Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

Are Barack and Michelle Obama black enough?”

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Michelle Obama, the wife of Sen. Barack Obama, grew up in a working-class family on the South Side. She attended Chicago Public Schools, went to Princeton, became a lawyer and married her husband before giving birth to her daughters. In her words, she did exactly what black leaders told her to do. So while the question of whether her husband, who is of mixed race, is “black enough” to win over the majority of black voters keeps popping up, his brown-skinned wife knows this isn’t a new battle.

"The truth of the matter is that as I was growing up, talking too proper, going to certain schools, people told me that...there is a part in which we are still struggling as a people with what is black,” Michelle Obama told me.

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Why should speaking in proper English be a problem?? I don't get it.

It upsets me, that we as a people are still of the mindset that a "black" candidate is required to take a litmus test as to his blackness. We as "Americans" should be voting for a candidate based on his qualifications for the office, not the negative stereotypes that are still perpetuated by the media and us. The worst thing that this country ever did was to hyphenate it's citizens. We are Americans.

I think that whether he is black enough is not irrelevant. i could care less. The issues that he is raising is better than any other candidate. I can understand the concern in the African American community that they may feel that the race that he is can affect public relations but hey man look man that sounds better than Giuliani as president being a native New Yorker.

Black enough for what?

Black, white, purple or whatever....NObama still has no business playing president when he hasn't done anything significant as a senator.

The "is he Black enough" debate convinces me that Black people are, at times, equally capable of being as parochial and small-minded as white people are.

A Black man PRESIDENT OF "THESE" UNITED STATES? If anyone ever was capable of being a President it's him! I met him years before he was a senator. I could tell, then there were bigger things in store for him. God help us to look at ourselves, our thoughts and mistakes. We are so materialistic, impatient, unkind and critical. Our country is in a slump of enourmous magnitude. Help us to look at ourselves before we judge people different from us. I think you are sending us a message to do just that.

This is the year 2007 and we still look at the color of our skin, who cares what color he is as long he can do a good job as a president, we had a white president and look were our country is,
why can we start looking at people for what they are not what color are they


I guess this is symptomatic of living in America where race centers around everything. I guess once we become a more diverse and heterogenious society maybe color will matter less. If being black is exuding class, character, and determination, then Barack Obama is black. These values and qualities mentioned has been characteristic of African Americans considering all the things that we have been through and still survive as a people. I think he is refreshing and is an alternative look and view of black men that the media negatively project on as daily basis. Obama could not do any wrose than our past predecessors have done as presidents. Ethnicity is significant in terms of one's racial background; however, what is most important as Dr. King would say is the "Content of One's Character.

Color shouldn't matter its the policies that he present and
stand behind. I don't see any other canidate being ask that
same question about their ethinic back ground.

What a stupid question !!!!!

Will the next question be...Why is thier still such a racial divide in this country?

Are you trying to address a important issue or trying to pump up circulation for your paper?

I don't like Obama because of his politics and don't plan to vote for him but it's not because of his race.

There have been and are many blacks in politics holding important positions in's not a big deal anymore.

A few quick examples...Ms. Rice... Mr. Powell

It's also been shown that black politicians are just as capable of corruption as thier white counterparts...look at ILL and Chicago

Wow, how stupid can this be is the only question I can generate from this...

One. It's obvious that he's Black, and his wife is Black so I don't think we need to expand on that.

I think it's apparent that what this question really is about is "Is he acting Black ENOUGH"?

In any sense this discussion is patronizing to all involved.

He's a gentleman who is educated, astute and obviously intelligent (with the possible exception of pursuing elected office), who just happens to be Black.

Unless you believe any of the stereotypes and general misconceptions of a particular race in general that should be the end of that.

No one ever is asked if they are white enough. If you can do the job that is all that should matter

So far the majority of posters agree so I suppose I am not adding anything new to the debate. None-the-less, here goes.

Is he black enough is really the wrong question. Putting aside the divisive nature of the premise of this question and the fact that all is does is broaden the racial divide that many Americans have been trying to close for the last forty years, I think the real question of concern to the black community is “does he care about our issues?” While I hate to give legitimacy to racism, I do recognize there are important issues to the black community that require addressing. I would submit that they are not entirely unique to the black community though as I am sure they are shared by others across the racial rainbow.

Right now, black ministers across the Chicago are focusing their efforts on getting more money for public schools--clearly an important issue for many. Gun control, drugs, gangs and other ills that infect often black communities are of equal concern. Will President Obama restore federal funds to the programs that address them? Furthermore, access to jobs, affordable housing and reliable public transportation are also issues of great importance to the black community. Will President Obama divert some of the billions of dollars being spent abroad to American cities in need of capital investments?

It seems to me that these are the questions we should be asking of Michelle and Barack Obama, indeed the questions we should be asking of ALL our presidential candidates. Until, we the people stop viewing candidates as black, white, brown etc. we will not be able to move our country forward as one.


Marion - couldn't have said it better.

Not sure what it says about us when we constantly refer to MLK's imortal words, and yet we revert back to "black enough" as a factor in determining who will lead this country out of its massive problems.

Way to focus on the critical issues Mary...classic ST approach.

The question itself is again-Stupid! The same "ig-nant" blacks around Chicago who are jealous of Senator Obama are the same ones who don't want Rev. Sharpton to open a office in this city. 400 years of racism has really fractured the human spirit and the black conscience of "can do". Blacks are afraid of their own shadow( Barrack Obama), blacks are afraid to work, go to school or get a trade, get married, and live a simple decent life, black's seemingly just want to be anti-American, low life violent criminals by the way of selling drugs and glorifying prison culture and in the process calling themselves the "N" word!, and [Proud] that they are doing the opposite of what the rest of America is doing. So, shame on your question, and shame on these majority "do nothing" blacks who complain and seek hand outs. Any time a "dummy" like Bush can be president, why couldn't someone 100 times smarter not be..that is Obama. Blacks in Chittlin eating Chicago has elected Mayor Daley and his Dad to what 12 terms and both of these Daley's turn their eyes on black folks struggles in Chicago. The present mayor has never stopped police brutality. The present mayor has never shared the city economic pie to black men( in particular) he'd rather see them sell drugs and terrorized other blacks on the south and west side; yet, black folks vote him in every years. All of our "pimpin black preacher's, vote him in for a few Neckbones. It hasn't changed.

I do not trust him to be President of the United States and Commander in Chief of our armed forces. I would rather see Hillary get elected - and I am not voting for her, either.

It is obvious by his recent comments that Obama has no clue as to how the world works. However, he is still young, and maybe he will be ready in another 8 years.

Is he black enough? The question should be, can we trust him with the most powerful office in the world? The answer is no.

No Obama is not black "enough"

But that shouldn't matter

What difference does the color of a person's skin make. If that person is qualified to do the job whether it's streets & sanitation or President of the USA. Maybe the press should get off the color wheel and concentrate on the real issues at hand. This country needs saving from others who are buying it up in chunks. We need to take back what is ours and clean up our act. Maybe if we weren't so gung ho on shipping industry to other countries so they can thrive maybe we should re-open industries here and give people jobs instead of encouraging them to go on Welfare. Maybe there would be less crime and gangs if these young people were too tired after working all day to go out and kill people. I love my home town and my country and it saddens me to watch what is happening to it. Wake up America!!!!

Black Enough for What ? I'm not sure if this question is more insulting to Whites or to Blacks (You chose those terms, Mary).
As long as there are Race-Baiters around like you, no one will ever be able to move ahead. You are obviously fishing for some comments from Caucasians to put a race-spin on the Obama campaign. After 58 years, I(and I'm sure many others)am tired of it. Why not just ask the obvious that we should be asking of ANY he SMART enough? Is he experienced enough? The very question you ask is insidious. If you are implying whether he is "Black" enough to garner African-American support, than YOU are promoting racism in our country. Tell me where to send my reparations as long as you, Sharpton, Jackson(and all other Race-Baiter parasites)promise to go away.

When will we stop judging others ? This is such a ridculious question! Why not debate if Obama wears boxers or briefs?

Are Hillary and Bill WHITE enough?

You know Mary, people like you, who rub 'black' in people's faces, are the reason why we can't all be equal. Obama's blackness has nothing to do with anything. He is a well qualified candidate, but if you are going to rub his 'blackness' in people's faces, then there will be a lot of spiteful people who will not vote for him for fear he is winning/or losing, ONLY because he is black. You make too many issue black and white! I am sure that 99.9 percent of black people will be voting for him, only for the reason that he is black or should I say, half white?

It's way past time that Black folks stop asking these types of divisive questions. I can't believe we have not grown past this
after all of the blood shed for equality during the Civil Rights
Movement. No wonder we as a people are regressing. Unbelievable!!!!!!!

That question is insulting!

Who is defining "black?" I am "black" and don't know if I'm "black enough" or not because it depends on who is doing the defining. How can anyone define this term when the "black, African-American, colored" community is so diverse and so divided,that this term has different meanings depending upon ones station. We are not a unified group as a whole, so our point of reference for "being black" changes from person to person. We need to get off this kind of divisive thinking and get it together as other groups have!!!

I cannot believe anyone has the nerve to ask that question! Are the Obama's black enough? I think that question is a plain insult to them and every American especially coming from a black person! It's just plain rude and ignorant. A better question should be: what is the first thing on the agenda when you become President of the United States of America, Mr. Obama?

This is too much. Is Mr. Obama black enough? I am so sick and tired of people/society trying to label us. If you speak in clear sentences and pronounce our words correctly we are trying to talk white. Where does that come from? Our own people. Not to mention we still live in a society where blacks should be seen and not heard. That is never going to haappen and people should get over that way of thinking or not. How dare people try to label what is and isn't black. I am sure these are the same people who feel wearing FUBU and Baby Phat defines our "blackness". Or the legacy idiot which I am sure defines some people ideas of being white enough is such a good president. People are entitled to their opinions and that is all it is an OPINION. You know it is sad because no matter what a person does educated or not you are still going to have ignorance in our mist and racism is more alive today than ever. For anyone to have to defend who they are, where they chose to live and how they were educated is down right stupid. What is he supposed to do apologize for being of mixed race? Do people actually hear themselves when they talk? It is just as stupid as people/society who sill believes we should apolgize or feel inferior for being black.I THINK NOT. My father used to tell me coming up "small minds think small".I like Barak and I am going to vote for him. For those of you who don't want to vote for him DON'T it is simple as that. As long as you have choices we live in a society where we have choices we need to execise them. You have a few choices in this election if you don't want to vote for Barak choose someone else. You can't stop people from talking they talked about Jesus Christ.

Here we go again. I am so sick and tired of this b*ll with regards to whether or not Obama is black enough. Whoever asks this question, has some serious psych issues with themselves and "blackness" (whatever the hell that is, I didn't now you could define blackness, I just figured we are all individuals and no one general category could define a person, gee what was I thinking, duh.). We are truly in need of help when this is the most burning question of this man's presidential run is whether he is "black enough". WTF? As president it is your duty to look out for everyone not just those of your own race. I think those that pose this question, should cut the crap and say what the really mean. And what that really means is "are you going to lookout for us blacks, if we elect you?"

Why is this even a question? Are the Clinton's white enough? The Obama's have worked hard to achieve succcess. I look forward to my children moving above the norm as society puts them in a BOX. The box that says you a can only go so far. What a JOKE!

I think this question is insulting, and it is very sad that it is being raised by a African American journalist. I am also African American, and we should know better. I will vote for him because I think he is qualified for the position, and he brings a fresh approach to solving the problems facing this country.

If the United States elects a woman or a African American(Black) to the presidency, it will show to the world that this country really is capable of providing an equal opportunity to all regardless of race, sex, gender and etc.

i think obama is a very intelligent person. my only concern is why does a half/breed has to run for the job.why can't we have a colin powell run. a person who has two black parents. i don't want to sound hateful,i'm a half/breed myself, i would like a brother(educated)from the hood run.

what an utterly insulting question - to michelle obama, barack obama and every person who reads this story. shame on you, mary mitchell, for using this forum to promote racially divisive ideas. you have a responsibility as a journalist to ask important, relevant questions - like, perhaps, something about obama's politics. this is the last time i will read your column. disgusting!

I grew up on the South Side and moved out of Chicago to Colorado in 1971. Life was definitely interesting in Daley's Chicago. Now that I've grown, become more educated than "back then" and have had a chance to digest what I've seen and learned in sixty years on this planet I'll attempt to tackle the question asked.

You may not like it.

The one issue that I have about Chicago is the knowledge that many of Chicago's citizens have gained without having left their neighborhoods. They knew everything about the world and have never been farther than the curbing. As a youngster I was amazed by the wealth of knowledge springing forth. Since then I have learned much. Obama strikes me as a well groomed, smooth talking snake oil salesman. If he learned anything in Springfield it was how to stroke Whitey. This skill has been polished by the black sector of society long before the before the Civil War. You and I both know it. The press constantly caters to him and as the questions become more difficult his insecurity starts to surface. This is why we have a free press.
The wild abandon that I see from democrats regarding him is too overacted. I haven't seen this much butt kissing since the riots in '68 and the City rebuilding afterward. So let me interject a question within an answer. Why the excitement about Obama? He is a man, not black and not white. Just a politician whose ego tells him to run for high office. If he happens to win this high office he will, in the end, find that he overreached and couldn't do what he wanted. There will always be checks and balances in government. Along with dirty tricks as we've seen for many years. So, what makes him so special?

Many people in Chicago have jobs because they pushed the "D" button on an ballot. Mayor Daley saw to this with his political machine. As any of the old trash truck drivers. They were the Aldermen in the precincts. What about the Irish cops and firemen? Obama won't be getting jobs for anyone. You certainly won't be getting any Thunderbird wine that Daley doled out to the wino's. It will all be promises. The effort has to come from you to elect someone that can work with a like minded Congress.

Good Luck Chicago and Illinois. So far I've seen a lot of social programs that employs more city workers to administer than jobs filled. think well and hard before you pull that lever or poke that chad.

The question in of itself is insulting. Mary Mitchell - Stop contributing to the madness! It's old and tired...

Now let's get to the real issues of our nation and real solutions: equal education regardless of where you live, health insurance, violence, terrorism, jobs, a decent living wage, poverty, drugs, the homeless, domestic abuse, child abuse - do I need to go any further...

Boom Tarat Tarat, the question SHOULD be can we trust any of these candidates with the most powerful office in the world? The answer to that may be "no." At least Obama has a vision and isn't a robot, flip-flopper, or war hawk like the rest of the front-runner candidates from both parties. Yes, Obama has hiccups here and there, and yes, he is relatively inexperienced. But to me that's a positive rather than a negative--we don't need a typical wealthy politician in office. That obviously has not worked for the past 7 years.

As far as the question "is Obama black enough?" it obviously shows the wide schism there is in the black community as to "what is black" or "what is black enough." I mean, is Obama not black enough because he appeals to a large cross-section of American society? Because he is articulate and very intelligent? Because many white people, including myself and many of my associates, like him as a candidate? Is that why he's not black enough? Come on, people. "Is he black enough" is an ignorant and incendiary question that perpetuates the racial divide that the media loves to smack American citizes over the head with every chance it gets. To Ms. Mitchell's defense, though, she does work for a for-profit newspaper that has to sell--you guessed it!-- newspapers, and she probably has had a lot of those types of questions from her black readers. So, of course a story like that leads to blogger attention and better sales.

An idiotic question, but one that I expected from this second rate tabloid. How's this for a question? Could the Sun-Times survive without stupid sensationalistic headlines and oversized photos?

Ae you crazy? Just by asking your "enough" question you are automatically stereotyping, and I mean stereotyping in boldface. Enough what? Your question just fires up the race issue. Enough is enough, Mary. Why create a new firestorm?

I would think that the Obamas would refuse an interview with someone as racist as you Mary... This guy is no more qualified to be the president that the man in the moon... You should run Mary, because we know your black enough!

This is so stupid - I can't believe you would lower yourselves to this type of crap.

This question is ridiculous and a sad statement about how race gets factored into areas where it has no merit or foundation.

Black is Black. There is no such thing as being Black enough.

For God Sake's, Mary...does this matter? I love your column but this is minutia. Why are our people are so transfixed about this reminds me of Spike Lee's movie "School Daze" by which varying hues of blackness caused a wedge in the community. I'd ask you and all of my brothers and sisters to remember the last line in that movie and "WAKE UP"!

Please, Mary, put this question to rest. Most voters know that, today more than ever, we must elect the best candidate, without regard to race or even party. To do otherwise results in big mistakes; Todd Stroger comes to mind. It's too early in this long race for the White House to know who would make the best president. Let's give them all time to state their cases clearly. So far, there have been too many sound bytes and platitudes from every candidate.

"Black Enough" This question is a complete joke!!!! None of our former presidents were ever questioned on being "White Enough". It is disgusting to think that us as Americans still have not gotten over Race. This is so ignorant i am so disgusted, what does it mean to be black enough? This is again fallig into another stereotypical comment. This question suggests that in order to be black enough you must be from the "hood". Forget about race and think about the real issue.

This should not be a black/white thing. If Mr. and Mrs Obama were
white, well educated with two children running for President nothing would be said. But because the Obama are black, well educated and open their mouth when they talk. Speak correct english, they are not black enough.We are still back in the 60's.


Whites, blacks, asians, hispanics, middle-eastern, etc all want the same things. So if being black enough means wanting equal opportunities, pay, housing, jobs, education, and healthcare, then we are all "black." And if the media wouldn't keep putting this non-issue out there, there wouldn't be an issue.

Another poster wanted to know what Sen Obama did as a senator. That's a fair question, but what did Pres Bush do as a governor and as President? I thought I'd never say this until recently, but I am no longer concerned with how much political experience a candidate has because of our current situation. The current commander-in-chief had no experience but surrounded himself with those who did and look at the mess we have. I believe we have to begin to rethink our election process and demand the process focus on substance and ethics. Is that possible?

Yes they are more than black enough. And what is black enough? I guess since we had Bill Clinton in office for 8 years, I guess they think he is black?NOT, lets put a real BLACK man in office I am voting for him and I have advised all of my fmaily members and friends to vote for him.
Aqua Streeter

I think I agree with some of the comments, this is a question that we should not be asking. They are not running for "President of Black America", they are running for president of America. I hope that Aferican-Americans look at the content of his word, work and deeds as with the other canidates, and deem him qulifyed from that. The "Blackness" of their character should not even come into play. I think we need REAL CHANGE in America right now. Mr. Obama is that real change that we need. We need some willing to communicate with the nations that are trying to harm us and not treat them like Dunces in a corner. We need some one that is going to bring the American Family(our country) together, strenghten our infrastructer, and our world image. We need a Real Leader not another washington politician. The same face that the countrys hate, with the same business as usual polotics.

Barack & Michelle did not just suddenly appear on the scene and our trying to cater to the Black community. They have worked hard, effectively and humbly in primarily Black communities for years. In their positions at the University of Chicago both were mentors to Black students and employees and bridges for the Black community to remove the University of Chicago's colonial approach to the Black community. The question should never be are they Black enough because they have never represented themselves as anything else and never stood for anything else. Now as they take up the challenge the Presidency they must broaden their scope of issues, but taking with them their identity, their roots and their culture.

I have read your column a few times and my initial reaction, as it was when I saw your preview in today's paper, is what an incredibly big chip you have on your shoulder! Give it up already!! "Are the Obamas black enough?!?!" I am not even going to bother to read your asinine article. There are only two reasons that I can think of as to why you continually take your "woe-is-us" angle in your articles (at least the ones I've read):

1. You are truly prejudice and drunken with the idea of a lifelong commitment to defending your self-imposed image of a "poor, down-trodden and oppressed" ethnicity. What racism still exists will NEVER be reduced and may even be nurtured as long as you and your fellow narrow-minded proponents continue to induce tension with your "black vs. white" comments.

2. (I would like to think that this is the correct reason for your divisive angle) I am sure you are a very intelligent woman. You have to be to have your own column in a major Chicago newspaper. So I have reasoned that, just like your bitter sports-minded colleague who always sounds like he still suffers from always having been the last kid picked for a team on the playground, your articles are written with exaggerated opinion just to get people to read them. Violence, sex, drugs, corruption; they are all attractive for most readers. Even constantly berating the hometown sports teams of the paper you work for. So why not throw racism into the mix for a little variety, right Mary? Hey, everybody has to make a living and if that's how you choose to make yours that is your business. I just thank God that I, along with every other person in this country, have the right to choose not to read your garbage.

Why don't we ask the question: Is he White enough?

I'm sure that what everyone really meant to say in the year 2007 relative to the archiac 'are you black enough' question, is: 'are you intelligent enough', 'are you experienced enough', 'are you strong enough', 'are you honorable enough'.

I'm sure we all by now meant to morph the 'keep it real' anachronistic phrase, into 'keep it intellectually responsible', and/or 'keep it honorable'. I'm sure that is what all black people really mean. Personally I'm confident that Barack Obama is 'intelligent enough', and Barack will 'keep it honorable'.

No he is not Black enough... If he were blacker I would vote for him.... Just a couple of shades darker would do it for me...

What an incredibly insulting question. But one I don't mind answering for them. Yes, they are black and confidant enough to run for the most prestigous office in the land, and have the tools and support to win, so if Mary Mitchell or anyone else does not want to vote for Obama, it is o.k., but please discontinue to publicly use race as a factor.

Mary Mitchell lives each day with the intent to stir things up between black and whites, as well as within the black community.

You earned your pay for another day my dear...

It seem as though some African Americans are trying to find something wrong with the Obamas instead of embracing the fact that Barack might become the first Black President. People who ask the question "Is he Black enough?" are feeding into stereotypes that has plagued the black communities for a long time. Not only is he "Black Enough" but he is probably more qualified to run this country than past presidents. This is not a Chris Rock movie, it is real. Wake up Black people, its time for a change....

Barack Obama is not only black enough, he is a role model. Becoming educated should not be considered a white thing. If it is, that belief and perception needs to be changed within the black community. It is very sad when children feel less than true to their roots because they are becoming the best they can be. Changing this perception must come from the black community -- white people cannot help with this one.

As a very dark skinned African American male, I really dislike the use of the term, Not Black Enough". What does this really mean? Dr.King reminds us, "It is not the color of a man's skin but the content of his character". If this term is being used metaphorically it needs to be examined very closely. We all come from different racial, ethnic and cultural persuasions, which somewhat define who we are. Being "Not Black Enough" can have some good and bad connotations. What context do we place Senator Obama? A black man running for the office of the President of the United States or an American citizen running for the office of the President of the United States? What does it mean "Not Black Enough".

Debra Dickson is on target when she wrote "the time has come for black people to free one another." This is not a new recommendation. E. Franklin Frazer made such call in "Black Bourgeoisie" --He said " middle class Negroes are constantly criticizing and belittling Negroes who achieve some recognition or acquire a status above them." It's Black America's unfinished business of respecting one another and it has nothing to with slavery as an excuse. Besides what does it have to do with anything.What does black enough means?







I really dont get this...because this writer is black, she can ask this insulting question. At least it is extremely insulting to me as an educated black woman who can see a woman using the color of her skin as a shield to bring up stereotypes that should have been blown up decades ago.
Now close your eyes and picture the hysteria if Rush Limbaugh or some other white conservative had brought up this "blackness" question to Michelle Obama.

It doesn't matter. According to the most recent polls, Hillary is going to trounce him. Given the extremely weak Republican field, she is virtually a president-in-waiting. Not a bad thing for African Americans, though. She appears to support strongly their priorities.

And I'm a commenter who doesn't even like Hillary. But I see the

Maybe Obama could run for guv in 2010. Judging by current events in Sprinfield, we could all use some help there.

My head is still shaking at this question, I thought it was a joke when I saw it on the SunTimes website. I don't know if I can read your articles anymore and believe you are a serious journalist. I can't believe the editors allowed this question to be posted.

My head is still shaking at this question, I thought it was a joke when I saw it on the SunTimes website. I don't know if I can read your articles anymore and believe you are a serious journalist. I can't believe the editors allowed this question to be posted.

I am an African Woman Born in America. I am of voting age and I have yet to have anyone ask me if Barack Obama or his wife Michelle are Black enough. I think this is a question someone asked to turn attention away from the issues at hand. Look at them of course their Black enough!!!!!!!!!!!!

This man gives our country hope like few have done within the last half century. For those who have heard him speak and have not said that same thing out loud are indeed feeling it.In my estimation the man stands on a platform of Common Sense, and its too bad the color of his skin is stopping some people from seeing this.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to find out you were asking this question. Any Black person who would ever say another is “not black enough” has already surrendered to the low expectations that have crippled our people for generations.

Any man or woman in this country that shares my skin color also shares my burden. Just because our load is heavier does not mean we can’t ultimately win the race. To say a certain level of achievement, or lack of excessive struggles disqualifies a person from the Black experience is complete nonsense.

To say the Obama’s or any other black person is ‘not black enough’ means we have given up any hope of higher achievement. Having grown-up in the Englewood area I’ve heard this crap far too often, and to hear it again only makes by blood boil!

He's blacker than the rest of them - is that black enough? I'm not sure I understand how black you have to be to be a good president though. Surely that is what actually matters. Seems to me though that the question itself is based on a racist idea of what black and white mean to begin with.

Black enough for what??????????
Are the remaing candidates white enough? Women enough? Man enough? Is this a question that white people ask of their canidates???????????

Actually, I posted the comment attributed to Daisy, not the all CAPs post following. Please clarify.

What does that mean? Is Barack Obama Black enough, that has got to be the most idiotic statment that anyone could make? How Black does he have to be before he can qualify to be The President of the United States. What difference does it make, he is a man running to be President of the United States, that means African Americans, Hispanic,Caucasion,Arab,Muslim,Chinese,Japanese etc.etc. etc. Go to Youtube and pull his Speech up at the Democratic National Convention you will realize that he is our best hope to pull this country from the brink of chaos that Bush has created. Our Best hope is that Senator Obama becomes President with Hillary Clinton as his running mate or the reverse and return this country and our world to peace. It is time for a Change!

As long as he hesitates to speak to public education and the prison system, he remains a black man with a liberal white agenda. Almost half of all black males drop out of our largest public school systems. This speaks to an enormous disconnect between the educational institutions and black America. You wouldn't know this to hear him speak in the national debates. He gets his money from liberal whites, his handlers are liberal whites, and apparently liberal whites are going to take him to the White House, but I don't consider him a black politician any more than I consider "Raisin in the Sun," a black play. He is a black candidate who espouses liberal white sensibilities and cultural priorities. I don't know if it's fear or ambition but he is a black politician bought, paid fir, and adored by whites, and they can have him. He exhibits a class of political cowardness couched in the rhetoric of political pragmatism, that is, he is scared to offend whites, and I'm not sure that any morally perceptive black politician can have it both ways. I'll take Julian Bond. I'll take Bill Bradley or Dennis Kucinich, and I believe that either of those men would do better for black America, and America in general, than Barack Obama.

I think I feel about Obama the way Eleanor Roosevelt felt about Kennedy: he is a man who knows what political courage is, and recognizes it in others, but hasn't the mettle consistently display it himself. (Roosevelt was an Adlai Stevenson fan, as am I) Eleanor underestimated Kennedy, and maybe I'm underestimating Obama, but he has a year to show me something different.



You used sound logic and grammar to make your point...I bet Mary wonders if you're black enough.

We all are human beings with a free will. This free will to do right or wrong is what makes us different than animals. When "will" is accepted then we all are equal in kinship with Adam and Eve. If we believe and practice this the 21st century can be the best noted century in our history. It doesn't matter what color, male or female, a person is, if they are capable and prove themselves and are nominated for public service, let the voters decide. Exercise the privilege to vote by using principals and experience not what color or gender the candidate is.Our republic of the United States of America will survive and also flourish. Right now, I have my doubts.

At a time such as now, when this country is in such turmoil due to the corruption, greed, power, terrorism, middle eastern radicals,and a never-ending killer war we have gotten into, what we NEED to focus on are the REAL issues at hand, NOT the skin color of the candidates running for President!!
This country NEEDS true leadership, and so many other traits to bring us back to the way it once was before, when we were liked, respected, trusted, proud, minded our own business more and did more for our own people!
Where, when, how and why have we all allowed this to happen to this great country? We must unite and fight to get us back to a unified country for the people, by the people and with the people! We NEED a President who has the knowledge, experience, compassion, and the GUTS to do what needs to be done to get us back there, sooner NOT later. I don't care what color he or she is. I will ONLY vote for the one who is best qualified for the job of President and works with ALL Americans and their issues, not just the wealthy campaign contributors with their PORK pet projects and great jobs for friends and families!

The question asked: Is Senator Obama black enough?
The question asked SHOULD be: Is Senator Obama OR Senator Clinton QUALIFIED enough to be the next President of this great country??
That is the REAL issue, not color!

Ok so for Obama to be Black enough he has to have his pants hanging off and a microphone in his hand and some ghetto black girl next to him right? As a Black and Mexican woman I never been "black" enough nor have I been "Mexican" enough for what ever that means. The way a person grows up and the way the person they choose to become should not be an issue especially when they are in the senate...or thats just me? If someone thinks that he isnt black enough its because they have personal issues to address with themselves usually with a therapist. Lets all pray that its not African Americans saying this about him because then they are just showing racism to their own race...I liked it better when I knew that it was the "white people"

What a stupid question to ask "if you are black enough"! Did anyone ask Bush if he is "white" enough?????

I can just imagine the fallout if a white columnist asked his loyal(white) readers if a candidate were white enough , I'm thinking he or she would be looking for a new career faster than you can say Don Imus ! Why are you given a free pass from the race police when you spout your racist diatribes and other (white) people in the media are labeled racists or lose their jobs?

To the editors - Please consider removing Mary Mitchell from posting truly racist propaganda for the sake of 'debate'. The fact is, she is clearly manipulating what should be a debate on whether or not Obama has what it takes to be president, but instead chooses to debate what color his skin or racial stance is in order to be president (or get the votes from 'blacks' to be president). This is truly insulting to ALL people of Chicago and elsewhere.
This kind of column is standard for Mary, and frankly, is the last straw for me as a reader to even entertain that she may have a real investigative reporter initiative.

Yes Barack, and Michelle Obama are black enough for me.
Thank you for asking.

The question is ridiculous and the Sun-Times needs to hang its head in shame for even posting this garbage!

Obama is not black, and America tends to make mixed people pick one race. (Rememember Tiger Woods?) Obama is Black AND White! PERIOD! So how come the question is not "Is Obama Black and White enough?"

So, No he is not Black enough, but what does that mean anyway? And does this newspaper even know the answer? Obama is intelligent and he makes a great politician. But I don't think he should run for President of THIS COUNTRY!!!

This country is selfish, greedy, racist and will not offer the support that man of African descent will need in the WHITE house! The USA is not ready for it, no matter how much we march, chant and protest. This country has, and will always be, against African people.

Shame on you for asking his beautiful, intelligent wife such an ignorant question!

This question, if posed by Blacks, is self-destructive and if posed by media looking for angles, is irrelevant. This discussion is more reflective of 19th century New Orleans than 21st century US. Both Obamas are accomplished, polished and undeserving of this drivel.

I live in the burbs. I have 3 neighbors who are black and many colleagues at work who are black. I'm trying to think of their reaction if I asked them because they're intelligent, because they are well educated, and because they speak in intelligent sentences, if they feel "they are too black".
Maybe it's just me but this topic just seems completely insulting to black people.

That is one of the most assinine questions I have ever heard.
No one is asking Sen. Hillary Clinton whether or not she's caucasion enough to run for President.
Yes in a lot of cases color does matter. But if somebody does'nt like you or your ideas or what you stand for it does'nt matter what color you are, they will not like you.
Remember John and Bobby Kennedy and how's about The Gipper, a very popular President with the Republican bunch and yet someone tried to kill him.
So the question is not one of color. The question should have been, will enough of us get out there and vote, to give this man a chance to prove to the country and to the world, that he has what it takes to be The President.




As was stated earlier, not black enough is not the issue. There is no degree to blackness, it is only the color of one's skin. The problem with Barack Obama is that he has not finished a full term as a U.S Senator and he wants to be the President when he doesn't know much about being a U.S Senator. While he's campaigning for President, what is being accomplished in his Senator offices? How has he helped the people of Illinois on a national level? The problem is that he hasn't and he is out of touch with common man; the little people, be it African American or otherwise. The focus of his Senatorial offices is for Barack to win presidency.

!People need to get a GRIP!!Are they referring to his skin color or his position on the issues? He readily speaks to the causes of the blacks in this city and country as well as all other Americans. He has not done a Tiger Woods and declared himself to be part one color and part another and he didn't marry in that manner- He married a BLACK woman. I am proud of this BLACK man and all of those who are questioning "Is he BLACK enough" I refer them to a children's book that I have read to students over the years when the issue of color in regards to shades came up- SHADES OF BLACK by Sandra L. Pinkney. We come in many shades and this issue needs to be put to rest.Barack is an articulate and well rounded individual who will be an excellent PRESIDENT and he has MY VOTE!!!!!

ask his white grandparents if he is black enough.

Was Bob Marley Black enough to help liberate the minds of countless numbers of blacks, even though his father was white?
The fact that people question Obama's "blackness" amazes me.

Define what it is to be black if not a person of a certain hue who might be unfairly prejudged due to this fact? What exactly is it about him that makes him unblack? If a positive trait, what are you saying about what it is to be black? The only thing I see worthy of critique about this guy is maybe his big ears, is having big ears what makes him less black? I didn't think so. If he's not black enough maybe it's blackness that needs to be redefined.

I think we are asking the question about the wrong people if it must be asked. We should be asking this question to the hard core rappers and preachers who take advantage of the lack of drive in our people to be successful, IF they are Black enough? Excellence runs in our race academically as well as athletically and lyrically. This type of thinking is keeping our people back, keeping us from becoming viable minds in the larger world picture. It is why on Sunday morning TV, the only people (perceived) who are qualified to discuss why or why we should stay or get out of Iraq are white. Some of the white posters to this questions are still laughing that we as a people are afraid to relate being intelligent to being BLACK? I ask again are we asking this question about the right people, surely we should'nt be asking it about the OBAMA's.... Go Brother Go!


I have absolutely no idea why to blacks like Mitchell, the question of whether or not Barack Obama is "black enough" is even an issue. He is a dark-skinned American with African roots. He has an Ivy League education and is a serious candidate for president of the United States. Are these factors - his success in the world - the reasons why he is "not black enough?" Is success just not black enough?

You do NOT see Yalies wondering if W. is Ivy enough, with his fake Texas accent, cowboy boots and fondness for cutting up kindling at the ranch. They like the association with success. What ever you think of his policies, W. somehow climbed to the top of the heap in 2000.

PLEASE stop focusing on skin color! It is as racist for blacks to do this as it is for anyone else. Does the man have good ideas? Does he make you feel like he could lead us through triumph and tragedy? WHY does the pigment of a black man's skin create such an issue among black voters? Wasting ink on this question takes away from a serious discussion of the real issues facing our country.

Mary Mitchell, you are so wrong again.Write about the conditions of the public schools or the CTA service in many of our communities. Why would you prose such a question to your readers? Senator Obama should not be judged by the color of his skin. On another note, he has done absolutely nothing as a Senator.He is a good talker! He is not ready for the job. I am a black man and I am not voting for him.

Since when does being successful, educated and articulate determine your blackness. Fair skin african americans have always had to prove their blackness. As a retired principal, I have heard and seen children taunt other children who were articulate and performed well in school. They were told that they "talk and act white". This is not something that just started, these misconceptions are put downs to keep the race down by our own race!

Perhaps we need to determine what was on Mary's mind when she asked the question?

Obama is not black enough. According to blacks I work with and who lived in his State Senate District.

Obama, can make a great career. But, he is moving too fast and is not experienced enough to be at the White House.

Come on here. A state senator, and what did he accomplish. How many bills did he draft?

And now a U.S. Senator for two years. Obama, do your whole term first, then I would consider to vote for you.

Obama has a great wife. Don't cheat on her, you are a young man.

Michelle and Barack Obama are role models for anyone in our country, regardless of gender, color or economic status. Here is a brilliant and compassionate couple who are devoted to their family, community and country and we are talking about them not being black enough?

I find it truly disappointing that this question is even on the table. Let's instead talk about Senator Obama as a leader. His concern doesnt't lie with those who are or aren't black enough. His concern is for the state of this country as a whole and how he, as the next president, can move us ALL forward toward a better tomorrow.

Alexi Giannoulias
Illinois State Treasurer

Ms. Mitchell--you insult me with this question, both as a woman and a Black person. Mr. & Mrs. Obama shouldn't have to deal with an idiotic question like this. Why not ask him and his wife if he's qualified to run the country? He can't do any worse than the man that's in office right now. He would be a breath of fresh air! I think he deserves a chance. Whether or not he gets it depends on the American public.

These are the kind of discussions you get when you live in the world's largest suburb-America, where even the most powerful can be profoundly ignorant and where the 'middle class' and the poor vote based on internalized predispositions prescribed for them.

Being somewhat racially "in the middle" is a great advantage, as they can connect with a wider range of citizens!

If he's good, I'd vote for him even if he was GREEN. But what has he done?

The guy is only 2 years removed from a state senator job, and shady housing rehab contract deals, how is he ready to be the POTUS, the #1 leader of the free world?

I thought Martin Luther King wanted to see the day when people would not be judged by the color of their skin. This question smacks of racists thinking and am very surprised that a paper like the Suntimes would even be asking surely sets back racial harmony. We have come a long way since Jackie Robinson started playing Major league ball. We have all been through some hard times in trying to reach racial why is the Suntimes trying to fan the flames of racisim? For a lot of us we think of Mr Obama as an aspring young politician and don't even think of his race. If you want to get down to genetics of course he is not black enough...I understand he is half white.

This question only serves the purpose of trying to continue to make race an issue in this country when a lot of us are way past that. Why is this paper promoting racism? Deal with the issues and let Mr Obama deal with all of America not just a select ethic background.

We are a two race family and it has worked out fine. Obama is from a two race family and seems to have worked out ok for him too.

Stop playing the race card...lots of us want a united country based upon what Martin Luther King said....judge folks by their character and no one gets an excuse based on race. You do more harm than good for his candidacy by asking this question. It's about ideas and ethical standands and leadership....not race.

There is hope for society. The obvious question would be, "Does it matter if anybody thinks that he's black enough?"

If it weren't for the obvious problems that it would cause, I would truly love to see a mandatory test for voters where they must demonstrate their knowledge of what a particular candidate stands for and has done. If we could do that, we would fare much better because the five people in this country who actually pay attention to politics could make informed choices about who will run this country. As it stands, any moron who can push a button is allowed to vote.

Frankly, I don't care about whether he's black or not. I am also not terribly concerned about whether he's done enough in the Senate. I'm not AS concerned about what a person has accomplished as I am about what bills and initiatives they have supported (at least when it comes to congressmen). Senator Obama is one of the few people on stage who is against the Iraq war (who knows how he might have voted on that). Can't say that about Hillarity or many of the other Democrats. Congessman Ron Paul is the only Republican congressman who voted against the war from the very start. But, Senator Obama did vote for the re-authorization of the Patriot Act and thus allowed Bush to continue to violate a person's civil rights (he essentially said that instead of trampling all over our rights, the government will now only tip-toe all over our rights). These are just a couple of examples of issues showing the inconsistencies that plague most of the candidates for 2008.

Frankly, what I find discouraging is that more people aren't here talking about Ron Paul. He is the only candidate out of all of the candidates who has a solid voting record. He voted against the Iraq war. He voted against the Patriot Act. He voted against the Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998 (a bill that gives matching federal dollars to states for every dollar that they collect - EVEN WHEN A PERSON CAN PROVE THAT HE IS NOT THE FATHER OF THAT CHILD (google Taron James case, Bert Riddick case, Damon Adams case, paternity fraud, Governor Gray Davis, Gil Garcetti, HB 4147 in Michigan)). He has voted against every unbalanced budget. He reads bills put before him. I could go on and on, but you guys get the point. So the real question here is, do people want some senator or governor as president who has a spotty record at best and whose policies they only somewhat agree with or someone who has an untarnished record and whose policies they only somewhat agree with (unless you're for smaller government, a more friendly foreing policy, and sound money)?

What is "black enough?" Is it an illegitimate kid, a prison record, a high school dropout record, or any other of the social pathologies of the black community?

if a white person asked this question, this would be considered racially unjust. when you ask it, it is ok. that makes it a double standard, either way, it is totally offensive to everyone. I have been a long time reader and your perspective on race has changed. the problem is, you stopped being a journalist and you started looking at every situation as an injustice to black people, whether they were or not. after a while, people get very, very turned off to that attitude and go elsewhere for their reading.

"Black enough?" When will this stop? Whether the Obamas or anyone who dares to not fit into enough of the negative stereotypes used to define blackness,this needs to stop. Black people like any other group of people come from and with many experiences.

It seems that most of the posters here agree on the stupidity of this question. But keep in mind that there are so many racists in this country whose sole purpose in life is to appeal to the downtrodden of society and keep them down by constantly propagating this false notion of some mythical racism, and by doing so they make a very good living. The worst part about it is they keep getting a forum to promote their counter-productive, self-destructive nonsense. But to answer the question, of course Obama is not black enough. The "black" part of him deserted him, so typically, when he was just a little two year old baby. He was raised by, and subsequently learned most of his values and life's lessons from his deserted white mother. He is black only in skin color, not in character. But that shouldn't make any difference to any thinking person anyway. Unfortunately, the racists of our society cannot see past that and will continue playing the race card whenever it suits their money-grubbing purpose. C'mon Ms. Mitchell, if your job is to enlighten and heal, as you claim, stop with all your "What if she was white?" and "What if he was black" columns. It does nothing for your character or your credibility, only your wallet. And if that's your underlying sole purpose in all this, than you win and those who you claim you're trying to help will continue to lose.

Perhaps I'm not German enough...or Irish to be considered Caucasion. Wait, I'm not Mexican enough...or....this entire conversation is wasted time.

I'm caucasion and I have voted for many individuals regardless of the color of their skin. Oh...did I mention my wife is Native American?

Dear Ms. Mitchell,
I wish you could have read the "Brother Obama" essays from my high school sophopmores. Our young people defined being "Black enough" as a state of mind and as a living example of excellence among individuals in our race.
When I sponsored a field trip for my John Marshall Metro HS (a proud CPS institution) students to listen to Senator Obama speak three years ago, the young people did not question whether he was "Black enoough" for them. The young brothers felt Mr. Obama affirmed them as young men becaues he related to their teen-age lives as one who has struggled with making the right decisions to rise above the crowd. The young sisters embraced Senator Obama's determination to address the ills of our community head-on.
Even the quiet thinkers on this field trip found Senator Obama's carriage, stature and words moving. One of the brother's essays read, "to be a Black man in today's society means to lead without fear, despite other people talking about you."
Empowering a group of Black youth from Marshall HS is not an easy task, but I proudly watched them graduate this past June. Thank you Mr. Obama for inspiring the next generation of Black youth to be somebody. That is Black enough for me!

Sister West-Williams

I do not think the question is if the Obamas are black enough should be asked. The question is is he qualified? I strongly believed that he. Anytime you have a black man who is intelligent, grounded, understands what the people need and want and is handsome and well-dressed and well-spoken, those questions always surface about his blackness. America needs to wake up and view the real picture. We are in need of a change and why can't a black man be the one who brings about that change we so desperately need. The white men of corporate and political america have been given the chance and opportunity to lead and look where we are as a result of that. Quit putting up barriers for Blacks when we become qualified to lead. Obama and his wife might be able to teach, lead and show this country what real leadership is. Is that what we are afraid of? That is the question.


I believe asking this question is far more offensive than anything a white person might say about us.

I think that this question even being asked is an insult. Anyone who asked that question obviously doesn't think they are. Just because they attended Ivy League schools does not make them any less black. As a black person, I'm really tired of those of us who think we are somehow the final arbiter on who is "black enough". Sometimes I think we don't want to see any other black person succeed unless he "lives down" to where we think he or she should be. If you don't like where Mr. Obama stands on the issues, then don't vote for him. But please lay off the "is he black enough crap"!

Being an enlightened citizen living in a community that has a diverse population, much like the Hyde Park area where the Obamas reside, I find your inquiry a little confusing.

This election will be about the issues and who is best suited to represent the USA to the rest of the world as well as to lead this country. If money talks, obviously Senator Obama is just as popular as Senator Clinton. Is she too white to generate black support? Will she get the male chauvinist vote?

Recently in the south suburbs, the Illinois Republican party slated two black candidates to run against two white established Democrats. Guess who won? I don't doubt that money and organization had something to do with it, however, if blacks always voted for the black candidate, you would have thought that the two black Republican candidates running in Cicago;s south suburban districts would have garnered more than 20-25% of the vote. I suppose there just aren't that many registered black Republicans who vote along party lines.

I agree that race may be a deciding factor for some people when the vote, especially those who belong to white supremacist organizations, but then I think that the same can be said for those who belong to all the black empowerment organizations, who sometimes have a tendency to break arguments down into a "how does this affect the black man" issue. Whoever gets elected President has to represent Hispanics, Asians, Eastern Europeans as well as true Africans, Middle and wommen, gays and straights ...are you going to write columns exploring the hypothetical political leanings of these groups? I think the Hispanic vote in Illinois will be critical for any candidate.

People will have to choose between two people or maybe three, come November 2008. I would say at this point that based on money raised, he has a 50/50 chance of getting nominated. Based on his experience, his chances may be lower. As for the race baiting ...why do it? You have a tendency to think based on some of your writings, I suppose, that black people must all think the same way depending on how pure their African blood line is... while I believe the issues are much more important than trying to frame everything from a black or white perspective. Most issues fall into gray areas and are not cut and dry or black versus white. And in the end, all politics is local.

Mary, I have been around for a while, I am black and I have noticed that I have never heard this even being discussed. This is your target..You are a person that anytime a black person is getting ahead you jump all over them, (Oprah, Obama). This is your jealousy. If I had been Michelle I would not have answered your stupid question. You bring out the hatered in black people just like the slave owners did. I had never thought about anything this stupid befor. Sometimes I read your colum and think you have changed, but you can't Mary admit it you are a hater

If you must make this stupid question a matter of race, his mother was white. So he is just as much white as he is black. He was also raised a muslim.


This could be a defining interview for you. Couldn't you come up with a better question? How about this, "What can Obama do to increase the number of, and power, of labor unions in this country, which is ONE of the ways we can beat back the large corporations that infest our lives at every level thru politics and lobbyists. Heck, I don't care if the brother is orange with purple stripes. Can he get the job done?

What a crock! Could you just imagine any printed media asking a White candidate if he or she was "White" enough? The statement in it self, festers with racial implications, Black or White.
This is a total discredit to legitimate debate, and it cheapens even more a political system which is weigh down in enough corruptions and backroom handshakes. This is nothing other then another distraction from reality in this country. Listening to all of these Mega churches reverends demanding more money for a school system, when we the public who can easily look outside of our own living room windows and view the public school systems at close hand. There is no amount of money you can put into a system that will or can educate those who have turned their backs to educations. Black youth have chosen to move toward and down the roads of the least resistance. We have allowed a subculture of a subculture to dictate and control our neighborhoods. We clamor for the end of Police brutality in one breath and in the next breath we silently acknowledge Black on Black crimes as some sort of a rite of passage. We demand descent housing, but some refuse to educate themselves enough to gain the employment that will allow them to afford the housing that's needed or wanted. We have become communities that shelters and encourages behavior that is destructive to any growth or positive change. We grow up with an expectation that government and public handouts is the other end of the rainbow.

By the term "Black Enough" do you mean "Black Enough",
To care about your minority brother and sister, or that our Black children get a better chance at an education, or that you care enough to want to do something about Black on Black crime, or our Black innocent babies being kill by drive by shooters, how about being Black enough to want to see parents and not just one but both be responsible for their children. Or knowing how to correctly form a sentence using verbs and adjectives in the right formation, or speaking the kings english correctly. Or beinging Black enough to want to put a stop to the war. If this is what is meant by being Black enought then Barack and Michelle Obama are in this writers opinion "Black Enough".

Staying with mary's line of thinking...I'm guessing she thinks of herself as "black enough" since her columns and points of view at best, don't make any sense, and at worst, are racially offensive.

Sister Mary, you, of all folks, knows one mole of black blood detected in a single human molecule makes a being socially black enough in America. Don't play. Just go on and ask that pressing question: is he GHETTO or project-ish enough to appeal to the BET After Dark audience?

Close your eyes, baby, and take a deep breath, and just let it out: Is Obama 'bout it-'bout it? Is he down with Bruh 'Round-The-Way? Do those rump-shakers at the shop getting their butters whipped talk about him like they do Usher? Has Big Mama found her beloved Senator to be worthy enough to have his Official portrait included in her livingroom Civil Rights Shrine with Jesus, the Kennedys, and MLK? Has Big Daddy and Uncle 'nem gotten into fierce debates down at the barbershop in defense of the little skinny yellow boy, what just got sent to Washington? "Y'all know! I think he was a Muslim, but he claim he sanctified now. Wha's'is name, Barricks Osama, I believe, our l'il Senator!"

To answer your question, yes! Senator Barak Obama is BLACK A PLENTY! The African American community proudly acknowledges and supports his candidacy, no matter what Hillary's folks are telling the world.

When will there be an African American on the Supreme Court who is "Black enough?" Now that would be worth discussing. Continuing with the aforementioned analogy, there are African Americans who have risen from the dirt roads of Georgia, the slums of Chicago, and have grandparents and/or great grandparents who were slaves, yet aren't "black enough". Any Black Politician who owned shares of Haliburton stock aren't "Black enough."

Let me give my definition of "Black enough." Anyone who understands the pain, suffering and needs of African American communities and gets off his/her tail to do something about it - is black enough. This includes Bill Clinton and any other compassionate human being. Anyone who equates how you speak, which schools you attend(ed), or how you dress to being "Black enough" is just plain ignorant. It's where your heart lies, not your zip code that makes you
"Black enough."

Barack Obama and his spouse have a track record of serving the African American community and that's black enough for me. Now if the article was calling into question the motivation of this service, that would be worth discussing (about any politician).

If you apply this question of "Is Barrack Obama black enough?" to the individuals asking it and compare their track record against Obama's suddenly Obama becomes more than black enough.

How about an intelligent discussion along the lines of is Obama qualified enough to handle the position of President of the United States? Or is this now a moot point after the past eight years?

The writer is a product of 63rd Street (Woodlawn community) and the Chicago Public School system. He is "Black enough!"

In the last election Black votership was down 1% from the last election. With only 32% of Hispanics voteing the Whites voters dominated the polls as voting figures were up. Now based on the turn out at the polls who would you target? Hispanics cry for citizenship but they donot vote. Blacks complain they aren't represented. But they are absent from the polls. So we are now going to use the excuse Obama is not black enough? Even more insulting come up with is questioning if Mrs Obama is Black enough? Hide it anyway you want Mary Mitchell, you're a racist. What's next, is Hillery butch enough?

does the suntimes realize they have the biggest racist asking such a racist question ? lets have richard roeper ask hillary if she is white enouph.oh that's right, racist mary would be first in line to have him fired for being a racist, so that could never happen,i guess only white people can be racist! what a double standard and a joke! RACISM WILL ALWAYS EXIST AS LONG AS RACIST LIKE MARY MITCHELL ARE ALLOWED TO BE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will attempt to address what Mary seems to be trying to get at. The question is not necessarily a "racial" one. People vote for those whom they feel best represent their interests and best expresses how they will represent said interests. The reason most African-Americans vote for Democrats is that Democrats at least give the appearance that they understand the issues facing African-Americans and offer solutions to address those issues. Republican candidates won't even address African-American audiences, nor do they TRY to woo African-American voters. Just because Obama is African-American, this alone is NOT reason enough for Black voters to vote for him. Black voters want to know HOW he will deal with issues plaguing our communities. Does he have a plan of action? Will he carry it out or will he succumb to"others'" interests should he be elected? Mrs. Clinton seems to not only understand those issues, she has a plan of action, which is what made President Bill Clinton so popular with African-Americans.

To those who think the posed question is race baiting, I think not. Should Hillary Clinton win the Democratic primary, the same question will come up, only it will be one of gender. Women will not flock to her just because she is a woman, and she will face some of her harshest critics, which will be women. The question then, will she be man enough to be President, and yet still be a woman?

Nope - he is nothing enough. A politician through and through. The least qualified and scariest of the bunch. If he is elected - or any liberal is elected - the United States will be a socialist country within 8 years - if you work - and are a responsible American - you are screwed. Liberals "impose" their views - come on - what kind of party forces diversity down your throat - take a walk through any public agency or in the lower income areas - you'll see what a great idea shoving diversity down everyone's throat is.

Wow, question is directed to you? Did you ask that silly question because you WANTED the backlash to actually prove how stupid the "Black Enough" argument is, or did you sincerely ask that question from the heart?

Either way, you seem , or did seem, like a relatively educated person. So why then did you fail to define the variables that make up 'Black Enough'. Bad job on your part by not defining a base around this question before launching it.

I'll add my opinion to everyone else's. Yes, it's a stupid question. Yes, it's insulting. What purpose could a question like this serve if not to divide public opinion on Barak. Shame on the Sun-Slime for allowing it to be posted.

I'm eager to watch for a follow up column in which you try to explain yourself.


I think that Barack and Michelle Obama are wonderful. This couple is most assuredly black enough. They are people who have taken the advantages given to them and worked to have good lives, as most Americans expect to have. So much of what goes on in our communities is self-inflicted. We need to go back to being whole familes and pulling together so that our kids will grow up in good homes with two parents. We do not need to be rich or have overly expense junk in our homes to be happy. Being middle class is good too. Our men need to stop being 'players' and take time to care for and love the children they produce. Black women need to be more selective in the men they choose to have children with. Not getting pregant is still an option you know. We need to stop expecting to have all the pleasures of life until we work for them as our parents and grandparents did before us. We need to love and respect each other. If we don't we can hardly fault the rest of America for not respecting us.

obama will not get my vote, not because he is black

but because i feel he has deserted the people of illinois by running for president

too many children are dying in chicago and he could have done more for us if he was our senator, instead of spending all his time running for president

Frankly asking the question of anyone except Clarence Thomas (who has aggressively pursued an anti-affirmative action agenda and deludes himself into believing that he was not a beneficiary of affirmative action) is insulting. The question is whether or not Mr. Obama is CAPABLE enough to be President which I believe he is. Does his Harvard law degree somehow negate his "blackness"? I think it affirms it. Would anyone ask if Hillary was white or woman enough? Ridiculous.

It is amazing that you would waste people's time with a question this patehtic in this day and age. When we have bigger issues in this city that you won't address (I know - I've e-mailed you before regarding these), like the fact that only county clinics in black neighborhoods are closing, and black doctors are being fired at a disproportionate rate, you waste everyon's time with this. Are you afraid of the effort it would take to investigate and report on legitimate issues??

Arthur - I don't understand your view of Mary's question. It's simple - Mary thinks the vast majority of blacks cannot identify with Obama because he is educated and well spoken. Because he is "different" than them, how can he possibly understand their issues...

Whenever a black person is diverse and can cross cultures, other people begin to question who they think they are. Simply put the Barack's seems to be well spoken, intelligent people. They understand what it means to be black and still know that there are other cultures besides their own. Our real concern should be whether they will do what is best for this country? We need to get to the real issues.

I am a young black lady.I could care less if Obama was "black enough". The question could be can he handle being president. He can be full black it doesn't matter. What matter is what he has to say. In my opinion he hasn't said anything I want to hear. Some of my friends said they liked Obama because he was black. I explained to them that color doesn't matter its what a person has to say. If color did matter and conaliza rice was running would black people vote for her even though she is a Republican who is on Bush side. Would you trust the female version of a uncle tom conaliza rice with your vote. So color should not matter when you vote listen to what everyone has to say and vote on who you think is the best candidate.

I can't believe we're still playing the race card! who's the judge on who's white or black enough to even print such a topic is an insult to the obama's,finally we have a candidate that has universal appeal he has what it takes to win, money, ptess,organization!shame on mary mitchell for asking is obama black enough,my question to her is, mary are you black enough?

It is my belief that the Clinton/Obama ticket has been pre-ordained and everything between now and then is just fodder for the 5 percent or so of us who pay attention to politics anymore.

As Senator Mike Ravel stated in one of the early debates, "I don't trust any of these people on this stage."

I trust Mike Ravel and Dr. Ron Paul and that's about it.

That you're asking an inane question like "is Senator Obama chocolate enough" proves my point.

I really don't care what color he is . . . I actually like the man . . its watching his predictable evolution in a babbling talking head that is the audacious hope killer.

Mr. Obama is genetically one-half black and one-half white. He was born with, has lived with, has assimilated, and benefited from the inherent inner strengths and challenges of both these races in ways few of us can even imagine. He has also learned to bridge the gap of the racial divide and is the only top tier politician in America who understands and seemingly feels comfortable in whatever state, neighborhood or church he is in at the moment. If he becomes president what a gift his mixed race heritage and unique upbringing will be to the world. Black enough??? What a stupid and insulting question.

Mary, This question is not insulting nor is it stupid. People have to wake up and face reality. We (African Americans) are not treated as equals nor will we ever be. Now people who think that we are, they are the one's who are stupid, not the question in it's self. Some bloggers have stated that Barack isn't qualified enough. They are most definately stupid or racist.Being a Law Professor from one of the most prestigious colleges in America, is enough to qualify him for any position in the Legislative branch. Look at Bush's qualifications,(Draft Dodger,Marijuana,cocaine etc). Discussions like this really opens up a true dialect. Most White people are going to jump down Mary's throat for having the nerve to ask something as rediculous as this. Look people ! This is Chicago, and we should be the last city in America to disagree with anything related to race. We live in one of the most racist and SEGREGATED cities in AMERICA. You can't deny it, just look on the Southside, westside, eastside and the Northside, separate but equal, RIGHT!!!I met OBAMA once, and I graduated with his wife from High School, Whitney Young 81, she also grew up a couple of blocks away from me. Down to earth good people. Both are well educated and just good people to be around. Slow thinkers and small minded people blow discussions like this away. If African Americans agree,that this is a stupid question, you should be shot, you are indeed stupid and you don't know the mind set of your oppressor, nor do you know YOUR history. Tricks have always been played upon us during election time. Splitting the vote amongst races as well as splitting the vote between one race. Science at it's best; Learn to read between the lines. Open up your minds and take on questions like this, don't run and cut the conversation short. Of course White people are going to say everything is alright and race doesn't matter, but you and me know the real truth to that. It's getting close to Election time, watch how the blogs, the News Media and Radio station turn on the race venom. The Horns and tails are just about to show their true nature. African Americans, please don't get caught up in this mess, Remember, African American only own less than 1% of the America's News and Radio stations. In saying that, our true feelings and reflections will not be discussed in the following months, ALL CAUCASIONS opinion. While the door is almost closed and Obama has his foot partially in the way. Maybe he'll open up some doors for all minorities not just Blacks, and bring fourth issue's that concern us. Not what White people think our issue's are. Remember, race issue's started with White people, not us. They will be instigators till the end, watch the HORNS......

"black enough to win over the majority of black voters?" What are you saying, that people should vote solely because of the race of the candidate, for "one of their own"? How racist. OK, I'm going to start analyzing the white candidates to see if they're "white enough" for me.

This simplistic question is one of the root reasons why the African-American community has yet to attain real political power nationally. The question is not whether any candidate is "black enough" to deserve or earn the "black vote." The real question should be whether any of the candidates for President or any other political office has either addressed the issues of importance in the African-American community if he/she is an incumbent or how does he/she intend to address the issues of importance in the African-American community if they are a challenger. In politics there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies. There are just interests. Issues need to be discussed instead of old, archaic, outdated notions like whether some one is "black enough."

Mr Obama should not even fall into that trap. It plain to see that is a ridiculous question. It's going to be hard enough to get some white americans to overlook the fact that he is half black. Now we have african-americans playing the race card. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr Obama would make a fine president. So what he's a freshman senator. He's very intelligent and he knows the issues that our country faces. It would be a major upgrade from our current president.(naturally)The Clinton and Bush thing is really played out. It's time for change. I don't think John Edwards could win the general election. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were only popular amongst blacks. Only catering to blacks will not get you in the White House. Wake up BLACK AMERICA.

What do I think? I think the Sun Times should fire Michele Sneed (or what ever the name of that idiot gossip columnist posing as a political reporter), and Mary Mitchell if she is going to practice this kind of journalism, and stop asking questions of their readers that are insulting to Senator Obama, Mrs. Obama, and their readers. This story belongs on the pages of the National Enquire or some such rag, not on the pages of one of this city's two dailies. There are serious issues that confront the citizens of this great city. I didn't read the article, and I won't continue to read this paper if it can not cover the news in a serious manner. Certainly, there are racial issues in this city that need attention, but this is hardly one of them. That's what I think.


I love the responses here but I think most of you are taking offense at the wrong thing. When I saw this headline in the local gas station, I thought to myself, NO, meaning that Michele Obama may not be black enough. Yes, she has an education and yes she grew up here in Chicago but what else?

Mary generates an interesting question because this is the question brought up by those black people who aren't educated, who don't read newspapers, they don't have internet access and most of them probably couldn't relate to these 2 individuals (Michele and Barack) if they were to sit down and speak to them.

Can Michele sit down with todays female black youth and talk about current events? If so, how would she talk to them, big words and a lot of syllables, can she verse her words so that young uneducated black women can understand?

I may be wrong but being black enough means that you can talk to all diverse groups of blacks, that are not on your standards and still make them feel as if you care and understand. Maybe I should say, make them KNOW that you care and understand.

Being black enough also means that you can relate to the problems of our community and not just the political ones. We have HIV problems, dope problems, baby beatings, men who are neglecting their father duties, abuse (physical and mental), financial management problems, robberies, rapes and others.

Thugs, dope addicts, homeless, poor and uneducated blacks, these are the people who want to know about the Obamas blackness. Many will ask "Why do THEY care?" They care like you care but one thing is, thugs, dope addicts, homeless, poor and uneducated blacks have no voice in our society. Oh yeah, they chose their route through life as we have chose our own but does that make them any less black?

If anything, by society standards, thats makes them even more black.

Then again, you guys give Mary grief because she asked a very pertinent question.

Is Obama black enough to be president or to be black? This is so ridiculous! He is the brightest of the candidates and the most honest. His color is what it is, that is not the point, who do you want to be President?


for 20-something years i have been accused of not being black enough. i was accused of this because i went to a CPS and actually did well and cared about my grades. i later went to college and then to graduate school at johns hopkins and received these same accusations. however, i did something that not many people do, i challenged the accusers of my not being 'black' enough to elaborate on how i'm not black enough and what i needed to do in order to be black enough. this person was embarrased as they truely could not answer this question. i then went on and asked them the following: are black people not to speak 'edited' english? are black people not to be educated? are black people not supposed to be hardworkers? how exactly do you act like a color? for those of you who think obama is not black enough you too should attempt answering the aforementioned. if even one of your answers is 'no' or you even attempt to explain how one can be a color, you have a serious issue, whether you are a black person, white person or green person. you have issues. being black is about experience and the level of consciousness on where we as blacks have come from and are going, not because of the way we talk or what college institutions we attend.

furthermore, someone above made the comment along the lines of if the media would not bring up race as a constant issue in our country then perhaps it would disappear. i think that is pure absurdity. race will never disappear...racism might, in a very long time. but until media stops hiding and starts forcing audience members to reflect on racism it will always be around. in fact, i don't think media does a good enough job in discussing racial incidents and issues in our society.

anyone who is voting for a candidate because of their racial, religious or sex has very poor judgement. anyone who is voting should take the time to make an EDUCATED decision on their final choice, after all that person could end up running our country, which is sort of a big deal.

What is being Black enough? Seriously, people who even question something like that show their stupidity and yes, RACISM.

To the Mexican-Black lady who complained I've never been 'black enough' and I've never been 'mexican enough' I'll say this: You are American enough, Human Being enough, and lady enough. Which is 'more then enough'. Those who said made those comments are jerks and racists.

Finally, again, what is Black enough? If a guy is independent thinking, an independent, and sometimes doesn't think the same way as the so-called Black spokesmen, does that make him less black? ......But if somebody such as the Congressional Black Caucas and the so-called anointed Black spokesmen during the 1990's didn't say so much as one word when a million innocent black people were being slaughtered in Rwanda, another million in Sudan, and more young black males incarcerated in our penal system then during any two other administrations, but because a person from THERE party was in the White House, they stayed quiet, does that mean they ARE black enough? Mary, tell us?

Finally, again, what is being black enough? Whatever happened to the character of the individual person, not the color of their skin?

PS: Hey everybody, was Jackie Robinson BLACK ENOUGH? ..No, I'm serious. Because by today's standards amongst many of these journalists, rappers, so-called black leaders, and Hollywood entertainers, Jackie Robinson would NOT be considered black enough. Why, because he was a 'republican'. He'd be disrespected and probably called a 'Tom'.

Thats how much narrow-mindedness, stereotype stupidity, and yes, racism, there is still out there. Only this time it is NOT coming from the white community. Again, everybody, start looking at a person's character and not their skin.

i cannot tell you enough how tired of mary mitchell racist articles i am. she promotes racism and hatred and so does the sun times by publishing her columns . now i have to see her on the front page with her is she black enough article. if that is not racism then i don't know what is. i think a cancel of my subscription is in order. enough is enough.

I want to specifically address the question of being "black enough" regarding Barack Obama, as he is the presidential candidate, not his wife. I specifically wonder how Jews would have regarded former presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman's Jewishness if during his presidential campaign, he had gone on record as being against the ongoing efforts to pursue and collect holocaust reparations for Jewish survivors of the holocaust and/or their living family members. Of course this is a rhetorical question; Lieberman would have been regarded as a quisling by his fellow Jews had he advanced and/or expressed such an opinion. Barack Obama has taken just that position when it comes to support of reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans in America. I think this raises definite questions about his "blackness", i.e., his conscious connection with and capability to advocate for those interests and legitimate grievances of the black community. Perhaps it's because Obama cannot honestly say that he is descendant from enslaved Africans in America. Or maybe, it's because his individual political aspirations mean more to him than advancing an issue unpopular with whites, who would, if he were elected, be his majority constituency. (I mean, come on, Even mayor Daley is on record supporting the pursuit of reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans) People of other ethnicities tend to find ways to consciously and unabashedly support the best interests of them and theirs without equivocation. Obama's conscious and expressed willingness to not pursue, or even address as a topic of discussion. reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans tells me that the millions who were worked to death, tortured, terrorized, murdered and raped for centuries mean nothing to Obama. Obama wants to say "let bygones be bygones" when Jews, acting in a self-respecting and self advocating manner, still pursue holocaust reparations. My bet is that Obama would say "right on" to them.

My name is Pamelar D. Agnew, I put my comment in to you August 4,2007 at 12:53. You have my name over the run comment, I believe you have my name over Ebone's and Ebone's over mine. My Comment is this:
"By the term "Black Enough" do you mean "Black Enough",
To care about your minority brother and sister, or that our Black children get a better chance at an education, or that you care enough to want to do something about Black on Black crime, or our Black innocent babies being kill by drive by shooters, how about being Black enough to want to see parents and not just one but both be responsible for their children. Or knowing how to correctly form a sentence using verbs and adjectives in the right formation, or speaking the kings english correctly. Or beinging Black enough to want to put a stop to the war. If this is what is meant by being Black enought then Barack and Michelle Obama are in this writers opinion "Black Enough".
Thank You for the Corrections and the chance to vent my views.

Pamelar D. Agnew

Is State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias Greek enough?

Who cares? He's a greedy, no-good politico just like NObama!


Who cares what color the candidates are; it's their politics I am interested in. Seems to me the only ones bringing this subject up are the narrow-minded bigots among us.

I love seeing Leftist racism glaring at me on the front page of my newspaper. /sarcasm

What is the point , really? Is the complaint that Obama doesn't act more stereotypically black? How low can liberals go?

Obama is a shallow, naive socialist.. that is the problem... not his failure to conform to some racial stereotype.

Who are the racists?

Ms. Mitchell,

In terms of skin color I am blacker than a trojan midnight but at the end of the day I want a President who can walk into the Oval Office and immediately address the global and domestic issues that will determine the future of our nation and perhaps the world. Sorry but Obama is not ready for prime time. Let the guy get some more experience. Skin color, nope I am not voting based on that tired nonsense. If I were that shallow I would have voted for Rev. Al Sharpton. Peace!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary, I am a special education teacher, I am a black middle-aged woman and I too am soooo tired of the is she or he 'black enough' debate. We (blacks) get upset whenever race is brought into the picture on important issues like this, but who really keeps the fire stoked?, writers like you. As others have pointed out before me, are whites asking, 'is Hillary WHITE enough?'
My daughter attends a racially mixed high school in Northwest Indiana, and she says that occasionally she's been told that she 'talks like a white girl'! Her response to them has been as follows: "No, I talk like an english speaking American, do you have a problem with that?" The kids who have accused her of this are the children who use nothing but slang and ebonics in order to 'prove' their 'blackness' See how far 'keeping it real' will get you in the real world when it's time to apply for a job.
I'm not saying that occasionally she and I use slang words or play around with speech that could be considered by some 'ghetto fabulous', but there is a time and a place for everything.
I grew up on the south side of Chicago during the late 50's and have lived through the civil rights era of the 60's and the 70's. I know what it means to be black, but I don't have to wear it on my sleeve 24 hours a day.


Of course Michelle Obama is black enough, I am very proud of her and her husband, Barack Obama and what they have accompolished. They are smart, they are hard worker and for the most part, they have won the minds of the "American People."

Why, this is the first century that we, as black people, have had a chance to run for president or do something really outstanding. Color will never change, it's the minds of the people that changes.

I am a daily reader of the Sun-Times. Never before have I felt so inclined to respond to an article. When my son brought me Sunday's paper, my stomach dropped when I read the front page headline: "Is She Black Enough?". Are you serious?
For years, educated and wealthy people of African-American descent have been accused of selling out or losing their blackness. Even children who speak decent English and are involved in enrichment and extracurricular activities outside of the 'hood' are taunted by their peers as 'acting white'.
The term 'black' has become synonymous with the words low-class, low-income, and uneducated. Sadly, if you're seen as not being black enough, it means that you've done better. The Obamas should not have to apologize to anyone or defend themselves for having done so.

Ther are more important issues that need to dealt with ! ! Like Organized Labor holding America HOSTAGE ! !
A canidate for president should be judged by there ACTIONS, not race. A REAL CANIDATE would proclaim "I'm An AMERICAN" & NOT being afraid that the "Poverty Pimps"(jackson & sharpton) or whatever ethnic group will boycott you, That is a couragous action that would be percieved as SINCERE ! !

Why doesn't Mr. Obama indicate and emphasize that he is biracial, and not try to identify himself as black , . since his mother was a white, blue eyed Kansan and he was raised by his white grandparents in Hawaii, and never saw his black father. I think he could enphasize this as the way America is beginning to look and emphasize not divisiveness of the races but the inclusiveness of one america. Why does the press and the candidate himself keep identifying himself as the black candidate?

As a caucasian Canadian whose has chosen to live in this country for thirty years (half my life) I was stunned at the question? What does it mean? Racism, accordingly to Wikipedia is "A belief or concept that differences in physical appearance in people determine cultural or individual achievement AND MAY involve one race is superior." I was raised to believe the only thing that makes one human superior to another is kindness, gentleness and compassion ... colour is skin is irrelevant. Instead of finding things that make caucasians monsters, wouldn't it be healthier and more healing for Ms.Mitchell to celebrate the wonderful components of being "black" ...the INNER components but still hold the black community for choices they make? Barack Obama and Michell Obama are exceedingly smart, erudite people with whom I would dearly love to have dinner ... in the White House!

When will blacks stop being so racist and practice the double standard that the Jacksons and Sharptons preach at whites 24/7. When will whites finally say "GET OV IT!"?

After buying our Sunday Sun-Times today and reading the front page, my husband asked me, aren't you offended by this question, ...Is She Black Enough? My answer to my caucasian husband was yes and no. I am just used to this, and have had to respond to this question all of my life, from black people, white people that are confused about how an educated, black woman talks, dresses, acts, looks, and doesn't fit their comfort zones or definitions of a "black person". I have a question to you, when will the question stop being asked? As Michelle O'bama responded to you in the article, she did what she was taught to do, get an eduation, work hard, and now society says, how dare you! the more things change, unfortunately, the more they remain the same!

Re: Are they "black" enough.

Ms. Mitchell:

With all the important questions the media should have asked leading up to and after September 11, and did not, why ask this one? With numerous, significant issues surrounding our occupation of Iraq and the continuing and electrifying role the United States plays throughout the Middle East, why ask this question? With skyrocketing health care costs and the unavailability of good health care for too many Americans, why ask this question? With an aged infrastructure, bridges collapsing and the inability of our Federal government to offset the costs to state and local municipalities, why ask a question like this one?

Overall, the "Media" failed the American public as much as this administration. Such frivolous articles challenging who is black enough, woman enough, man enough, white enough, Mexican enough, religious enough, are a useless expenditure of white space and demeaning to readers. If we learn nothing else from the presidency of G.W. Bush, it is how important and carefully we must choose our next President.

This country is diversified enough to share a commonality in "human concerns" without making race an issue: Poverty and race are not synonomous.

Thank you.

It is hard for me to understand this debate. I work in an area that is primarily black; although many of my co-workers are white. When I complain of racist behavior; the other blacks accuse me of being upset because I "want to be white". The whites accuse me of "trying too hard to be black". Well, I've been black as long as I can remember and have never wanted to be anything else; so this circumstance really confuses me.

I agree with Michelle - - whom I met in college and found her to be a lovely, down-to-earth person - - that you do what is expected of a person with intelligence and drive; get a good education and bring its fruits back home to try to help others not quite as fortunate as you have been. Then, you have to don your flak jacket because you're gonna catch hell from all sides. I, too, often wonder if it would not have been easier just to go for the money; and just express my community-mindedness with cash donations. But I chose to remain on the front lines and pay a real price. But I don't believe that I have to prove anything to anybody - - except that I'm trying to do a good job for all people, including my own. If that is what Michelle and Barack are trying to do; then they are light-years ahead of many of the other people we see in public life.

Black enough to do what! Give aid or social service programs so that the lazy blacks who are not trying to doing anything to better them selves and who have bought into the ideal that getting something for nothing will rise them up again - is this the only critical thinking they're capable of doing. The power to be for blacks is in their own communities which they live, stop given away your buying power for free, start classifying communities by the people that live in it, by the money that spent, by talent that can be shared and by the love that can be spread, band together and establish a unified community where services that flow through your village, towns and homes is governed by the people who live their, leverage opportunities by chosen businesses to do business with 10% town sponsorship fee that funds the town needs for rec. center, town beautification, business loans for people living in community, mentoring services that teaches leadership and responsibility and educational center and funds, economic development center. Black must take back their communities and set up shop to hold everyone accountable that live in their community.

The problem with Hussein Obama is much simpler than this racist author's screed would make it out to be.

He a jug-eared empty-suit socialist with a Star Wars name. While that's plenty for guilt-ridden liberals and morons (but I repeat myself), the Normal-American community will reject him out of hand.

See? Simple.

I really would like to know how one would define "black enough", just seems to me that yet again someone who doesn't know who they are is taking an opportunity to tear something positive down. How will our young folk ever really learn the "being" black is more than enough! The title splashed across the front of the news paper could have just as easily said A chat with Michelle Obama, cause most of us already noticed she's black...

Are you your nationality enough to follow your dreams?

The question of wheather the Obama's are 'Black Enough'? If we look at the history of African slaves in America and their descendants, with all the race intermixing over the last 400 years, what African/Black American is really BLACK ENOUGH? Just look at the variety of skin tones; we are a mixed race people--mixtures of Native and European...So the biracial heritage of Barack Obama is a moot point.
I'm what is considered a light skined Black and I have what is considered two Black parents, one light, one dark skined and I can tell you from personal experience that I have been accused of talking white and being ask (by many Blacks) "What are you?"

So to me if the question of Obama's Blackness stems from not being a decendent of slaves, the question should be phrased, "Can he relate to the plight of indigenous Black slave desendents and the history of racial inequalities in America in his bid for the presidency?" This question is more relavant than the is he or anyone in the Africa/Black American community BLACK ENOUGH.

This is a switch. The media is pulling the race card. Mr Obama and his wife have never portrayed themselves as all for black and not for others and considering what America has been threw with the Bush family as President I think it is time for America to embrace change. Whether the president is female or male from any ethnic background should not matter. The welfare of the American people regardless of race should be the number 1 priority. The Sun Times article offend me due to blacks can be educated, groomed and speak proper english. The Obama's, just like any couple got their education like any other race has done.--SO WHY ARE THE OBAMA'S BEING CRUCIFIED FOR BEING EDUCATED. Did the Chicago Sun Times put Mrs Obama on front page news to sterotype? WHAT IS BEING BLACK ENOUGH?

Love and peace for everyone.

Mary Mitchell, please. You don't have anything better to write than this insipid nonsense? So I guess this means that I'm not black enough either because I grew up in a stable, two-parent home like Michelle in a predominately black neighborhood. My father was a very smart man that worked a blue collar job for many years just like Michelle's dad. And my mother was very organized and made sure that we studied and stayed out of trouble. I read Michelle's mom was like that. I went off to college and law school and returned to my community just like Michelle. And oh yeah, I was born with red hair and freckles so I guess that makes me less than black too. Well this is one black woman that wants Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House and I'm going to work like heck to do my part.

Black folks who say that other black folks are not black enough are
simpled minded!!!!!!

Mart Mitchell, I don't understand what you are getting at. What difference does color make as long as Barrack Obama can do the job running the country. I am caucasian. God made a colorful world including people with color, and color is beautiful. There really is no such thing as racism, it's people like yourself who create it by promoting it. You don't seem to have an open mind.

Ted Budzynski

Black enough to do what! Give aid or social service programs so that the lazy blacks who are not trying to doing anything to better them selves and who have bought into the ideal that getting something for nothing will rise them up again - is this the only critical thinking they're capable of doing. The power to be for blacks is in their own communities which they live, stop given away your buying power for free, start classifying communities by the people that live in it, by the money that spent, by talent that can be shared and by the love that can be spread, band together and establish a unified community where services that flow through your village, towns and homes is governed by the people who live their, leverage opportunities by chosen businesses to do business with 10% town sponsorship fee that funds the town needs for rec. center, town beautification, business loans for people living in community, mentoring services that teaches leadership and responsibility and educational center and funds, economic development center. Black must take back their communities and set up shop to hold everyone accountable that live in their community.

All I know is that, as a Republican, I hope Obama keeps trying to prove that he is "black" enough. Because while that might give him a chance to win the democratic primary, it will leave him no chance of winning the general election. So I hope he continues to bow to the Sharptons, and Jacksons of the world. Because you can bet Republican strategists are saving all the photo ops with the black "activists" that Obama is now doing. You can bet they are saving all the tapes of his speeches to black audiences where he absolves blacks of any responsibility for their plight. This is exactly why I have heard and read that the Republicans are secretly praying to run against Obama instead of Hillary. Although I don't think Republicans will get their wish as in the past two weeks Obama is showing how unprepared he is to be President with some of his stunningly naive statements he has made.

I think the fact this question continues to be raised in this country; in particular the African American community is ridiculous. What is being black enough? Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other so-called black leaders certainly do not define anyone's "blackness". In fact, both so-called black leaders only represent one color "Green". Barak Obama, let's not forget is a man, who is a politican. While he happens to be African American,it is not his sole responsiblity to fight/speak on the needs,issues,etc of the African American community. It is the responsibility of each and every African American to be the voice of the African American community. While it's exciting to have Barak Obama running for President, he can not be everything to the African American community. I believe Barak is a wonderful representation of the intelligent,educated,hard-working,and very driven African American that does exist in our communities, and I for one was and am excited to see him as a viable candidate for President. Finally, I ask is Hillary Clinton black enough? and will she sincerly speak/fight on "black" issues related to the black community? Instead of questioning Barak's "blackness", African Americans should be questioning and demanding that all Presidential candidates address and establish plans for the many isssues plaguing our community. I for one would like to hear how they plan to fight the HIV/AIDS crisis plaguing women in the African American community here in America? I would also like to know how they plan to fight the gun violence in the community as well as the poor educational systems in our community. The Presidential candidate I will vote for will sincerely address these issues now and begin to put plans into action right now.

I find it very sad that it's 2007 and we are still having these conversations! When will people learn/realize that the color is GREEN!



I believe that race does play a major role in this country. It has been this way for centuries. Although I, like most people would like to believe that we live in a world where racism is just a thing of the past; this is not the case. I for one believe that presidents are not elected, but selected and if Barack Obama does win this election it is because someone in a higher position wanted him to. Perhaps to gain the trust of the African American community...who knows? I was brought up in a predominantly black neighborhood south of Chicago. Race was often discussed in my household, but never had a serious impact on me. I recently moved to a predominantly white neighborhood and there is not a day that goes by where I am not being called a N*****, looked at funny, or denied a job in the community. These are not excuses this is reality. The sad part is when I share these experiences with people, black or otherwise; they all make the same excuses like I'm the one with the problem. Yes race does play a factor and no matter how black Barack Obama is now; he won't be that way for long.

I am so tired of hearing that some Black people are still wondering whether someone is "black enough". If that means intelligent, articulate, well educated, spiritually minded, fashionable, family-oriented, personable, charming, and kind, and of course civic minded, I wish we all were considered black enough. Gloria J. Jackson, Chicago, IL

I believe that race does play a major role in this country. It has been this way for centuries. Although I, like most people would like to believe that we live in a world where racism is just a thing of the past; this is not the case. I for one believe that presidents are not elected, but selected and if Barack Obama does win this election it is because someone in a higher position wanted him to. Perhaps to gain the trust of the African American community...who knows? I was brought up in a predominantly black neighborhood south of Chicago. Race was often discussed in my household, but never had a serious impact on me. I recently moved to a predominantly white neighborhood and there is not a day that goes by where I am not being called a N*****, or looked at funny, or denied a job in the community. These are not excuses this is reality. The sad part is when I share these experiences with people, black or otherwise; they all make the same excuses like I'm the one with the problem. Yes race does play a factor and no matter how black Barack Obama is now; he won't be that way for long.

Mary, you keep on dancing around the issue, though there are little hints of what's really at play.

the real question is are they "ghetto-black" enough.

because for some strange and bizarre reason, to the detriment of the African American community, old school black politicians (read "community organizers", shakedown artists, what are you giving me politicians, etc etc) have defined the issue as such.

Bobby Rush did this to Obama.

Michelle Obama couldn't have said it any better. She said she did exactly what she was told to do. Study hard and succeed.

If being an Ivy league educated lawyer and professional, in both her case and Barack's doesn't make them "black" enough, frankly it's a horrifically sad and pathetic state of affairs.

Would African American Republican politicians like Colin Powell, Condi Rice or a guy like JC Watts..

are they "black" enough?

in the ghetto they probably aren't. But that's a good thing.

btw Mary didn't you write a while back about African American professionals who hire nannys, etc that discriminate against nannys of their own race?

why? a little too "ghetto" perhaps?

a little too "black" for them?

what a truly scurrilous accusation - not black enough. Makes one want to puke.

Are you black enough - Am I white enough? Well, I didn't even have to read the article to say maybe he is not my choice. That is the sort of question to ruin Mr. Obama. I am white and I surely would not want the front page of a major newspaper saying "are you white enough"? Also, he is not black, because his mother, who gave birth to him is white. It seems that because he is partially black that he is considered black only. sorry, if that mindset contunues he will definitely not be my choice.

Ann Donohoe

Mary, We would all love to hear a follow up from you on this. Obviously, you are being lambasted. This article proves to be a disgrace for the suntimes, and you have egg on your face. Knowing your attitude on things, you are not the least bit embarassed, and will continue to hold your nose in the air.
Care to reply to this supposed to blog??

The old double Standard comes into play again ! ! !

My favorite answer to the "Are you Black enough?" question comes from Sen. Obama himself: "It doesn't seem to be a question when I'm trying to get a cab."

My favorite answer to the "Are you Black enough?" question comes from Sen. Obama himself: "It doesn't seem to be a question when I'm trying to get a cab."

As a personal stylist and image consultant who is closely following the use of image, fashion and personal style in campaign 2008, I was completely taken aback by the cover image of Mrs. Obama.

In order to convey her black street cred, the Sun Times felt compelled to photograph her in the unflattering way one sees black women in breaking news stories coming out of urban underclass neighborhoods. What message does that send? Yes, the picture on the inside was far more flattering, but it's the picture on the cover that speaks a thousand words.

The "sister to sister" interview promised on the cover along with the picture, was meant to establish Mrs. Obama's "street cred," and by extension Mr. Obama's. While I am white (and have styled Mrs Obama for the cover of Today's Chicago Woman in 2005), I don't have a single black friend or client who, in any way shape or form, questions whether the Obamas are "black," "black enough," or any other such nonsense.

These kinds of stories are really meant for a white audience and their real purpose is to reassure whites that the Obamas don't fit the racist stereotypes that are still floating around in the culture.

Someone should tell you that whoever chose to resort to the "coded" imagery on the Sun Times cover may know what it takes to sell papers but not how to sell the real story.

No. He needs to be blacker befoe I vote fo him.

I recommend everyone check out the honorable Mr. Neil Steinberg's August 5th column in reference to this topic. As usual Mr. Steinberg hits the nail right on the head and tells it like it is. Despite the fact that some in our society don't feel he has the right to tell it like it is.

Last I checked, we all bleed red.

Our money for the most part is still green.


No problems here.


I am not exactly sure what black enough means but I am convinced that this man cannot relate to the common black experience in this country. He and his wife are clearly elitist, which is probably what feeds his dilusion that a black man with an African last name could actually become President of the U.S. However, it doesn't matter because he is not going to be President. Now that the hype is starting to subside, we are starting to see that there is nothing truly substantive to this man and his poorly contrived image.

Like many people who have commented here, I was surprised to see a question like "are the Obamas black enough?"
Maybe it's naive, but I thought it was a ridiculous question. What could it matter when, I hoped, most people are willing to evaluate a candidate on his or her own merits?
But scrolling through these comments, I see so many people who just couldn't wait to tell the world what they think about blacks, whites, women, liberals, conservatives, and so on. Heck, even the Irish got a mention.
My God, is there really someone out there who decides whether or not to vote for Mr. Obama based on an Irish firefigher?
So I no longer think that Ms. Mitchell's question is ridiculous. If nothing else, it has demonstrated to all of us just how many people make crucial decisions based on their prejudices, stereotypes, and poor logic.
These are people to whom this is a relevant question, maybe even a vital one.


"Is he black enough?"
What the heck is that?
Is SHE white enough? Apparently so, since no one's asking that question.
What a horrid question! It offers to signify that this person referred to -- is he black enough - is somehow less of a person. The fact that in this 2007 in this AMERICA this question is being asked. What a downright shame! What ignorance! It brings to mind that question by (I believe) the Brits, after the 2000 election that put Bush into the White House, which was, "How can 52 million people be so stupid!?" And that is my question here, including to the one posing it -- how can so many (American) people be so stupid? We are still so bigoted, so racist, so ignorant. We, us stupid Americans posing this question, thinking this question, would've been the same ones to crucify Jesus Christ too, with our ignorance. Why is it no one asks, is Hillary Clinton, or any of them WHITE enough? This is the thought and question of a subservient thinking mentality. Black enough for what? Black enough for whom? I believe it is a media question put out there to deter the black vote away from Obama, just like the one "Obama shouldn't take the black vote for granted". Why not? Other races do and it's reciprocal in other races. Look at the Mormons, look at the Italians, look at the Jews, and on. There is absolutely nothing wrong for a people of kind to want to vote for, and vote for, that person of kind, if that person of kind has shown himself or herself worthy of that vote. But this question is a slave mentality question, likening to the slaves who even when told they were free really didn't/couldn't be free, they didn't know what to do with this "freedom". So now, 2007, we still think that the only people who can do anything right are white, we're still coddling and perhaps subconsciously the slave master. It cringes my crutter when I read that so and so black person endorsed Clinton because they feel Obama being black won't get anywhere with the vote. Of course he won't if you don't vote for him! It must start somewhere. IT MUST START NOW! We have that slave thinking. If you are American and this America is a "free" country, then why do you keep these shackles on your mind? Why are we, if we are black, afraid to elect a black man? Why do we say in this today America 2007, "I don't think the country is ready to elect a black man."
To these same people letting this come out of their mouths, I ask, when will the country in your eyes be ready to elect a black man? When? When hell freezes over? I guarantee you those same people would say, still, no. Never. As Barack Obama has stressed time and time again, IT IS UP TO YOU, IT IS UP TO US, TO CHANGE THINGS, TO CHANGE THINGS NOW, TO MOVE YOUR AMERICA IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT IT TO GO IN! And my question is, why wait? For tomorrow is not promised. As long as we continue to sit back and say we don't think the country will elect a black man, guess what, a black man won't get elected. Because in the final analysis it is not words that get one elected, IT IS THE VOTE, YOUR VOTE! So to those same people who say Barack Obama is not black enough or that the country is not ready to elect a black man, BECOME PRO-ACTIVE FOR ONCE! STOP BEING PASSIVE, AND FOR GOD'S SAKE, FIND OUT ABOUT THIS CANDIDATE BEYOND HIS SKIN COLOR, AND WHEN YOU DO YOU WILL SEE THAT HE HAS RED BLOOD TOO just like you and me. Get up off your duff and take someone else with you TO THE POLLS and vote for that man who you might want to vote for but won't because you wonder if he's black enough. GO TO THE POLLS and vote for that man you say the country is not ready to elect. And guess what? When all these "mouths" are at the voting booths voting for that black man who isn't black enough and who the country isn't ready for, you're all gonna look up and see the win and how much your vote counted and how much you changed your America! You're gonna see that black man has been elected!!! Yes, that black man who "was not black enough" was elected. And yes, that man who "the country was not ready to elect" WAS THEN ELECTED!!!! SO IT IS UP TO YOU AND ME AND NO ONE ELSE AND IT IS ONLY THROUGH OUR ACTIONS WILL CHANGE OCCUR, just as the Senator has been saying all along. Just as many actions in our history has changed a not-so-good status quo. And if that doesn't do it for you, if you only feel comfortable with a white person in the White House, then do as I recently read on one blog -- vote for the white half of that black man then. But whatever you do stop being stigmatized and backwards AND TAKE ACTION.



First, Who's asking the question? are they black enough?
Second, What does that mean? Does that mean that every black person who goes to college and speaks proper english are Not Black Enough? Please!!! Please!!! You are perpetuating a stereotype. I dont think we as people are asking that question. I am excited that a Black man with pedigree has the guts to run for president. He is new to the game but maybe that is what we need. Fresh ideas, someone who considers everyone. Isnt that what Martin Luther King taught us...
The should not be asked. Content of Character is what matters

"Liberals 'impose' their views"

Unlike the conservative administration now in power and its far-right-wing supporters that have spent the past six years forcing their own agenda down the public's (and the world's) throat. Please Jeffy, take a realistic look at your own party's actions before you open your mouth and put your foot in it.

And if you're afraid the U.S. is going to revert to socialism in the next 8 years, you're ignoring the fact that it's become a monarchy over the past 6.

Actually the question is Hillary "White Enough"!

I was offended by the title of this article. Yes, some black kids catch flack for speaking proper english. So what? If a person was willing to turn me down just for the language that I speak, then I wouldn't want their vote.

States Attorney Richard Devine is not running for re-election. Part of the reason for him not running is his involvement in the Burge torture cases.

The reason this is posted here. What has Barack Obama done about CPD wrongful imprisonment and torture and specifically the Burge case? Has Obama been silent to not piss off the Mayor and his allies in the 19th ward?

Ms Mitchell, it is quite apparent people did not read the article. People saw the title and flew into a fit of typing rage. We do that some times. I cannot image the messages you had to read, did not post and deleted.

PEOPLE, columnists use a BOLD title to draw people to read their columns. It worked! Hell, I bet the other Sun-Times Bloggers besides Mr. Modrowski would love one fourth the attention Mary gets. I bet Lynn Sweet is salivating (smile) for this type of responses considering how many blog entries she post daily. People have stated talk about the issues and that is all Lynn Sweet do, but no one posts there. Oh well, Mary, the people couldn’t wait to jump on you, it has been three months darling, you know people gunning for you. No wonder you simply stop blogging regularly…Jesus!

Mary, we just get emotional and start typing instead of reading and re-reading before posting. Do not take it personal, okay?

Back to the posters; people, it is called bait the hook and watch the feeding frenzy. I am neither a columnist nor English major, but I realize 98 % of the people have posted on the column title instead of the crux of the column. No where in the column does Ms Mitchell words become a tangent for the posts I have read to her blog entry. Michele Obama mentioned her father’s pain while working, and how enunciating words while growing up was considered by other Black people to be misconstrued as behaving in a certain manner. Ms. Obama did what her parents and others stated was proper to succeed in life, which has happen, but states Blacks struggle with a certain issue, also. AND WE DO!

I guess next time Ms Mitchell, just write about their kids. My Goodness!!

This is for Jason on his comment NObama should he be playing President when he hasn't done anything has a senator, well what do you think BUSH is doing he is playing.

The article “Are Barack and Michelle Obama Black Enough?” by Mary Mitchell is appalling and utterly ignorant. What is black enough? Mary Mitchell and her co workers have a distorted view of what it means to be black. Maybe this birdbrain zealot reporter should spend less time watching BET for her perception of BLACK and more time getting to know people as individuals.

GROW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who came uo with this question? This is the first thing people should ask themselves. The medis's job is to throw crazy suggestions out there and then leave it to the people to start all types of debates etc..This is a way to get blacks to turn against blacks(divide and conquer) If a person says that Obama is not black enough, does that person then go and vote for a white person who is not blkack at all? Come on, this does not make any sense. Although I believe elections and everything that revolves around politics is nothing but a farce, i am glad to see Obama stand his ground and keep himself together while those other clowns look like fools with all the off the wall comments that they make against him.

Mary Mitchell can defend herself, but, I must point this out. Ms. Mitchell posed this question only because, a large amount of blacks on the South and West sides of Chicago have questioned Mr. Obama's "blackness". These include:( the normal cast): Jealous black preachers who are angry that he didn't speak at their church; and the vast majority of blacks in Chicago who unfortunately represent the "underclass" and in the last few decades have placed a "de-value" on everything progressive in the evolution of Civil Rights in this country. These are the same vast majority who were and still are angry at Bill Cosby for saying the vast majority of blacks were not taking advantage of Civil Rights gains over the last few decades; but instead, have chosen a path of Black Cultural Genocide. Educated blacks, working class blacks, were either voting for Hillary Clinton or Barrach Obama. Most underclass blacks are not voting, and many of them filled the churches of these jealous preacher's who have some political clout in Chicago for being the "front-man" for Mr. Daley, and his "hand-out's" to these, "pimpin" preacher's who get city tax free parcels of land to build their little empires on. These little preachers don't like Obama, and they don't like Rev. Sharpton, this is their turf. Obama, is a "Statesman" in the "highest order". He exudes it. His wife(shaken, by the stupidity of her own damm race) is holding on, after being embarrased and having to explain to all people, her own race, that her husband is "black enough" and please don't ask the unanswerable question. The thing about Black Culture that has caused us as a Race to be so divided that we were Colonialized for centuries; put in slavery for over 400 years; and at this even present date, have African leaders who refused to have a free society but mistreat the "Common African: Man, Women and child: by not given the average African: Education, Health Care or any subsistence wages; Leaders who have sold out on the people, yet, "horde" and waste, billion of dollars of foreign aid. Now, through their ignorance, China and India are now the New Colonialist while the rest of the European powers continue to do for Africans what Africans refuse to do for themselves: build infrastructure, build schools, hospitals; promote industries, trade skills, and a economy that can feed, clothe and keep the population healthy-African leaders import these services. And here in America, Blacks men, the vast majority young men have chosen to lead a life of crime, adopt Prison culture as a Model to supplant the Black Culture that Martin Luther King invision( the American Culture). These prison culture blacks are murdering our aspiring young people, and killing them because they consider them: To White, because they want a education, want to be a doctor, engineer, school teacher, want a family. It is in this same insane fabric/ideology that Blacks are saying Barrack Obama is not Black enough. A bad element has taken over the black communities on the southside and westside of Chicago, and in every major city across this land. A destructive force of ex-convicts, gang leaders(bangers) those of the criminal underclass has taken control of these communities. This "hatin" on Barrack is a part of that element. These same gang banger teens are shooing down in "cold-blood" educated black peoples'children and black working class kids who want a better life.

Asking is Obama Black enough is an embarrasment to me. Seeing his wife, struggle to address this issue is sickening. But, reading on the news day in and day out how black men are murdering each other, breaking laws for the heck of it, murdering black men who want to do good and get a skill and education just murdering them out of jealousy; and all the while, turning every community into a unlivable dangerous crime community where they call the shots is a testament to how bad the times are. But this is the legacy of Black people, why we haven't seem to get it after all these centuries. We must be the laughing stock of the whole non-black world. I'm not laughing though, I'm crying.

Mary; Ouch! Maybe you should stick to the small potatoes stuff, ya know- like how all black men who get shot or arrested are innocent, type of things.

Maybe America actually is better than you think as you and Jesse Jackson and Sharpton are becoming more and more IRRELEVENT. Although I know you will continue to stir the pot, because irrelevent to you, means JOBLESS.


Congrats on your recent Acknowledgement and win of the prestigious National Association of Black Journalists "Salute to Excellence" award.,CST-NWS-award13.article

You really are stretching now. The depths of your racism show no bounds. You continually show just what a racist ass you are.
Do you think the Obama family sits around asking themselves that?
Do people who make rational decisions based on logic ask that?
No, just uppity racist "journalists".

Mr. Obama, has managed to convince a great deal of our
rainbow races across the United States to view him
as the new fascinating, easy on the eyes candidate for
President. In all honesty, The race question would die
if not for articles like this that continue to feed the
flames of the die-heart liberals looking for a reason to
sway the public to view THE OBAMA'S
differently and perhaps affect his fast- growing popularity.

The view I express is basely solely on his lack of progress
as a Senator. I saw him as an Oreo long before the race card
questions as many others did who really know him for his
politics in Chicago. Why you might ask, because you could clock
your watch by what he would fight for when he first got to the
Springfield Capitol. He always had his eye on a prize to rise
above his collegues at any cost and IF it wasn't for some one else
having a famous father,that a lot of people don't care for and
that stigma affecting his political future he would be
in the spot that Obama is occupying, but alas that is another
story. Both his parents are true blue-blood blacks.

Obama lost my respect and vote a long time ago and it was simply
because he did not represent the people as a Senator.

Politics is not rocket science but even when you go against
the grain for the right reasons you can stay in the game.
A smart politican ( seasoned to know that the wind can change)
would leave the race card alone and his wife expounding on the

issue did not make it anything more than more fodder for the
masses of the discontent. One doth protest too much might
fit here.

Take a cue from our Infamous Mayor of Chicago, he did not
debate his position as Mayor, no matter how much he was goaded
or his public demanded it. Yet he still won. I personally as I
said earlier know that Obama is not ready to be President
at this time, maybe after he can handle simple issues like
this one with diplomacy and tact. He might have a chance
to get my vote. I am a firm believer as a woman of faith
that "One never has to defend right or it will become wrong."

The public is a fickle mistress, I leave you with this
message to share with Mr. & Mrs. Obama. "Remember what it
took to get you to this point" maybe then you will survive
this present tension of the hour for what it was designed to do
Create another issue for the already divide and conquer
politics of Washington.

With all the Daley talk here (and elsewhere), I wonder why there's no mention of Daley endorsing Obama for president. Could this be why I have seen/heard little (if any) press about Obama's views about police brutality and Black on Black Crime in Chicago. Why doesn't Obama (who has a higher office) tell Daley "Stop it!"?.

So the racists are bringing up the fact that Barack and Michelle Obama are not black enough? If this didn't resonate in the media, it would be a non-story. Who cares what color the man is. Evaluate his ideas and you will see a young idealistic ambitious man with a naive world view and a whole lot of platitudes and cliches. He is not that different than any of the other 'living in the past' politicians. How about if I was to ask is Hillary Clinton, white enough or feminine (ugh!) enough? You all would be out raged. How about if I asked 'Is John Edwards white enough. Or is Govenor Richardson Hispanic enough?

The whole thing is there because it keeps Obama in the limelight and it would not suprise me if this question came from the Obama campaign

Yes! I think Obama is black enough. It would be good to see any
Non-Caucasian American in the White House.

In a way, I wished he didn't run so soon. He scored in the one greatest
upsets in patronage politics. Jack Ryan, who was a front runner, humiliated
& embarrassed himself from being the heil to the office. Couldn't Obama just
simmer with this easy victory instead of being exalted a point of obviation.
He would have had his chance after Hillary C. had met her defeat. Do he got to
fall with her?

The is he black enough issue was started by democrats and liberals...I suspect his support by the party is there because they feel "he is not too black"...anyone should be able to see this as simply "lip service" to gain votes without having "too black" of a candidate. Who are the racists?

I could care less about his skin color...he is a inexperienced senator who gave a rousing speech at a DNC convention...that's it!

Chicago and the state of Illinois are very why do you have all the racism, prejudice, corruption and urban problems? That is the end result of any liberal solution to a problem....always short sighted, of short term benefit and generally increases what it claims to eliminate.

Can't you see that you are all being used like pawns? I am sure a lot of you think you are doing what is best...but the people you vote for or have elected know what you want to hear, and will gladly say whatever it takes to get votes, but fail to achieve any lasting change. It helps them to "look" like they are trying to fix things...because the next election will still have your vote..and on and on and on...yet nothing changes. Are you still going to blame that on the Bush administration? I am sure your leaders will...but are you going to continue to be a pawn?


"The 'is he Black enough' debate convinces me that Black people are, at times, equally capable of being as parochial and small-minded as white people are."

So just because a few white-owned media stations claim that Obama is "not black enough", that automatically means that most black people think that way?

If blacks abandon Obama and support Hilary, a white woman, for president, wouldn't
that refute the argument that blacks vote on race? How does this prove that Obama isn't "black enough".

If blacks are incapable of supporting anyone who isn't black, why have they supported the democratic party for so long, a party that has almost never supported a black man for the office of president? Blacks have a long history of voting across racial lines.

A black person knows that she's black. She doesn't have to prove it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mary Mitchell for your article, "Hillary Clinton panders in talk to blacks." African Americans seem to have forgotten how much former president Clinton let us down, as you stated. Not only did he sign a bill that sent thousands of our men to jail, he also let us down when he: went back on his word to allow Haitian immigrants to enter the U.S. legally; withdrew his nomination of Lani Guinier as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department; when Mike Epsy, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture was forced to resign after being charged with accepting bribes. He was later cleared by a federal jury and the charges were dropped. Then Clinton gives him a big celebratory party - thanks, but no thanks Mr. Clinton. He also let us down when he caved in under pressure and fired Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders because she was a brilliant visionary and can think far beyond the majority of us. I think that covers a majority of the African Americans that served or hoped to have served in Bill Clinton's cabinet. And if I hear another black person refer to him as America's first black president, I think I will scream. William Jefferson Clinton IS NOT BLACK. And if I hear Sen. Clinton make reference to the African proverb, "it takes a village" - as if she coined the phrase, I will scream again. Black people, don't be fooled AGAIN by the Clintons. I am voting for Barack Obama - and urge you all to do the same. Is that Black enough for you?

Hi Mary:

You'd better hope he isn't. Because if Obama is--in your words--"black enough" he will never, ever be elected President.

Big deal if michelle Obama grew up on the Southside of Chicago and came from a working class family. So just because you are from a working class family from the southside of Chicago you are not supposed to become of anything?

This is not a race issue. Can't you people read? This issue is for blacks only. It is for them to decide whether Barack and his wife Michelle are black enough for the White House. What criteria blacks use to decide this would be interesting for all of us to know. Anyone care to elaborate?

As a middle-class African American, I am insulted that you would ask the question about Michelle Obama's "blackness." It is clear that you,like most of America, equate "blackness" with poverty and a lack of education. Yet with a growing middle class, this is simply a false equation. As an African-American woman, how could you reinforce these stereotypes? Articles like this clearly display why the Sun-Times is the inferior choice of the two major papers in the city. I suppose that your newspaper owes the black community an apology. As a fellow person of color, I pray that you will consider this. Have a great day.

Al Sharpton..Jesse Jackson..Black Leaders;

Time to Lead for BARACK !

Greg 'Peace Song' Jones

I regularly listen to talk radio ranging from Air America, which is more progressive or Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved which are Republican....and black radio particularly Warren Ballentine and Rev. Al Sharpton on the Radio 1 Network which is doing a great job of reaching the black community and creating an opportunity for voices nationwide to be heard.

I find it interesting to hear the different views from the well as callers nationwide...on the subject of Barack Obama for President. Many of the hosts, even callers, on both Air America and the Republican shows voice massive approval and support of Barack Obama. It's actually quite refreshing to see and hear that so many white Americans are ready for a black president, basically because they feel he is the best choice regarding the issues of America and the world. Now, that's progress.

Then I listen to the Rev. Al Sharpton. First of all, let me state that I greatly admire Rev. Sharpton. The work that he does through his National Action Network is developing into becoming a mighty force in the black community nationwide and I feel that all blacks should be supportive of NAN. But when I listen to Rev. Sharpton talk about Barack Obama's presidential campaign I am totally amazed, shocked and beyond extremely disappointed. I'm almost embarrassed. Here we have Rev. Sharpton, who many blacks, including myself, look at as the number one leader for justice and empowerment in the black community.....and here we have a black man...Barack Obama...who is a very serious, capable, qualified candidate for President of the United States, supported by millions nationwide, with a realistic chance to enter the White House. But instead of rallying, supporting and stating this black historic opportunity as it is....Rev. Sharpton would rather not express his support of Obama at a ll !!! What's wrong with this picture ? I cannot believe that the leader(s) of the black community like Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson are NOT supportive of what could be the first black president of the United States, ever? That is crazy !!!! (note: Rev. Jackson has quietly declared that he is supporting Obama but has done little or nothing to rally the black community....while polls show Hillary currently receiving more black support than Obama !.....That's CRAZY !) We, as blacks, know that in order for the black communities to rise up out of the muck and mire that permeates, we must all work a family. We know that we always preach that we should be supportive of black achievement, black businesses, our black youth and each other.

If that is the case, that we are to be supportive of each other, which I do believe that to be true, then never has that need been more evident than now. ALL black people should be in absolute support of Barack Obama for President, not just because he's black, but because of his stance, capabilities and qualifications. This should be a period of rallying in the streets, shouting with pride that we have a true opportunity to change history and put a black man in the White House. And this rally cry should be lead by our leaders.

Yes, Rev. Al, Rev. Jackson, the NAACP...ALL black leaders should be sounding the trumpet to inspire all black people to vote for this historic change. Why aren't they ? Rev. Al states that he hasn't heard enough from Obama regarding the issues to make a decision. I find that a bit disingenuous seeing as to how I know where Obama stands on the various issues....and so do the millions of white Obama supporters. Rev. Al also says that Obama may not have enough experience. I find that to be a sadly interesting comment, particularly considering both Rev. Al and Rev. Jackson ran for President with absolutely NO political experience, but never stated that they were too new for the post. (NOTE: Rev. Al knows that Barack Obama has been a U.S. Senator for over 2 years.....and that Abraham Lincoln was a Senator for 2 years....and turned out to be considered one of the greatest Presidents of all time). Rev. Al also states that he is not hearing enough talk from Obama regarding specifically what he will do for the black community. Now common sense should tell all black folks that Obama has to play the political game. Keep in mind, he is running for president of the United States...that means everyone, black, white, hispanic, muslim, jews,and all others.

Obama cannot appear as if he will only be concerned with the black community's needs or he has absolutely no chance of winning. Maybe that's where Rev. Al went wrong with his campaign. Does Rev. Al think that Obama should be shouting 'ungawa...Black Power' during each debate ? There is no way that he could do that and expect to win. But once he is President, common sense tells us that he would be more receptive to the needs in the black community than any other candidate. That's just common sense based on what we DO know about Obama. Then some folks want to say he's not 'black enough'. That is the most pathetic thing I've ever heard. First of all, his name is Barack Obama......not like Jesse or Al. Secondly, Obama is half Kenyan.....that's pretty black !!! Sometimes I just wonder to myself, why aren't Rev. Al and Rev. Jackson leading the rally to support this historic cause ? Could they be jealous that Obama has already achieved more acceptance than they did during their campaign efforts ? I would hate to think that to be the fact. Or, could Rev. Al be hopeful that Hillary will win because he feels that she will assist him in his personal efforts if she is elected President ? I hope that too is not the case.....that would be selling out.....and I would never believe our leader(s) to be sell-outs. But for our leaders to not boisterously support Obama is like saying that they feel a white person would do better or more for the black communities, which history has proven is just not the case. Then what can it be ? That is the question.

I believe that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be very proud and thankful to see that, in spite of all of the weights that have burdened and held the black community down, one black man has risen to such a level that he is a viable choice to be President of the United States in 2008. I believe that Rev. King would truly lead a powerful movement to change the tide of history. I envision marches, flags, signs, songs, t-shirts, buttons and millions of blacks proudly expressing jubilee for this opportunity to make a real change in our country.

WE SHALL OVERCOME....has been our motto for the black struggle for many generations and we are still struggling, in oh so many ways. And we will never overcome, until our leaders wake up, stop 'hatin' and vigorously lead the cause that will truly make a positive difference in our country, in our black community, and in the entire world. Rev. Al....Rev. ya' both....but on this subject... It's Time To LEAD !!!

(Greg 'Peace Song' Jones)


AMEN to what Jason said on 8-2-07. WHAT HAS OBAMA DONE FOR ILLINOIS????? The glitz and glamour of Hollywood always seem to call him. Really, what has he done for Illinois???? I love the "Nobama"

Is Barack Obama white enough to be president? Yes he is and he'll get alot of white votes but I am pretty sure he is too white for most black folks so he will not be President. African americans as always talk a good game but when it comes down to if if you're not street you ain't black.

Is Barack black enough? Hard to Michelle? OH YEAH...just like my coffee - black and bitter.

Ted Williams:

"As a middle-class African American, I am insulted that you would ask the question about Michelle Obama's "blackness." It is clear that you,like most of America, equate "blackness" with poverty and a lack of education."

There is plenty of poverty and lack of education in middle-class black communities as well. You should come down off your high horse. There are also plenty of rich Ivy-league blacks who wouldn't vote for Obama. That pretty much kills your reasoning.


"This is not a race issue. Can't you people read? This issue is for blacks only. It is for them to decide whether Barack and his wife Michelle are black enough for the White House. What criteria blacks use to decide this would be interesting for all of us to know. Anyone care to elaborate?"

Don't push us into voting for Obama just because you feel guilty for putting Bush in the White House twice. It is not up to us to fix this broken political system. If Obama makes it into the white house it will be the white majority that puts him there, not anyone else.

Barack Obama does not have the historical tie with most "African American"/Blacks of slavery. In fact, his white side--his mother's side had slaves. So, Barack Obama is the descendant of Slave owners--so if in the Martin Luther King Jr dream of the descendants of slave owners sit down with the descendants of slaves--Obama would not factually be on the side of the descendant of slaves.

Barack Obama has no connection, no real connection (not to minimize his adult life) to Chicago or the American Black/African American experience. The half Black/half Japanese friend of his from High School who Obama now admits he "lied" or at least fibbed a little said that Obama never had an issue being Black. Most African American Blacks did not have their white mother and grandparents raise them, they did not travel internationally and go to private schools in Indonesia. Barack Obama went to the best private High School in Hawaii where he was a basketball star, was popular, never encountered racism, and networked with some of the wealthiest families in American including the Dole pineapple and sugar fortunes. His friend denied the stories in the Obama autobiography that seems to have some metaphor if not outright lies.

Barack Obama being a good looking light skinned half Black or biracial man in elite circles did not deal with racism, or fighting his way out of Bridgeport, or being pressured to join gangs in Englewood. Barack Obama does not have the roots of slavery nor does he have the common experience of Chicago Public Schools, or even Catholic Schools for Blacks, or music, or food or any other common experience. It is a cultural issue.

The question, may, or may not be stupid or ignorant or not well phrased. Certainly, Barack Obama by his phenotype is half Black or biracial (although many Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Arabs, East Indians, Pakistanis--are far darker than Barack Obama and probably were looked upon much more negatively)

Barack Obama makes whites feel comfortable, which may not be a good thing. They can feel that electing him proves that they are not racist. He does not challenge the status qou. He has no real connection with the majority of the Black experience. He was raised by the White German Kansas and Hawaii side of his family. It is a cultural issue and not a racial issue.

Barack Obama is a child of privilige. He went to the best schools. He had great opportunities. He never encountered poverty. He never encountered gangs. His drug use was not street corner Chicago gang but upper middle class nihilistic angst and experimentation.

Most African American children are not raised by white moms and white grandparents. Most African American children do not travel internationally and go to private schools in foreign countries (where Obama would not ne that dark). Most African American children do not have mostly white friends. Most African American children do not know only white family until they are adults. Most African American children do not go to elite private High Schools. Most African Americans do not have white facial features, speak like Obama. Not all African American males (nor females) are attractive and accepted based on looks to the white community. Most African Americans don't go to Harvard (with mostly white students) Very few people live in Hawaii let alone African Americans let alone in good neighborhoods and go to good schools in what some consider Paradise.

While Barack Obama certainly is an excellent politician--very few aspirants to politics have had the early and long time backing of so many money people with North Shore zip codes or political investors like Tony Rezko. Certainly he worked hard and is talented and smart and even lost for Congress to Bobby Rush. But he has a team--of mostly non African Americans--very few Blacks who actually call shots but an Ivy-elite and a very narrow experience. Most of the donors are big law firms and industry--that usually want something in return. When normally Republican captains of industry are donating it is not because they think Obama is an agent of change but a half Black man they can feel comfortable with and not challenge the status qou.

What defines culture?
Shared history
Obama may meet some of the characterestics but he is much more culturally close to his mother's side regardless of the melanin count in his skin. He has a beautiful and obviously Black wife and children--but Obama did not struggle like most African Americans did in Chicago and just like his ancestors did not know slavery--Barack Obama did not and does not know racism. Barack Obama is the candidate for the elite--albeit with some good rhetoric about helping the poor and others--but nonetheless the candidate of the white elite.

Barack Obama is not culturally "Black"/"African American".
It is not necessarily bad--but it is an obvious fact.

I have read quite a few entries on this blog. It is very interesting that some of the readers seem to think Mary Mitchell is the one who has instigated this whole discussion. In fact, she is asking the question that a lot of Black people are asking throughout America. She is bringing it to this forum to see what Chicago readers think. I don't think Ms. Mitchell believes that Sen. Obama is not "black enough". She is posing a question that is very real in some communities throughout the USA.

In response to this question, I could care less if Obama was Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, or any other ethnic group or culture. What matters is that I believe Sen. Obama has the courage, the stamina, and the determination to lead a country that is in the midst of cultural chaos, broken by war, and confused by it's history. I will vote for Obama. Not because of the color of his skin, but because of his optimistic views of where this county can be in 4 years. I am an African-American woman that thinks of the future. Maybe you should too.

Remember the young man that became the target of Chicago's hatred. Well the same question that's being proposed now is why you came to know me. Yes, my life before my 30's and my children was deemed black enough and accepted, one would even say loved. This is because we have come to expect black men to be lovers of themselves, money, and greed. I know because I lived that life to the fullest and NEVER became the target of taunts or hatred during that time, not from family, friends, co-workers,girlfriends,or people like yourselves and your co-workers. Most of them knew of my bad dealings, but it was what they expected of a black man, so my behavior was accepted. I was being black. But as I started to revert back to my true teachings, of being an upstanding man, honest, confident, teacher of his children, leader of his family, educated, nonviolent, and respectful, the world started to remind me that I was not being black and started to hate me. I then became casted out of jobs because white men saw me as a threat to their since of dominance, black woman whom I have never had a problem with became envious of my marriage and love of one woman, family members bacame jealous, and outsiders became mislead and misinformed about who I currently am. This was all in an attempt to destory my true teachings of what a man is. Having struggled with my past even before your taunts, knowing that I myself had succumbed to the temptations of the world, I have now recovered and will continue my true teachings, no matter what is said or done. I have come to understand that we must continue to show the world that black people have made and will continue to make positive changes, changes that we all can live by black or white. And yes put your faith in GOD and you can endure misplaced hatred.

A friend recently said the following about Obama, "he's my color but not my kind".

Wow! What's next-a discussion on Hillary's whiteness? Is Hillary pale white, olive white, tan, bronzed or Sicilian white (but with African features)? Does anyone realize how silly that sounds and how that has NOTHING to do with being president?

Interestingly enough, Senator Obama has been so quiet about police brutality, people losing their homes to stadiums, condos and mcmansions, CTA crisis, taxes and all the utility bill hikes. It doesn't sound like he's representing Illinois. Maybe, when Daley tears down his home for the 2016 Olympics, he'll speak up.

Again, Barack Obama is a black man in this country...end of story. If his is not black, than I and 80% of the black people I am close too are not black. He's brown-skinned for goodness sakes and looks extremely Kenyan! Do you know how many black people (with two black parents) are lighter than some of these immediately mixed/bi-racial people like Obama and Halle Berry, etc? Billions! Are they not black enough when the closest white person in their families (despite being very fair) is a great-grandpa? If no one told us Halle or Barack were 1/2 white--no one would know.

was kennedy black enough was bill clinton black enough is michael jordan black enough this is not what we need to focus on we as a people are not black enough to say who is and who isn't just be glad he has the fight to try i dont see no one else out there trying he is not jesse jackson he is not al sharpton he is his own man please stop killing this man face it barack will be in the white house and the people are so blind to see this so i'll tell you him and hillary will be there together at the same time its just that we have to choose who will be who

How can I say this? Obama is the right kind of Black. Obama is not a desendant of slavery that is one and maybe the main reason that that America accepts Obama. Another plus is that he is not a Black leader using the history of the CIvil Rights Movement to fatten his bank account like others.......Jackson and Sharpton

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This page contains a single entry by Admin published on August 2, 2007 2:37 PM.

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