Barrack Obama looks sort of Black, but is he really African-American?
28 Sept. 2008
The question shouldn't matter, but due to the attitudes of many and the representations of a few, it does.
African-American denotes Americans with primarily African heritage, which would include African Arabs as well as Afrikaners (Afrikaans-speaking people mainly of northwestern European descent and established in Southern Africa since the 17th century -- Wikipedia). In this literal, general sense, Obama is half African-American. Moreover, he was raised by his white maternal line and therefore grew up in a primarily white culture. This might tip him in the direction of an American-American label.
However, African-American also connotes a Black African heritage, which makes up only one quarter of Obama's heritage, the other quarter being Arab, which renders him three quarters Caucasian (white). More specifically, it connotes a Black African who was kidnapped by other Africans and sold into slavery, which makes up zilch, zip, nada percent of Obama's heritage.
On the other hand, as a young adult, Oh-bummer chose to associate himself with African-Americans. "As a man thinks in his mind, so is he." Therefore, if he participates in the African-American culture, then he is, by culture, African-American.
On the OTHER other hand, a basic tenet of the African-American gestalt (world-view) holds that their lives are the way they are because white America thrust their circumstances upon them (even though many cling to those circumstances to justify the bitterness and hatred that comes from a lack of forgiveness). Since such circumstances were thrust upon neither Obama nor his paternal line, he can no more choose that heritage than I can.
So it depends on your point of view. One factor tips him one way while another factor tips him another. Most people won't think that deeply about it. They will ignore Obama's personal history and the European bone structure, and will note only the color of his skin and the curliness of his hair.
In itself, race has no direct relevance, but openness and honesty about it carries tremendous weight in judging a man's character; and character, as we have seen in recent decades, has tremendous relevance to a presidential candidate's qualification for office.
If Obama really wanted to unite us, he would identify himself as a Blended-American. He has profited, however, from choosing not to blend; and too many among us are just fools for the faux.
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