I’m not sure how this one slipped past us all, but despite all indications (including those coming from the man himself) the Washington Post has discovered that Barack Obama is not black.
We call him that — he calls himself that — because we use dated language and logic. After more than 300 years and much difficult history, we hew to the old racist rule: Part-black is all black. Fifty percent equals a hundred. There’s no in-between.
That was my reaction when I read these words on the front page of this newspaper the day after the election: “Obama Makes History: U.S. Decisively Elects First Black President.”
Luckily, we later learn that he’s not black because he’s just so damn much more! What a relief.
To me, as to increasing numbers of mixed-race people, Barack Obama is not our first black president. He is our first biracial, bicultural president. He is more than the personification of African American achievement. He is a bridge between races, a living symbol of tolerance, a signal that strict racial categories must go.
Next they’ll be telling us he wasn’t born in Hawaii.