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First Black President?

Barack Obama is the first black man to be elected President of the US?
Barack Obama is also the 44th white man to be elected President of the US.
Barack Obama's mother is white, his father is black.  Why do we consider him to be a black man, and not a white man, when he is half of each?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
jasepanda
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Because it's more historic that way. Obviously,

Though technically he's mixed-race. And since (I'm assuming) there are fewer mixed-race people than black people in the country, a mixed-race president would be more historic.

Ah well.
thesmileetiger
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
Outward appearances.

Anyone on the street would see him as a black man therefore he is to most people.
wolffit
Nov. 5th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
Gotcha. Pandering to ignorance. :-)
thesmileetiger
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
Know thy market :)

This is America we are talking about.
kesh
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Historically, it's racism. "One drop of black blood makes a man black." Miscegenation, and all that.

In a modern sense, yeah, it's mostly "if he looks black, he's black." And he chooses to identify as black, so there's that.

The thing is, "black" and "white" are pretty much nonsense terms in the USA. It's very rare to find someone of "pure" European or African ancestry in this nation. Usually there's some other ethnic history in a person's background, even if it's buried hundreds of years back.
dachwuff
Nov. 5th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah just historic pandering.
just_the_ash
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
I'm with kesh here: he chooses to identify as black. My student whose legal name is "Stephanie," for some reason, chooses to be called "Mimi," so I honor that also.

But I noticed in the coverage last night that people were referring to him not only as the first black president, but also as the first mixed-race or biracial president.

I dunno. Are you going to be the first short gay Christian Freemason president someday?
wolffit
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
I'm not short.
cerisewolf
Nov. 6th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
As far as I know, mixed races were slaves at the turn of the last century and couldn't vote as long as "blacks" couldn't vote.

Or is it not about a symbol that slavery, jim crow, and discrimination do not apply any more?
wolffit
Nov. 6th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
I didn't say he's not the first black president. I said he's also the 44th white president.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )