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Aaron McGruder Keeps It Too Real For Some Obama Fans

“Boondocks” creator/cartoonist Aaron McGruder (my imaginary boyfriend since 1999) gave some very frank statements about Obama’s presidency. Namely that he is “cautiously pessimistic” and naturally, some folks did not approve of McGruder’s Debbie Downer act, throwing ice water on their Obama fires.

On the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, McGruder is “cautiously pessimistic” about the presidency.

“I don’t think you’re going to see any dramatic change from Barack Obama,” said McGruder, who wore a “Boondocks” T-shirt over a black long-sleeve shirt and jeans. “I’m hoping he proves me completely wrong.”

McGruder bases his opinions of the U.S. presidency on the 2000 election and how nothing has been done since then to change the election system. “It was a sham then … It’s got to still be a sham,” McGruder said. “I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but it’s what I tend to do.”

But my fake boyfriend didn’t stop there! He pulled out the also unpopular “Barack really isn’t black” meme. You know? Just to piss people off.

On the topic of race and ethnicity, McGruder said that to him, Obama is not black because he is not a descendant of a slave.

“The person who is one of us in the White House is Michelle Obama and her momma,” McGruder said.

Negroes were not pleased. Not pleased at all.

His comments outraged Dionne Robinson, 44, of Richmond.

“I want my $5 back,” she said. “It’s one thing to have an opinion, but he doesn’t have any facts. He needs to go back to college.”

McGruder is an African American Studies major, politically astute and … well, complicated. I’m not personally surprised by his statements. I’ve been stalking following McGruder for years now and this pretty much falls in line with previous statements he has made about black identity, politics and his own disillusionment with the political process when he became highly invested in the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush. McGruder was staunchly anti-Bush. His then daily comic strip, which balanced “edgy” Peanuts-style kids banter with political satire, became almost exclusively his weapon-of-choice to stop Bush.

But Bush was re-elected. McGruder quickly grew disenchanted with just about everything, eventually stopped doing the daily strip and later, moved on to his animated show on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim,” based on the original “Boondocks” comic.

As much as I still love McGruder and his immense talent, I kind of hate the animated version of “Boondocks.” Not because it isn’t funny, but because it straddles the border of “satire” and “highly offensive” so hard, that I can’t really watch it without feeling like I’m contributing to the problem somehow. I was also sad when the newspaper strip version of the cartoon shifted from being about two black city kids adjusting to living in a mostly white suburb (which happened to me and my sisters) to Bush all the time. I get that he wanted to do his part, but the quality of the comic suffered greatly when he went all Personal Political Jesus on me.

McGruder has never gotten over 2004. (Or 2000, for that matter.) I remain shocked that he hasn’t pulled a Dave Chappelle/Lauryn Hill on me yet and retreated from society altogether. The animated “Boondocks” shares a lot of similarities with the edginess of “Chappelle’s Show” — a funny enterprise that could easily be misinterpreted as exploitation and ignorance by the uninitiated. And McGruder’s statements mirror that of others who have been skeptical of Obama, suspicious of everything from his ability to achieve real change to his blackness credentials.

I feel that what President Obama will be able to achieve is up for debate. We don’t know what will happen. This is just day two of the damn thing. But the whole “what is black” issue is far more thorny and, dare I say it, incredibly petty. It gives the impression that in the history of America one could “choose” whether or not to be a black American. While Obama was raised by his white mother and grandparents, grew up in Hawaii and had an atypical experience from most black Americans, he still grew up in America treated by others as a black American, being judged as one, and turning to the black community for support, friendship and married within the community. This sort of talk is divisive as it gives the impression one can strip another person of their ethnicity simply because they don’t fit some narrow criteria.

But he isn’t the first person to be of this opinion, of individuals who see Barack Obama as having more of a “first generation immigrant’s” story, rather than the typical, “descendant of slaves” background, believing this made him more palpable to white voters than other black American politicians. I think this is a bit lazy in thought, considering that the racists hate him just as much as they hate me and other black Americans. Plus radio yakker Rush Limbaugh wishes him not well, even if it means the country goes further in the toilet. You know? Just because he’s that petty.

Not to mention the hoards of white supremacists who welcomed his election as a great recruitment tool.

So, I’m fine with the President calling himself black. But my fake boyfriend disagrees. On what line do you fall?

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46 thoughts on “Aaron McGruder Keeps It Too Real For Some Obama Fans

  1. Snob,I think that Obama is for sure Black but not African American. That distinction is the one you mention; he’s not a direct descendant of American Slaves.When I first heard about this I thought that was the point McGruder was trying to make but apparently it wasn’t.Also just like you I LOVED The Boondocks in print, HATE it on TV. The TV version feels like Aaron is pissed with African Americans and that’s how he’s getting us back.

  2. I disagree with your boyfriend. Black is the new President.On an academic level I can see where he’s going.But on the, "Why are you talking shit about Malia and Sasha’s Daddy?" level… I think that surely there must be a more thoughtful and less devise way to articulate his point.Perhaps he could have run for President.

  3. Adeshola Blue says:

    Girl you need to kidnap Aaron and deprogram him. He has become jaded and bitter. HE is a casualty of the Bush administration and he needs some healing. I am going to pray for him and his jaded soul.

  4. butterflyprincess says:

    McGruder is nuts . I surprised he got the whole black vs. African American sematics wrong since he was an African American Studies major. I guess I’m not going to try to be as funny and as witty as you Black Snob but I look very black. There are not bones about it, but according to McGruder I am not. I am Haitian . My mom and Dad were born in Haiti but I was born and raised here. What he said is nuts. Obama is definatelyy not African American in the sense of why the term was created. He like me was never DESCENDENTS of African Slaves in America. ( Although I was but they were on the island of Hispanola-wait does that make me black now??) The term usually defines the ethnicity of the desendents of slaves in America, but it is not the term that should describe their race. Was McGruder saying that because Obama’s heritage doesn’t necessarily mimick the struggles of AA in America over the past 400 years, he is not black. I’m not sure that logic holds much water since as Obama stated on Tues his own father would have been subjected to the same treatment as AA have been even if he were an immigrant from Afica. We first generation Americans may not always see things exactly the way AA see things, but I know we definately benefit from MLK, Jesse Jackson ( I appreciate him so much more now.) and etc. We are also subjected to the same plights . I can’t tell you how many young Haitians that are in jail right now. It is a black American problem. We go to the same schools, live in the same projects, and added on to that have to learn and negotiate in a different culture and language, but thats not the point. We are all black. I feel so sorry for McGruder. This is the best time to be black and educated. I believe that more doors will open so that we can show the US and the world what black America is really about. Most probably think it is all hip hop.

  5. Danielle Belton says:

    @ AdesholaI know. He’s all kinds of sad and angry now. You know what would cure that? Me. You can’t be sad and angry when I’m your woman!

  6. rikyrah says:

    Mr. Soul Patrol isn’t even keeping company with a Sista. That’s what kills me about some of the Blacker-than-thou crowd. Where’s his Nubian Queen, since he wants to judge other folks’ Blackness?

  7. SA says:

    Agree. I mostly couldn’t care less how people classify themselves. If Obama identifies himself as African-American then so be it. I similarly don’t have a problem with those who are obviously black who identify themselves by a nationality over a race. It’s a personal subject in my eyes. However, McGruder don’t have to be all angry about it. Is it really that big of a deal? (And yes, I know for some it is. Still, I ask the question.)

  8. Robert M says:

    I want to tell you to bitch slap your boyfriend. I won’t because I’m afraid you would hurt him and that kind of pain would confuse him more. He is clearly hurting from the story you tell. Naivete, youth and politics are the type of mix that leads to disappointment when you believe the way he did. What’s worse is not to understand how right you were and how few others saw it(w/ Bush it makes me still wonder). Hopefully as things grow slowly better he will too.

  9. starrie says:

    it wouldn’t be aaron if he wasn’t pissed off about something…btw john kerry’s wife, who was born in south african considers herself african-american…i haven’t heard anyone question that…

  10. Yeah, I got off board with Boondocks after season 1. I watched it because it was new hip and radical enough, but I was a senior in college at the time, and staying in a freshman dorm at an HBCU as a result of being displaced by Hurricane Katrina and when I realised that the political satire of the wanton use of "nigga" was COMPLETELY and UTTERLY and TOTALLY and WHOLLY and ULTIMATELY lost on a bunch of 18 an 19 year olds, I realised McGruder had missed the boat completely. I had somewhat followed him when I was early on in college. Not because I was an artist, but I dug him because he was young, hip, smooth and cool and to me, was doing the damn thing as a young black professional. I made my momz cut out articles if she ran across them in magazines and what not. And then around the release of the cartoon show, I realised that, in the words of AB, he was giving me "milquetoast Negro" and he just wasn’t "popping" to me like he used to. I wouldn’t be shocked that after all is said and done if he ends up like James Meredith, homeboy who intergrated Ole Miss and move from "radical and uppity Negro" to "milquetoast Negro" to the realm of being "disillusioned and out-of-touch Negro" who, I dare say, borderline’s Uncle Tom.I’m disappointed.I mean, if you think that way, give some substance behind it. To simply say it as such rings hollow for me, I need more than just that. Maybe, it was because he was just a disappointing young black role model—like I have none for people my age, meaning famous black males who are doing the damn thing under 35 or 30 who aren’t a friggin athlete—Hill Harper doesn’t count because he’s like 40.Hmmm….Snob, you should do a post on that….the lack of young black male professionals who are in the public spotlight because they’re not friggin entertainers.

  11. JJ says:

    Technically Obama is African American. His father is from Africa and his mother is from America. I guess Obama isn’t what people traditionally consider an African American but I consider him one. There are so many black American iconic figures who’s parents are black immigrants like Susan Taylor, Harry Belafonte, Colin Powell and even Malcolm X. As long as you are a black person who was born in America that is what you are considered.

  12. LPatrice says:

    I’m sick of people playing the "not a descendant of a slave" therefore not black enough card. Sick of all this petty crap from other black folks.

  13. I wish The Negro Police would cut it out. Why does he get to decide who is Black and who isn’t? I’m tired of this dumb sh*t. Seriously.

  14. greer muldoon says:

    Your boyfriend is quite delectable. As far as the rest of it. We as a whole need to just sit the xx down and shut the xx up about the whole who’s Black, who’s not, who qualifies, who doesn’t. If I’m not mistaken, this is the same shit the white folks have been using on us for um, CENTURIES. Does any of it REALLY matter? Is it going to change ANYTHING? I’m sorry, I’ve never accepted being labeled by ANYONE. I’m me. The only label I’m willing to accept and acknowledge is American. The rest of that b.s. I’ll let ya’ll worry about. Keep playing whitey’s flim-flam game. I’ve been out of it for years.

  15. Maira says:

    MAYBE- just MAYBE, I can understand his frustrations when he says he doesn’t believe Barack will bring change. And this is only because people have become disillusioned with politicians in general. But the whole thing about him not being the descendant of slaves makes no sense. It’s not like he ran his campaign on it, and he sure as heck has never fallen back on it either. So I don’t get that. Also, I like Aaron McGruder a LOT. The Boondocks is hilarious and smart, I still watch it from time to time, but I think his argument is so off base. He should have just left it at, he hopes Barack proves him wrong.

  16. xayide says:

    I understand his doubts about the system and Obama bringing change. I am incredibly cynical about politics and politicians and it took me a while to get on board with Obama. But the "black enough" game is tired and old. I am a child of an African immigrant and an African American and although my mother’s experience in America is different from that of my father’s, she did not receive a get out of racism and prejudice free card when she got off of the plane.

  17. madame-zenobia says:

    Ahhhh, I can only take so much of MacGruder…maybe I’m too complacent with things? Or maybe he’s just too damn bitter, BEYOND bitter for me to always identify with him…..but he is a cutie; most indeedy.

  18. Tonya says:

    Aaron is a joke. Sorry but the Boondocks( the cartoon) went from being a real sound board for all things smart, hip , and honest . The show…not so much.So as the other poster stated , for a brotha that is keeping time with a sista, he is the last person to talk about who is really AA and who is really about business. We should not be carrying this bitchassness into 2009.

  19. Nita says:

    African American simply means someone of African descent which all African Americans are! People need to stop dissecting Obama’s blackness and stop the madness! He and Tavis Smiley need to check their egos. Obama had the audacity to dream and to do something spectacular. Obama’s not hating on anyone, but plenty of folks hate on him, including so-called "true" African Americans!

  20. Nita says:

    So will Tavis and MacGruder bring change or just talk noise? Obama can’t uplift the community on his own. He’s president of the United States not of just black America. Obama will be fair. Since he will be fair, that will help black people.

  21. Im confused, doesnt having a Dad from KENYA and being raised in Indonesia partially make him "Indo African American", I mean, if we are to split hairs here. This is getting silly but I suppose we have our same fights in the "Irish-Catholic-Half Dutch- Half German" mix that is my own family. Dont get me started on the BS hair splitting that happens between the Irish……and Irish Americans (who are the biggest fronters in the world!) All you need is a U2 Flag, a Guinness poster and a crucifix somewhere in your room and you are in!

  22. edwina says:

    I’m always opposed to those who annoint themselves as the gate keepers. How is McGruder’s attitudes any different from Sarah Palin with her "real americans" nonsense?

  23. Miss B says:

    Wow, it seems like he is slowly losing his mind. First Obama was too black, then he wasn’t black enough. Really McGruder? You too? Why do I feel like he should be in the studio with Hannity and Rush since he has decided to join in on the hate fest? How about I sit back and wait to see what changes McGruder, who is black, can bring to America. I am waiting. Still waiting……..Should I continue to wait?

  24. Jen says:

    I reject the term African-American.I don’t use it because I think it contributes to a homogenized perception of the various nations of Africa by the Western world. I call the group some of you call African-American "Black American". Black Americans are the folks once called Negro and, before that, Nigra in this country–the descendants of American slaves. They are a distinct ethnic group, a nation and they have their own culture. Black Americans have roots in this country that go back hundreds of years. They also happen to be members of the black race.Barack Obama is also a member of the black race.But, he is not a Black American. His black roots in this country are brand new."Black" is a proper noun because it refers to a nation/ethnicity while "black," a much more expansive reference to race is NOT a proper noun. One is capitalized; one is not. In the article being quoted, these capitalization rules are ignored.I think it is very obvious that Aaron McGruder was distinguishing race from ethnicity in his comments. I am surprised that so many black people interpreted what he was saying so incorrectly–especially students of black history.

  25. Willet784 says:

    Danielle, I LOVE the blog…I came here from HuffPo and I check black snob out at least 3 times a week. And no, you are not snobby or even highfalutin, but really witty…your Sarah Palin "get of the pole woman" made my day!Anywhoo, Mr. McGruder is in the unenviable position of being right and wrong. I don’t expect Obama to fix everything; I know he is going to piss of a number of people when he does what he has to, but I think his approach to politics is more grown-up than we have seen in a long time. And that’s what we needed as prez–A GROWN-UP!! Besides, he’s very thoughtful and pragmatic. Also, I don’t think the change is not only policy. Just being there in the Oval Office with his black wife and children (in essence being the nation’s pater familias) and having the overly white senators and congresspeople have to speak/consult with him is a big change. Think how that will transform corporate America, how that will make people not think black people are intellectually inferior or they got to where they unfairly b/c of affirmative action. I mean, since the brother was the nominee, you saw more black men in commercials as responsible father figures. I think the image of him as an obviously smart black man running the show is a big psychological change for white and black people. About Obama not being black enough. I think blackness in America is not only about having been enslaved, but the apartheid that once was America and any European-based society. There are black people in the US who were freeborn–never were slaves– and they still faced discrimination because of their skin color. Also, there have been so many light-skinned black civil rights leaders like WEB Dubois and Walter White who could have passed for white but chose not to. Furthermore, as someone above said, there are many civil rights leaders whose parents had been immigrants, like Malcolm X’s very light-skinned mother who was St. Lucian. I mean Obama’s daddy is black history. He came from a colonized African society the US to make something of himself. The English did not play patty-cake with black colonials!!! Obama’s dad experienced the breadth and depth of discrimination. As another poster said, being African or Caribbean black does not excuse you from discrimination in the US. I think black people in America need to explore the breadth and depth of black American history before we can go out and say who’s black enough or not. That’s the thing that made blackness so great. Whiteness is what is exclusive. Blackness in America always included diverse black people like Claude McKay, Marcus Garvey, WEB Dubois, Booker T Washington, Walter White, Lena Horne Freddy Washington, etc whose slave/free, light-skin, dark skin was all over the place. Surely, we can include Obama in blackness.

  26. This guy really pushes my buttons.My father was Nigerian and my mother half Irish American and half polish Jew. Nobody on the planet has the right to tell me I am not black enough or not black. My racial identity is no one’s business and has nothing to do with my competence.His world must really be small to think that being black consists of being a descendant of slaves. Why is his identification solely based on slavery? What you focus on expands and he is going to continue in mental slavery because that is the point of his attraction.Iyabo Asaniwww.AuthenticChangeCoach.com

  27. The A says:

    I loved the strip (pre-Bush) and adored the depth of bitterly honest and intelligent social commentary in the TV show. How many people can make you authentically conflicted between indignant wincing and laughing? The Boondocks TV Show Season 2: The S Word Episode and BET Sucks Episiode (on DVD) – SHEER GENIUS – the more you watch the more you see. I always saw genuine tough love for "us as a peeplz" in what he was doing. I’ve been waiting for Aaron to come out with his view of the election and Obama.Sad to know Aaron is clinging to his anti-establishment indignation before Our New President Barack Hussein Obama (wow) has had the chance to demonstrate his skillz. I’ll allow McGruder his skepticism about change. Skepticism is a healthy thing. But this ‘you ain’t really black’ – dude, that can’t be what your coming with after all these months of silence during the campaign. And since when did we begin to designate black or African Americans as only the decendents of slaves? If you are an American with African roots you are an African American. The fact that Kerry’s wife meets this definition is a prime example of how antiquated our obsession with racial identification is. Culturally speaking he is every bit of an African American as all the slave decendants who grew up in the suburbs with me. Yes, all 6 of us!

  28. Daughter says:

    Thank you! Shut him up! I hate the "negro police" too. As many have pointed out, their definitions of black would eliminate a whole lot of folks upon whose shoulders many of us stand.I used to read Boondocks as a comic and liked it, and only saw the TV show once. IIRC, in the comic strip wasn’t Huey always trying to help the biracial girl next door realize that she was black? I remember one strip in which she was complaining about her hair, because it wasn’t nice and straight like her friends at school. Huey points to the sky and says, "Hey, look at those clouds! What do you think of them?" She responds, "I love them! They’re so pretty and fluffy!" Then she notices Huey giving her a telling look and says, "What?" He answers, "Just think about it for a while. You’ll figure it out."

  29. emma says:

    Aaron doesn’t suffer from racism, he suffers from narcissism. It’s all about him. Not black people, not white people, not Obama. Just him.

  30. Andrea says:

    This is scary here. Yellow Journalism and fanatics who are reminding me of 1941. This seems like the SS coming after anyone at this point who is not for Obama. Hitler did have more power than the German constitution and allegiance had to be to him. Fellow Germans who did not feel the same way had to fake it, kind of like Jews who had to renounce Judaism during The Inquisition when they were tortured and extinguished by the Catholic Church. What is this Mao? China? Hidden Cities in Russia where you have to still be afraid of what is supposed to be a defunct KGB and of course, president-for-life Putin.This is scary. Reminds me too much of Nazi Germany because the Germans were young and impressionable. They were stupid. They fell for hype. And eventhough I know Obama will do some good things, the fanaticism of the people is his evil. He allows it to fester. He allows this going police state of loyalists who can’t balance that disent is one of the luxuries of American Democracy (until now).Now I know what the intellectuals (The White Rose Society) felt like. You can’t trust anyone brown anymore because they may not like what you have to say if it is not inline with the regime (Obama).

  31. Danielle Belton says:

    @ AndreaWhile some people tend to take their love for Obama and turn it towards blindness, almost everyone on this thread is debating the "he’s not black enough" issue. Not the pessimism towards government, which is understandable. Almost everyone agrees that it is OK to criticize the president and his policies because that’s part and parcel with a free press and free society. Say you hate Obama and what will happen to you? Some people will complain, loudly … and crickets. That’s about it. You don’t have to worry about the thought police making a pit stop at your house. Per McGruder, people were confused/upset by the "who is black" statements. I mean, for those who aren’t descendants of slaves, but are black Americans, the statement was offensive. Without clarification, it gave the impression that McGruder kicked anyone who’s ancestors didn’t pick cotton out of the Diaspora. I think any anger was lasered onto that.That said, McGruder went on to clarify himself after the story made its way in various contortions around the Web. While I can see how some people’s love for Obama can border on the annoying to fanatical, I think you’re overreaching with the Hitler talk. (As a lot of people tend to be overreacting when they whip out Nazis Germany comparisons). FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, various magazines, pundits, the entire Republican Party and many other media outlets, hardly seem to be on Team Obama Does No Wrong. Not to mention you can say whatever you want about Barack and you’re not facing a stint in a gulag. In all reality, this isn’t much different from people who thought Bush could do no wrong, and shouted people down on the internet over him. (Or, for that matter, threatened the life of the Dixie Chicks and other "America haters.") That’s not fascism. That’s extreme fandome and blind hero worship. And as bad as the Bush Administration was, even they weren’t into putting a muzzle on Jay Leno or censoring the internet. People self-censor. People bully. But the rules have changed very little in the larger scheme.As for me, I’ll worry about the SS when Barack signs the executive order to have the FBI monitor my IM conversations. Until then, I could have swore he was getting rid of secret CIA prisons, Gitmo, and illegal torture. He’s not perfect, but I could have swore Hitler was kind of pro all those things.

  32. Rachel W. says:

    Interesting comments. I’m tired of the "black police" too. The one-drop rule is the result of a racist institution. There is nothing scientific about the notion that a drop of black blood (blood isn’t black) is so powerful that it discounts all of your other genes. "White people" or "Eurasian" people have the freedom to be multicultural or biracial or multi-ethnic or whatever you want to call it. However, for racist reasons e.g. white slave owners who wanted to grow their slave population after raping black women behind their wives’ backs then justified the enslavement of their children with the one-drop rule, we can’t seem to let this go. The one-drop rule was rejected by the Supreme Court in the 1960’s with Loving vs. Loving. Aren’t we over this yet? My mother has African ancestry. My father has European ancestry. I have never hidden those facts from anyone. I am both. Genes from either side are no more powerful than the other. I am bi-racial. So is Obama. Those are the facts. I can also say that I don’t live under a rock. I live in America and I will always vote politically black. Racism has not been eradicated. I will always vote for and support programs that are inclusive of issues facing people of African descent. I can do that and still be bi-racial. My kids don’t "look black" at all but they know their entire ancestry and I will teach them not to be ashamed of any part of it. But they don’t have to deny their European ancestry just because they have a little of so-called "black blood." Race is a bogos institution. Aaron should put his energy in other areas.

  33. C. Austin says:

    @ Danielle B. & Rachel W. Thank You for keeping sanity, order and common sense in this thread. Not that others didn’t have good points but I think you both summed it up really nicely. I am not shocked that Mr. Mcgruder feels "pessimistic" he’s entitled to his opinion. In the beginning I felt admittedly pessimistic myself, wondering if a (Black) man such as Obama, would ever make it into office. Our now President, has had to fight because of the colour of his skin to get to where he is. Even the now First lady has experienced hate based on the colour of her skin when a white college roommate’s mother, road up to the school in their second semester and demanded another room because the then Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, was black. I was even (permit me to say) fretful because Michell Obama was so outspoken that I felt she could ruin it the campaign for her husband. (that just speaks to the issues I had with women in politics ~ which, thankfully~ I have since then, been delivered) but honestly I realized it had nothing to do with his "capability" to achieve the presidency but more-so, the ability of the people to change and redirect their attentions from the the negativity that the Bush Administration has wrought over America and the rest of the world to even the possibility of change and to have the "Audacity" to hope again. Obama made mention in his speech that some of our problems stemmed from the greed of others Bush (an ’em… like pookie n ’em) and their quest for more (more oil, more money, more power, who knows what deals he made with major corporations that are now getting screwed in the end). This Government, Big Brother, THIS System was not designed with people of colour in mind and once you are not white you are in the minority. Obama to me does not just stand for Black or black he stands for the minority. "Yes we can" to me, stands for all of those who felt mentally oppressed by the system. We as a people are still in bondage because we are still fighting over the smoke screen of race instead of getting to the real issues at hand. IE Aids in Africa and right here on our soil. The rate of diseases amongst the teens. Child slavery (sex and sweat shops). Hunger right here, right next door to each of us not to mention abroad. "Third world" countries that need adequate health care, food, housing whose economy in some places can’t sustain themselves so they need to rely on others which keeps them indebted (like The Guyana Dollar being something like 145.00 to 1.50). How about the fact that our need for consumption is ruining the earth and taking away safe havens for our animals, we are RUNNING OUT OF RESOURCES… should I go on. We as a country, are a sinking ship because of the poor decisions of the former 3 generation Bush Administrations and others like them, who put the wants of themselves before the needs of the people. (We) did not put ourselves into it but we can’t focus on that. We need to mobilize ourselves individually to make a difference. Our president can’t do it alone. Bush didn’t. My father was a former dignitary of his country and I am a first generation American. One day he looked at the fire in my eyes and my nostrils a flair because I was witnessing some political in justice (I think it was the apartheid going on in Africa and why we were doing nothing about it) and he said "Carrie, you can’t change the system, you can only work with in the confines to make it better." He was hurt and disillusioned by his own people in his own country and realized corruption is it’s own colour, Not Black nor White, Indian or Asian. So Obama is not our savior, but like it or not, Mulatto or Black or "’black" or African American he is our President and if we are not for him we are against him. (take that however u like). I believe we should pray for him, lend our energies to assist him by working our plot of land and give him a fair shot. He (and Michelle) made it this far (whether it’s a governmental plot of some kind or our votes really did and do so matter).My pessimism has turned into a ray of hope and now understanding what my father said, no, one man can’t change the system. Then again, that’s why he has a diverse cabinet to be the think tank, and we have voices to be heard and so, Hopefully (there goes that word again) we as a people can and will get the job done.on a whole other note ~ maybe Uncle Ruckus is really Aaron McGruder n hez strugglin wit it ya’ll… Imma pray 4 u Aaron!Thanx 4 indulging me

  34. C. Austin says:

    Oh yeah… I also agree with Willet784… Obama is a grown up and carries his self accordingly. Check the tapes ya’ll! that was enough for me to vote for him (but of course i checked out the rest of his policies) but I think that white people that have issues with black people will go to one of two extremes, they’ll either respect us or (dare i say like us) and see beyond the colour lines OR they’ll think "How DARE they but their Filthy, BLACK ASSES in the WHITE House!!!…Just another thought… Personally it’s their problem not mine

  35. C. Austin says:

    Ok… last post, a correction … not "3 generation Bush Administration" but 3 term Bush Administration… forgive me it was 5 am… 🙂

  36. Princess B. says:

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again, let the man be with his blackness. I am more concerned with fully black people like Harold Ford, Jr. who has two black parents (yes, he does despite his "look") and can’t be angrier about that fact. People like him that do anything to distance himself away from the black people who got him (and his father) elected. People like him who say Black History Month should be obsolete and who refuse to not pride or happiness over the first (fill in the blank with whatever tinted label you want) President even when directly asked how he feels about it "as a black man." Obama is black and he is African American. So what if he is not descended from slaves. He is a man of partial African heritage that resides in America. He chose a woman who was descended from slaves as his wife. The Boondocks guy is an idiot, sorry Snob!

  37. TW says:

    I’m sorry, but who made Aaron Gruder the Negro police. I am so sick and tired of all this negativity. You know what, let’s just hop on Gruder’s anti-hope train for two seconds–Obama is just another politician that won’t be able to bring change (less just put aside the fact that change for one person is different from the other), well, what the heck is HE going to do about it. Seriously? Is he going to start to organize and petition his representatives to change the election system? Is he going to start volunteering in low-income communities to bring change there? I really want to know. What is HE going to do? I am just so tired of these, "things are never going to change" people, who do nothing to contribute to change themselves. If he is out there, and trying to make a difference, more power to him, but otherwise, isn’t he just being Tavis Smiley…er, Debbie Downer? And can we stop with this Black litmus test. It is beyond silly and it makes Black people constantly talking about it look beyond foolish. Stop, just stop. You have no right to define what someone else is—so please stop telling anyone who does and doesn’t get to call themselves Black.

  38. At least we are beginning to understand what Pres. O meant when he said he is a mutt. I was born in Jamaica to two Jamaican parents, but grew up in the US. Although I call myself a Jamaican, I most identify with African Americans. There are so many people out there that don’t know where they belong. The fact of the matter is that Black or African American seems to mainly apply to those in the US because they have no known specific heritage. AA’s cannot say they are Kenyan, South African, Puerto Rican, etc. I do believe Pres BO calls himself an American who identifies mostly with the African American or Black population. I hope Mr. G is as committed to making a change in this world as our president is and has been since he was in his twenties. I recommend reading ‘Dreams from My Father’ so you can understand where he is coming from. Not only is it one of the best reads I have experienced in a long time, but it shows the struggles so many of us out there who cannot identify with a particular group but want to make a difference.Pres O is limited by politics, the economy and so many other things. I don’t expect some monumental change either because his hands are tied. What do expect is to be able to bask in the wonderful feeling I am experiencing seeing someone other than a shriveled up old white man leading this nation. I am loving the affection Barack and Michelle are showing, I am loving seeing such a wonderful, Huxtablean family in the news. I love seeing true Black love in action. But most of all, I am loving watching his fine self on TV all the time because Pres O is just a superfine piece of man!!! LOL and I don’t care…we can talk like that about our pres!!!

  39. Ikahn El says:

    I have to agree with Aaron. Without reading the entire letter one statement stands out as true. Obama is not the descendant of slaves. This is the first and foremost reason he could ascend to the office of the Presidency of the United State. If you have no knowledge of Secret Society’s that are embed within the framework of that is the United States of American, then Aaron is merely speaking over your head.Barack Obama carries a free Title (surname) And Attribute (first name) As someone recently said. "If ya’ don’t know. Now ya’ know!

  40. CandyCane Girl says:

    If anyone is interested, McGruder further explains his comments in this article: http://www.bet.com/News/NewsArticleAaronMcGruderObamaComments.htmHonestly, I found it more confusing. He says that he didn’t say Obama wasn’t black, but then explains why Obama isn’t black. Huh? At any rate, I don’t think he was trying to take away Barack’s black card, I think he was just explaining that Barack has a different experience than most African-Americans; unfortunately his explanation was remarkably inarticulate.

  41. tt says:

    I don’t understand this. The president sees himself as black. Obama explained how he first experienced racism in school from other white/asian students/teachers. If he knows who he is, who are we to sit around deciding who he is? This is strange to me because he knows exactly who he is.

  42. Zuelapooh says:

    I’m a Chesapeake Indian and Black female. I do not identify myself as African American, never have. I am Black. Why is it people see the color of our skin and want to label us without knowing our family background?People from Jamaica are Black. But they are not African American. People from Haiti are Black. But they are not African American. People who are considered "White" come from many different corners of the world… doesn’t mean all of them are White American. This is similar to how not all Spanish speaking people are Mexican. A Polish friend of mine whose now living in Hawaii, told me that she was not considered White to some people because she is from Poland?? What??I feel that President Obama,in literal terms, is a true African American AND based solely on the color of his skin, he is a Black man. Who you are is not defined by the color of your skin but by the bloodline that you were born with. In general we throw around the words White and Black like they define us. BUT we are deeper than that. Don’t see me as African American because my skin is Black… I’m a mixture of things and THIS makes me, ME. Not my skin color.I liked this poem from Smokey Robinson…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_KKyw8V-l0

  43. Tofali says:

    I am not certain where to begin and I have not read the responses to this post (yet). I almost wholeheartedly agree with Mr. McGruder’s initial remarks about the President and his ancestry. For a LONG time I have professed that President Obama is not a "black" man. Meaning that he is not "black" in a traditional sense. Sure, he’s most certainly African-American — particularly because he has an African parent (Kenyan) and was born in the Americas, as well as having an American mother. I agree that his skin color puts him in the "black" category. The world tends to view people who are of a certain make-up as black and so I have no argument with this, nor would it be feasible to argue from this standpoint. However, President Obama is not black in the sense that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Muhammad Ali, Reverend Al Sharpton, Thurgood Marshall, Booker T. Washington, Jesse Jackson, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, and many others are because he does not have the history and legacy of slavery running through his veins. It makes a significant difference IMHO (in my humble opinion). Slave descendants, whose ancestors built this country over a period of 400+ years to the mega-super-power status have an entirely different tradition than individuals who have a different legacy. It is my understanding that Barack Obama’s father was the son of a Chief, and I believe that he is/was aware of this status as a child. What I can be certain of is that he was not haunted with tales of how his ancestors were lynched, raped, belittled, made to feel that they were second-class citizens, jim-crowed, denied access to basic facilities such as restrooms and water fountains, etc. While he may have heard horror stories about others who looked as he did and who suffered at the hands of white Americans, he, himself was not a direct descendant of this type of abuse.It makes a difference.I have often wondered how many other little black boys were in kindergarten stating that they wanted to become President of the United States at the time that President Obama was 5 years old. I doubt seriously that there were any. When Barack Obama was 5, most of his peers were experiencing the aftermath of the March on Washington and dealing with the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They may have been told of how black men, women, and children had been hosed in the streets. They may have been taught that four little girls died because someone bombed a church. Maybe they heard of many, MANY other horrible tales of terrible acts that happened to black people who sought to free themselves from oppression and suppression. I do not suggest that Barack Obama was not exposed to these heinous acts or that he was unaware of what was happening in the United States. I can say that Hawaii is far away from the "Jim Crow South" and the impact of what was happening on the streets of Birmingham and Montgomery Alabama, as well as in Washington DC, may not have had the same impact on the residents of Hawaii…much less for a young Kenyan-American child who was greatly influenced by his white grandparents and his white mother.While I do not feel that I should use my own background to justify my position, I will share that I am an African/African-American.The intent of this post was not to offend anyone, I chose to respond because of the following quote:So, I’m fine with the President calling himself black. But my fake boyfriend disagrees. On what line do you fall?At the end of the day, I’m fine with the President calling himself black. However, I do not believe that he is a black man…in the traditional sense.

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