The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, November 10, 2008

The meaning of Barack Obama's election.

Barack Obama is the President-elect of the United States. He shall be the first black President in the history of the United States. What does this mean for the question of race in the United States?

Well, everyone is saying that it means that America is no longer racist - but it is by no means so clear. You see, America is not what it used to be. More precisely, America is not as white as it used to be. Caucasians in America are on the decline and the "minority" races are on the rise. This colours the interpretation of what this particular election means, racially.

Wikipedia supplies data on the demographics of the US in 2006. At this time, 66% of Americans were non-Hispanic Whites; 14.8 % were Hispanic or Latin American; 13.4% were Black; some other race alone 6.5%; Asian alone 4.4%; two or more races 2.0%; American Indian or Alaskan native 0.68%; Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 0.14%. The figures don't add up to 100% exactly because Hispanics are being counted twice across all the races.

What can be seen from this is that America is very racially diverse and that the minority races are in very significant numbers. Indeed, in August 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau predicted that, by 2042, that non-Hispanic Whites would be in the minority, in the US.

Barack Obama won the election. However, this does not mean that racism is entirely on the wane in the USA. It could mean that whites (the expected origin of anti-black racism) are on the wane. There is still likely to be remnant anti-Black racism among some whites (the racist cries at Palin rallies is enough to indicate this), however this was overwhelmed by the weight of minorities voting for another minority. Racism is admittedly less of an issue in the USA than it used to be - but just because Obama won, that does not mean that racism is at an end.

Everyone is amazed at the election of a Black President. I am not so amazed myself. The changing demographics in the US have almost come to guarantee that a minority President was soon to be elected. Indeed, the time will come, when it will not be a surprise that a non-White is President - but a surprise that a White is President. You see, it is only just over 33 years before Whites become a minority in the USA. In that time, it is, perhaps, the White candidates who will find themselves unelectable. It may not be long before we will have seen the last White President of the United States of America.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:11 PM 


Anonymous ks said...

I am originally from North Carolina, a state that had plantations, but hung in the middle of the North/South civil war divide. It still seems to sit on the fence, as it is part of the Bible Belt, yet has become slightly less conservative over the years (when I was a kid, alcohol wasn't served in most restaurants and shops couldn't open early on Sundays).

Growing up, I attended schools in two different counties, but had white classmates, though a couple of African Americans could be found in these schools of thousands. These were rural schools. (The same could be said of churches- they went by colour)

My grandparents and parents never had any friends of colour when I was growing up. When I went off to university and had friends of colour, I was told not to bring them home. Intelligent asian co-workers were occassionally invited to gatherings, but people wouldn't speak to them or spent time in the corner deriding them.

When I visited NC last year and asked my 82 year old grandfather who he would vote for, he said, "well, I'm not Republican, but it will be McCain.. because..." He didn't finish his sentence because my husband (of colour :) was standing nearby.

Only last month did my grandfather change his opinion: he would vote for Obama because he had no choice- that lady was there.

So, the point of my story is that racism does still exist. In my family it is only my generation who are changing. Two cousins are married to non-whites, but that doesn't mean that the family supports it.

In my state the influx of Mexican migrant workers to help pluck tobacco has caused a change in demographics. Remember, if a child is born in the US, they are American. They would bring along families and pregnant wives and their children would have a "better" future.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous ks said...

Lately the news has been about whether a person of colour could be at the helm in the UK. I find that racism in the UK is different than that in the US.

In the US at one time, Chinese and Indians were viewed with awe as people of great intelligence. Just to see a person with Asian features was to associate words such as "quick thinker", etc. Whereas, in the UK everyone of colour is lumped into the black category.

Plus, racism in the UK tends to get divided into subcategories. The blacks are against one another, with Afro-Caribbean as one group and Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi origin people fighting amongst themselves.

Will it take a few more generations to change Britain? Ireland isn't ready for an influx of 'other' is it? Is it that the UK isn't ready to be a melting pot?

7:30 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you KS for your perspective on racism in America. I think you have providing valuable detail that helps me understand the background to the present Obama election. It seems certain that it is more a case of white decline (in numbers) than the disappearance of racism.

Best of luck on the future.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

KS I think the situation in the UK is much more integrated than the situation in, for instance, Singapore. In Singapore certain races are not welcome in certain positions in society: that does not hold in the UK. There are Black and Asian everything in the UK: lawyers, doctors, members of parliament, actors, models....everything, since as far back as I can remember. So, the UK is very far along the road to integration. I could easily see a "coloured" Prime Minister in the UK in the future. I don't think he or she would be Black, though (their constituency is not so large as in America), the PM would probably be Asian, if coloured.

I once asked a casting director at Mediacorp why there were no long running roles on TV for white people, in Singapore. They went very quiet. I then asked was it a coincidence or was it policy? She said, after the longest pause, "It is policy". Thus there is deep racism here, on TV. That doesn't exist in the UK. Singapore has a LONG way to go before it reaches the level of integration and racial acceptance found in most Western countries.

I think Ireland is a more open society than you think. It is very mixed, now, in the cities with a large influx of foreigners. Irish people are in general much more friendly than British people - so I don't see it being a problem. However, Ireland has a very strong traditional culture (the PM would be expected to be able to read Gaelic, for instance, as any educated Irish person would) and so I don't see a non-Irish person being PM for quite some time.

Thanks for your comment.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Valentine

Humans are inately tribal by nature. We are all racist to some extent.

Having said that,the Singaporean Leadership is conservative.
But Singapore is more open\liberal than u think. Many singaporeans have spouses of different colour.

And our very 1st chief minister was a Eurasian Jew. A minority.

Personally, I feel that the US has a superior system where only those who are interested will vote. This gives the thinking minority a chance.

And I take it that you have not checked out what LKY thinks of skin colour in general.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

No, I am not aware of what LKY thinks of skin colour - although I have read remarks that suggest he doesn't think Black people are very bright. Perhaps President Obama is a surprise to LKY therefore.

I will look into LKY's opinions...


1:59 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

By the way, I don't think that we are all "racist to some extent". I am not racist. If I was, I don't I would be living in Singapore, rather than, say, the UK or Ireland...and I wouldn't have married a Singaporean. So, no, I don't think everyone is racist.

I do think however that many people are more racist than they will admit. One needs only to look at what they do, not what they say.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Wang said...

Would based on observations state that final perspective from Sons of the Yellow Emperor, it is not race consciousness which predominates but rather class as in economic or academic upper crust/class


2:30 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Barack Obama won by a landslide. He gained more white votes than the previous white democratic candidates: "Two-thirds of voters under age 30 voted for Obama. He won 54 percent of whites under age 30, bettering Kerry by 10 percentage points." (CNBC News.) Racism is on the decline in the US. The behaviors and thoughts of the younger generations are much different than the older.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Shannon, I agree - racism is on the decline. My point, however, was that people were overlooking that it still existed (like you said, mainly older people, though there are definitely younger racist extremists - a friend of mine when undercover at a rally of them...and got attacked (he was a photojournalist)...they were celebrating Hitler's birthday, I believe, IN THE UNITED STATES!).

All commentators that I have read, have spoken of the election as evidence of the end of US racism - no-one was really pointing to the fact that demographics really helped him, too - basically minorities are not so much in the "minority" anymore...

Thanks for your comment.

7:23 AM  
Blogger thoughtfulape said...

I believe another consideration is that the charismatic outsider has a far better chance at success in the United States because of the political structure. Both the Republican and Democratic party are very large tents containing a wide multiplicity of views.
In the UK the range of opinion expressed by the MPs within each party. On many occasion the 'whip system' of enforced voting conformity keeps everyone toeing the same line. Then there is the primary system. Contrast the hardly fought Republican and Democratic primaries with the cozy arrangement whereby Tony Blair handed off the Government of the United Kingdom to the unelected Gordon Brown.
I think the problems facing a minority candidate are more systemic, structural than down to racism

12:08 AM  

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