As you may have heard, Barack Obama is biracial. He did not identify as biracial when filling out the Census. For some people of mixed race, this was a disappointment. Below is an article from the Washington Post’s Elizabeth Chang
I have always considered Barack Obama to be biracial, and I had hoped that his election would help our country move beyond the tired concept of race. Unfortunately, the president is not getting with my program.
Although I knew Obama self-identifies as African American, I was disappointed when I read that that’s what he checked on his census form. The federal government, finally heeding the desires of multiracial people to be able to accurately define themselves, had changed the rules in 2000, so he could have also checked white. Or he could have checked “some other race.” Instead, Obama went with black alone.
Despite being raised by a white mother and white grandparents, despite have spent most of his childhood in the rainbow state of Hawaii, despite clearly being comfortable in almost any type of crowd (though I suppose Tea Partyers might give him pause), the president apparently considers himself only black. “I self-identify as an African American. That’s how I am treated and that’s how I am viewed. And I’m proud of it,” he has said. But he also argued in his famous speech about race that he could no more disown the Reverend Jeremiah Wright “than I can my white grandmother.” With his census choice, he has done precisely that.
I am the mother of biracial children (Asian/Caucasian) and believe that multiracial people need to be accepted and acknowledged — even celebrated. The president’s choice disappoints me, and it seems somewhat disingenuous. Obama, who has also referred to himself as a “mutt,” made a big deal during the 2008 campaign of being able to relate to Hawaiians and Midwesterners, Harvard grads and salespeople, blacks, whites, Latinos, whatever — precisely because of his “unconventional” background and multicultural exposure. On the census, however, he has effectively said that when it counts, he is black.