Obama is not the first "black" man elected president, no matter how many people think so. I'm "black," and I can tell you: "black" in this context is more than the color of my skin. It's a shared experience, a purely American experience -- if you will -- which stretches back to when the first Africans were brought in shackles to our shores in the mid-1600s.
Nothing in Obama's background speaks of the American experience. It's not difficult to understand why. Obama is the son of a white woman with jungle fever and a commie Kenyan. He was raised in circumstances that almost all Americans -- let alone blacks -- would find foreign.
Obama is best described as an "African in America." (And no, I'm not a birther, despite the earlier "Nairobi" joke.) The difference between Obama's actual identity and an actual "black" person's is no small distinction. It explains how he could hold such an outdated view of the violence plaguing black communities across the nation. It explains why you never see him campaigning in black communities or dropping by for photo ops. (Well, that and because he knows that 95 percent of "those people" are going to vote for him anyway.)
It's also explains why Obama's first instincts are always to blame America first and profusely apologize for past American actions.
In Quebec Speak, Obama is a not a Pure Wool Black. He doesn't have the right ancestors.
But from another viewpoint, it's a little unfair to say that he's not Black.
While "Black" is as much an experience as a skin color, viewed from the optic of America's history of white supremacy, he's as much a black as the descendants of slaves. The white supremacists of yore didn't care if your grandparents were a slaves or if you stepped off the boat from Africa, if you had black skin colour, you were black and less than fully human.
So in that sense, Obama has overcome a certain white supremacist history.
But so far, no Pure Wool Blacks have become president.
Still, I always had the feeling he did not have a genuine connection to the American Black Community.
H/T: Dumb Old Housewives