Finally, Marie Arana, in the Washington Post, daresto say what I’ve been arguing all along: Obama is biracial. He shouldn’t be reluctant or scared to say it because America still has a problem with “race” which makes Americans unable to accept that being biracial or multiracial and identifying one as such doesn’t mean to deny one’s identity, but rather accepting all of its components by refusing to choose and by embracing the totality and the diversity of one’s heritage. To me the reluctance of Obama to say proudly that he is biracial tells me something about him that makes it very difficult to believe in him as an agent of change and to be convinced that his deeds will up to his rhetoric: his brilliance as a writer and the exceptional nature of his personal story don’t make him different from any other politician, at least not yet. Sugary excerpt:
Unless the one-drop rule still applies, our president-elect is not black.
We call him that -- he calls himself that -- because we use dated language and logic. After more than 300 years and much difficult history, we hew to the old racist rule: Part-black is all black. Fifty percent equals a hundred. There's no in-between.
That was my reaction when I read these words on the front page of this newspaper the day after the election: "Obama Makes History: U.S. Decisively Elects First Black President."
The phrase was repeated in much the same form by one media organization after another. It's as if we have one foot in the future and another still mired in the Old South. We are racially sophisticated enough to elect a non-white president, and we are so racially backward that we insist on calling him black. Progress has outpaced vocabulary.
To me, as to increasing numbers of mixed-race people, Barack Obama is not our first black president. He is our first biracial, bicultural president. He is more than the personification of African American achievement. He is a bridge between races, a living symbol of tolerance, a signal that strict racial categories must go.