In response to a recent Huffington Post article (http://huff.to/xRGKrC), I figured it was time to extract an earlier post.
As a multi-ethnic person myself, this was Obama’s GREATEST PR blunder: allowing himself to be posited as the “Black” candidate-cum-President.
In my masters thesis I systematically deconstructed the mythology surrounding identity vis-a-vis “the mixed race”. Long story short, had Obama accurately noted his “ethnicity,” he could have helped neuter the argument of being “the other” — by playing up the white mother he knew as opposed to the black father he didn’t would have gone along way to neutralize racist arguments from Palin, Santorum et al that his being “Kenyan” precluded him from knowing about “our” America.
The man, myself and others like us embody the reality of the American experiment!
There is a narrative that is hard to argue . . . though there are certainly those that have disdain for “half-breeds” as well (in both the white AND black community), but that then is a different debate. He really dropped the ball on this, much to his detriment.
** In response to a contrarian question about the degree to which this matters:
So it is then about “teachable moments” isn’t it?
The facts are that for the majority of the country’s early founding children such as Obama were, like is the custom in most traditions, given the “identity” of their mother. This only changed when too many children of slave males were being birthed by white, free, women.
But I don’t want to get bogged down with history in this forum. We are talking about contemporary sociocultural reality and the reality in “on the street” your observations are changing.
The census of 2000 was the first census tracking mixed-race children in over 50 years, with this re-numeration led by mixed-race advocacy groups and activists of white mothers tired of having the unrealistic propositions of “checking one identity box” for their children.
In the 2000′s we can also see the likes of Vin Diesel, Dwyane ”the Rock” Johnson and others (most notably Tiger Woods) who corrected any “journalist” who sought to place the “one race” moniker on them.
So we can see movement in popular culture in the direction of my assertion. My point is not whether “the masses” would like this premise or want to “wake up” to their (American) history, my point was that Obama missed a huge teachable moment . . . and is most likely suffering the consequences of it.
Clearly record numbers voted for “the black guy” . . . my point is that more might have voted for the “mixed guy” and at the very least he might have saved himself a modicum of grief from the empirical “haters” we see.