Talk:G. K. Butterfield

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What IS the Congressman's race? (Apropos interesting (dueling?) edits from the Congresscritter IP.)

I beleive he is multi-racial...but I'm not certain.

In the bio on his official website it says his father was black.

he multiracial not black how can he be black only what pure afrian person looks like that, have you even seen a person like this runing around in africa nake in the bush hell no.

To the person above with the poor English; the congressman is an African-American. The African American community embraces people of many phenotypes and of mixed racial ancestry, most American blacks are not pure "black". The senator considers himself African-American and your comment about naked Africans in the bush is both racist and embarrassing. -- 14:28, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Should wikipedia articles that mention a person's ethnicit(y/ies) go just with how that person self-identifies, or with their actual racial composition? Cong. Butterfield has more European ancestry than African, but chooses to call himself African-American. If race is relevant, then I think both facts should be mentioned. --Atemperman 14:09, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


Stop fooling yourself. Mr. Butterfield may not be as white as butter, but he's certainly no black. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:09, 27 January 2007 (UTC).

Butterfield is blacker than the moon's night

African American[edit]

Mr. Butterfield has immediate African American ancestry and has self-identified as an African American his entire life. Those of us who know him find this quite obvious. There is no legitimate reason to deny his status as an African American. If we start splitting hairs as to what percentage of his chromosomes are African, European, etc., we might as well not identify anyone as African American because almost no one currently referred to as African American can claim 100% (or even 50%) African genetics. By any reasonable person's standards, G.K. Butterfield is African-American. Ward3001 01:16, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Isn't saying that he is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus saying that he is "African-American." And by you saying "by any reasonable person's standards," states that you are letting your own bias into this dispute. He is not African-American, it does not matter what a person may label himself, it doesn't make it accurate. And you cannot not bring genetics into a sociological argument. I'm taking African-American out, again. Any reasonable person can infer that he is an "African-American" if he is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Shakam 03:07, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Whether someone "can infer that he is an 'African-American'" is a matter of writing style and does not deal directly with the issue: Is he African American or is he not? By your own statement, that is THE issue in dispute, not whether info about African American is redundant with info about Congressional Black Caucus. What is your specific argument that he "is not African-American?" As to what a reasonable person thinks, that's why we are having this discussion: to see what other Wikipedians think about the issue and reach a consensus. Ward3001 17:21, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

You and I are the only ones discussing it: you feel one way and I feel another way. Not too much concensus is going to come out of it. We just can't go around labeling people African-American by outdated racist ideology. How about we move forward in time and not backwards. Shakam 05:08, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

First of all, you and I aren't the only ones who might be concerned about this issue. Others have changed the sentence in question. Others may be interested as time passes. Secondly, again I ask for a response to the central issue: What is your specific argument that he "is not African-American?" Ward3001 17:06, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

In this particular article, the central theme of most of America's sociological race perception, phenotype. And no, the weasel words, "Despite his phenotype," are not acceptable. Shakam 20:40, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

You conveniently forgot to mention that "phenotype" was an issue when I previously deleted that word but retained the term "African American." And I specifically stated that I did so in case that was the issue in dispute. OK, some time in the next 24 hours (to avoid violating 3RR) I will remove the word "phenotype." But before you make any more edits to the sentence, FOR THE THIRD TIME: please state the bases of your argument that Mr. Butterfield is not African American, without hiding behind the argument that use of the term is redundant with other parts of the article. Let's deal with one issue at a time. I'll be happy to address redundancy and writing style issues after the African American issue is fully discussed. Also, I suggest reading WP:TROLL before you throw around any more accusations of using weasel words. Thank you. Ward3001 23:29, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Are you asserting that I am a troll? At any rate, he is not African-American because his genetic makeup is not a majority of "black blood." Simple enough? shakam

What happened to your argument that "you cannot not bring genetics into a sociological argument"??? You can't seem to make up your mind. And if you know that much detail about his genetic makeup, then tell us what percentage of his genetic makeup is "black blood." And . . . are you asserting that I use weasel words? Ward3001 04:55, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I was talking genetically because that's what you were looking for. You didn't define if we were going to be "arguing" in terms of society or on a biological level. Do you know what percentage of his blood is "black?": Didn't think so. The only African-Americans I have seen that look remotely like G. K. Butterfield are albino. Furthermore, I was just saying that this statement, "Despite his phenotype, Butterfield is an African-American" was use of weasel words. Shakam 05:44, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Let me see if I got this right. You use Mr. Butterfield's phenotype ("the only African-Americans I have seen that look remotely like G. K. Butterfield are albino") to argue that he is not African American, but the article should not include reference to his phenotype to explain that he is African American? And no, I don't know what percentage of Mr. Butterfield's genetic makeup is "black" and I never claimed to know, but your pronouncement that he is not African American based on "his genetic makeup is not a majority of 'black blood'" clearly implied that you knew his genetic makeup (since phenotype is off limits as a point of argument, or is it??? Oh, I think I understand: phenotype is OK for you to use, but not OK for anyone else to use). In any event, here's my bottom line: I'm including the word phenotype to explain his ethnicity, and I'm including reference to his very legitimate status as an African American. If you wish to reword without use of "phenotype" I have no problem with that. If, however, you delete direct reference to his African American status, I will take this case to Wikipedia. I think it's quite safe to say that your opinion that 49% "black blood" does not qualify someone as an African American is not in the mainstream of thinking, including the thinking of the vast majority of Wikipedians. Therefore, if you remove reference to his African American status, I will seek mediation, and if necessary formal arbitration, through appropriate Wikipedia channels. If you persist in forcing your point of view contrary to the final decision, that is clear evidence for trolling. Ward3001 17:34, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Ward makes some very good points and I agree with his analysis. Please don't remove the section from the article without first responding to Ward's points. Thanks Jiffypopmetaltop 19:17, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

You keep implying that he is African-American despite his phenotype. I never said you weren't allowed to use the word phenotype. I was simply stating that you aren't African-American if you look like Butterfield, no matter what you call yourself. If I were to call myself a woman, it doesn't make it true does it? As long as it is not in the lead, I am fine (for the moment.) >>>P.S. Thanks for your input Jasper, you know how much I admire it.<<< Shakam 04:48, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Well as long as you understand what the issue is. Jiffypopmetaltop 07:47, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

How about nobody that doesnt live in Wilson or know him personally stop worrying about this page? Seriously, why do you bother? He is obviously white looking. BUT, if you talked to him he obviously identifies himself with the blacks, and since his father was black he is also considered black. therefore he is black AND white, but relates more to black. his office (in wilson) has only african american people working there.

I also wish that my contribution would stop being deleted. This is my contribution, and it obviously shows which race he relates to.

The voting system in Wilson County had always been an at-large system, meaning that everyone voted for every position. This meant that the black minority could not ever get into office, G.K.’s father being elected because he had made a deal with a white leader who wanted his mayor elected, and needed the African American vote to do so, and in return his people would vote for G.K.’s father. Thus G.K.’s father had won, but no African American had won since. This was seen as unfair by the African community, so with the NAACP’s help G.K. sued the County in hopes of having an African Elected Official by having district elections instead of having at-large elctions. G.K. won his lawsuit, and the County was forced to draw lines for the election of County Commissioners, instead of at-large elections. This gave the African American community the chance to elect their own officials instead of being governed by only whites. Thus when the election came around, Frank Emory was voted into office as one of the first African American County Commissioners of Wilson County. Then G.K. set his sights on Wilson City’s elections, which were also at-large elections. The county then voluntarily changed to district elections. The Board of Education also changed to district elections in fear of being sued. Then G.K. changed gears and went after the Judgeships. There were no African American superior court judges, so G.K. and the NAACP sued for district elections again, and again won. It was decided that there would be eight districts, and the state allowed G.K. to draw one himself, and in the resulting election he was chosen as Superior Court Judge.

I interviewed the man himself. This is what he told me directly. If you spent 5 minutes lookiig it up at the NAACP website or any court website in Wilson, you would find out that this is also true. Interviews are also considered common knowledge, since every person in Wilson County, if they know anything about the history of Wilson, know this. Therefore an entire city knows this, yet it cant be posted on his wikipedia article? This goes back to the Staying Out of Other Cities articles, as in it is our politician, therefore we know him better than you. Also the person that keeps deleting my posts says that i'm "sock puppeting", i cant sign into my account because it immediately kicks me out, so i just use the basic IP addresses, i have a dynamic IP address because i use Directway, and it repeatedly gives me a different IP address, so go worry about yourself and leave my contributions alone.

I have lived in Wilson for 35 years. I know G.K. Butterfield. First of all, I disagree that "every person in Wilson County, if they know anything about the history of Wilson, know [sic] this." Secondly, if this information is so easily accessible by "lookiig [sic] it up at the NAACP website or any court website in Wilson," then the appropriate Wikipedia procedure is for you to cite those sources. Finally, as I have told you repeatedly, your personal interview is original research (regardless of how true or false the information is), and an unequivocal violation of Wikipedia policy. This is Wikipedia with rules and policies, not your personal website. Cv1cv 23:39, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

then obviously you have never visited the local library, its great. has free internet access and all. also has records of this. also, whatever happened to the main idea of wikipedia? a shared collective knowledge of all its contributors? this is my knowledge, i am contributing. you are detracting, find it yourself if you dont like mine, or better yet find his office on Nash street, right across from BB&T and ask him yourself.

The responsibility to find and cite appropriate sources belongs to the person who adds the information to the article -- nameley, YOU. Look, I have no problem with including any information on Wikipedia that is verifiable and in accordance with Wikipedia's policies. You are so hellbent on including the information that you insist on doing it without following those policies. Find legitimate, verifiable sources (they don't have to be on the internet -- go to the library and get the citation information), then cite the sources. If you don't know how to do that I'm happy to direct you to the appropriate Wikipedia help pages. But DON'T VIOLATE WIKIPEDIA POLICIES. Do it right, and I'll leave it alone. Cv1cv 23:52, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Despite his phenotype?[edit]

Seriously? We're really saying that? We've really said that for more than a year? Good god. C.f. one-drop rule. A guy who grew up in the 1950s and 60s in North Carolina with a father who is described as "one of the first black officeholders in North Carolina since reconstruction" and who went to North Carolina Central University is Black. North Carolina had segregation laws which would have defined someone like Butterfield as Black until the 60s. It's true, I suppose that someone like Butterfield could have "passed" as White, but Butterfield, in fact, did not do so.

I'd also like to inquire about his parents' background? Given that he was born in North Carolina in 1947, I'm going to have to assume that both his parents were Black, since miscegenation laws were presumably still on the books in North Carolina at the time his parents were getting married, and, presumably, if his mother was white, we would have specific information to that effect.

At any rate, the "phenotype" business is entirely absurd. We don't say anything as ridiculous as that about, for instance, P. B. S. Pinchback, whose "phenotype" looks to have been quite similar to Butterfield's. john k (talk) 02:19, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

His father was born in Bermuda, where laws and mores against "miscegenation" weren't so strict, so it's conceivable that he has some significant Anglo-Saxon or Celtic ancestry from his father.-- The_socialist talk? 11:13, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Ethnicity in lead[edit]

WP:MOSBIO#Opening paragraph clearly states that ethnicity is normally not included in the lead "unless it is relevant to the subject's notability". Die4Dixie has argued that "African American" should be included in the article's lead because Butterfield is a member of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC has about 42 members right now, and I think that hardly distinguishes Butterfield. With Die4Dixie's logic, almost any African American (or any ethnicity) should be included in the lead. For example, we could argue that Denzel Washington should have AA in the lead because he is one of a number of AA's who have been major stars in blockbuster films. Or we could argue that George W. Bush should be identified as Caucasian in the lead because he is one of only 43 Caucasian U.S. Presidents. The list could be endless. It defeats the intent of the Wikipedia policy.

Note that I am not arguing that Butterfield's ethnicity should not be included anywhere in the article, just not in the lead. Ward3001 (talk) 02:14, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

I really beg to differ. It is part of what makes him notable. Membership into the Congressional Black Caucus makes him notable, as one of the few blacks elected to national office, his ethnicity is very germane. No twisting of logic here. I see that you are sympathetic to its inclusion somewhere. I'm not you adversary here. The lede for Barack Obama has his socially constructed race. This really shouldn't be problematic. His ethnicicity is part of what makes him notable, it's as simple as that.--Die4Dixie (talk) 02:46, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
So why not Caucasian for George W. Bush? One of 43 is quite a distinguishing characteristic. The reason we don't include it for GWB is that ethnicity is not what makes him notable. Butterfield's notability is primarily related to his political positions, not his ethnicity (that's not to minimize his ethnicity; it just puts it in perspective). And my analogy is quite legitimate. We can extend your reasoning to almost any African American, or almost any ethnicity, completely defeating the intent of the Wikipedia policy.
Sigh. It might be notable if GWB was in the "White Presidential Caucus" or had joined a group that highlighted his race and promoted it in some way. Look , any Sociology 1001 student would recognize that caucasian, as US society now stands is unremakable; It is the default ethnicicity in power politics ( politics in the sense that Kate Millett uses the word).Die4Dixie (talk) 03:14, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
("Sighs" add nothing to the discussion.). My basic point remains. We do not identify Kristi Yamaguchi as Japanese-American in the lead because, even though there are more American Caucasian figure skaters than Japanese Americans, her ethnicity is not what makes her notable. I'm not saying ethinicity is unimportant. It's a matter of how much it contributes to a person's notability. And for most African American members of Congress, it is not what makes them notable. Ward3001 (talk) 03:35, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I never conceptualized this as involving an "adversary". Let's not personalize this. This is a discussion about policy.
Your accusation of edit warring was adversarial. I had hoped to defuse you and help you view this reasonablyDie4Dixie (talk) 03:14, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Hold on here! I did not accuse anyone of edit warring. I simply requested that you discuss here instead of edit warring. And you did discuss here, so that's the end of that possiblity of edit warring. Please. Stop personalizing this. Thank you. Ward3001 (talk) 03:35, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
"I see that you are sympathetic to its inclusion somewhere." I'm not sure exactly to what you refer, but I do feel that ethnicity is appropriate in some article. For example, it is quite acceptable for Martin Luther King, Jr. because he was a major figure in the history and culture of African Americans. The same would be true of Malcolm X. Ward3001 (talk) 03:01, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I see where you have argued for its inclusion dating back over a year, and in this very article.Die4Dixie (talk) 03:14, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, I was not arguing that it should be in the lead. If I did, please give me diffs. And if I did, I was wrong (due to ignorance of policy). Ward3001 (talk) 03:35, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Butterfield mentions that his father was black in the second sentence of his biography. It's clearly important to him. Toddst1 (talk) 02:56, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
My ethnicity is important to me, and I might mention it if I wrote an autobiography, but if I had a Wikipedia article, it would not be what makes me notable and should not be included. Ward3001 (talk) 03:01, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
This is about Butterfield - not you. If he didn't want it included in info about him, he wouldn't have prominently mentioned in HIS bio. Toddst1 (talk) 03:14, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
It's called "analogy". I was making an analogy. A person including his ethnicity in his biography is not sufficient reason to violate Wikipedia policy. Ward3001 (talk) 03:35, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Excuse me - which policy? Toddst1 (talk) 03:40, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

As I noted at the very beginning of this section: WP:MOSBIO#Opening paragraph. Ward3001 (talk) 03:46, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
That is a guideline - not a policy. It's also not exhaustive. Toddst1 (talk) 03:48, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
It's a manual of style for Wikipedia. It's more important than one or two editors' opinions. It has enough consensus behind it to require that exceptions are very much open to discussion and WP:CON, as we are doing here. Ward3001 (talk) 03:56, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Editors should follow it, except where common sense and the occasional exception will improve an article.

One person's common sense is another person's nonsense. What may be common sense by your interpretation may not be by others' interpretations. That's why we're having this discussion. Ward3001 (talk) 03:56, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
We are having this discussion because of tendentious reverts of my edits, so that we are clear.Die4Dixie (talk) 04:03, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
We are having this discussion because of disagreements in opinions. There was nothing tendentious about the reverts. You need to read the meaning of the word "tendentious", and you need to stop loosely throwing around accusations. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of it. This is legitimate discussion that is based on a legitimate issue, and you have repeatedly tried to personalize it to imply that I have stepped over some line of policy or etiquette, neither of which is the case. I will ask you kindly to please stop it and focus on the issue, not me. Thank you. Ward3001 (talk) 14:17, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Cynthia Mckinney is another who is mentioned in the lede as African American. I only mention other articles since the GWB/Caucasian red herring was raised.Die4Dixie (talk) 03:27, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Augustus F. Hawkins is another. There are several more.Die4Dixie (talk) 03:31, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
"Other stuff exists" is a very weak argument. And I think if we checked, ethnicity would not be in the lead to articles on most AA members of Congress.
I see that you have a PhD. I acknowledged the red herring, but it was to hard to resist after the fallacious mention of GWB. If you bring the logical faculties that you demonstrated to earn the degree to bear on the present argument, I believe you will see your error.Die4Dixie (talk) 03:40, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
My Ph.D. has nothing to do with this issue. Again, please. Stop personalizing this. I'm not sure to which "red herring" you refer. But I think you and I have discussed this issue sufficiently to conclude that you think Butterfield's ethnicity contributes to his notability enough to include in the lead and I do not, and that we will likely not agree with each other. Per WP:CON, let's see what others may have to say in the days ahead. Ward3001 (talk) 03:46, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I can wait a while to make the change. Such gross misinterpretation of policy should be quickly set straight, so it is not on my burning list of importance. I'm glad that you invited talk discussion finally, as your reverts without it had lead me to think that their might be a fiefdomism issue. Let's wait.Die4Dixie (talk) 03:56, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Obviously I think your use of the phrase "gross misinterpretation" is itself a gross misinterpretation. And I'm glad you decided to discuss instead of continuing to revert. But just to set the record straight, I provided edit summaries and then started this discussion. Your implication that I reverted without discussion before "finally" discussing is inaccurate and yet one more unnecessary personalization of a policy discussion.. Ward3001 (talk) 04:00, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
The confusion of guideline with policy can only be characterized as gross.Die4Dixie (talk) 04:05, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I would agree that your confusion is gross. Ward3001 (talk) 14:17, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
My confunsion stemmed from accepting at face value that you were dealing with a policy, which is what you said this was. It is a guideline. To characterize a WP guideline as a WP policy is mendacious at worst and at best a gross misrepresentation. I agree that "gross misinterpretation" was excessively charitible at this point.Die4Dixie (talk) 14:37, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

If Dixie's confusion was gross, that would make Ward's misrepresentation gross. Let's just say there was confusion on both parts and no need to inflame. Back to the discussion of whether to remove: Toddst1 (talk) 16:13, 12 November 2008 (UTC)


I have removed a few unsourced cvategories and material. Thanks, --Tom 14:09, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

His status as African American was already sourced in the article (referring to his father: "one of the first African American elected officials in North Carolina since Reconstruction", followed by a citation), so the category deletions were unjustified. I am adding a citation for membership in CBC. Please do not delete again. Ward3001 (talk) 18:50, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Do you have RS that "label" him as an African American, not his father? If so, provide them or those categories should be removed per WP:CAT. Thanks, --Tom 19:52, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
What is your WP:Point? Toddst1 (talk) 19:54, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
huh? --Tom 20:04, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's WP:SYN to say if GK's father was AA (with a reliable source), then GK is AA. Asking for a citation to say GK is AA when it has already been stated and cited that his father was AA, doesn't seem necessary. Removing the info per WP:BLP or WP:V is not appropriate - especially since the citation is GK's official web US Government site. Toddst1 (talk) 20:10, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Toddst1. As I had already told Threeafterthree on his talk page, Barack Obama's father was not even American and his mother was not African American, but no one has any problems identifying him as African American. So Butterfield is at least as African American as Obama. Ward3001 (talk) 23:47, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Something we can agree on.Die4Dixie (talk) 04:33, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

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