America's first black president... or not?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mithrilfox, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. mithrilfox macrumors regular


    Nov 6, 2007
    Hey guys! I've just had a little pet peeve recently that I thought I'd share for a little conversation. Obama isn't really "the first black president." Read on.

    I hear a lot of people around me say "the first black president" or "it's a historic election, it's the first black person elected president" or similar things. I live in Japan, but even here many people are talking about it.

    It doesn't matter much if at all to me what race the president is... although I know it affects the election, I don't care if he's purple-skinned... as long as he can lead the country, be a positive influence, and promote good causes, I think he'd be a great president.

    HOWEVER... saying Obama is the "first black president" is misleading. He is the child of a black man and a white woman (skin color only, ignoring nationalities). Therefore, Barack Obama is equally white and equally black. He's a 50/50.

    Therefore... Barack Obama is "just another white president" is just as truthful as saying "Barack Obama is the first black president."

    Why do people act as if being half white and half black automatically makes him black? Personally, I don't see him as a "black president," but a "half black, half white president." And to be honest, doesn't that seem to convey the general sense of what we're trying to accomplish in America? Blur the racial lines that divide? And wouldn't Obama be a fitting president to display that role, being half white and half black? Sure, he doesn't "represent" any Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, or other European races, but no man can do it all.

    Why do we do a disservice by labeling him as merely "black?"
  2. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    he's said himself that he identifies with his African American roots more than his White roots.

    that said, i do agree with you that skin color is pretty ****ed trivial.
  3. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    While its true(the parent), I think it comes back to people like Obama, who's parents were mixed raced, were not given equal rights pre-civil rights movement(just like blacks who parents with both black)

    But yes, who really cares about race?

    I was looking for the best man or woman for the job...number one was Kucinich, number two was Obama
  4. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030


    Sep 11, 2006
    Sacramento, CA USA
    Why don't we just avoid this c***ola and just call him American? :rolleyes: After all, he was born in Hawai'i, where mixed-race marriages are quite common. :)
  5. mithrilfox thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 6, 2007
    That's a valid position, and it was common in the early 90's in the US to see advertisements for being "color blind."

    Then people started to think that ignoring race/nationality can lead to "racism" in the form of ignoring valid differences in physique and upbringing, among other things.

    Although I don't think we should completely ignore race, it shouldn't be so much at the forefront of the news. As long we proclaim "first black president!!!" it means we're still stuck thinking about it and focusing on it, instead of just accepting it and living with it.
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Because we're all racist, and if someone has just a part of "blackness" in them, they're black. :p
  7. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    Unless of course it doesn't show...
  8. SteveMobs macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2008
    Washington D.C.
    I couldn't agree more with the OP.

    It was his white mom who raised him too, his black dad just bounced.

    Anyways, hopefully his presidency will be better than the last one.
  9. That-Is-Bull macrumors 6502


    Sep 29, 2007
    Edmond, Oklahoma
    Because he looks black. If some redneck KKK member sees a black person they aren't going to say "hey, looks like we gots onea dem negros -- oh wait, excuse me sir, you're 100% African American, right?" for the same reason they're not going to care about a white African American. How a person looks is all that matters when it comes to racism, and visually Obama's 0% white.
  10. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Remember Obama gets to play the race card by claiming to be African American.

    The standard white male in this world has the deck stack against him with the laws. many companies will always chose the minority to help with that count.
  11. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    A lesson he learned after losing in the 2000 election.

    You have that backwards. His mother was the one who left and filed for divorce.
  12. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    OK, how about "Obama is the first man with black skin to be president of the US"?

    If you see a black guy on the street, do you ask him if he has a white father or mother... just so you really know if he's black? 'cause you know, if he did then he wouldn't really be black, right?
  13. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Derek Jeter is 50/50 but looks more white. But going by the rules is he considered black?
  14. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    Perhaps in an alternate universe.
  15. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    In this society, you are the color you look irregardless of your genetics.

    Let's look at the history of the Presidency, shall we?

    43 white men
    1 black man
    0 Women
    0 ethnic minorities
    0 LGBT
    0 atheist/agnostic
  16. Iscariot macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
    Racism doesn't deal in fractions.

    It's not like you can get half-lynched.
  17. mithrilfox thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 6, 2007
    OK, I see your point... but why is he automatically "black" and not white? Why does he "get to" be black by being half, but not "get to" be white by being half?

    The term "really be black" is used negatively here, I sense. But in all honesty, if he's 50% white as well, can we really say he's the first "black president" and leave it at that? It's inaccurate at best, and plain wrong at worst.

    When you cross two breeds of any animal, it is almost never considered just one of those breeds; it is recognized as a mix. If an Asian woman and a white man have children, they are not automatically "Korean" or "Chinese" or whatever, as some will look perhaps slightly more "white" than Asian.

    Think about it. I am a white American man, and my wife is a Korean American woman. She was born in Korea to Korean parents. If we have kids, are they simply "Korean" racially? What happened to me :(. Where did my genes go? Did they disappear?

    Think about it. We call Obama "black," what happened to his mother :(? Poor woman gives birth to the guy and she's forgotten and left out of the whole equation.

    It's both inappropriate and inaccurate. Like I said, at worst, it's just plain incorrect.

    Alright, so, because of the extreme actions of some people, we should therefore eliminate 50% of someone's ethnicity in order to cater to these extremely polarized viewpoints?

    We all understand that a person, bent on hating a race, will not seek to know the percentage of blood from that race a person has... he will act on the looks alone. We know that. That's not what this is about. This is about the truth. And, to be honest, labeling as merely "black" helps to support the cause of racists by turning a blind eye to anything that might ease the hatred. Might the hatred for other races ease when we realize how mixed many of us are? When we stop the mono-labeling of dual-race citizens?

    "Whatever you look like, that's what you are" may be how many people operate, but is it how you will operate just because other people do? Do you want to perpetuate that kind of thinking and behavior merely because it exists?

    There are a lot of selfish people who think mainly of themselves and themselves only, but I will try to instill in my children a sense of doing what's best for everyone. I won't let the behavior of the "masses" lower my own standards if I can help it.

    Corrected version below:

    Lumping all "white" people into one race? FAIL :(. Lumping all "black" people into one race? FAIL :(. Lumping ALL OTHER races into one general category? FAIL :(.

    Thinking that we need to have presidents from every sort of walk of life? Not really FAIL, but not success either. :confused:
  18. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    This is about the truth? Heres the truth: His race doesnt matter, if hes black or half black or purple, hes the president.
  19. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    Actually, if you want to really get your nerd on, Obama is slightly more white than black. Inside every eukaryotic cell (humans fall under this category) there are mitochondria. Mitochondria are actually tiny symbiotic cells that have their own DNA/genome. The "human" genome actually does not code for mitochondria. They are needed by eukaryotic cells for the energy that they produce in return for living inside your cells. Where do we get mitochondria if they are not actually part of our genome? They come from mom's egg! The few mitochondria inside the egg divide and multiply inside each of our cells as we grow. So, in Obama's case, he would have inherited slightly more "white" DNA than "black".

    This simple fact has been what allows scientists to track how related things are. The same ancestral mitochondrial cells are in all of us.
  20. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    I really don't know why you're even bringing this up.

    My ethnicity, as known, is as follows:
    Half Finnish (Ostrobothnian)
    3/8 German (Mecklenburger and Lower Saxon with a soupçon of French Huguenot)
    1/8 English (Mix of Cornish and Northumbrian)

    Only three great grandparents were born outside of the US.

    However, if I wanted to call myself French-Huguenot, I would have that right because it is a part of my heritage, however distant it may be.

    If Obama called himself white, he has that right, however he would have been laughed out of town. Not only because obviously he isn't, but because he has had to bear the burden of being black in a country that is unwilling to deal directly with the complex issues of skin color, ethnicity, country(ies) of upbringing, language, etc, etc, etc.

    He had a unique upbringing in Hawaii and four years in Indonesia. A couple of years in LA and then Chicago and Boston.

    There's simply no possible way to classify him and this same point came up in the "When will Europe elect a black President" thread.

    One's ethnicity is what one makes of it, president or no, he gets to decide who he is, not some insecure white guy who can't get over the fact that palefaces are, worldwide, a growing minority.
  21. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
  22. branjosef macrumors 6502a


    Oct 18, 2007
    Either way he'll probably get a monument and his birthday will probably be a holiday in a few dacades. Had Hillary been elected (despite what you think of her) as the first woman president she would get the same thing. I wonder if he has scouted out the property yet.
  23. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    You refer to the first 43 Presidents as being "white-skinned" men of various racial backgrounds; similarly, would Obama not be a black-skinned man of various racial backgrounds? Does that not make him black?

    Again, race refers to one's visible characteristics, not genetic heritage. You belong to the race in which your appearance associates you.
  24. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    You've got high hopes, huh? ;) :D
  25. mgguy macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2006
    Are you sure?

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