The issue of who is African American is not as simple and straightforward as you think

by Jehu

When Elizabeth Warren claimed to be the descendant of native Americans, everyone naturally scoffed.

When Barack Obama claimed to be African American few questioned his claim despite the fact everyone knew he was not the descendant of African slaves, but a descendant of a gentleman from Kenya.

To be clear, I do not mean in any way to disparage Barack Obama’s father. Nor Barack Obama himself, beyond what he deserves based on his own history, not that of his father. I simply point out that Barack traces his lineage to Africa in a different way than I and millions of Black People do. And this is important to keep in mind.

What I do mean to point out is that it is a peculiarity of racism in America that a people, African Americans, descendants of Africans brought here in chains as slaves and forced to build this country, are always conflated with the color of their skin. They and the millions of other African immigrants, who, like Obama’s father, came to this country after slavery had long ended, have been subject to racial antipathy that attaches itself to this conflation of a people with a skin color.

Black is not a skin color. My mother was black. She could have passed for white on any street in America.

The result of this conflation is that someone like Barack Obama, who has no direct connection to the experience of African Americans, can be sourced as a reference allegedly to speak for African Americans, although his actual connection to African Americans is through his mother’s family to slave masters:

“You know, once again I find myself in the same position as President Obama, we both oppose reparations, and both are the descendants of slave holders,” McConnell said, after he was asked if a report from NBC that his relatives were slave holders changed his views about reparations.

Barack Obama is completely entitled to his opinion on reparations. He is an American and his opinion counts the same as Mitch McConnell’s.

He is not entitled to have a part in our debate as African Americans, nor is that pig, Kamala Harris.