February 22, 2016

This lovely woman's reaction to being in the White House, as she says, between a Black President and his Black wife, reminded me of what the late, great Steve Gilliard said about Obama back in 2004, in response to Obama's Democratic convention speech:

I am rarely impressed by the poise and grace of a politician, because that IS their job. But Obama seems like a winner, such a winner that the Illinois GOP seems afraid of him. Is there no State Rep or Senator willing to risk a run? Scary. And if he has the presence of mind on the campaign trail he did tonight, well, that man is going places.

...Obama is a man who had to find his black identity in the most unlikely and among coolest towards blacks places in America, Hawaii. His mother was white, his father Kenyan, his stepfather Indonesian. Yes, America makes anyone who is even partially black, black, but he seems to have found a black American identity some biracial people never grow completely comfortable with. He grew up literally outside of the black community.

...Mr. Obama had to make a conscious decision about who he would be. Which is no small deal, and it had to influence him at Harvard, which has a solid tradition of black scholarship (it was the one Ivy which readily accepted blacks as far back as the 19th Century).

Why does this matter?

Because his acceptance of being an American black is not small, not a minor detail. It isn't his heritage, it isn't how he grew up. He had to decide to accept it, and take no small abuse for not being like other blacks. He didn't have family in the South or eat their food, or learned their stories. He had to decide to do that. It's not like he could have said he was white, but he certainly didn't have to become a civil rights attorney in the most racially divided of America's large cities, Chicago. His wife is black, as well. Which means he was comfortable in his skin in a way some people, biracial or not, are never.

...[T]his is a guy who doesn't seem to take the easy way out of things, and that is a good sign in a person and a politician.

Happy Black History Month.

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