Though his mother was white, Barack Obama refers to himself as a black man. This is in stark contrast to someone like Tiger Woods, who famously challenged those who wanted him to choose a label that would deny a great part of his heritage. We haven’t seen similar sentiments expressed by President Obama and that may tell us something about him.
Barack Obama actively sought out an identity within the “black community.” Other than attempts to use his white grandmother for cover and references concerning his being post racial, we have not heard Barack Obama comment much on his white heritage or the family that raised him. Instead we see President Obama speak at great length about his experiences in Chicago and with the black community. Perhaps Barack Obama was/is simply looking for somewhere to belong, but the broader impact of this journey to find a home in the black community is unknown. His apparent reluctance to discuss his white heritage may be symptomatic of an insecurity of not being considered “authentically” black, or it may represent a deep resentment. No matter the reasons, such beliefs and attitudes are cause for concern.
If Barack Obama does have conflicted feelings regarding race, it is not unreasonable to worry that his decisions as POTUS may be impacted. The reality of Barack Obama’s actions and statements concerning race make greater scrutiny of his actions, within this context, understandable. The Harvard situation, in which Barack Obama instinctively focused on racial division between police and black communities, is potentially a glimpse into how Barack Obama views the world. A view that is complicated, given that he is as much a white man as he is a black man. President Obama’s decision to identify only with the black community, which he has only known as an adult, could be construed as a rejection of his white heritage.
The rejection of the white community, in favor of the black community, invites speculation into his thought process and beliefs. Glenn Beck has taken some heat for expressing his belief that President Obama provided a glimpse of a racist attitude during the incident involving Harvard Professor ‘Skip’ Gates and Sgt. Crowley. While I may not have repeated Beck’s statements, his conclusion is not entirely unfounded.
The truth may be that Barack Obama does indeed have a problem with white Americans. If true, his issues could be rooted in historical injustices or they may be rooted in something far more personal. However, speculation concerning the potential source of such beliefs isn’t important. The real concern, regardless of the catalyst, is that Barack Obama may hold racist attitudes. There’s no smoking gun that proves President Obama is a racist, but it’s fair to say that he is not as post racial as many believe.