Is Obama Black?
There is no question that United States President Barack Obama has been trying desperately for the last three years to avoid bringing attention to a fact that few Americans miss: the fact that he is an African-American.
Obama is aware of the widespread racism in the United States and he is a truly skillful American politician who knows that his race is a big problem among white voters (especially males).
Obama has struggled throughout his administration to avoid the race issue. Obama knows that any mention of race would scare off many white male voters who already may be scared of the very presence of a black man in the White House.
Obama is unlike previous US presidents and their wives who kept race alive in order to capture white voters’ support.
American political scientist, Kenneth O’Reilly, traced in his book, Nixon’s Piano, the use and misuse of race in American presidential politics, from Washington to Clinton. O’Reilly basically documents traces of white supremacy in the White House. If O’Reilly were to update his book, he needs to add a chapter for Bush and certainly for Obama.
Obama is a white president and he needed, politically speaking, to assert that in his presidency. He is surrounded by white advisers and it is not an exaggeration to say that George W. Bush (as insensitive as he was on race and on all other humanitarian issues) had more blacks in his inner circles than Obama.
Obama is flustered when asked about race and wants to make any race issue a non-racial issue. He uses language that is intended to reassure white Americans that he is not like their stereotype of the black man. Instead, he presents himself as the white man in black skin. Obama spoke about his mother and about his grandparents but rarely publicly spoke about his black father and about his African roots.
This president has ventured around the world but the continent of Africa is very marginal on his radar screen – in policy focus and in travel.
But Obama’s strategy may win after all. If America is not ready for a black president – and it is not – then why not promote a black man as a white man? Only such a transformation can do the trick and can capture enough white votes to win the presidency.
Even when race is an issue, as in the many cases of railroading and abusing blacks in the American justice system, Obama is at pains to deny that race is an issue. Racial injustice is not his concern and that is why he was able to capture the White House. In this campaign season, Obama will continue to run as a white man, but he may need to prove he is more white than ever.