That’s the headline I recently saw on CNN.
Damn, what a question- I can’t believe it’s something that never even crossed my mind… me, of all people.
I guess I just always thought of him as black…
We all know Obama’s mama is white, and his daddy is black… similarly, my own mother (biological) is white, and my father (again, biologically speaking) is black.
Personally, I consider myself bi-racial (or Native Halfrican American if I’m feeling frisky)… but I think of Obama as black.
I wonder what he considers himself… black? Bi-racial? Halfrican? (my personal favorite, I must say)… but really, does it matter what he considers himself?
The answer is no.
Because society, myself included (hanging my head in shame) has already labeled him black, regardless of what he himself may think.
In and of itself that’s not a bad thing… but as the CNN article states, even though Obama is as much white as he is black, he’s still considered, well… black.
As Jason Carroll geniusly points out, if elected, Obama will be both the 44th white president and the 1st black president- at the same time.
That’s pretty cool.
It is interesting how anyone with any discernable amount of black blood in their bodies are considered black… at least in society’s eyes.
I realize this practice dates back to slavery… anyone that had traceable amounts of black in them were deemed black, so they could legally be slaves.
What’s sad is that this practice (minus the slave part- duh) still exists today.
So many of those who swear racism no longer exists, who swear color doesn’t matter, still make the effort to label multi and bi-racial people like myself and Senator Obama black. Even people like me, who fight against racism, and truly love people of all colors are guilty of this.
It reminds me of a child who is a genius- very, very smart, but is told his entire life that he’s stupid. After a while, that’s how he identifies himself- regardless of the fact that it isn’t true.
Those of us of mixed heritage have been told by society over and over again for so long that we are black that we begin to personally identify ourselves that way, instead of as the beautiful mixture of both black and white that we truly do represent.
Why? They cannot enslave us any longer, nor can they deny us the right to vote or own property… is there something offensive about the idea that perhaps some of us do not fall into a simple “black” or “white” category?
I remember growing up, getting picked on because I talked “white”… to my peers, I was black… they didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t speaking in a manner that was stereotypical of how they felt black people should speak.
Rather than take the time to understand that I am as white as I am black, and further, was raised by a white family, I was instead labeled as uppity… Someone who because of my light skin tone and “good hair”, thought I was better than those who were darker than me.
Still to this day, if I dare try and openly celebrate my bi-racial heritage among the wrong people, there are negative consequences, people begin to feel threatened, telling me I am denying my heritage- that of a black woman.
If I do mention my bi-racial heritage, I generally must do so in a joking manner- calling myself Halfrican or Caucegro for example.
Otherwise I am being offensive in denying the black race others have labeled me with.
Why can I not be both?
I am both.