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Why I Relate to Barack Obama

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A single dad of two says he has a lot in common with the new prez.

barack obama

Guest blogger Femi: I think that it is great that we have a change of appearance in the White House. Now the definition of what someone occupying the most elite office in the world can look like has changed at last. This says a lot about our country.

As a person of mixed race, I have a lot in common with our 44th president. His father is Kenyan. My father is Nigerian. My mother is white and of Irish descent. His mother is also white. President Obama spent a lot of time in Illnois as the state Senator. I was born in Chicago and lived there until I was 11. I know that somewhere deep down it must bother him on some level that only half of his identity is recognized ... because it bothers me.

As a person who is black and white, it has always been very important to me for people to recognize my father and mother's contribution to who I am. Obama's grandmother (who is white) played a huge role in his maturation and who he is. By just seeing the blackness in him, you minimize the full spectrum of who President Obama is and you are also missing half of his experience and greatness.

I understand what it means to have a man of color in the Oval Office. I grasp the monumental changing of the guard. However, as a person of mixed race, I have often felt caught in the middle of this black-and-white world. A world where neither race accepts me and yet neither race seems to mind my presence. This dichotomy has often forced me to think and act differently depending on my situation.

At the age of 33, and actually much earlier, I created my own ways of doing things that both races seemed to respond to. This common ground between humans is what I believe President Obama has used to change the view of our country. I believe that most people of mixed race who spend time with both black and white people on a consistent basis learn to decode our racially-based communication.

In the end, I first recognize President Obama as a great man who is poised to lead us into a new era with all the best hopes and wishes on his side. Second, I see President Obama as a man who is black and white, although people only seem to see half of that.


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