For those who are excited at the prospect of the first black man to reach the presidency … or vice presidency ... I have news for you. Obama is not black. He is half-white. In fact, culturally he has been most closely associated with his white mother -- until being black was a booster rocket for his remarkable political rise.
What is it about America that we insist a drop of Negro blood makes a person black? It is a widely held prejudice that has been around since the enlightened founders found it necessary to make a huge moral compromise on the issue of slavery and declared free blacks as fractional citizens. On the other hand, I have this silly notion that race identity has something to do with genetics, logic and common sense. If we want to recognize different “races,” which I abhor in the first place, we should at least get it right. Obama is as white as he is black, and in terms of his personal knowledge of the black experience in America, he is most certainly more white.
We used to call mixed race people, mulatto, but that term fell into disfavor – leaving us without an acceptable word. Multi ethnic is too bureaucratic – and why not, it was coined by government bureaucrats. Hybrid? Uh uh. The auto industry grabbed that one. Maybe he is the black-lite candidate, but somehow that does not work. Makes him sound mostly black. Some of my black friends (the real ones) refer to Obama as pepper over salt with the same implication found in the expression “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Several years ago, the late Senator John Moynihan advised President Nixon how to win public support (before Watergate, that is). The Senator said, “If you are going to act like a Tory, you should speak like a Whig. If you are going to act like a Whig, you should speak like a Tory.” This makes me think that Obama’s success may be due to the fact that he looks like a black and speaks like a white. His challenge is to get the blacks to see him, and the whites to hear him. If that were to switch polarity, he would be lucky to be re-elected to the Illinois State Senate.