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U.S. Senator Barack Obama and the One-Drop rule

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Why are so many people saying that U.S. Senator Barack Obama could become the first black president ?
If by that they mean that he would become the first African-American president--meaning his father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas--it would make sense.

But I don't think that's what people mean.

Despite the deaths of legal segregation and Jim Crow, apparently most Americans still embrace the one-drop rule.

F. JamesDavis, a retired professor of sociology at Illinois State University, defined the one-drop rule as the belief that any person with "any known African black ancestry" is considered to be black.

Actually, if Obama is elected President of the United States, he would become the nation's first biracial president, wouldn't he? Obama has never shied away from his African heritage, and this is not about how he views his racial identity.

The point is, it doesn't look like the public is giving him much choice. Although his mother is white, and he was raised in a home with his white grand-parents, to many, the one-drop rule still applies.

As pointed out by Stephan Thernstrom in an article published in the National Review in April, 2000, "the United States is the only country in the world in which a white woman can give birth to a black baby but a black woman cannot give birth to a white baby."

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If you have a problem with Obama being referred to as black, blame him for referring to himself that way. What is your point anyway?

Mitchell comment:

My discussion was about the one-drop rule as it relates to Obama being referred to as possibly the first black president.

I think Tiger Woods might agree with you Mary but he hasn't had much choice in the matter either. I believe Obama is classified this way because some believe there will be many benefits to be had by this forced race association. And my guess is it aint the white folks that care whether he's the first African-American or non-white president. Ask yourself WHO is considering Obama "black" and ask THEM why!

Obama has embraced his African roots, and in front of the media at every opportunity which is fine. He has used his minority status to his advantage - why not given the dire straits of the Republican party. It's not the "public" who isn't giving him much choice - it's Obama (who changed his name from Barry to Barack) and the media creating this "one drop" rule as you state. It's clear Obama, if he runs, will use his ethnicity to separate himself from the rest of the pack (all white). So far, this strategy seems to be working.

Mitchell Comment:

The media didn't create the one-drop rule. That was born out of slavery and segregation.

People reacted the same way to Tiger Woods several years ago, when he first became a big name in golf--emphasizing his black father over his Thai, I believe, mother. Wasn't Woods also criticized for speaking up to redress the imbalance? And he's a GOLF player.

Does Barack consider himself white then?
And, he wouldnt be the first, Bill Clinton has already been named the first black president, remember??

Sad to say, but many white Americans still view the use of the "one drop rule" in terms of social status and position. If Obama becomes president, highest status position of this country, many white Americans would be more content saying we have a non-white president, rather than saying the president is black. For anyone considered, non-white, the question lies to follow, "so what race are you?" When "other" is listed on an application and checked, I wonder what question is asked of the applicant regarding race? I suppose one would have to take into account the interviewer and interviewee's belief regarding the "one drop rule". In the U.S. many only choose to see in "black" and "white". Where is our diversity and will there ever be a time when we all can look at the content of character and not the "one drop rule" of one's race?

Mary, you are right in that Americans embrace the one-drop rule. African-Americans, that is. The example that comes to mind was the Bobby Rush-Barack Obama congressional primary race. It was Rush's people who attacked and successfully may I add Obama's 'whiteness'. It wasn't that long ago. And I didn't hear the finger-pointer, either. Oh how everybody has forgot.

Mary, the man is an African. He has black skin, nappy hair, Negroid features and an African daddy. White mommie isn't too visible except in his speech pattern. Barack is no white boy no matter how you try to look at it. His lineage is known. His daddy was African so he is an African American which translates to black guy for me, which, to me makes him the first black or African American president. Is that so difficult?

As far as black women having white children, usually there is some indication of their Negroid genes in their features or hair texture, uh, that is except for old Michael Jackson. Judging by his towheaded, blue eyed white kids the man has the genes of a Viking I guess.

Let's see, so black and white women have black babies, but rich black men can have pure white babies. All this is getting very complicated isn't it?

Affirmative action laws and quota programs enable the one-drop rule to be advantageous some. The one-drop rule will remain in effect until this country and its laws are truly color-blind.

Sad to say, but many white Americans still view the use of the "one drop rule" in terms of social status and position. If Obama becomes president, highest status position of this country, many white Americans would be more content saying we have a non-white president, rather than saying the president is black. For anyone considered, non-white, the question lies to follow, "so what race are you?" When "other" is listed on an application and checked, I wonder what question is asked of the applicant regarding race? I suppose one would have to take into account the interviewer and interviewee's belief regarding the "one drop rule". In the U.S. many only choose to see in "black" and "white". Where is our diversity and will there ever be a time when we all can look at the content of character and not the "one drop rule" of one's race?

Dear mrs Mitchell,thank you so much for you insightful comments-you are always on the money-I have always wondered about that"one drop rule"-if that's the case alot of so called whites are really black-why can't bi-racial people (which most of us are)make the decision themselves on how they wish to be viewed? I feel they are the best of both worlds!!!

Ms. Mitchell never fails to amaze me with her smoke and mirrors writing and her incessant attempts to blame everything on whitey. IT IS OBAMA who rarely, if ever, mentions the white side of his family. It is Mariah Carey, Halle Berry and tons of other half and half celebrities who never mention the white side of their families. There is SO much more political and financial mileage in being black rather than white in our politically correct society. Don't hang this one on the evil white man. This is their choice.

Mitchell Comment:

I definitely disagree. Obama's first book dealt with his mixed-race background extensively. Further, "evil white man" is your opinion, not mine,

I think the fact that Obama's appeal cuts across racial lines is much more important than whether he is 1/2, 1/4, or even one drop African American. If white people who support Obama refer to his race as black, what's the difference? Obama's ideas and charisma are more important than his skin color. If anything, it is a credit to African Americans that so many white people are energized by him.

You seem to have a problem with skin color as all of your columns deal with race. Listen, Black or white the only color I care about is the color of my money:


Those 13" Black and White televisions must've had a profound effect on your youth!

Mitchell Comment:

Given that this blog is a forum for the discussion of race issues, what did you expect?

I had a great conversation with my Mom about this when Alan Keyes was talking up reparations and telling people Senator Obama wasn't an African American because he wasn't a descendant of slaves. She says 'white' people (and she includes us in that category) are going to be a lot more forthcoming about their ancestry if this country ever does anything about reparations.

As someone of a mixed background who grew up in a white flight suburb, I like to consider myself culturally caucasian. Having read the senator's first book, I think he's rather CC also.

I think that black people embrace Barack Obama for one very simple reason because we always accept anybody under our tent. They can look white and that’s ok and they can look mixed, or pure Nairobi Black and that’s cool too. Whites can sometime have trouble accepting those down in the boondocks, or even the other side of the track. Black people are just more acceptable of those who may not be just like us, but have what we think or view of as “our? characteristics. Once you meet that hurdle, just consider yourself in. Hey, blacks consider Bill Clinton as one of us because we felt like he belonged. While the President never confirmed his genealogy, he had an undeniable rhythm that was natural and not mimicked---so we let him in. Now Obama could take it one step further, he even has the features.

The one drop rule really meant that you can’t have seat under the white tent, but the black tent is open and available 24/7----if you want to come in. What is sad about the rule is that there are millions of whites who live in this country who don’t know they have African roots. Wait, wait one minute, if the mother of modern homo sapiens is known to have originated in Africa, then it would stand to reason that somewhere we all have common ancestry? So, really how different are we---really? If we can interbreed among the various racial groups, then Mother Nature is telling us that it can’t be that much of a difference. So, what’s the fuss?

When a person of color or biracial person becomes prominent then white people always want to acknowledge their "white" heritage. Everyone wants to claim a successful person.

Can we say Barack, Halle and Tiger?

to K. Kovach: Show some decency please. Its white man, not white boy. And as far as the senator goes, he's 1/2 black, 1/2 white in race. Or to specific, a male human being.

Is the color of our skin really matter? Either you are black, white, red, green or blue, does not predispose you for being good or bad. so what is your point?
I don't know if your are black yourself. If so, let me tell you that I am verry desappointed of you. By talking about the race issue all the time, we black have invented a neosegregation against ourselves. That is the sad part of it. So next time you see Obama, think about everything but his race. If you have a car that you like, please do so not because of its color but because of its engin and features. Otherwise you could be stupid. You may just don't know it.

Everyone seems to respect Barack Obabma for addresing his African roots but honestly, can he be accepted as anything else? According to Adrian L. Lee: "It is Mariah Carey, Halle Berry and tons of other half and half celebrities who never mention the white side of their families" --- this is untrue. Mariah Carey has only recently began addressing her "black side" because the media loves to show celebrity dysfunction and nothing that I've read regarding her black family so far, has been shown in a positive light. As far as her "white side' is concerned, does she really have to explain that, when you look at Mariah Carey what do you really see?
Halle Berry's mom was seen immediately when the white audience started to take notice and began addressing her as a "star". So there is no comparing these two. As far as Barack, he may win all the popularity contests towards the Presidential chair but until America gets past what they can see, he definitely won't sit in it---that's the reality, in a better America maybe but this IS NOT a better America, NOT YET! The black community--- all around this country--- is heavily under funded in education, employment, healthcare and other valuable resources (none of which is by accident) so thinking that this country, with its history of oppresion will forgive this so called one- drop rule is laughable.

There are many Great African-American men all over this country that are in a continuous fight, everyday for much less.

I'm a Kenyan from Western Province,neighboring where Obama's father originated.From my community and Obama's father's community,a child is identifyied by the father.Though Obama is an American by birth and socialization, he still remains the father's son.He is thus a Luo and an African.So Obama is a Kenya American.When you read his book Dreams from my Father, and even his second book,Audacity of Hope, Barack clearly states this position.What is wrong with being African anyway?
Dr Oruoch

I think a lot of people are missing the point, Mary. If I can interject my two cents, I don't think mainstream America still thinks about the one-drop rule... I think it's solely a matter of appearance. Mariah Carey, for instance, has a Black father and a White mother, but you never hear anyone call her Black because she doesn't look it. At the same time, Halle Berry also has a Black father and White mother, but because she's brown, she's considered Black. It seems to be a matter of appearance and physical traits, not the one-drop rule.

I think various reporters and journalists look for the easiest classifications into which everyone can fit, and that becomes the story.

My wife is bi-racial (Black father/Italian mother). She will correct anyone who seeks to categorize her one way or the other. She'll accept bi-racial or multi-racial, but not Black OR White. Choosing sides would be denying her heritage.

I have heard Senator Obama refer to himself as a Black man, but in the context in which he was making the statement, he was referring to how he (and others) have been treated because of the color of our skin.

To Cheryl.

As an African American woman
-which fits you more perfect than many -
you would feel this way.

You are not a threat(In a way that would offend if you were a man)

Most "African Americans" are mixed with some non African culture(Hence the term "African American")

ps. Only in America is one asked to differentiate between the "heritage of his heritage", which is RACIST IN ITSELF AND DAMN STUPID!! The only difference is how much tan we took from the union.

Africans are a proud people that are removed from American slave mentallity...true.

But go a few blocks down the street alone, or a different state where you have to get by on your wit,
or go to a Cub game with an African American male that has a white girlfrind or two or three...*wink*
You will find out as quick as Scrooge on Christmas or Tiger being ask not to bring "Collard Greens to the Masters"

Mayibuye!...Wake Up!

Wait - you're saying the "one drop" for Obama is caused by "slavery and segragation"? You can't be that's Obama who has made his African roots part of his flirting with the media about a Presidential run. It's Obama who changed his name from Barry to Barack. It's Obama who paraded the media around his father's heritage in Africa. This is all fine and probably a terrific strategy to continue to separate himself from other candidates. But PLEASE don't suggest Obama's race allegiance is all about slavery - he is making these choices and they are all centered around balancing his enormous appeal to white voters (as evidenced by his Senate win), and trying to retain the black community's support.


U.S. Senator Barack Obama did not establish the one-drop rule. I included the link for essays on this subject with the hope that you would read up on the subject before responding.

Many of the posters here are historically ignorant and only post here to spew their racial venom anonymously. Mary didn't invent the "one drop" rule, she is merely reporting the news regarding B.O. Slave masters created this dividing ideology to be able to misuse the children they fathered with Slaves. It allowed them to sell, beat, rape, and murder their own children with good conscience. It has also been used to strip deserving off-spring of their biological birthright and inheritance (Jefferson,Thurmond,etc.). The current situation in our society is more a symptom of the bigotry seen across cultural lines. Black people are known to be very open and welcoming to people of all racial backgrounds. Blacks often take in strays from all walks of life. When you have nothing it is easier to share it with others, when you are blessed with much, people tend to be very guarded with what they have. If you read Obama's book or really just be honest with yourself you can see that people of mixed race have long been seen as blacks BY WHITES. B.O. speaks of his treatment by other students throughout his school years. When whites don't care that you are as much White as you are Black, you become black. Regardless of they way that person feels. You will flock toward who welcomes you and treats you fairly. White people throughout the history of this country have proven without the shadow of a doubt that they are not willing to do that.

Regardless of the way one defines themselves, society will always label them based on how they look. Obama can say that he is white and people will look at him and they will not see a white person. People of color have experienced this all there life. As a person of mixed race, I am constantly being asked "what am I." People judge you based on how you look and hence, treat you differently because of that.

And to the comment posted by Shecky Fuller - you may see that there is "more political and financial mileage in being black rather than white in our politically correct society" - but for ever mile ahead I get - there are a whole lot of potholes that I must overcome to get where I want to get....

If Africa is the cradle of humanity, aren't we ALL, by use of the One-Drop Rule, "African American" or "black"?

My heritage is (as far as I know) strictly white European. But, of course, those white Europeans had to have come from out of Africa at one time or another. What year/century/age/eon was the cutoff?

I have often been tempted to check the box for school applications or other documentation in which I could benefit from being a minority. Who would challenge me? Would I have to act black? Be measured against a color chart? Be forced to demonstrate rhythm?

I am cynical enough to think that tons of whites are “passing? because I never hear about it being challenged. And, if it were challenged it could blow the lid off of the idea of “race? in America.

Mary, is race just a lie waiting to be unraveled?

If Africa is the cradle of humanity, aren't we ALL, by use of the One-Drop Rule, "African American" or "black"?

My heritage is (as far as I know) strictly white European. But, of course, those white Europeans had to have come from out of Africa at one time or another. What year/century/age/eon was the cutoff?

I have often been tempted to check the box for school applications or other documentation in which I could benefit from being a minority. Who would challenge me? Would I have to act black? Be measured against a color chart? Be forced to demonstrate rhythm?

I am cynical enough to think that tons of whites are “passing? because I never hear about it being challenged. And, if it were challenged it could blow the lid off of the idea of “race? in America.

Mary, is race just a lie waiting to be unraveled?

Fact is Barack as nice a man as he is, has done absolutely nothing as a politician yet. When he actually does something then I'll think of him as a serious contender. Being propped up by the liberal media and Dummycrats is not eneough.

America has to get rid of the one drop rule. It doesn't make any sense anymore, now that Jim Crow laws are supposedly over. Most blacks in America have at least some white ancestry. Very few of us are pure African.

I do not think it is the one-drop-rule when it comes to Obama. I would consider it the one-parent-rule and he does have a black parent. When is someone black as opposed to no longer considered black? Why would anyone want to be not black?

I am ashamed tha even though the USA is preaching "democratic rights" all over the world, it does not practice the same with respect to Obama. In him, you have the best president. A person who will not only to unify USA but also to unify the world against terrorism and yet he might not stand a chance just because he is not PURE WHITE! Give us a break and elect a person for what he stands for and what he is. Not by his colour!

Would you rather be led by a white idiot or by an inteligent and honest American irrespective of his race?

America ought to grow up!

Mary, this country will always be divided by skin color. Blacks did not create this divide! The divide started legally in this country upon the passage of Article I,sec.2 of the United States Constitution.

Shecky and jerry the sica bro' ..check your ancestors..The Dna from a white man leads back to a common ancestor"a black woman from africa...that makes you and jerry part black,how ironic!(you wont see it in mainstream media ) it doesnt matter what race Obama claims,the world sees him as a black man anyway....DOC

My 7th grade social studies class recently emailed Oprah stating that Barack is an African-Anglo American.

As usual, in matters of race and/or politics, the hypocrisy is stunning. Obama wraps himself proudly in his "African-American-ness", and rightfully so. But if anyone, usually white people, have the audacity (there's that word again) to suggest that he is getting alot of this attention based on the fact that he is black, they are called racist.

And everybody is just too cowardly to call anyone on it.

By the way, when is the media tour thru Kansas scheduled?

I take your point, and it is a good one. However, everyone knows that traditionally what "black" refers to in our society is anyone who 1. couldn't pass as white, or 2. chose not to identify themselves as white.

If you met me you'd assume that I'm white. However, at least half my family traces it's American origins back to the 17th century, so what do you think are the chances that I'm entirely white. All those generations of my family marrying other people in the South - a region where the "black" population was a disproportionately large part of the general population?

I'd say that the chances that I'm entirely Caucasian are practically nil. Wouldn't you?

And speaking of Barach Obama, do you remember his trip to Africa. Remember those huge crowds of faces so black that it looked like a sea of night? How often do you see faces that black here in America? Not often.

The truth is that you and I, provided you also can trace your family back to the before the Civil War, are neither black nor white. We are varying degrees of both.

So why do I say that I'm white? Probably that has a lot to do with the cultural norms and habits that inform my family. A lot of it is skin color, but much of it is not. The same is probably true for you.

As time goes on and we as a people become more mocha than white or black, we are the ones who determine who we are... Just like the Jews, we will self select based on a cultural understanding of our own identity.

Barach Obama is half African, but he's black because he says he is.

Didnt Martin Luther King want no one to look at color or race? Obama is a hypocrite he went to Maryland and told us to not vote for a person because of the color of our skin and he comes he and says we need to stick together.

Thank you for addressing the one-drop rule, Mary. I'm embarrassed by how entrenched racism is in some of your respondents, but I appreciate your level-headed responses.

I wish that people would separate the two issues of "is Barack good for the US?" and "is the one-drop rule ubiquitous and harmful in US culture?" To answer the first, find any of Sen. Obama's remarks on the Iraq war, faith in America, etc. and be amazed at his skill to respectfully get the heart of a matter, with an eye to improving American's lives (I can't even imagine Bush, Kerry, Clinton etc. speaking like this, let alone acting on those thoughts.) The answer to the second question is "yes!" For too long has racial injustice kept the US from realizing its true potential. Only by recognizing and changing instituted discrimination like the one-drop rule can we live in the America of the founders' dreams, where each of us can proudly look one another in the eye.

To the respondents who call being black an asset, you're putting the cart in front of the horse. Well-connected wealthy influential black people have the advantage of saying, "and I'm not guilty of getting where I am as a beneficiary of centuries of majority white vs. minority black racial injustice." But if you consider black people as a whole, being black is no advantage in contemporary US. I'm no sociologist, but being black means you're more likely to be poor, to be discriminated against, and to have friends who are like this too (rather than friends who would be more likely to help you with upward mobility.) And yes affirmative actions have attempted to level the playing field by getting blacks into the positions they would have naturally been in were it not for vicious racism, but are any of the legislations enough when the country doesn't change its own heart towards race? And do employers now have to look at successful blacks wondering if they deserve their success or if it was handed them by affirmative action?

Obama 2008!

I only have only one thought on this matter and two words come to mind...

Halle Berry

And two more words...

Go Obama!

My observation has been that mixed race individuals usually relate better with their Black side because Blacks are the ones who accept and love them better. Whites tend to ostracized and alienate themselves from any trace of Black lineage/kin. However, this has changed a "slight" bit in the last 20 years. Remember the movie: Oh, what's it's name where the light-skinned girl with the Aunja Mommie black cleaning lady momma couldn't past for white? Oh darn. But Hollywood did a lot of movies on this problem.

There have been at least Five White Presidents with Black blood in their ancestry. Lincoln ole Abe is one. See books by Roger's.; Barrack Obama looks exactly like a South African person of mixed heritage. He has that Nelson Mandella high cheek bone look. He look like the so called "colored's" as they are called in South Africa.

By the way, that movie was: Imitation of Life, there is a 1934 and 1959 version and it speaks volumes on how majority whites felt about blacks are blacks with white blood in them; this society had a place for these individuals in the Caste system of Race in America..Light-skinned were considered higher than the darker blacks: more intelligent, better looking, nicer, more able to emulate white folks; but, not quite high as white folks. Oh yea, America has been a crazy place it's historical roots.

When I look around my family reunions it looks like he UN. I look around and I don't see race. I see LOVE.....

Biracial people like Obama are not non-white any more than they are non-black.

He's *both*

So if he chooses to identify as black, biracial, or even white he would be correct. He is all of these things.

However, in our society a person of any race who appears to be black will be treated as such. Since most of the shared experiences we associate with race occur as a result of how we are treated and how we are perceived for our race, a man who appears to be "black" by most of society will have many shared experiences with those whose heritage is less multiracial.

I say less less because, really, how many Black people in America have 100% pure racial heritage? Most African Americans have multiracial backgrounds, thanks in no small part to the legacy of slavery. If we seperated all of the biracial people out of the black community, the community would shrink substantially, -- and it would make no sense, because most of these biracial people have self-indentified as black all their lives.

Such seperation is silly and counterproductive. They are biracial. And they are black. Both.

It is only recently that biracial kids have been being born into happy families accepted enough by society for those children to be able to embrace all parts of their heritage. For them to identify as biracial is a gift, a beautiful thing. But embracing all sides doesn't require them to do so in a way that seperates or excludes them from either of their loving parents. They are biracial -- they are both. Any biracial kid with white & black parents is biracial. And white. And black.


As for black women not being able to give birth to white children -- that sounds like the statement of one who has not looked very hard at the full spectrum of biracial people in the world. A few of them do indeed look "white" -- and so are treated as such until they indicate otherwise. They too are all of their heritage. White, black and biracial.

We've got to start looking at this stuff logically, and get rid of the old racial mythologies that have been holding our country back for so long.

I commend you for being the first person in the media for bringing this up (at least that I know of). Last time I checked, if a person had a black father and white mother, that made that person bi-racial, not one single race. It'd also be nice if Obama would correct the numerous commentators and writers who call him black.

Ms. Mitchell, I enjoy reading your columns frequently. While I do not always agree with you, you do what the best columnists do- make me think and reconsider my stands on issues. I am better having read your work.

However, I also believe your message is often lost in your shrill approach. You seem to attack in the very beginning of your pieces- oftentimes, passive-aggressive in nature. You say things you are convinced will get under the skin of your readers and elicit a reaction. While I understand you want a reaction, I believe this is taking the easy way out. I also believe, as in the case of today's column, you often write on certain topics simply because you are bent on some 'social-progressive' movement and believe you are just 'doing what's necessary' to 'advance the debate'. Often, we should stand back and ask whether the question we are posing is really consequential to the greater debate- would Barack Obama's candidacy and/or election advance the cause of racial equality in the United States? I believe it would. I believe you are holding our progress back when, instead of seeking resolution, you point out differences in order to advance your personal agendas.

I think that Obama's personal beliefs, or lack of them, will overshadow his skin color. In Time magazine, Barak was asked by his daughter where she would go if she were to die. His own words were: "I don't know". Here we have a black man, born of a white mother, with a Muslim name and supposedly a Christian. I don't care what color the man is, but it appears that he is as mixed up as his background.

We're lending credence to a phrase coined a college professor few people have ever heard of until this blog mentioned it. OK....others have said it on this blog - Obama is calling all of the shots with respect to his ethnicity and using the media to help him.

In this world you're either white, black, or brown. There is no hey...I'm black and white. Obama himself has described himself as being black. I'm proud of the fact that he had the courage to look at so many people in the face and say...hey I'm educated, black and possibly your next president. And the great thing is, that people are listening! Minorities are breaking down the barriers of the one drop rule, and one day hopefully people will be saying this is our 1st female white president. Would the one drop rule be in effect then too? You're either a man or a woman. Personally as a female hispanic it doesn't seem that much of a big deal to me, it's just describing a first time for a certain race or color. In time these descriptions of each other's race and gender will no longer matter. We will all be equals.

to cheryly: forget reparations. Its a tragedy that african american "leaders" keep people looking forward to this. They would do a better service to tell them to get a work ethic and stop sitting around waiting for the federal govt to give handouts.

and, any reparations should be offset with what has been paid out in welfare, free schooling, crime restitutions never repaid...gee, maybe the blacks will owe the govt after this accounting...

Obama's black. People should know by now that Black Americans are of mixed heritage...which is why (physically), Obama looks like the average Black (not African) man.

"f we can interbreed among the various racial groups, then Mother Nature is telling us that it can’t be that much of a difference. So, what’s the fuss?"

A very good point, Michael. In fact, I've read all humans regardless of skin color (or anything else) share 99%+ of the same genes, so genetically, we're the same.

It's only culturally we feel this need to differentiate ourselves (and rarely for the better, it seems).

Eric, I don't get your stereotype of calling Ms. Mitchell's topics intended to be 'self-serving'. It seems Most Whites tend to get on the "same bandwagon" and hence repeat the same dogma: Jessie Jackson is not fighting against injustices, he's out trying to get on camera, or for personal gain. Same thing most whites say about just about every prominent black person.

Since whites control the Media and along with that Image, their pseudo portrayal's of our prominent people seem to stick.

The Rev. Jessie Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton are Freedom Civil Rights figter's. They are both profound, very tireless workers and committed to the struggle of creating a "more perfect union" in racist America. Mary Mitchell has been heterfore, presenting topics that are history making topics. You mean to say that her topic on the Black people being shot 50 times or more and a 88 year old black women being murder etc., she is writing this for personal gain. That's insane. It means she is a damn excellent journalist doing her craft like it was intended to be done. Now, when you want to speak of a person who is all about ratings and a "fat" paycheck, how about Nancy Grace as a candidate. Now, she's a self promoter.

I do primarily fault the media (but not you Mary) for hyping the "Obama is black" theme. Barak Obama, like Tiger Woods and many other high achieving Americans are of mixed race and are proud to say so and proud to honor both parents. It is the media that covers this up for what reason I do not know. It's as though the media wants to find predjudice and bigotry. Most people I know want anything BUT that! Those folks in the U.S. fortunate enough to have both African and European blood, along with ever increasing numbers of supportive friends, co-workers and family, are the best hope we have of ever overcoming centuries of racial misunderstanding and mistrust in this country. If Obama runs for President I truly hope he and his handlers are smart enough and strong enough to put a kibbosh on the race competition thing and instead play up the wonderful "he is American and he is all of us" theme.

"I included the link for essays on this subject with the hope that you would read up on the subject before responding."

In the spirit of constructive criticism, I would hope that you actually read your bloggers comments before you respond. Obama didn't invent "1 drop" but he's using it to his advantage.

The "one drop" rule might have diminished by today except that it is still politically advantageous to identify people by race. When is the last time someone used the term "integration" in public discourse unless it was related to computer circuits? The civil rights movement in the 60s seemed to strive toward a society that one day wouldn't care about race. Today, it's more like a special interest lobby for blacks; nothing wrong with that, but just another group like the AFL-CIO or the Chamber of Commerce. The idea of a society where race wouldn't be an issue seems to have died with Dr. King.

Gary - The very thing that confuses YOU about Obama are the things that endear him to so many people. He is not "mixed up" in the least. He has very clear goals and paths to acheive them. He couldn't tell his daughter where she would go when she dies because she has yet to live her life out to determine that fact. She will decide that with the way she lives her life, not by where he wishes her to go. That is the very basis of his "supposed Christianity". How ignorant of you. Do you know where you are going when you die? He was being honest with her which I guess is a foreign language to you. And to David, your reparations argument is tired. Whites receive more welfare benefits and free schooling than any other group in this country by far. This country could never re-pay what it did to African Slaves. Get an education and grow up.

Mary, Mary, Mary!

Thank you for your column - it is ALWAYS stimulating, and you keep us focused on race, long after others want to forget and stop discussing racial topics.

Keep articulating the realities. We all need to squirm, and hopefully, think, learn, and change.

to Mary: I agree with you that so far, Obama has done NOTHING as senator..Remember the Robert Redford movie, "The Candidate", thats who Obama reminds me of so far..Traveling the country saying nice things, always looking neat, but his work performance is of NO SUBSTANCE....My dad use to say some politicians are "WORK HORSES", they work very hard behind scenes, quietly, whatever it takes to get the job done and help the people. Then there are "SHOW HORSES", they look real good, speak nice, always smile, everybody frowns over them, but in reality they don't do or accomplish anything of real substance. Sort of like Obama.....Mary, isn't it also amazing everybody formed there opinion of Obama over a beautiful speech he gave. Truthfully, just words. Yet, when Ronald Reagan gave a beautiful speech, he was criticized for being perfect with his words. They said, "afterall, he was an actor. A speech doesn't count."

to Maurice: You said mixed-race individuals relate to Black better because blacks love them more...Having said that, would you explain the Bobby Rush-Barack Obama congressional race not that far back when Rush beat him decisively and many Rush people tried (evidently successfully)to remind the voters that Obama wasn't all that black...Maurice, you'll explain that one to me, won't you?

Media hype is all it is....we know what we would get if we had this guy for president:

Inexperience and racism.

The media likes to make and break candidates but smart people do their own homework.

Marxists WILL be exposed!

If barack obama was one of these thugs running around here and got arrested for killing someone, on the news and in the papers they will call him a black man. so whats the problem with calling him a black man now since he has a chance at the presidency

If Barack Obama had just knocked off a Seven/Eleven, there would be no doubt who the police would be looking for - a black male. White people only deplore the "one drop rule" when a prominent person of bi-racial heritage chooses to identify as black. And by "bi-racial", I refer to African-Americans with a white parent. Light-skinned blacks whose European heritage came to them through the wholesale sexual exploitation of black women during slavery are never included in the discussion, for example Vanessa Williams, James Earl Jones, (wife of Eldredge), Michael Ealy, all fair-skinned with light blue eyes. These people are never admonished to acknowledge their white backgrounds, perhaps because to do so, it would bring up issues that white America would prefer not to deal with.

K. Brown - you say "Black people are known to be very open and welcoming to people of all racial backgrounds." Would these people be among those who spewed racial taunts and threats when I took the bus through predominantly black neighborhoods as a kid? Are these the same welcoming black folk who mugged my aunt and told the "white bitc*" to give up her jewelry? Just checking...ignorance sounds just as bad when with dumb generalities like that. Racism exists across all racial lines...plain and simple.

Race? Human.
Political race? Winner.
Next question.

I am a middle-aged white guy who thinks Barack Obama
will make a great President, regardless of what he calls himself, or how he is classified by others.

'one drop rule'; so far, that rule has most "white's" saying, from his European side he get's his: articulation, intelligence, presence, and confidence and zeal for politics and the smarts for Harvard( that's inherit from his white genes); White's then must assume, his ryhthm, his like for cornbread, hamhock's, greens, macoroni and cheese, peach cobbler, and his liking old school music comes from his black gene's.

I mean, this is how Race and Racism propagates Sterotype. Now, say it isn't true? You let Obama get caugth with any wrong doing( you know the camera's are searching everyday/every second so they can discredit him); well, white's would then say this was his black side.

What is the big discussion about? It's not about who raised him. It's not about half anything. The man looks brown. He says his father is black. Period. You can be 3/4 white, but if you look African American, and I mean, if your skin appears anything other than the pale color of white folks, then you are black. Duh.

Black is an adjective, not a noun. Simple as that. People should start treating it as such.

Malik,Do u really think the Black community is underfunded in education,jobs and health care? The truth is,everything from frree turkeys to free ID cards to extensive disability and Medicaid is offered in Predominantly Black neighboorhoods, OH I forgot reductions orent(Section 8 free tuition,which is usually totally wasted,a plethora of shelters and free rehabs and free breakfasts and lunches at schools,for parents also. What do u want? Quit blaming Whites,get off your lazy butts,get off the drugs,teach your children some manners,stop sexually abusing them, stop beating up your wives and stealing from your sick parents and at least work towards civilization. I;m white,I didnt
't cause your lousy crime ridden communities.U are passive and dependent and always want money through lawsuits. Get some integrity and pride and get off the hate for the white person. Look in the mirror and make some effort on your own behalfs.You really make me sick

"As for black women not being able to give birth to white children -- that sounds like the statement of one who has not looked very hard at the full spectrum of biracial people in the world. A few of them do indeed look "white" -- and so are treated as such until they indicate otherwise." Erica MM

Erica MM, I take from your post that once they "indicate otherwise" they are not treated as "white". Please elaborate. I find that interesting. In what way are they then treated differently?...

The rule is illogical. It it written in stone? Can it be changed?

Oh my! It appears that about three-quarters of your respondents missed the point (or I did!).

Obama should be President, or he shouldn't; he's a fine and honorable man, or he isn't; he's lied and covered-up with the best (worst) of them, or he hasn't; he will lead the country to hell in a handbasket, or he won't. These are matters of fact and are disputed, or of opinion and are debated, and you aren't speaking for or against any of these positions, not here.

But nobody disputes or debates referring to him as "black," although he isn't - not more than half. And that absence reflects continuing, entrenched racism.

That was your point, roughly? If so, you're entirely right.

Mitchell Comment:

Thank you.

While I'm not sure that Senator Obama has a realistic chance of being elected president of the United States in 2008, I think that he is a fine human being. He appears to be sincere in his desire to improve America for all.

I especially like the fact that he has criticized a very poor excuse for an employer. Based in 'The Old Conferacy'...the CEO of that corporation displays a lack of morals analagous to the slaveholders of his region's history. Because they display always-low ethics...always - WalMart and Sam's Club should be boycotted by all fairminded Americans.

Obama has no chance of EVER being President. The country is still over 70% white, and only the guiltiest of the guilty white liberals would vote for him. The only reason the guilty white liberal media is promoting this pinko liberal for President is because he is half black. The white liberal media feels they can cleanse gallons of white guilt out of their systems if they promote this clown for President. BTW, where does Obama stand on the major issues of the day? No one can say where he stands because he only appears on shows that are hosted by GWL's(guilty white liberals), and these GWL's only ask him softball questions. Obama has refused to go on the O'Reilly Factor because he knows O'Reilly will ask him tough questions. Also, an earlier post said Obama has energized whites and he can unite the country. Please, what planet are you living on? Obama would do just the opposite if elected President.

Hi Mary, I consider myself a Black Man. My parents and family are Black. I was raised in a Black community. I have been discriminated against because I am Black. However, my great, great, great grandfather was a white man. Because of the lack of records kept during slavery I have very little information about that side. I know I'm mixed, but I'm unable to claim being anything but being Black. Barack knows more about his background, but he knows he's Black because he has been treated by society as a Black man his entire life. He can't stop being Black. That and death is certainly gauranteed.

Why don't you ask the Senator," Why hasn't he asked for a federal investigation into the cover-up by Mayor Daley and Cook County States Atty. Devine, of the torture of 100+ African- American Men, by Jon Burge and other Chicago Police officers., and would he be just as quite?"

Gator from Chicago

Who cares the clor of his skin and the curls in his hair. CAN HE DO THE JOB? That is what this country needs! By the way is their slavery still today that I do not know about. NO put it away!

I don't see what's wrong with Obama identifying himself as an African-American. If that's how he wants to identify then let him do it. He has never shied away from his diverse background, everyone knows his mother is white. Why are you having such a problem with his right to identify as he pleases? Your creative juices must have run dry today Mary, because this piece is rather boring and adds nothing to anything. The true question is, why are we still labeling each other along racial lines? Why can't Obama just be "a Senator." Why does he have to be "the first African-Amercian Senator." Why do we still speak in racial terms anyway? Perhaps you should go visit the various websites that cater to biracial people. Start with and you will see why its best that Obama stick with "I'm African-Amercian." The name of that website alone should bring shivers down your spine. Read the comments these self-identified mulattos and biracials post on African-Amercians or "true blacks" as they call them. I don't think Obama wants to identify with these people, regardles of his ethnic/racial background. But keep writing articles like this promoting racial classification and you will furher the efforts of these people and put race relations back...way back. But I'm sure you don't even read these posts anyway.

Can I just say that whoever is saying that BARACK changed his name from BARRY is an idiot! He was named after his father Barack Hussein Obama...his MOM and grandparents CALLED him Barry, it was his nickname people! Come on! That's all I have to say about this IDIOTIC topic...He consider's himself black but acknowledges his white heritage too! Who cares! what's more important his that everyone loves him and he's the change this country needs! Obama 08!

Hey instead of bashing Barack why not do a piece on Aron Ranen's new documentary on Korean vendors monopoly of the black hair care industry. His documentary can be viewed off youtube. Its entitled "Black hair" by Aron Ranen. Its getting a lot of buzz on the internet.

I like this forum because it is also educationally and theory driven though some us just do not know if we are Black American, Afro american, or African American, Cuban Afro American, Jamican American,Haitian American.

I think problem is that some us do not trace our Ancestry past and we never discuss this past with our family who never wants a terrible secret to come out because they think it will be a embarassment and the shocking true will unfold.

I think in America we are ashame of these secrets because we are afraid to be labeled or criticized by other supposely superior races who are same as we are "mixed"

Do we as a race classify ourselves people of color or African American descent? I personally think that some the African American are 65% white due to generations of slavery and breeding.Some of us hate to acknowledge that we have white ancestry in our family tree. If we could only come to term with our race and accept our hertiage the better we will be.

I don't understand why some whites do not accept the fact that some whites do have 56% black blood in them if they just only trace their history and not hide the truth.

I think the one drop rule does not make any sense due to the fact that the black gene is a dominant gene so if you are born biracial or multiracial you are characterize as being black from birth because of the laws of nature not politics.

I personally don't think that Senator Obama race really matters though he does know his hertiage and will make a fine candidate for the 2008 presidential election. He also a great leader but doe his race does determine what he will accomplish for this country and other countries.

As for black women not being able to give birth to white children -- that sounds like the statement of one who has not looked very hard at the full spectrum of biracial people in the world. A few of them do indeed look "white" -- and so are treated as such until they indicate otherwise. They too are all of their heritage. White, black and biracial...

Step carefully off of your high horse now...

Thernstrom's statement was referring to the hypocrisy in this country - begun and legalized by whites with the "one drop rule" in the 1910's - of Americans having no problem calling a child born to a white mother with a black father black, but NEVER EVER calling a child born to a black woman with a white father white - even if they look white (see Eartha Kitt's daughter Kitt, Quincy Jones's daughter Rashida and the biological daughter (Maya) of actress Victoria Rowell for examples).

Many people on this board refuse to be honest, but the reality is that the only time white people are bothered by biracials not claiming their white heritage is when they are named Barack Obama or Halle Berry.

I heard one that I'll share with you. A black friend of mine brought this up, by the way..Here goes: If a South African, Zimbabwe, or Namibian white person moves to the United States and becomes a citizen, technically is he/she an African-American?

I call it the O.J rule ,whenever a black is accepted in white society.(OJ)they are vetted as "officially white "when they lose their appeal to whites they are literally "given back "to blacks when they get out of favor with them(example:Tiger woods when he loses")Barack is african american no matter how you see it,whites are so frantic about it (are you running for President?)because they want him to represent them if he does get in office.(like he wouldnt be fair cause he was black or something!)I would vote for him in a minute ,anything beats the incompetant neo-con(artists) and reichwingers we have running ,,,errrrr, not running things in the white house.The present administration will go down as most corrupt and hypocritical one ever.we all have DNA that can be traced back to a common black ancestor..a black women from Africa,so all white racists have actually been calling their own "family" horrible names.whats up with that?

I think K Brown and Jasmine have it right. David, I sense a little hatred...
The one drop rule is a historical fact, period. It's also a fact that people are treated differently in america based on appearance regardless of the proportion of their ancestry. Mixed people generally identify with the non white group because they are basically forced to do so by society. Blacks are the people who accept them and love them openly. This was explained well by K Brown. I think it is hilarious that anyone in this forum would suggest that it is ever advantageous to be black in america. It seems clear that in a democracy being of the minority is never politically adventageous. White people get upset when they feel a minority got an advantage in one small aspect of life. Do they not realize that they have been getting preferencial treatment EVERYDAY of their life? Barack Obama calls himself Black, that is his decision. I am sure this is largely because everyone views him as black. I find it interesting though because Barack's life would seem more similar to the average white american's than to most african americans.
All this aside, I think Barack would be a good leader of this country. That's what matters. It's that simple.

That's completely illogical. When was OJ ever 'white' or tiger ever 'white'. Just because people are given accolades and praise by America, that makes them white? Can't America like people because they do great things? You'r limited world view makes you believe no white can accept a black, so any great black must be viewed as white by America before accepting them. That view is racist!
People hate OJ now because he is a killer and got off because of money. The same rule applies to people like Kenneth Lay etc...
You'r arguments are sad. And it's people like you who will never LET the black poor community co-exist with anybody else.

"Obama has no chance of EVER being President. The country is still over 70% white, and only the guiltiest of the guilty white liberals would vote for him."

LOL, "the guiltiest of the guilty," damn, you can't make this stuff up jerry spews around here - considering Obama swept into the Senate with what, 75% of the vote, I guess those "innocentest of the innocent" white folks are too stupid or lazy to vote, because Obama obviously got thousands upon thousands of white votes.

To babysfriend...

get off your lazy butts

(I'm not sitting around)

get off the drugs

(I've never done drugs)

teach your children some manners

(No kids)

stop sexually abusing them

(Never raped anyone)
stop beating up your wives

(Never beat any woman)

and stealing from your sick

(I take care of my parents)

parents and at least work

towards civilization

(I work every day)

Name one of these crimes that isn't commited more often in white communities.

Get some help.

You have my sympathies.

America did not invent the one-drop rule. Did you know that the Hutus and Tutsis also have a one-drop rule? Quite a few people died over that, as I recall. Japan has a no-drop rule: you can date a Japanese girl, but she probably won't marry you. It is the same all over!

to John Jenkins: Yes, alot of jobs are indeed going overseas. But what you won't admit is that its the annointed 'first BLACK President', Bill Clinton, who is the main culprit. He is the man who pushed through NAFTA, these WTO agreements, and GAIT. Why did you forget to mention that? Your guy! Hey, I think the biggest bad guys in this are the show companies. Especially NIKE. You know they moved a plant from Indonesia to VietNam because the Indonesians wanted a dime more. They can get 14 hours instead of 12 hours of sweatshop labor from the VietNamese, plus they have more political prisoners (LOL). Are you criticizing this? Or do you enjoy wearing your NIKE's? Also, who is making commercials and profitting from these folks? Old white guys or basketball players named LeBron, Carmelo, KG, and AI?

to John Jenkins: Yes, alot of jobs are indeed going overseas. But what you won't admit is that its the annointed 'first BLACK President', Bill Clinton, who is the main culprit. He is the man who pushed through NAFTA, these WTO agreements, and GAIT. Why did you forget to mention that? Your guy! Hey, I think the biggest bad guys in this are the show companies. Especially NIKE. You know they moved a plant from Indonesia to VietNam because the Indonesians wanted a dime more. They can get 14 hours instead of 12 hours of sweatshop labor from the VietNamese, plus they have more political prisoners (LOL). Are you criticizing this? Or do you enjoy wearing your NIKE's? Also, who is making commercials and profitting from these folks? Old white guys or basketball players named LeBron, Carmelo, KG, and AI?

to Li: won't happen

to babysfriend: don't judge all black people because many are evil racist and a bunch of takers. There no different then our community. Please realize there is good and bad in ALL communities.

to Gator Bradley: as I told you on another forum blog you are wasting your time. Obama is NOT going to do anything in the Jon Burge scandal. Of course Burge was an evil thug and racist. However, Obama is first of all a typical party-partisan democrat. And a Cook County one at that. He is NOT going v. Daley. And remember, it was Daley who was States Atty. at the time and did NOTHING. His top aide was Devine. Another guy who knew what was going on and did nothing. Hey, Burris did nothing either. I believe he as AG at the time. There (democrats) all talk on this. And as you are finding out, so is Obama.

Mary, you expressed my thoughts exactly.

I just wrote the same idea in the preface to my new book about a lynching in 1906 and the segregationist propaganda that perpetrated it.

It stood out to me,in the news coverage of Obama's possible candidacy that after 100 years, a man is still not a man, or an American is not an American, he's either black or white if he's not Asian, Hispanic or Native American.

And notice the last three are defined by nation of origin, while the remaining majority are lumped into two categories of non-colors, even if they're an even mixture of European and African ancestries. But nobody can define either category, unless they address the one drop decision handed down with Plessy vs Ferguson, and I don't think anyone's going to touch that.
So if it's not 1% that makes a black man black, then how much does it take, and how does anyone know without a DNA test - or several DNA tests? And why should anyone care anyway?

Absurdly enough, I've been checking the "caucausian" box all my life -- grew up in an all-white neighborhood and went, most of my years, to an all-white school.

Now I learn I'm 10% African and 2% American Indian and 88% European. So what am I, black or white? Where's my box to check now? I guarantee I want be checking either, because I'm neither.

Any genetic scientist worth his salt will tell you there's absolutely no scientific basis for race. Differences in human groups, which are genetical incredibly small, almost undetectable, are determined only by geographical origin.

The concept of race is all a big lie, and as long as we accept these terms, "black and white", the segregation continues-- in a more subtle way than separate seats and water fountains -- but it continues nonetheless--because it separates us and alludes to old ideas of bigotry.

The good thing about Obama becoming President is that it will immediately raise America's ststaus in Africa. The bad thing is that he seems thoroughly unprepared. I know he has been to Africa but he has not been seen in Europe, China, Russia or India. Is he going ton be another know-nothing President educating himself on the job.

You can view my Documentary DVD about the Korean Take-over of the Black Hair Industry at, or watch the entire film at in "Black hair Documentary"..There are six parts to the film at youtube.

The Black hair Care Market seems like a natural way for African Americans to generate economic power since they make up 100% of the consumers.

Baraka Hussain Obama could be the first converts from islam to Christianity to run for president. That is an apostate from Islam will have interesting connotations.

To RC, let me give you a little history lesson. Two years ago Hussein Obama ran against another black candidate, Alan Keyes. If Jack Ryan, who is white, had stayed in the race Obama wouldn't have gotten that huge % of the white vote. Also, you have to uderstand that if Hussein runs for President he has to get white votes across the country. He can't just rely on the dimwitted guilty white liberals in this state.

to t: Thank you for bringing up what should be the real important issues....I'll add to it. Instead of worrying about what percentage of skin pigmentation Obama is, they should instead worry about the tragically high percentages of young black men killing other young black men, the unbelievable high percentage of births of babies to un-wed very young mothers, etc. which is what is widening the gap as far as success in their community in comparison to others communities. Sad fact: There NOT thinking about these things.

Its "They're NOT" not "There NOT."

Also, I don't believe Obama ever practiced Islam. Why are some people trying to associate him with Islam? Is this how we dissuade voters, by going off topic in order to inflame people's passions?

In regards to whether the media is "one-dropping" Obama, until he personally and publically demands to be recognized and identified as biracial, I think we cannot entirely fault the media. When Tiger Woods pronounced on Oprah that he was a Calabanasian and not black, the media for the most part accepted Tigers self-identification. White journalists were only too glad to identify Tiger as non-black. It made them feel better about his talent. I saw a PBS piece on Barack Obama before he won the Senate's race in which he specifically stated that he stopped identifying as biracial because he got tired of making "white people feel better." "Race" and how one self-identifies is a complex matter that is shaped by one's personal experiences as well as social norms. Let's respect Obama's personal experiences which have shaped his identity. If he choses to identify as biracial, then fine I will accept his decision and identify him as such. If he choses to identify as African-American born of a white mother, then I will accept his decision to identify as that. I really don't care how he identifies himself, so long as he conducts himself with integrity.

I have an issue with all the labels: African-American, Black and Mulatto because they all fail to acknowledge that most of those belonging to either group are mixed, be it by race or ethnicity. The gene pools for both are highly similiar. It's too bad that people are only looking on the surface.

And happens to be going about their 'self identification' in a very elitist/supremist fashion that is not conducive towards the already standing social obstacles of all minority racial groups, who for the most part are mixed just the same.

Thanks for this insightful article. I disagree with Anom that is in any way a negative website. But I'm glad Anom mentioned it. I hope that you and your readers check us out when you get a chance. We're about positive community building and advocacy for mulattos (people with white/european and black/african heritage, and allies). Thanks again for the interesting article.

Everybody seems to talk about his race.
The most interesting thing I have heard is that his mother remarried an Indonesian student, studying in America who later graduated as an engineer named Sutrisno who adopted Barrack. Barry went to school in Jakarta, Indonesia and speaks fluent Indonesian. An Indonesian newspaper reported that in February he is giving a lecture in Indonesian in the Indonesian Culture center in Washington DC. The Indonesians are saying that according to a prophecy an Indonesian will become an American president in the future.
This very intersting to find out what is true, his race is known.


While I can't speak to the historical origins of "one drop", the applicability and/or negative impact to Obama is preposterous.
If this were any other white candidate (little experience, little known about his policies, etc) do you really think he would be getting front page coverage across the country in newspapers and magazines? He is smart, articulate, charismatic and a minority. The media and the Obama camp has promoted his ethnicity as much as possible. He is John Edwards without the experience and the white skin.
I think Obama is a viable candidate but now the tough part comes - the campaign trail where he will finally have to answer the tough and potentially nasty questions about his religous background and the fact that his father was a radical Muslim.

What does his birth certificate say? I thought the new rule is that the baby takes on the race of the mother. What difference does it make anyway? Some folks are born "white" according to their birth certificates and are "black" on their death certificates!

There is no biological truth to the term "race," race is a social construct. However there is the social reality of "race." If Barack Obama had never mentioned his mother was white, if there was no information on his "racial" background, would anyone honestly pause before labeling him "African-American/Black?" How does he look any different from Denzel Washington, or Charles Barkley...Tony Dungy or Harry Belefonte and please lets not turn the discussion into theories regarding skin color/gradients, nose size and hair texture which so many persons on tend to do. Reading some of the comments on the resources board and debate board on made my head spin. Its actually very tragic that such people still exist. I have no problem with embracing one's diverse background, I myself am the product of an interracial marriage. But it seems to me, from reading the comments on that the posters aim to maintain the racial hierarchy that has so crippled places like Brazil. Do we really want to return to a time when terms such as mestizo, mulatto, maroon, and sambo (as well as the other 136 terms used in Brazil to connote race and ethnicity)are as commonplace and the words "sky" and "dog?" Do we really want to categorize and racialize ourselves in such a way?

Barack Obama is the product of an interracial marriage, something that neither he nor the media has failed to affirm. Whether he is labeled the first African-American President or the first Bi-Racial President is the least of his worries now. He has to win the race first, then let him go on Oprah as Tiger did and tell the world what label he so desires.

Why does Barack Obama have to classify himself as black or white? He has one black parent and one white parent which means he is bi-racial. Why can't we has Americans allow a person to be bi-racial? Why do we feel the need to say he/she is one or the other? The truth is that most peopel who call themselves "African American" really have a mixture of white or Native American in their genes. Some show more than others but it's there. I mean I'm sure the slaves that were lead off the slave ships look a lot different than many "black americans" today. The fact that many bi-racial people have to choose a side is a social construct that has been implanted in the pysche of all americans so that those who have always had power can maintain it. Not to mention the funding the "African American" community receives from the government for making the total number of "African Americans" in the United States seem larger than what it actually is. That means including people that are actually bi-racial in the overall population of the 30 or so million "African Americans." It will be nice when we as people can look at one another and despite our physically differences can relate to one another as human. But that will never happen in the United States because we have an unstable foundation when it comes the issue of race.

God bless you. Run for
President Mr Barach H. Obama.

Love, joy, peace in Christ.

Mother Harden.

Look, according to everything I've seen or heard, including his web site, Barak Obama dosen't have a white mother. He barely has a mother at all, even though she raised him while his black father took off (big surprise). If people knew that he was actually an Eurofrican-American, he would have less of a chance vs. Hillary (%100 woman. It does not matter what the candidate stands for in the upcomming election as long as he or she is the "first _____ to become president. The US is very much absorbed in the first ____ to idea

i am an eritrean who looks slightly different from west africans/carribeans etc yet because of my differing features, dubbed "caucasian features" narrow nose, afro/straight hair etc, i find that i am not wholly accepted by the black population or the white. i define myself as black because i am dark skinned but it is not true what someone said above that all blacks are welcoming etc as i have been practically shunned for looking a bit different.

first of all Barak Hussein Obama isn't black. Black is an american term given to people whose ancestors were opressed in slavery. Obama's ancestors weren't slaves. He is an african-american, and truthfully is only using his roots to make white people feel bad if they don't like him. i love when people are guilted into liking someone. so by the way if you don't like b. hussein obama, you're a racist.

To Mary Poppins, the eritrean, get over yourself. If many blacks dont accept you, it is probably because of the superior attitude that many mixed africans (which many east africans are) stuck up attitudes due to their caucasian features. By the way, many west africans, do not regard Somalian, Eritrean's are black as you are obviously mixed with Arab blood. Those who do normally are insecure and wish to include every external non-white group into the black club to make themselves feel better about their small selves.

when such comments veer off from real issues affecting Americans and the whole world to skin color, then i understand the pains and frustrations of Barak Obama in his call for a fresh start. the poor guy did not choose the color of his skin, or his biological parents or his names. you and i did not choose our names and parents either. it would be wrong to judged by all these. i think we should start appreciating leadership qualities and values that comes with it. technology has pulled down traditional boundaries, making inter-marriage among people from different nationalities very common. what legacy are we leaving to this new generation???

George Magak Mimba, Nairobi KENYA

America need to get past the color of someone skin and for the guy or gal who mention Obama's white side can only seen on his speech I think that's very stupid and ignorant of you to even mention that nonsense are you referring to black people as ignorant who can not speak proper? And what the fuss is all about? white folks and black folks need to get over this skin color thingy we in the 21st century and America now is basically a mix culture and that one drop drunk does not make any sense the man is half white and half black you either except it or you don't. Why don’t you read history and tell me how the white race starts? Why can't we look at people as human being, but not the color of their skin? Obama seems to be the best thing for our country right now and using his skin color to start some nonsense is not working. WHITE FOLKS LOVE Barack Obama!

Oh geez. Obama is biracial, point BLANK! Get over it. He's no more black than he is white. So black people, stop hating on his white side, and white people, acknowledge his white side. It's as simple as that...White American and African, like a White-African-American thing.

It has to do with the Black history of America. We did not make the rules. If you had a drop of black blood in you then you were considered black. Millions of “Mixed” blacks were enslaved and suffered through segregation and racism. Barack Obama would have been a slave regardless if he is 1/2 white. He would not have been allowed to drink out of the “White” water fountain, but the one labeled “colored”, nor would he had been able to ride in the front of a bus. He would not have been allowed to vote! Let alone run for public office. Many of us were bi-racial and not by choice, but by rape during slavery. And no matter how light or “white” you may have looked, you were still considered black. White slave owners made the rule hundreds of years ago, and unfortunately it still stands today. If you have brown skin and “black” features, then you are judged accordingly by many. Blacks are a mixed race and now that one of us has accomplished this amazing accomplishment, people want to point out the 1/2 white issue. In that case, none of us are black. We are all bi-racial or multiracial. Either way, we are a people of color. And it is a huge victory that finally a person of color is President. Finally racism is ending.

My great grandmother is 102 years old, the daughter of a mulatto slave, and she lived to vote for Obama. It was a very moving moment for her, because she is a woman and black. I am so glad that she lived for this historical event

Many mixed race people have white skin and blue eyes, so you people do not know what you are talking about. People such as Italians, spaniards, Greeks, Portuguese have LOTS of black blood in them even though they try to deny it. They even have nappy hair, and dark olive skin which is NOT caused by the sun! The sun does not make your eyes and hair black! Esp. Italians try so hard to be racist and white, when in fact, they are just as black as anyone of their Latino people.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on December 6, 2006 6:08 PM.

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