Black, White, or Multiracial?

Obama’s overlooked white side

A high-ranking member of our family administration, who wishes to remain anonymous, has the audacity to characterize me as “contrary.” She has never understood that I am just an early adopter of enlightened views that the masses eventually will embrace.

For instance, I’m still waiting for America to elect our first African-American president. In my view, Barack Obama is just another in the long line of white guys to hold that office. Long before we knew what the prez put on his census form, everyone looked at Obama’s dad and considered Barack “black.” Well, I find it just as reasonable and a lot more logical to look at Obama’s mom and declare him “white.”

Why not? This “one-drop of black blood” thing for assigning race is not only old school, it is colonial Virginia old school, which over time has become generally accepted. Both whites and blacks like it because it makes it quick and easy to categorize folks. Black people also find it appealing since we then can claim mixed-race celebrities as one of us. (This can sometimes lead to buyers’ remorse, however. In my barbershop, as Tiger Woods’ personal problems surfaced, the talk quickly went from, “Our brother, Tiger, has got that golf thing whipped” to “What was that Asian dude thinking?”)

Obama missed a lot by not playing his “white race” card. He could have had birthers tied in knots over Kansas instead of Kenya. He could have explained his attendance at the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church by saying he was just doing research on black folks. It also would offer an account for Obama’s lame basketball game. And don’t give me that, “Well, he certainly looks black.” Hello, so does Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and no one challenges his authenticity.

Maxine Waters, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are starting to tilt in my direction as they criticize Obama for not being “black enough.” Well, duh, maybe the man wasn’t black to begin with. What brother do you know who was reared in Indonesia and Hawaii? Even if my man started out certified 100% African, growing up in those two places would have sucked all the black out of him.

OK, so up to now, no one but me considers Obama white. But why isn’t he ever referred to as biracial? How can that be overlooked? Americans claiming multiracial identity is burgeoning, with one in seven marriages now multiracial and mixed-race individuals are a population that has increased by roughly 35% since 2000. (Interestingly, the rates of intermarriage are lowest between blacks and whites. Go figure.)

Anyway, the aforementioned critic embedded in my marriage advises, “Enough with the labels” and says that my inverting stereotypes is hardly constructive. Once again, she’s right, of course. In truth, no matter how you come at it, there’s no excuse for putting people into boxes based on their birth.

I think it is Dr. Seuss who appropriately said: “A person’s a person, no matter how” bred (or whatever).

Source: Milwaukee Journal

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