Obama's Heritage Explored
The Obama Effect
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!
- Asked to Declare His Race, Obama Checks ‘Black’
A White House spokesman confirmed that Mr. Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, checked African-American on the 2010 census questionnaire.
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
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.
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.
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.
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Now Daniel can rest in peace. Now it is time to let the matter rest. Now is the time to have the proper grieving. Now we can truly say good-bye to a community member whom we came to know because his life ended, Daniel.
© 2012 Rodric Johnson
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