Obama's Heritage Explored

The Obama Effect

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On The African American Experience

Aside from the hurt and bitter feelings of some die-hard Mitt Romney supporters and the white-hot anger of the Anti-Obama people, electing President Obama for a second term created history again for the American people.

During Black History Month from 2008 forward, it can be said that a man of African heritage ruled the most powerful nation in the world for eight years! He ruled a nation where less than 200 years previously his African heritage would have pegged him a slave. Just 40 years shy of the Civil Rights Movement did a minority take office!

It does not matter that President Obama is a Democrat or that he is bi-racial. Because there is a shred of African in him, he is considered African American according to American racial tradition. He was born in America, no matter what the people say opposite about that. He lived his life mostly as an African American and will be listed in the annals of time as African American President! During the first election, however, it was not so.

What the president did for Americans is to introduce the notion that race should not matter.

Black By Default

Over the course of the years President Obama served the country, the attitudes of many African Americans changed towards him.

Apparently the fact that his father is not American and actually from an African nation means that Barack Obama, the president, has no African American stock in his genes.

He is first generation and his ancestors did not share in the humiliation of the African American historical struggle OUTSIDE of the Civil Rights Movement.

No matter how the dial is twisted, the president is of African descent and can call himself African American or Black, but he cannot claim the struggle that generational groups of African Americans claim.

The president knows his ancestral roots and has a connection to his heritage if he so desires. He has a brother residing overseas to connect to his father’s homeland. President Obama’s connection to true African American heritage is through his wife Michelle who is actually a generational American of African descent.

What the president did for Americans is to introduce the notion that race should not matter. It seems that African Americans are so psychologically distressed culturally as a group that they will African-Americanize any and every person with African bloodlines—whether from slavery ancestrally or Africa itself!

Tiger Woods

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It is no surprise that so many shades of African Americans exist with so many hair textures. Bi-racial and multi-racial people who have African ancestry are not allowed to express their unique heritage without ridicule. Even if, say, Tiger Woods says he is not African American, that group will claim him by default.

In 1997, Tiger woods attempted to except himself from the African American community at large and define himself. Silly man!

People are not allowed to define themselves in American society! Regardless of what he decided to call his ethnic and racial disposition, most of the world labels him Black.

President Obama slyly avoided racial remarks about his origin--the thing that Tiger woods should have done on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997.

When asked by Oprah did having the label of "African American" thrown at him bother him he admitted, “It does...I'm just who I am, whoever you see in front of you.”

"I'm just who I am, whoever you see in front of you."

The issue with Tiger Woods statement is that he did not leave it at that. He proceeds to describe what he IS when what people SEE in front of them is a light-complexioned Black man.

President Obama did what Mr. Woods should have done. He let people describe what they saw and did not pander to any direction. People saw, eventually, an African American president; no, an American president with African American ethnicity and racial social classification.

Black People Claim Everybody

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Why all this grabby behavior by this Group of Americans?

The simple answer is the past is not a proud one for this group. Millions of people were purchased by Europeans and taken to the American continent against their wills.

In The Truth about Being Black in America can be found a perspective on the psychological implication of this past of servitude. In it is a term coined for the article called Collective Social Regard or CSR. CSR can be applied to any group but fits specifically well with African Americans because of their unique, singular and peculiar history.

Since the past is such a negative matter for this group of Americans, it claims as much of the present and future that it can to fill the void of cultural heritage.

In America, some of these citizens go so far as to try to create alternate cultural heritages to differ extremely from the majority, Caucasians. The irony about diverging in such a way is that the new cultures are based on European values and not those of the mysterious Africans forced to immigrate.

African Americans are a uniquely American group through and through. This group has a heritage that even the Native Americans cannot equal because their ancestors migrated here by land and sea—by choice!

No other group was forced as an entire race of thousands of ethnicities to relocate, as were African Americans with the additional suppression of their culture and language. Few other groups or races. if any other. in American history survived cultural genocide committed against them, as the African American.

The election of President Obama for two terms proves that racial barriers can be overcome by minorities grounded in his or her history and comfortable with his or her heritage as is President Obama. Culturally, he and his family are similar enough to the majority to appeal to its humanity.

In addition, as a bi-racial man in a European culture, President Obama had to bear his burden of ridicule from both Black people and White people. He had to decide with which group he identified most and hopefully be accepted into that group. He struggled with identity issues and found that he identified with African Americans. His struggle was real and personal though his heritage was not of slave stock.

Will the son (or daughter) of a slave ever be president of these United States? Will a person who has ancestral stories of sharecropping after the Emancipating Proclamation was put forth by the Great and Honorable President Abraham Lincoln gain such lofty heights? Does it matter if that ever happens because a minority won the race? The answer to those questions depends on the perspective from which the reader views these words.

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When Americans voted, they voted for a president of the United States of America.

Americans did not vote for a Black president. Barack Obama did not run as a Black candidate. In meetings of some African Americans around the nation, certain expressions can be heard that are acrid describing the president calling him the head N**ger in charge.

Statements by comedians who say, “You know how WE do,” implying that there is some difference in the methods of enjoyment, style, life or integrity of Blacks as opposed to other races and ethnicities.

There well may be many cultural differences. Those differences are not a conviction that the “WE” are honorable and praiseworthy people.

President Obama means so much to African Americans because he represents something good and positive like unto Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Conclusion

The president will always be to African Americans the face of finally freedom in America. Maybe one day, some minority woman of Mexican ancestry will rise to popularity and represent the Latinos. Will the Latinos accept this person if he or she is born in the US Puerto Rico, with one parent from Spain and the other parent with Mexican heritage? For now, the spotlight is on the Obama.

© 2012 Rodric Johnson

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Comments 16 comments

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Good essay You make some interesting and noteworthy points. Hope your week is going well. Sharing.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Your opening paragraph was enough for me to stop reading this hub.

Over the course of the last four years Obama failed to meet or even come close to his 2008 election promises.

He spent this entire year pandering for votes. He went back and forth across the country shirking his duties as president to go for his personal goal of reelection. Numerous campaign trips, over 200 fund raisers, and over 100 games of golf.

If you want to give your allegiance to Obama simply because he is black, then I can understand it. But you certainly can't give Obama credit for his presidency. My opinion is based on what he did, or actually did instead of doing his job. This opinion would be the same no matter what his color or race because it goes to his results or lack thereof.

I don't understand why the majority of voters went for reelecting him. I am sure a lot of them were in the bulk of the people getting benefits from the government, and they were afraid the ride would be over if a republican became president.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment--and sharing. I appreciate the support phdasdt7.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

I appreciate the the comment, but it is misplaced. Apparently ib radmaster, along to a few other people that are reading my articles, I am not being very clear in my presentation.

I made a statement that the election of the President is historical. I suggest you actually read the article past the first paragraph and pay close attention to my use of words.

Your comment to me means that you assumed something I did not intend based on your on prejudices against the democratic party. My allegiance to the president is because he is the president.

I never mentioned race or myself in the article at all. this article is not even about Obama, but his mark on African American culture. Read it ib radmasters and give it a chance, a full chance.


Josak profile image

Josak 3 years ago from variable

I enjoyed the hub, it's great to see this from a different perspective. Voted up etc.


big daddy oreo 2 years ago

Black skin would make me stronger.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Still a very good essay. I liked it then and I like it now. Interesting and well-written. I hope all is well with you. Sharing.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

Excellent article on Obama as the first African-American president. You really looked at this from all viewpoints and some I hadn't thought about or realized. I just voted for a president. I didn't consider skin color although of course I noted he was African-American, in my choice of president. Will we ever be color free in this country? It may take another several generations.


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 2 years ago from India

Rodric, Mr Obama becoming the President of USA is a great turning point in history and it is not only an acknowledgement of the real potential of a very vibrant and resolute race but is also an indication of a radical change in the mindset of people. It is a great victory of true human values over sectarian attitude. I loved reading your beautiful article. Voted up.


peoplepower73 profile image

peoplepower73 2 years ago from Placentia California

This is a great article. Any time one race or culture devalues the lives of others, it is a very dangerous proposition. Because of the slave trade, African's were uprooted from their culture and dehumanized by their owners for centuries. They were then set free by President Lincoln and told "All men are created equal," However, they did not have equal rights until 1960 when President Johnson passed the Civil Right's Act. It is evident there is still a lot of prejudice that exists, but it is manifested by Dog Whistle language which are coded words, such as "I want my country back, Welfare Queen, and Lead from Behind." These are all coded words meaning to say: get the black man and his family out of the White House! I look forward to more of your hubs...voting up and all the other ranks except funny.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

I enjoyed your very good hub and voted it UP++.

This is in response to the comment by Harishprasad - I wish your beautiful thoughts about a 'radical change in the mindset of people' in the USA was an actual fact. I've been wishing for this since I was a girl, and I'm now 71 years old, yet it has not truly happened. Racism went underground here for many years, but with President Obama in the White House and far right Republicans doing their best to agitate racism, it's now overt in many places all over this country, and not just in the southern states.

With our Independence Day holiday coming up in three days, to tell you the truth, I feel no celebratory spirit about the United States of America. In fact, I feel terribly disillusioned. There is nothing 'united' about our country--only virulantly partisan. We've been moving in reverse, toward old ways and the wishes of only one set of people, not moving forward in a progressive way. If our country continues in this manner (and our Congress seems deadset on NOT doing anything to improve conditions), the USA will eventually (and possibly sooner rather than later) lose its place among the top powers of the world. I ask, when America becomes a 'has-been' country, will those who caused that state of affairs be pleased with themselves? Do they want to leave such a terrible legacy to their children and grandchildren?

By the way, one of your negative commenters, ib radmasters, has been BANNED from HubPages, so if you'd like to remove his hateful comment, feel free to do so.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

phdast7, thanks for reading again and commenting again. I appreciate your accolades. With your praise came other readers I am going to assume. I definitely appreciate that.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

suzettenaples, I appreciate your comment. I did not vote for the president but I definitely support him. I felt a resonance inside of me when it was announced that Obama won. I tried to be impartial and vote for the political views and I did. But, I could not help but be proud to have a face in the White House that was similar to mine.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Harishprasad, thanks for you comment and reading my article. I agree with you about the potential of the Black race and all races! We are all the American people and have the potentioal for great things--people of the world. I don't want to limit it to just the USA.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

peoplepower73, thanks for commenting. It is hard to be equal when so many Blacks have an unequal view of themselves. I think it will take a few more generations before Blacks will mentally stand as equal citizens with Whites in America.


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks for reading JayeWisdom my fellow hubber from the Deep South though I live in Phoenix, AZ now. I am from Nashville, GA. Anyway thanks for voting up and commenting.

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