Shedding light on Obama’s choice of identity

As never before, race and gender are playing into the politics of presidential elections. With the Republicans floundering to decide among a slate of undesirable candidates, the Democrats appear almost assured of winning the White House with either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as our new president. Either’s election would be historic.

Lately, I have been wondering how it is that Obama, the son of an Kenyan father and a white American mother, decided to identify himself as African American. What are the issues he had to weigh in making that choice? NPR’s Day to Day news program yesterday asked that question in a piece that discusses the reasoning Obama probably used in calling himself African American rather than biracial. Turns out for Obama to identify as biracial would likely cause more division and confusion among voters than declaring himself to be African American.

In a better world, Obama’s race and Clinton’s gender would not be factors in this campaign, although they clearly are. We haven’t reached a place in our nation’s development of being well past our historic prejudices against women, African Americans and other minorities. Even so, the election of either Obama or Clinton would be a sure sign of progress.

January 10th, 2008
Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »


  1. I recently received an unsolicited email from my ex-husband’s aunt last week. She thought my email was his email. It was an email that come from Wisconsin, part of America’s heartland. It discussed the many reasons to distrust Mr. Obama and highlighted the fact that he will not salute the American flag. It detailed his upbringing as a Muslim, a fact they claim he now hides. Though it did not cross over the line into hate mongering, it did ask you to distrust the words of this candidate and ask that you scrutinize his real goals and aims for the White House position. I also have to say, living in Oregon (The Left Coast), it was a little shocking to read something like this, though I am sure there are many circulating on the weaknesses and dangers of electing each of the candidates. Though I never planned on voting for the man, I just wondered if Aunt Jeanie knew how odd it felt for a good Democrat like me to receive this type of mail. It does tell you how fervently beliefs are held and how electronic internet media, some say, will hold a large sway over this election.

    Comment by Debra — January 13, 2008 @ 9:06 pm

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