In an article recently released by the Associated Press, the topic of Obama's "true colors: black, white... or neither?" is thoroughly discussed. While many would applaud the AP for at least attempting to tackle this sensitive issue, one could not help but notice that they and some of the other news outlets still generally refer to the president-elect ubiquitously as either African-American or black. While his rise to the presidency is historic for a non-white person, this should not diminish the fact that he is multiracial.
Now, what's interesting about the aforementioned article is what a particular U.S. Representative had to say about the notion that Obama is not black. Hailing from North Carolina's first congressional district is G. K. Butterfield:
The Associated Press reports that Mr. Butterfield, "a black man who by all appearances is white, feels differently" about the notion that Obama should not be labeled black. Butterfield comments on Obama's appearance:
His physical appearance is black. I don't know how he could have chosen to be any other race. Let's just say he decided to be white — people would have laughed at him
It is quite astonishing that Butterfield, of all people, would try to project a black identity onto Obama using this type of logic because it can easily be reversed. For example:
Butterfield's physical appearance is white... Let's just say he decided to be black - people would have laughed at him.
Even today, Mr. Butterfield insists that he "is certainly not white." While one should exude admiration for this U.S. Representative that led civil rights marches as a young man, I must point out that his notions of race and the people that embody them are a bit outdated.
Mr. Butterfield went on to tell the AP, "You are a product of your experience. I'm a U.S. congressman, and I feel some degree of discomfort when I'm in an all-white group. We don't have the same view of the world, our experiences have been different."
One could arbitrarily define the context of what he meant by "experiences" all day, so I'll just take issue with his last two statements. This perpetuation of extreme differences that Mr. Butterfield feels when amongst an "all-white group" is strictly mental. While there are differences among different groups of people (multiracials, whites, blacks, asians etc.) it is quite hyperbolic and superfluous for him to feel discomfort. With that said, some out there have denounced Mr. Butterfield's notion that it is absurd for Obama to not be considered black. If we listen to Mr. Butterfield and go by looks, which I must add that Obama doesn't look like most African-Americans, then George Kenneth Butterfield, Jr. is the first and only white member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
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