Do you consider the POTUS a “Black President,” “Swirl Prez” or does his race even matter?
Washington Post columnist Clinton Yates’ piece, Barack Obama: Let’s Not Forget That He’s America’s First Bi-Racial President, was published on The Washington Post website two days after the 2012 election, Yates’ piece explores the idea that President Obama’s African heritage alone has resulted in the construction of his identity.
Via The Grio:
“If I’m lucky enough to have children, I won’t tell them that Barack Obama was America’s first black president.”
“As a black man who plans to eventually start a family with my white girlfriend, I’m going to tell [my future children] that Obama was the first man of color in the White House and that America’s 44th president was biracial,” writes Yates. “What would I look like telling my kids that a man with a black father and a white mother is ‘black’ just because society wants him to be?” Yates’ stance on President Obama’s racial identity points to an on-going, complicated debate surrounding the president’s race and how he chooses to identify himself.
Since Obama’s second presidential election win, countless media outlets have analyzed the major support in voter turnout exhibited by African-Americans and Latinos for the president.
Yet, most reports on and reactions to President Obama have failed to mention his biracial heritage. It is rarely addressed in discussions concerning how the public identifies Obama, or critiques of how the president identifies himself. Yates’ consideration of Obama as the “first bi-racial president” is rare in its vociferous proclamation to define the man by both lineages.
For mixed people, being mixed you identify differently at different times and in different situations. I think the president is no different, so [a bi-racial] child still can take pride in [the fact] that President Obama is a bi-racial president. But he’s also a black president. I don’t think that they’re mutually exclusive.
I think his identifying [as African-American] is very positive. On the other hand, I think there’s nothing creative or innovative or groundbreaking or revolutionary about [his identifying as black.] It’s very much following the status quo of the way that a majority of people expect him to identify.
President Obama is a man of color, and so is his wife and children, strong color, although their more to his history. We can refer to President Obama as Black, African-American, Multi-racial, AMERICAN! And that says it all.
Is the author disillusioned or is he right? Do you consider Obama the first Black or Bi-Racial POTUS?