Sunday, February 18, 2007

Obama Wouldn't Be First Black President

I am a Barack Obama supporter - have been since I first met him and his dynamic wife Michelle at a fundraising dinner during his run for his Illinois Senate seat. He is a man that immediately pulls you into his circle and makes you feel as if he's known you forever WHILE at the same time being just unattainable enough to let you know that he knows he's a star in the making. He smiled and nodded in an open invitation to get on the Obama band wagon or get left behind.

Disclaimer: I by no means thought that I was special; that all of his graciousness was reserved just for me. My Daddy was a politician. So I know that Barack comes by it honestly. It's in the political blood, that easy charm that sends voters to the polls in throngs. Some are better at it than others say for instance Bill Clinton - it's the ability to charm a nation.

That first meeting was in 2004 and since then I have interviewed Barack countless times and hosted more lunches and teas with Michelle than I care to admit but it has only served to reinforce what I knew from the very beginning - that Barack and Michelle Obama have the first solid chance of being America's first African American First Family.

Or am I wrong about that?

Aysha Hussain certainly presents some very interesting arguments in an article that has been circulating furiously across the Internet superhighway for the past few days.

I am submitting it because if nothing else ... it certainly provides food for thought.

© DiversityInc 2007 ® All rights reserved. No article on this site can be reproduced by any means, print, electronic or any other, without prior written permission of the publisher.

You've seen the headlines: "Are Americans Ready for a Black President?" "Is Obama Black Enough?" "Obama: America's First Black President?"

Ever since the nation first met Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in 2004, his race has been called into question more times than Michael Jackson's. Obama is clearly a black man, but is this really a breakthrough? Some blacks say Obama isn't "black enough," which seems ironic because for many blacks, former President Bill Clinton was "black enough." In 2001, Clinton was honored as the nation's "first black president" at the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Were there other "black" presidents? Some historians have reason to believe people don't really understand the genealogy of past U.S. Presidents. Research shows at least five U.S. presidents had black ancestors and Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president, was considered the first black president, according to historian Leroy Vaughn, author of Black People and Their Place in World History.

Vaughn's research shows Jefferson was not the only former black U.S. president. Who were the others? Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. But why was this unknown? How were they elected president? All five of these presidents never acknowledged their black ancestry.

Jefferson, who served two terms between 1801 and 1809, was described as the "son of a half-breed Indian squaw and a Virginia mulatto father," as stated in Vaughn's findings. Jefferson also was said to have destroyed all documentation attached to his mother, even going to extremes to seize letters written by his mother to other people.

President Andrew Jackson, the nation's seventh president, was in office between 1829 and 1837. Vaughn cites an article written in The Virginia Magazine of History that Jackson was the son of an Irish woman who married a black man. The magazine also stated that Jackson's oldest brother had been sold as a slave.

Lincoln, the nation's 16th president, served between 1861 and 1865. Lincoln was said to have been the illegitimate son of an African man, according to Leroy's findings. Lincoln had very dark skin and coarse hair and his mother allegedly came from an Ethiopian tribe. His heritage fueled so much controversy that Lincoln was nicknamed "Abraham Africanus the First" by his opponents.

President Warren Harding, the 29th president, in office between 1921 and 1923, apparently never denied his ancestry. According to Vaughn, William Chancellor, a professor of economics and politics at Wooster College in Ohio, wrote a book on the Harding family genealogy. Evidently, Harding had black ancestors between both sets of parents. Chancellor also said that Harding attended Iberia College, a school founded to educate fugitive slaves.

Coolidge, the nation's 30th president, served between 1923 and 1929 and supposedly was proud of his heritage. He claimed his mother was dark because of mixed Indian ancestry. Coolidge's mother's maiden name was "Moor" and in Europe the name "Moor" was given to all blacks just as "Negro" was used in America. It later was concluded that Coolidge was part black.

The only difference between Obama and these former presidents is that none of their family histories were fully acknowledged by others. Even though Obama is half-white, he strongly resembles his Kenyan father. And not only is Obama open about his ancestry, most people acknowledge him as a black man, which is why people will identify Obama, if elected, as the first black president of the United States.


Thoughts anyone?

5 comments:

  1. Hey, Nikki!

    I don't believe that folks don't have more important things to dialogue about than this! Would we vote for Obama because he's black or would we vote for him because he's the best candidate for Presidential Office! As per his race, hasn't it always been said that if you have one ounce of black blood running through your veins, that you are black! End of story! Obama is a black man! And, just what is "black enough?" Are we talking about Leroy up the street kind of black or the kind of black that is represented in Chris Rock's comedy? If this is the case, then this brings me back to my initial question, "Would we vote for Obama because he's black or would we vote for him because he's the best candidate for Presidential Office! In closing, I would like to say that I admire both Obama and his family, but, as he kicks up his campaign for the oval office, he's got to bring it just like the rest of candidates! Provide me with your platform and give me a description on where you stand on the issues! In this instance, I am blind so that I am unable to see the color of your skin but I can hear damn well! Talk to me baby and earn my vote! I'm voting for the "right" candidate and not just the "black" candidate! Hell, if that's the case, then I am a contender! I might consider throwing my hat into the ring!

    Sincerely,

    Michele

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  2. P.S.: I almost forgot to add! Clinton, might have been everybody's boy, kool moe dee, but, he is NOT a black man! He may have appealed to a greater number of us, but, at the end of the day, he is a white man with a white wife living the white american dream. Michael Jackson is a black man with many, many issues! No discussion necessary on the ethnicity of either men! Thus, yes, Obama would be AMERICA'S OFFICIAL FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT, if elected in the upcoming presidential race! However, there are a lot of white folks out there who don't want to see this happen because why, there is no question nor is there a discussion about the fact that he is NOT a white man and that he is indeed a black man! So then why is this, and not the issues and the plight of our country and the American people, a topic of discussion amongst us? Hmmmmm!

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  3. Anonymous10:12 AM

    I'm not sure if the United States will ever really be ready for a black president. We can't wait until America is ready.They weren't ready for civil rights but we made it happen anyway.

    I think Obama would make a good president.It should be easy.After Bush anyone would be an improvement.

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  4. Great post! Yes, I've heard about the past presidents and their negro ancestry. I wouldn't be surprised. :)
    As for Obama, he is definitely a brother. I can't relate to or understand those who would think otherwise?? I'm all the way for Obama!!!! Yea, Obama!!

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  5. This is interesting. And I was turning this over in my head before I read your post.

    Honestly, I don't think this country is ready for a Black president and I don't think Barack will win. Now, I'm not being pessimistic; more like realistic. I'm all for Barack. I think he's an incredible man. I read his first book, "Dreams from my father" and I plan to read his second, "The audacity of hope". There are a few reasons, other than his race, why I think he wouldn't be elected.

    Most of the presidents who are elected come straight from the office of Governor of a state or have served as Vice President. Bush Sr. was Vice President. Bush Jr. was governor of Texas. Clinton was governor of Arkansas. Obama is a US senator, still in his first 6-year term. I think his lack of experience and seniority will come into play and I'm sure that's already being talked about.

    He's up against Hilary Clinton (and others) for the Democratic ticket. This is interesting, because they are two minorities- one is a woman and one is Black. I think Hilary would have a better chance at running on the Democratic ticket because she's served in the US senate longer, she's white and she's been the first lady when Clinton was in office.

    Having studied politics and government, these are the things we're taught to examine and consider. Now, if we didn't live in such a racist/sexist society, I think Obama would definitely win!! I love Obama and I would love to see him as president of this country. It would be a wonderful change.

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