"The First Black President"

I have been hearing this line everywhere.

Why don’t they refer to him as the first non-white president? Why do they even have to point out his ethnicity?

It just sounds so stupid, as if the only goal of this election was to elect a non-white male. No one seems to be focusing on Obama’s plans as president. All they seem to care about is the fact that he is black.

I just think this is spreading the wrong message to our country and the world. The ethnicity of someone living in this country should not be important. It just proves that racism is still a very strong force in our country because we still refer to each other specifically based upon race. People really need to start referring to others as Americans, because once we do, we WILL be the greatest country in the world. We all need to erase this image that we have for Americans as being whites and realize that anyone can be American.

Maybe this is just the start, and this is what people need to see before they can start accepting other Americans as Americans. I hope it is.

The point of mentioning it is that it shows that racism is no longer important. The fact that Obama is black did not prevent him from getting elected (compare to a century ago, when the first smear in any politician’s handbook is to say his opponent had a black ancestor).

Um, no. Him being President won’t make people less racist. It doesn’t even mean that racism has become that weak, considering how badly the Republicans have done.

And this election proved that anyone can be President. I agree with you to some extent, about not voting for someone on skin color alone, but I agree with the analysis that says not everyone could dream of being President and now a lot more people can.

With Barack Obama’s election, Warren Harding’s ghost can finally rest easy.

you know as I said in my own thread in this forum, when listening to the man’s cool approach and intellectualism, i really didn’t consider his skin colour, but only after listening to his own post election speech. It dawned on me… what a long way you have come. at the risk of repeating myself, you put a guy on the moon. but it took another 4 decades to put a black man in the white house. phenomenal!

Warren Harding may have had black ancestors, indeed, but he “passed for white”, and probably even joined the Ku Klux Klan.

I’ll go with this. It’s worth celebrating simply because it is evidence that race is now nearly irrelevant with regard to how THE POPULAR MAJORITY of the US elect it’s leaders. It’s important when you look at how things were 100 years ago, even 30 years ago. Yes race still played a part both for and against the guy, but at the end of the day it wasn’t enough to get in his way.

The alternative would be to not even acknowledge race at all, and that wouldn’t be appropriate. Racism isn’t a bug you can just step on, its a cancer that requires treatment, and constant vigilance even when it seems to be in remission. And like treating a cancer, it helps the patient to know that the treatments are having the desired effects.

Anyone else think it’s quirky that the first black US President traces his “black” ancestry directly to an African father, and not back through slavery? It doesn’t really matter either way, I guess, but I just found it, well, quirky!

There are thousands or millions of people who are non-white. Obama isn’t Asian or Maori or anything - and of course, only one group of people were brought here as slaves en masse.

I think you’re not giving people enough credit here: they can accept that he’s black and still an American. The fact is, this is an enormous milestone, and you don’t need much more than a passing acquaintance with history to know that this has never happened before. His agenda will get out there in time, but the difference in skin tone (and perhaps what it means for race relations - although it certainly isn’t the end of racism) is easier to see.

Racism is about judging people - it’s not racist to notice the obvious. Obama is black and all the presidents before him were white.

I think this is better suited for IMHO, so I’m sending it over there.

I’m non-white, and I am thrilled to death at the concept of the first black prez. Because it does make a difference to me. It wasn’t my only reason for voting for him, but it was one of many. How thrilling to know that you don’t have to be white to do it!

I can’t believe anyone’s even talking about Clinton at a time like this.

So wait, when someone asks you, “Hey, we are going to the movies tonight, you should bring a friend along”… Do you say “Oh sure, I’ll invite my black friend”…? No, of course not. It’s not necessary. It’s not necessary there, and it’s not necessary here.

But I have lots of black friends. Really!

A lot of this is generational. At 52 I’m old enough to remember when a black president was beyond unlikely, segregation was the norm, and prejudice was the custom. So to us older folks it’s a welcome improvement, and not to be taken for granted. I voted for Obama because I was impressed with his intellect and his character and his campaign, not for the color of his skin. I think that’s why most people did. but as a first it is not out of line to comment on it.

I think it’s deliberate and necessary, without the ‘angry black man’ moniker his opponents couldn’t paint Obama into Jesse Jackson irrelevancy.

Him being President means that people are less racist.

Do you really think he could have gotten elected 40 years ago? Given similar economic conditions, a black candidate still would never even have gotten the Democratic nomination.

I find the argument that the US is still irretrievably racist absolute nonsense. Yes, racism exists, but if in 1967 you were to say that a black man would be elected president in 2008, not even Martin Luther King would have believed it.

Things aren’t perfect, but no one’s getting lynched (and the few cases where similar things are happening make national news because they are so unusual) and Blacks hold political office even in the deep South.

I remember visiting Atlanta in 1997 and being amazed to discover they had a Black mayor – not because he was Black, but because it wasn’t headlines all over the country when it happened. A Black man or woman in an elected position is no longer news. Back in the 60s, even if they managed to get elected, they would have faced constant death threats. Now, they’re just the mayor.

So Obama being the first Black president is just a footnote to his election, not the main story.

Less than 65 years ago, blacks couldn’t vote in many parts of the US. A hundred years ago, Jim Crow was in full force after limited gains made during Reconstruction. A hundred and fifty years ago, most blacks in the US were enslaved. Now we have black man for our president. We as a nation have made huge, huge strides in a relatively short amount of time, and it’s good to acknowledge that.

Back in 1960, they made a lot of fuss about JFK being the first Catholic president, and that was partly because there was prejudice among some Americans against Catholics: they said he would have to take orders from the Pope, and similar stuff. So, it was a fact of some significance then. Given that prejudice against Blacks has been much stronger than that against Catholics, Obama’s election is of even greater significance.