Is Obama a black man?

Is Obama a black man?

The Independent: You Buy the Truth, We Pay the Price
Kololo, Kampala, Uganda

Andrew M. Mwenda, Founder and Owner

How he has accepted the categorisation imposed upon him by a racial system that subjugated black people

US President Barak Obama calls himself a black man. Indeed, America and the rest of the world refer to him as a black man. Yet we all know he is actually a person of mixed ancestry. His father was a black man from Kenya, his mother a white woman from Kansas. If Obama had been born in Uganda, he would be called a “mucotera”, in apartheid South Africa, a “colored”, in Brazil, a “mulatto” and in mainstream English, a “half caste”. This teaches us that racial categories are not biological but social constructions.

Some would think Obama sees himself as a black person because of our patrilineal cultures where a child takes after their father’s identity. That is not the case in America. Even if Obama’s mother had been black and his father white, he would have been seen and treated by American society as a black man. This would also lead him to see himself as a black man. The categorisation of anyone with black blood, whatever the percentage, as a black person is a very American thing rooted in that nation’s slave history and the politics around it.

Slavery in America was based on race. To justify keeping a certain group of people in perpetual bondage, white supremacists developed ideologies that dehumanised black people. Blacks were referred to as sub human, or as animals in the category of monkeys and chimpanzees. This justified white people owning black people as private property – just the way one owns a horse, a cow or goat. Interracial sexual liaisons threatened to upset this social order because they showed that black people were as human as white people and therefore capable of loving and siring children with whites…

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