Is Barack Obama Really Our first African-American President?

Today was a truly incredible day. And here at Stop The World, we’re colossal fans of Barack Obama. But is he really our first African-American president?

The truth is that he is neither black nor white. His father was black and his mother was white. Is he then a black man with a white mother, or rather a white man with a black father? Clearly if he is 50/50 then he is neither black nor white, but of mixed race – and yet everyone assumes he is black.

Is it up to Obama to decide? After all, the concept of “black people” and “white people” is a social construct. Or is it a matter of simple fact that he is neither. And if black people can claim him as their own, then can’t whites also make the same claim? After all his father disappeared from his life at an early age, it was his white mother who raised him. Surely his main identity then ought to be white?

Many would say that he is indeed white. Or at the very least an “Oreo” – black on the outside, but white inside. There does appear to be some evidence for this, like the fact that his wife and their two girls all straighten their hair. And when Obama quotes Kennedy he does not say: “Aks not what your country can do for you;  aks what you can do for your country.” Ok, the last one was facetious.

Perhaps the decision is not ours but Obama’s.

But if the United States is truly a “blended country,” where the racial distinctions become increasingly blurred, and increasingly irrelevant, why does Obama have to make the choice at all? Race should no longer be important as a distinguishing characteristic. And it seems that for him, it is not.

So  the question remains – is white America really ready for a “real”, all-black president, or are we only interested in the Oreos of this world – or those who’s skin is a paler shade of black… the Tiger Woods, the Whitney Houstons, the Halle Berrys, and of course, the most acceptable blacks of all – the middle class Huxtables.

One thing seems certain. Whatever his race, his color certainly helped all of us. For the black community he was a gift and for the whites, well, voting for this young black man actually made us feel better about ourselves.

The appointment of Barack Obama represents more than the election of a likeable and competent candidate to the highest office in the land; it stands for a rejection of slavery, of our dubious history, of all the immorality and injustices that have gone before us – of all that is wrong with our society.

And in a classic triumph of good over evil, the black underdog has come to symbolize the righteous. The resulting inauguration has assuaged our guilt, vindicated our sense of fair play and eased our collective conscience.

This symbolism has given Obama the much hyped saint-like status that has been the subject of some mockery. However the truth is his triumph does have an almost religious aspect. It has allowed the American people not only to make the right choice, but to feel psychologically empowered by that choice – perhaps even pious. It symbolizes the metaphorical purification of our collective sin and granted us a radical social enema.

And while we’re hoping that Obama will manage to save our country – we’re banking on him to save us from ourselves.

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  1. He’s black, well kinda, but it would be incorrect to describe him as African American… that’s obviously not completely true…

  2. Sinking City Dad 01/21/2009, 00:45

    In my book, I respect what people identify themselves as – if you say you’re straight, that’s what I approach you as (regardless of how effeminate you might be). If you introduce yourself as William, I don’t call you Bill.
    I don’t know if Obama describes himself as black. Do you (know)?

    Added to this is the fact that we have changed the meanings of black and white to be behavioral (sorry about the “missing” U) rather than racial. With these definitions in mind, he’s definitely white. His style of dress, his chosen profession, his mannerisms and speech all point to his “whiteness”.
    But, as a white man, I’m happy to call him “Our first African-American President” if it helps us All Just Get Along (and help my net worth rise)…

  3. Yes, white on many levels… no Ebonics, no accent, no gold teeth… ha… so long as he’s not tooo black, whites accept him… but that fist bump he did with his wife nearly screwed him…

  4. It really seems to me that the loudest, proudest voices hailing our first black president are those of the white media. The black community seems to be more invertly moved by this fact. Even with all the proud talk and emotional celebrations by the african american community, I truly feel if is more a case of “We Have Overcome” by Whitey.

  5. barak obama is an oreo. he does not represent black americans. i am disgusted by him. he used us. i can’t even look at him anymore. he has disappointed me on so many levels and i understand what was meant when the question of if he is “black” enough? no he is not black at all. he identifys with white people.

  6. Wow so Obamas an oreo because his children and wife straighten thier hair? how many black, African Americans do that? Obama is Black under the grounds of the way white ppl described black people in the olden days guys, put his face near a brown paper bag and ull see. Ever heard of this saying drop a drip of black paint in a white bucket of paint and itll all turn gray? come on. But no his race shuldnt matter nor shouyld it do all that you say it does or should do. To me he wasnt elected by a dna factor at all but his mind and personality story and how he wanted to positivly impact america

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