So, what color IS Obama?

I'm white and I'm not sure why white people don't accept him as "our own." I think it's based off of tradition (and it's racist implications)...I'm not saying white people are being racist per se, but that the tradition is racist. It's tradition to label someone as black if they are only partially black...meaning, even if their great-great-grandfather was black and everyone else was white. I'm not sure why it isn't used in some of the other races (unless it's a slave issue, from way back when). I am 3/16th Native American (my mother 3/8...actually, there's some on my father's side too, but not sure how much, so I'm probably more like a 1/4th Native American, but don't quote me on that) and yet I'm still considered white, not Native American. I look white but not all my family looks white. Should we be considered a different ethnic group?

My husband is Italian/Middle Eastern. He definitely has some Italian features, but there are many family members who have more the Middle Eastern Jordanian features. Is his family "white?" They say they are. LOL

The only thing that seems to explain it to me is "tradition." When black people were slaves, many white people didn't see them as human (I guess that's how they can justify buying them and beating them). Perhaps "tradition" has it that you want to prove yourself to be "pure" and therefore the ones that aren't "pure" will automatically be labeled as such.
I don't think the average person thinks like that, but I think we've inherited that way of categorizing the different races...if that makes sense.
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Originally Posted by rainshower
he looks black too according to american standards. the only person with black/african heritage that gets embraced by whites are the ones that don't look black at all; wentworth miller or mariah carey.
Originally Posted by frau
He looks Black to me, too. (And fi-i-ine!)

I don't think that being embraced by whites should be the standard for who is or is not Black or how people should see themselves.
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Originally Posted by rainshower
he looks black too according to american standards. the only person with black/african heritage that gets embraced by whites are the ones that don't look black at all; wentworth miller or mariah carey.
Originally Posted by frau
i didn't say the guy above doesn't look like he's part black. hell, he could get away with looking like an ordinary fair-skinned black person.

what i said was that if obama looked more like this man (whose picture came up from a biracial black/white search), he might have more white americans identifying with his white heritage (and again, this is conjecture). i don't think that a black person has to look like she/he can pass in order to get whites to identify with his/her white heritage. but i know that skin tone and features would play a major role in it. you could be biracial all day long, but if you ended up looking like baby face, tatyana ali, or jada p. smith, i doubt many whites would acknowledge your white side and identify with you as such. and i'm not suggesting that any of those celebs have whites in their immediate heritage. i don't know anything about their parents or family. i was using their skin tone and features to make a point.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
Originally Posted by rainshower
he looks black too according to american standards. the only person with black/african heritage that gets embraced by whites are the ones that don't look black at all; wentworth miller or mariah carey.
Originally Posted by frau
i didn't say the guy above doesn't look like he's part black. hell, he could get away with looking like an ordinary fair-skinned black person.

what i said was that if obama looked more like this man (whose picture came up from a biracial black/white search), he might have more white americans identifying with his white heritage (and again, this is conjecture). i don't think that a black person has to look like she/he can pass in order to get whites to identify with his/her white heritage. but i know that skin tone and features would play a major role in it. you could be biracial all day long, but if you ended up looking like baby face, tatyana ali, or jada p. smith, i doubt many whites would acknowledge your white side and identify with you as such. and i'm not suggesting that any of those celebs have whites in their immediate heritage. i don't know anything about their parents or family. i was using their skin tone and features to make a point.
Originally Posted by rainshower
In my experience of looking how I look, I have rarely to never experienced that.
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he looks black too according to american standards. the only person with black/african heritage that gets embraced by whites are the ones that don't look black at all; wentworth miller or mariah carey.
Originally Posted by frau
i didn't say the guy above doesn't look like he's part black. hell, he could get away with looking like an ordinary fair-skinned black person.

what i said was that if obama looked more like this man (whose picture came up from a biracial black/white search), he might have more white americans identifying with his white heritage (and again, this is conjecture). i don't think that a black person has to look like she/he can pass in order to get whites to identify with his/her white heritage. but i know that skin tone and features would play a major role in it. you could be biracial all day long, but if you ended up looking like baby face, tatyana ali, or jada p. smith, i doubt many whites would acknowledge your white side and identify with you as such. and i'm not suggesting that any of those celebs have whites in their immediate heritage. i don't know anything about their parents or family. i was using their skin tone and features to make a point.
Originally Posted by rainshower
In my experience of looking how I look, I have rarely to never experienced that.
Originally Posted by Amneris
do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that you don't look remotely european at face value anymore than obama does? at least not to me.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
i hear what youre saying rainshower. and even though im not biracial ive had similar experiences. ive had whites identify with what they percieve as my white hertiage and even distance me from black hertiage.

i often wonder if obama had more european features and looked white would people feel duped once they found out he was biracial...
I'm not sure why it isn't used in some of the other races (unless it's a slave issue, from way back when). I am 3/16th Native American (my mother 3/8...actually, there's some on my father's side too, but not sure how much, so I'm probably more like a 1/4th Native American, but don't quote me on that) and yet I'm still considered white, not Native American. I look white but not all my family looks white. Should we be considered a different ethnic group?
Originally Posted by Boomygrrl
That's me too, there is Native American in all parts of my family, both sides and while we don't "look" like most Native Americans we tend to be a little darker complected than most "white" people. I wonder why that logic towards African American's isn't applied to every ethnicity? Honestly anymore really noone's race or ethnicity is cut and dry these days. I'm just waiting for the day we can all look at each other as just people and not worry about who their ancestors were and where they did or didn't come from.

Last edited by Amandacurls; 09-18-2008 at 01:59 PM. Reason: clarity

i didn't say the guy above doesn't look like he's part black. hell, he could get away with looking like an ordinary fair-skinned black person.

what i said was that if obama looked more like this man (whose picture came up from a biracial black/white search), he might have more white americans identifying with his white heritage (and again, this is conjecture). i don't think that a black person has to look like she/he can pass in order to get whites to identify with his/her white heritage. but i know that skin tone and features would play a major role in it. you could be biracial all day long, but if you ended up looking like baby face, tatyana ali, or jada p. smith, i doubt many whites would acknowledge your white side and identify with you as such. and i'm not suggesting that any of those celebs have whites in their immediate heritage. i don't know anything about their parents or family. i was using their skin tone and features to make a point.
Originally Posted by rainshower
In my experience of looking how I look, I have rarely to never experienced that.
Originally Posted by Amneris
do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that you don't look remotely european at face value anymore than obama does? at least not to me.
Originally Posted by rainshower

But the guy in the pic doesn't look remotely European to me either, just light-skinned, as I am, so I'm confused.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











i didn't say the guy above doesn't look like he's part black. hell, he could get away with looking like an ordinary fair-skinned black person.

what i said was that if obama looked more like this man (whose picture came up from a biracial black/white search), he might have more white americans identifying with his white heritage (and again, this is conjecture).
Originally Posted by rainshower
and i'm saying that he looks too black for whites to ever identify with him or even accept him.
imo, whites won't accept anyone that looks black at all.
i'm not saying that a person should define themselves based on how others perceive them, the question is about obama and what color he is.
he says he's biracial and i'm saying that he could say he's biracial till the end of time, white folks see him as black and make a mental note that his mother is white.
wentworth miller is considered white and people make a mental note that one of his parents is black.
I'm white and I'm not sure why white people don't accept him as "our own." I think it's based off of tradition (and it's racist implications)...I'm not saying white people are being racist per se, but that the tradition is racist. It's tradition to label someone as black if they are only partially black...meaning, even if their great-great-grandfather was black and everyone else was white. I'm not sure why it isn't used in some of the other races (unless it's a slave issue, from way back when). I am 3/16th Native American (my mother 3/8...actually, there's some on my father's side too, but not sure how much, so I'm probably more like a 1/4th Native American, but don't quote me on that) and yet I'm still considered white, not Native American. I look white but not all my family looks white. Should we be considered a different ethnic group?

My husband is Italian/Middle Eastern. He definitely has some Italian features, but there are many family members who have more the Middle Eastern Jordanian features. Is his family "white?" They say they are. LOL

The only thing that seems to explain it to me is "tradition." When black people were slaves, many white people didn't see them as human (I guess that's how they can justify buying them and beating them). Perhaps "tradition" has it that you want to prove yourself to be "pure" and therefore the ones that aren't "pure" will automatically be labeled as such.
I don't think the average person thinks like that, but I think we've inherited that way of categorizing the different races...if that makes sense.
Originally Posted by Boomygrrl

middle easterners are considered "white" when it comes to the four basic race categories in america (black, white, latino/hispanic, asian). which i think is ridiculous.
Obama actually looks pretty obviously mixed to me - I can tell he has white blood. I had an ex who looked just like him who had a white Danish father and a Black Jamaican mother.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











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In my experience of looking how I look, I have rarely to never experienced that.
Originally Posted by Amneris
do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that you don't look remotely european at face value anymore than obama does? at least not to me.
Originally Posted by rainshower

But the guy in the pic doesn't look remotely European to me either, just light-skinned, as I am, so I'm confused.
Originally Posted by Amneris
to me, compared to obama, and in the context of the point i'm making, the guy in the photo would probably have a better chance of gaining a closer kinship with whites, based solely on his physical attributes. it doesn't matter if he's all black or biracial, just like it doesn't seem to matter that obama can prove that his mother was white ... most people, black and nonblack alike, just see a black man and will relate to him as though he's just black.

now, you can harp on the photo that i posted and miss my point if you'd like. i could post 15 other photos of biracial black/white men to prove my point (which i must still emphasize is conjecture); this photo that was the first one i could grab off of google images. but i know you know what i'm talking about.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb

do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that you don't look remotely european at face value anymore than obama does? at least not to me.
Originally Posted by rainshower

But the guy in the pic doesn't look remotely European to me either, just light-skinned, as I am, so I'm confused.
Originally Posted by Amneris
to me, compared to obama, and in the context of the point i'm making, the guy in the photo would probably have a better chance of gaining a closer kinship with whites, based solely on his physical attributes. it doesn't matter if he's all black or biracial, just like it doesn't seem to matter that obama can prove that his mother was white ... most people, black and nonblack alike, just see a black man and will relate to him as though he's just black.

now, you can harp on the photo that i posted and miss my point if you'd like. i could post 15 other photos of biracial black/white men to prove my point (which i must still emphasize is conjecture); this photo that was the first one i could grab off of google images. but i know you know what i'm talking about.
Originally Posted by rainshower
Actually, I'm sincerely trying to understand your point, and really not trying to argue or harp just for the sake of it, because I honestly do not think that the guy in the picture looks in any way "whiter" or "more obviously mixed" than Obama or myself, and I'm trying to understand what about the way he looks would make you think that white people relate to him more or acknowledge his white side. You said your point was conjecture, so I am just responding to it by saying that as a person who is mixed and I think looks it at least as much as that guy, I don't get the impression that most white people relate more to me than to other Blacks or recognize my white blood, so from my experience at least, I don't think your conjecture works.

I DO think that people who are mixed but truly look "white" as in, blond hair in loose curls or waves or straight, light coloured eyes, very light skin and European features, are often taken for white and accepted as white by white people, who will then say "Did you know x was BlacK?" or "x's mom/dad/grandma is Black?" But they have to be REALLY light - as someone else said, maybe like Wentworth Miller, and they also have to act in ways that people stereotype as white. I think Mariah Carey might be on the borderline of looking "white" enough, especially when her hair is straight, but because she's married to a Black guy, has put out "Black" music, talked about her background a lot etc. I think it would be harder for people to truly not see her as not white, if not Black. Wentworth has mentioned his background, but not much, and a lot of people probably don't know it so they might genuinely not realize he is Black. In those cases, I see your point, but the guy in the pic you posted had way too many African features, and too "Black" of a hairstyle, for most white people in the west to think of him as anything but Black.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











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maybe splaining it to you like this will make it clearer.

all three men below have one black parent and one white parent. you may recognize none, one, or all. they all have celebrity status, depending on your interests.

jeter, the bottom photo, is the one i would predict that whites would most identify with due to his racial make-up. the point i ever tried to make is that i suspect that in order for white americans to identify with the white side of a black-white biracial person, that person would have to have physical attributes that aren't dominantly black, not excluding fair skin. the person in question could visibly be mixed with something other than white, but the overall features would play a significant role in how welcoming that person would be in white society. that is the only point i've ever tried to make. it's not a complicated theory. maybe i didn't post the best photo earlier, but at least one other person understood what i was getting at. and again, it is only conjecture, as i've never discussed with any white person how they are affected by the white side of white/black biracial people, and certainly wouldn't generalize how most or all whites feel based on the opinion(s) of a few.


"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
and a reason why many/most white people may not accept him as being partly one of them is because, at face value, he doesn't even look biracial (at least, not to me).
Originally Posted by rainshower
Interesting. I knew immediately that he was biracial. I was actually surprised when I first heard him being referred to as black...

ETA: Maybe surprised isn't quite the right word, it was more along the lines of "huh, and I woulda thought..."
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Last edited by Gemini13; 09-19-2008 at 01:42 PM.
Obama looks human-colored to me, and I think his race may also be human.
maybe splaining it to you like this will make it clearer.

all three men below have one black parent and one white parent. you may recognize none, one, or all. they all have celebrity status, depending on your interests.

jeter, the bottom photo, is the one i would predict that whites would most identify with due to his racial make-up. the point i ever tried to make is that i suspect that in order for white americans to identify with the white side of a black-white biracial person, that person would have to have physical attributes that aren't dominantly black, not excluding fair skin. the person in question could visibly be mixed with something other than white, but the overall features would play a significant role in how welcoming that person would be in white society. that is the only point i've ever tried to make. it's not a complicated theory. maybe i didn't post the best photo earlier, but at least one other person understood what i was getting at. and again, it is only conjecture, as i've never discussed with any white person how they are affected by the white side of white/black biracial people, and certainly wouldn't generalize how most or all whites feel based on the opinion(s) of a few.


Originally Posted by rainshower
i cant see any of the pics you posted except for derek jeter (lucky me!). but my SO and i were discussing him and his ethnicity before and my SO thought he was puerto rican. i think its interesting that he didnt identify him as black, but definietly didnt identify him as being white either. which leads me to believe that the ability to be seen as white even if you have one white parent is very very exclusive and limited. im not sure if it helped or hurt your argument, but i figured it was kind of on topic!
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maybe splaining it to you like this will make it clearer.

all three men below have one black parent and one white parent. you may recognize none, one, or all. they all have celebrity status, depending on your interests.

jeter, the bottom photo, is the one i would predict that whites would most identify with due to his racial make-up. the point i ever tried to make is that i suspect that in order for white americans to identify with the white side of a black-white biracial person, that person would have to have physical attributes that aren't dominantly black, not excluding fair skin. the person in question could visibly be mixed with something other than white, but the overall features would play a significant role in how welcoming that person would be in white society. that is the only point i've ever tried to make. it's not a complicated theory. maybe i didn't post the best photo earlier, but at least one other person understood what i was getting at. and again, it is only conjecture, as i've never discussed with any white person how they are affected by the white side of white/black biracial people, and certainly wouldn't generalize how most or all whites feel based on the opinion(s) of a few.


Originally Posted by rainshower
i cant see any of the pics you posted except for derek jeter (lucky me!). but my SO and i were discussing him and his ethnicity before and my SO thought he was puerto rican. i think its interesting that he didnt identify him as black, but definietly didnt identify him as being white either. which leads me to believe that the ability to be seen as white even if you have one white parent is very very exclusive and limited. im not sure if it helped or hurt your argument, but i figured it was kind of on topic!
Originally Posted by subbrock

actually, when i first saw derek jeter, i thought he was either south american or italian (go figure!).
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
I wonder why that logic towards African American's isn't applied to every ethnicity?
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
It's because of "one drop" laws that said that if you were "one drop" Black, you were legally (and socially) Black.

Black people often think that I'm biracial Black/White. In contrast, other people consistently believe that I'm Latina, Middle Eastern, or Mediterranean--never biracial or of Black African heritage. (I get a lot of comments about my ethnicity from people who are either sure that they know what my ancestry is, or think that I look "exotic.") It's interesting to read people's thoughts on being identified by others as biracial.

I would think of the young man with the 'fro in that photo as biracial Black/White, rather than either Black or White.

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