the 1949 BAA Draft, selected by the Providence Steamrollers. Shannon averaged 13.4 points per game during the 1948–49 BAA season and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.


On this day, June 12, 1969, Mathieu Schneider was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York. He lived with his family in West New York, New Jersey until moving to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, for his high school years. In Woonsocket, Schneider attended high school at Mount Saint Charles Academy. Under coach Bill Belisle, Schneider and his team won three of the school’s 26 straight Rhode Island state hockey championships. Schneider left Mount Saint Charles after his junior year and joined the Cornwall Royals of the Ontario Hockey League. Later, he was drafted in 1987 by the Canadiens and won the Stanley Cup with the team in 1993. He was also a member of the 1996 World Cup champion Team USA squad.


On this day, June 13, 1999, the Providence Bruins defeated the Rochester Americans four games to one to win the first Calder Cup in team history.


On this day, June 17, 1880, John Montgomery Ward pitched the second perfect game in MLB history.


On this day, June 12, 1987, The Witches of Eastwick was released. The Witches of Eastwick is a 1987 American comedy-fantasy film based on John Updike’s novel The Witches of Eastwick (1984). The film stars Jack Nicholson, alongside Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Susan Sarandon as the eponymous witches.


On this day, June 15, 1775, the United States Continental Navy acquired the USS Providence sloop. Originally chartered by the Rhode Island General Assembly as Katy, the ship took part in a number of campaigns during the first half of The American Revolutionary War. It was destroyed by her own crew in 1779 to prevent her falling into the hands of the British after the failed Penobscot Expedition.


On this day, June 16, 2010, Deer Tick made their network television debut on the Late Show with David Letterman. Deer Tick perform a song from their debut album, “Baltimore Blues No. 1.” Deer Tick is an American alternative rock band from Providence, Rhode Island composed of singer-songwriter John J. McCauley, guitarist Ian O’Neil, bassist Chris Ryan and drummer Dennis Ryan. John McCauley is the son of former RI State Representative John J. McCauley, Jr., is also the husband of singer Vanessa Carlton; the two were married on December 27, 2013, in a ceremony officiated by none other than Stevie Nicks.

Olivia Culpo, Kim Zandy, and President Truman!!!

Welcome to This Day in Today,

My name is Tom Keefe, and I’m the Babbling Professor!

~May 8~

Image result for olivia culpo miss rhode

On this day, May 8, 1992, Olivia Frances Culpo was born in Cranston, Rhode Island. Culpo is an American actress, model, television presenter, cellist and beauty queen who won the Miss USA 2012 pageant, representing her home state of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations. She previously won the 2012 Miss Rhode Island USA competition, which was the first pageant she had ever entered. Crowned Miss Universe 2012 in Las Vegas, she is the first winner from the USA to obtain the crown since Brook Lee in 1997.


Image result for kim zandy 92PROFM

On this day, May 8, 1968, Kim Zandy was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. After attending West Chester East High School, Zandy attended Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio. While her first radio job was with WNCI 97.9 in Columbus, Ohio, in 1991, she upgraded in 1999, Zandy joined 92WPRO FM in Providence, Rhode Island, as part of the “Gio and Kim” morning show. On September 13, 2016, Zandy was featured on Patrice Wood’s “Tuesday’s Child.” Tuesday’s Child” is a reoccurring special segment on WJAR TV which spotlights adoption in Rhode Island. As Patrice Woods said, “Zandy is loved by her fans, [but] it’s nothing compared to the adoration of 3-year-old Julian and 1-and-a-half-year-old Ariannah, who she fostered through the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, and has now adopted as a single mom.”


Image result for Truman

Finally, on this day, May 8, 1884, Harry S Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, U.S. of A. I’ll spare you all my rendition of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday Mr. President.”  But, come on! May 8, 1884, to December 26, 1972, now that’s quite a life.  A very distinguished life, as well.  Fighting political corruption, V-E Day (on his birthday no less!), The Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine, creation of NATO, creation of the United Nations, the integration of the military, recognition of Israel, the Berlin Airlift, the defense of Taiwan, the defense of South Korea, firing of General MacArthur, renovation of the White House, the firing of Attorney-General McGrath, and most importantly, the response to Paul Hume’s criticism of your daughter Margaret back in December 1950. And the scathing letter he later received from her father, President Harry S. Truman. Truman called Hume “an eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.” He further told him:

“It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you’re off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work. Someday I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

While Truman was criticized by many for the letter, he pointed out that he wrote it as a loving father and not as the president. A very distinguished life.  I have to confess, I can relate. After all Mr. President, you were born on May 8th, 1884, my great grandfather HR was born on the same day,  and of course, I was born, this day 1973, and MY daughter, Grace, was born this day, 2002. I applaud your defense of your daughter… Happy birthday to Olivia Culpo, Kim Zandy, you M.r President, and my great-grandfather as well as my special, special little girl. Happy 16th Grace, I love you,



That’s all for today’s segment of This Day in Today, and remember,

Today’s Tomorrow’s yesterday.

Thank you for listening!

May 3, 1920 ~ Ireland

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On this day, May 3, 1920, the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Ireland passed The Government of Ireland Act (1920), dividing Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

Pre-Tudor Ireland, going back to the invasion by Strongbow, may have been nominally part of the English crown, but it was more of a self-governing afterthought. But after Henry VIII had to deal with a rebellion by his cousin, Thomas FitzGerald, the crown decided to pay more attention to Ireland. This “attention” was further exacerbated as the Tudors and England renounced Roman Catholicism; Irish nationalism and religion became intertwined. Making things worse, the Stuart King James rewarded Scottish Presbyterians from Scotland with confiscated lands in Ireland… The Plantation of Ulster, the idea was to at the same time, quell Irish Catholics in Ulster…. A brilliant win-win solution, that became lose-lose for generations of Ulstermen of both heritages.

Two-hundred years of Irish Catholic repression under the Penal Laws, but finally repealed under the leadership of Daniel O’Connell in the mid-nineteenth century. Renewed Irish nationalism and rising political demands by the Green Irish Catholic Gaelics, seemed like a threat, not in the South, but in the industrialized North where Orangemen had tremendous social privilege and wealth at state.

As the cry for Home rule got louder, the Orange Lodges got louder to in their insistence to remain an integrated part of Britain. The House of Lords vetoed home rule twice and then lost their right to veto; the third home rule bill and the home rule crisis, then WWI and broken promises… the Easter Rising, the unnecessary execution of a man, tied to a chair, with a broken ankle…. Finally, on this day, May 3, 1920, the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland passed The Government of Ireland Act (1920), dividing Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

The Act was intended to establish separate Home Rule institutions within two new subdivisions of Ireland: the six north-eastern counties were to form “Northern Ireland,” while the larger part of the country was to form “Southern Ireland.”  Both areas of Ireland were to continue as a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and provision was made for their future reunification under common Home Rule institutions.

Home Rule never took effect in Southern Ireland, due to the Irish War of Independence, which resulted instead in the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the establishment in 1922 of the Irish Free State.  However, the institutions set up under this Act for Northern Ireland continued to function until they were suspended by the British parliament in 1972 as a consequence of The Troubles. The remaining provisions of the Act were actually still in force in Northern Ireland until the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Yes, Home Rule is finally complete for both the southern Republic of Ireland and, somewhat begrudgingly in the northeastern 6 counties of Ulster. The Northern Ireland government has been suspended several times in the past twenty years. The fourth North Ireland Executive collapse in 2017 over the Cash for Ash Scandal.

Without a devolved Home Rule government of their own, Northern Ireland is managed from London, but there is peace. Not perfect peace, but peace none-the-less.

While on this day, May 3, 1920, the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland passed The Government of Ireland Act (1920), dividing Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, it is now Northern Ireland that wants to continue its relationship with the Republic Ireland in the fallout of the Brexit vote. Ireland, one small island in the North Atlantic only the size of the US State of Indiana, but with a long history of division and disproportionate drama.


That’s all for today’s segment of This Day in Today, and remember,

Today’s Tomorrow’s yesterday.


Thank you for listening!

April 30th ~ Bishop Geralyn Wolf

Welcome to This Day in Today,

My name is Tom Keefe, and I’m the Babbling Professor!


On this day, April 30, 1947, Geralyn Wolf was born Brooklyn. Later raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Wolf became a priest in the Episcopal church and later the first female dean of a cathedral in the United States; Wolf was Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in the Diocese of Kentucky. Later She was elected Bishop of RI in 1995, where she served for 17 years. She is the author of Down and Out in Providence: Memoir of a Homeless Bishop (2005). The book is a recollection of Wolf’s experiences when she took a sabbatical and lived as a homeless woman named “Aly” on the streets.