Beyond black and white

The Hawaiian president
Since the November presidential election, friends, colleagues and casual acquaintances throughout the United States and across the world have written me and claimed Barack Obama as the son of their state, race, country or region. Of course, countless black Americans have celebrated the fact that “in our life time, one of us is in the White House.”

How is it possible that Hawaii claims Obama as its own; Indonesia and parts of Asia perceive him as reflective of their experiences; Kenya cries in ecstasy to have a blood relative on 1600 Penn sylvania Avenue; all of Africa embraces him as a close kin of that continent; Kansans believe his roots sink deep within their soil; and black Americans, without much critical self-reflection, relish the idea that the 44th president is black like them?


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