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Why does Barack Obama think he's black?

An article at Carolina Journal suggests Barack Obama could've offered more racial healing to the U.S. if he'd identified as bi-racial instead of black:
Much of the Left imposes racial conformity — especially on those it considers its own. You need solid attachment to a demographic group, and not consider yourself different, an individual or, perhaps even worse, part of America’s old-fashioned melting pot. To lead that group there are expectations about what you should think, the language you should use, and how you should characterize others. It’s hardly the stuff of national unity.

Oh how I hate this piece. For a very simple reason.

It decries "the left's" tendency to force people to attach themselves to an ethnic group, rather than America,without mentioning or grappling with the historic reality and cultural (nevermind legal) power of the "one-drop rule."

Obama's decision to present himself as anything but a black man probably wasn't, for much and I'd say most of his life, a decision that really was his to make. Many Americans would've seen him as "black" no matter how complicated the reality of his genetics and upbringing.

Is this still salient? Yes:
The centuries-old “one-drop rule” assigning minority status to mixed-race individuals appears to live on in our modern-day perception and categorization of people like Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, and Halle Berry. 
So say Harvard University psychologists, who’ve found that we still tend to see biracials not as equal members of both parent groups, but as belonging more to their minority parent group. The research appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

People forget how recent the worst of our history was. Obama was born before the Civil Rights Act was passed. He was born before the Voting Rights Act was passed. He was born well before Loving v. Virginia was decided. And as the Harvard piece mentions, it was as recently as 1985 "when a Louisiana court ruled that a woman with a black great-great-great-great-grandmother could not identify herself as “white” on her passport."

And, not to throw anybody under the bus: I was told growing up — by people who encouraged me to see Martin Luther King Jr. as a hero — that marrying a black woman would be wrong. Because to make biracial babies would be a disservice to those children.

The past is never dead. It's not even the past.

Our societal effort to celebrate biracial children — to acknowledge the fullness of their histories instead of stamping them with the "minority" label — is both welcome and a relatively new thing. It still gets pushback. I don't know how widespread it really is.

Given that, and given all the history, it's not really remarkable that Obama thinks of himself as black. It's also true that he's never, ever hidden his white ancestry — in fact, has spoken of it prominently and proudly but also sometimes too honestly for white critics to forgive. 

So Obama thinks of himself as black? Sure. Most Americans would've thought of him that way, too, even if he'd self-conciously tried to identify otherwise. To pin any blame for America's racial problems on a decision that was compelled by America's racial culture is ... silly.
 

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