Some Insist Obama Isn’t Black, The Snob Insists These People Are Idiots

From The Associated Press:

Pride is the center of racial identity, and some white people seem insulted by a perception that Obama is rejecting his white mother (even though her family was a centerpiece of his campaign image-making) or baffled by the notion that someone would choose to be black instead of half-white.

“He can’t be African-American. With race, white claims 50 percent of him and black 50 percent of him. Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all,” Ron Wilson of Plantation, Fla., wrote in a letter to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

Attempts to whiten Obama leave a bitter taste for many African-Americans, who feel that at their moment of triumph, the rules are being changed to steal what once was deemed worthless _ blackness itself.

“For some people it’s honestly confusion,” said Favor, the Dartmouth professor. “For others it’s a ploy to sort of reclaim the presidency for whiteness, as though Obama’s blackness is somehow mitigated by being biracial.”

Then there are the questions remaining from Obama’s entry into national politics, when some blacks were leery of this Hawaiian-born newcomer who did not share their history.

Linda Bob, a black schoolteacher from Eustis, Fla., said that calling Obama black when he was raised in a white family and none of his ancestors experienced slavery could cause some to ignore or forget the history of racial injustice.

“It just seems unfair to totally label him African-American without acknowledging that he was born to a white mother,” she said. “It makes you feel like he doesn’t have a class, a group.”

1) People should be allowed to DEFINE THEMSELVES. Barack Obama is an American. He is biracial, but traditionally our country has viewed anyone with African heritage or appearance is a black person. A lot of this happy talk is talk. People are still bombarded with ethnic politics where biracial people are asked to “pick a side.” More are fighting against it, but the reality is still there.

2) Being black does not mean you don’t have white blood or that you’re denying your white background, especially since the vast majority of black Americans are “mixed” to some degree.

3) Obama has already said he views himself as a black person, as an African American. So, seriously, why is this even being debated? Obama already had this internal debate and made the decision years ago. He’s a black person of mixed heritage like … gasp … nearly every black person in America. He simply has more immediate ties to Africa.

4) Did I mention that biracial and multi-ethnic people should be able to define themselves and that race is an illusion created to separate people? Because it is.

5) You can’t have it both ways and you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. Individuals who would never see Obama as anything but black are lying to themselves (and others) when they say things like, he could say he was white if he wanted to. Or, he’s more white than black. Ahem … how do you even measure the quantities of white ethnicity in a person? And this is America. Are we just going to pretend like the past 250 years didn’t happen? Because Obama isn’t and neither is any other person with black heritage that I know. Even if they prefer other labels, like mixed or biracial or multi-ethnic, they know the politics of ethnicity in America. It is what it is. Don’t play naive and pretend like it could be something else.

This is what it is.

35 thoughts on “Some Insist Obama Isn’t Black, The Snob Insists These People Are Idiots

  1. 3) Obama has already said he views himself as a black person, as an African American. So, seriously, why is this even being debated? Obama already had this internal debate and made the decision years ago. He’s a black person of mixed heritage like … gasp … nearly every black person in America. He simply has more immediate ties to Africa.End of discussion.

  2. I agree greer this is a dumb discussion on WHITE people and BLACK people parts. There are 39 million blk people in this country and every last one of the have other ethnicities in them. I was watching this program on PBS about famous blk american lives in February. Mae Jamison has Asian/Pacific Isander in her, Tina Turner has a huge chunk of European, Chris Rock had about 15% european in him. Oprah had 10% NA in her. Quincy Jones had over 20% European in him. SO,^^ are these blk people no longer black!!!Blk and White americans need to realize NO ONE IN this counry is 100% nothing!!

  3. This show is called African American lives and it comes on in February. Its a great show, it researches were Famous blk peopel come from!!!Every last AA on the show from LInda JOnhson of Ebony to Whoopi Goldberg had EUROPEAN blood in them. Snob you should check out the show!!

  4. I agree that it’s a ridiculous argument from both whites and blacks. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Obama loved and was close to all the whites in his family (and really, none of the blacks in his family until he reached out to them in college). His mom and grandparents were clearly the forces that shaped his life.But whenever he goes anywhere without them – or even with them – the world sees him, rightly or wrongly, as African-American. And while this possibly uncorks demons of self-identity that I’ll casually gloss over, to some degree I think we all define ourselves by how the world sees us. He didn’t grow up with African influences. He grew up with white influences and a world that saw him as African-American. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why he feels like an African-American. Just because he isn’t the ancestor of slaves doesn’t mean that in his day to day life he wasn’t treated as one – by whites and blacks alike. And since when did he deny his white heritage? I think we’ve all memorized “I am the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya.” If we all know where he came from, what exactly is it that he’s denying?

  5. It is true that black people in America have other races in them, but many biracial children would argue that is different because they actually have a white parent present and in Barack’s case the only parent present was white. He was raised mainly in white american culture and the only man present in his life was a white man. He was not raised in African American culture and if his father were present in his life he would identify more with African culture than African American. I see Obama as a black man because that is what he walks through life as. Without knowing his racial makeup everyone would consider him a black man. Those white people just want to claim him because he has done something positive if it were reversed you wouldn’t hear a peep out of white people. The fact that Barack is married to Michelle solidifies his blackness to some people. To me this is a black man with a beautiful black family but we can’t ignore that it was his white family that raised him to be the man he is today.

  6. ^^Noone is ignoring his white side!!! My thing is that he calls HIMSELF an AA. Barack talks ALOT about AA AND whites in his books. Barack and his ASIAN sister have NEVER denied their WHITE ancestry.

  7. @ poeticwaxI agree, Barack AND Maya were there when their WHITE GRANNY was on her death bed. They never said she is not our granny because she is white.@anonymousHaving a white parent PRESENT does not make a difference.There is NO such thing as black culture in this world. Black people reside all of this UNIVERSE. Black Europeans grow up differently than Black Brazilians, Black Canadians and so on.

  8. For all of the hubris and invective, can someone walk me through the math that says Obama is black?He’s 50 per cent black and 50 per cent white. Since when did half equal a hundred? The truth is that you can’t make Obama black because … you want him to be. To say he’s black is to ignore fully half of who he is. I don’t know that I’d call that idiocy, but it certainly isn’t informed. Barack Obama is not black. He is biracial–period.

  9. People would rather talk around this issue instead of actively dismantling white supremacy. How about they talk – and do something – about THAT?! And this obsession over labeling is rampant in this country.

  10. LH, the idea that you can divide a human being in half or a quarter or whatever, based on his/her parentage and stick a label on him/her is simplistic, ignorant and arrogant.If race is a social construct (as we should all know by now that it is, as opposed to a biological reality that some people seem to believe it is) then like all social constructs it is fluid and subject to changing definitions based on the power needs it serves. It is no wonder then that white, black and grey are fighting over Obama for their own power needs. For my part the entire discussion is one of those waste of time discussions that seem to eat up so much of human energy which is better focused on more important issues. I for one don’t give a flying f**k whether Obama calls himself black, white, Hawaiian, Mid-Western, Mutt, whatever …. what is more important … of the most importance is where he stands in relation to power. Will he consolidate and increase the white supremacists patriarchical system that has had a choke hold on America and the globe for centuries or will his presidency nudge America and consequently the globe to a more equitable, just and fair state? Who will he serve? Us (the majority of American people) or them (special interests, the rich and exploitative). Labeling him does not address these issues.Nona

  11. I completely agree with Nona’s post and putting people into fractions is ridiculous. Wasn’t there a time where black people were 3/5 of a person? Obama is whatever he says he is.The most important thing will be what Obama does in the Presidency and I agree that labeling him does not address the issues.

  12. If Obama says he’s black, who are you to say that he isn’t?If you never knew his Mama or Toot or Gramps, you wouldn’t have given it so much as a passing thought.He’s a black man whether or not he claimed it. If he said he was white, you would give him the side eye. He couldn’t pass for white even if he wanted to. IN THESE UNITED STATES, we can’t just, all of a sudden, act like the color of a person’s skin is inconsequential. The color of a person’s skin, in this country, has: -gotten people killed-kept them from owning land-stopped them from getting an education-blocked them from opening businesses-resulted in poor health careI could go on ad nauseum…Is race a social construct? Of course it is. But in this country, the color of a person’s skin makes a difference and anyone who says it doesn’t is delusional.

  13. Don’t they have enough Harold Ford Jr.s and Tiger Woods to keep them happy? There are plenty of biracial (and fully black) people who think black/African is a dirty word. Let the man be black if he wants to. He NEVER denies his white side, but he is a proud black man. Get over it. Geesh, white people want to claim everything that is good and great. I understand why they want Obama. But, we got him on lock — sorry!!

  14. I agree with you Ms. Snob. Los Angelista wrote a post on this issue as well.I do not understand why we still talking about this. Obama wrote about his identity issues when he was younger. Re: Black Culture…what does that mean? There are black people all over the world. Americans need to get a grip. Barack Obama is a citizen of the world.

  15. Who are these idiots that think that an unknown Barack Obama could have walked into a redneck bar, announced he was white just like them and not gotten the crap kicked out of him? Race is what people can see. When people look at Obama they see a black man. Cab drivers see a black man. Store security people see a black man. Nobody sees a 50% white man.I owned a mix breed German Shepard once. It looked like a German Shepard. Same markings. Same size. Same temperment. I happened to know that the mother that the dog came from was a poodle. Not to compare people or Obama to a dog, but I’d have looked like a damn fool to say to people as I walked down the street with this 50 pound dog, that he was a poodle. Reality as it relates to race and breeding, has everything to do with what people see.

  16. LH,I agree that no one can define who an individual is except for that person, and that includes you. Your response does nothing but define Barack in terms that align more with your own ideals. The REAL fact is that Barack Obama has written extensively about this in his books– the first being over a decade old– and HE has defined HIMSELF as being a black man. And recent comments regarding the type of dog he wants for his family (a mutt like himself, his words not mine) clearly show that he identifies as being biracial. What people (in general, not just LH) need to realize is that being black and being biracial are not mutually exclusive. In our country at least, to be African America is to be a multiracial people. Thanks for this post, Snob. You and Tami are killin’ it:

  17. If Obama had just knocked over a liquor store, would that make him all the way black or would white people try to get a bigger piece of the action to. I have a proposal. Go through all the jails and pick out alllllll the black-white biracial inmates and then deem them “more white than black”. After that happens then I’d be okay with ignoring Obama’s *self* identification and just call him biracial without that whole “black” or “african american” terminology messing it up. *eyeroll*

  18. ZooPath – I love your approach! Yes, we should round up all the black people doing bad things, identify them based on admixture and designate certain people more white than black and see how the white folks like that. The thing is, this is a movement by biracial folks as much as anyone else. and I think Nona hit it on the head. For something so complex and amorphous,we have to live with how a person self-identifies. I know Tiger is not black and I know Obama is. No fights needed. Even counting out the one-drop theory, being any race in America falls on a continuum that interfaces looks, racial heritage, culture and geography and is not as easily labeled as many think. This calculus has yielded Obama as a black man to himself. It is not mutually exclusive from bi-raciality.

  19. there is a difference between race and culture. Race is man made. As far as race is concerned, the only difference between us is our skin color. Race is a social construct created to segregate and seperate people. He grew up in the culture of white america. This cannot be denied. But when he walks down the street by himself, he is labeled as a black man (by whites and blacks alike).He never denied his culture. He has no control of what social construct people put him him. And frankly…if its made up…he be whatever the f*ck he wants to be.P.S. Since when do white care about whether a colored person indentifies whit theit whiteness. I have never had that issue. Oh wait…it must be because he is about to be president. “Yeah there is some white in him!”

  20. In the land of “one drop” and 3/5, no one is half anything. Frederick Douglass, Booker T Washington, Adam Clayton Powell Sr., Bob Marley, Sade, Faith Evans, Michael Franti, Halle Berry, Les Nubians, and on and on…all have one white parent.

  21. I officially claim Barack Obama for my peeps — all the multi-racial people out there who’ve been forced to pick sides.”Mutts” of the world – this is your moment! Seize the day!

  22. This shouldn’t still be an issue. I don’t think there are any black people in this country who are “completely” black… whatever that may mean. Everyone is mixed with something to a certain degree. Barack Obama identifies with black people, therefore he is black. Tiger Woods does not identify with black people, therefore he is not black. Race, as many people said before, is socially defined.

  23. i’m over this topic…the only reason this is an issue is because obama WON…if he had lost this election he would’ve been a black man who lost…

  24. What he defines himself as in irrelevant. He is biracial not black, the one drop rule is racist and offensive, black blood does not pollute white blood or negate it, that is white supremacist ideology and I will never subscribe to it.

  25. Anonymous said, “What he defines himself as is irrelevant.”*blinks**blinks one mo’ ‘gain**falls on the floor laughing at that foolishness*

  26. Obama said it himself in 2004 on Charlie Rose – I’m African American because, Charlie,when I leave this building later and put my hand out for a cab, the driven isn’t gonna look at me and know I had a white mother. ‘He knows what he’s doing.Case closed.

  27. Nitpickers ~ who can say who is really ‘black’? Who even cares? I am just glad O. won. Ridiculous, people like this just wanna pick evrytng apart. Get a life.

  28. It’s amazing to me whenever a black person is successful, whites try to find a way to redefine him. Remember, we are still in a country where the one-drop rule is still on the books. Because President-elect Obama understands the political and racial politics of this country, he understands that he is a black man. Blacks are so uneducated in the area of history, we have the nerve to co-sign on the crap that he is multiracial. Technically, we all are multiracial, but none of your white relatives are stepping forward to claim you. Why? It’s because you look the part of being black. President-elect Obama cannot pass for anything other than black, therefore he is black. I am so sick of these people who claim that they are color-blind, but really they are undercover bigots.

  29. I believe it all has to do with the white supremacist mindset. Many racist white people still can’t get over the fact that an obviously black man won the presidency. So, I guess they have to delude themselves into thinking that it had to be something else…My mother is half white. However, I would look like a damn fool if I walked around telling everyone I was a white man. Likewise for Obama.Sorry all…You can’t have him. He’s our’s. Go back to Tiger Woods.

  30. I don’t see these same white people falling all over themselves to claim Slash or Mariah Carey. Oh that’s right – both of them act the fool. We’ll get Tiger back if he does something ignorant or criminal. And Tiger will find out just how black he is then.

  31. i have always been considered black now a mutt is president and they want to claim him but not the rest of us please howwould his white mom feel like she raised a black kid it happens

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