A President of Color

I tried to get William (9) and Joseph (8) to pay attention to the inauguration of Barak Obama on Tuesday.  They just couldn’t be bothered with a man, even if he is brown, that just sits and talks.  Finally, I thought I saw my “in”.  As Barak and Michelle were walking down the street in front of their limo, I remembered all the secret service “policemen” all around them.  So, I called the boys over again, and pointed them out and explained their role.  I let them know that the president of the United States always has secret service policemen.  Now, that got their attention.  What surprised me, though, is that instead of William, my most prolific pretender between the two, pretending to be the secret service, he became “William the President” and hired Joseph as his secret service.  Ah, ha!  He liked the power to hire instead of the act of protecting . . . LOL!  So, William went and got his Sunday best on, grabbed a chair to put on another chair as a podium in which to give his speech (he was paying attention!), and Joseph is in his army outfit, and hippo is holding the arsenal:

This said, I can’t help but talk about the topic that Barak Obama is a president of color, not a “black man” as president.  It’s funny, because I absolutely know what is going on because of my own two boys.  It doesn’t matter what nationality you really are.  What matters is the color of your skin, just like Martin Luther King, Jr., points out.  It really hasn’t changed in many regards.  So, Barak Obama is half African and half caucasian American.  But, his skin is brown, so he will be treated as a black man.  William and Joseph are also biracial.  Their mother is caucasian and their father is African-American.  But, it doesn’t matter because their skin is brown; therefore, they will be treated as “black men”.  And I knew this.  And it is true.

Tiger Woods took it upon himself in the beginning to continuously bring up the fact that he is only one-quarter African-American.  His father is biracial that includes African American (50 percent), Chinese  (25 percent) and Native American  (25 percent) ancestry. His mother, originally from Thailand, is also biracial that includes Thai (50 percent), Chinese (25 percent), and Dutch (25 percent) ancestry. This makes Tiger Woods himself one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch.  But, probably much to his dismay, our society doesn’t accept it.  Because he has brown skin, he will be treated as a “black man”.

I personally think it’s more wonderful that Barak Obama is biracial.  Biracial people have a rough time of it beyond the scope of the typical African-American, because they tend not to be accepted by any people.  The white people don’t accept them because of the color of their skin, and the black people don’t accept them because they are “not black enough.”  That is, of course, until they become president of the United States.  Or a super star golf player.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying any of this in a disgruntled way at all.  I’m a realist by nature and I just see things as they are, no judgment attached.  Barak Obama becomes even more of a role model for my boys because he is biracial.  He is a role model to all people of color, in my opinion, not just African-Americans.  And certainly I believe Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, original message that people of color be judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin won out in this election year.  I think most people voted based on character and political agenda, not race or color.  America truly has grown up.

4 responses to “A President of Color

  1. I appreciate your thoughts on this post. It has been an interesting election and I’ve had thoughts on the “race issue”, which wasn’t an issue to me. When it would come up, as it always did, I would wonder why Obama was never spoken of as “half white”!

    He will be a role model for many, I believe. And I had a good chuckle when I saw what your boys did, how they finally connected!

  2. hummm…I mis-spelled my own name. That’s kind of scary!

  3. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. My father is of Mexican descent, my mother’s family harks back to German, Holland, and France. I LOOK like my father’s side, so I get classified as “Mexican-American”. I married a man of Scotch-Irish ancestry and all of our children are fair skinned, so they are classified as Caucasian, despite their Mexican heritage.

    It is still so much about the color of our skin.

    Thanks for sharing your take on this!!

  4. It’s kind of strange that a couple times when I’ve said Obama is biracial the response is a blank stare followed by “he’s black.” Well, yeah, his skin is brown, but not all people with brown skin are a single race (nor are all people with peach skin a single race either).

    It’s really amazing in a wonderful way to me that a biracial man could become president. I had a friend when I was around 12 or so who had a black mother and a white father. Her parents were gorgeous, she was gorgeous. But people only saw the skin color and how “horrible” it was that her parents were different colors. This isn’t the deep south. This is just outside of Washington DC! And in the 1990s! But they were talked about quite negatively. It always seemed strange to me that people would be upset that my friend was biracial, but they were. Very sad. I hope maybe some of those changes with a man of color as president.