Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
September 2, 2014

NY Launches Racist Redlining Probe

Andrew Burton via Getty Images

Ferguson Cops Wear Body Cameras

Ferguson Protest
MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images

It's Hard To Learn A New Language. But It's Way Harder To Learn A New Culture.

Ta Nehisi Coates
Leigh Vogel via Getty Images

Protesters Rally At
Walmart Where Cops Shot Man

Cop Shooting
AP

Rosa Parks Artifacts Sold For $4.5M

Rosa Parks
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ferguson Protesters Hope To Transform Anger Into Change

Ferguson
Ryan J. Reilly / The Huffington Post

More Women Than Men Are Dying From Ebola

Ebola Women
ASSOCIATED PRESS

18 Convincing Reasons To Give Yoga Another Try

Yoga
Josh Miller Photography via Getty Images

Ferguson Hasn't Forgotten About Michael Brown

Ferguson Rally
MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images

Study: New Heart Failure Drug Shows Big Promise

Heart Health
Science Photo Library - SCIEPRO via Getty Images

Michael Sam Cut As St. Louis Rams Finalize Roster

Michael Sam
Joe Robbins via Getty Images

Ferguson Is Rallying Cry For Protests Over Cop Killings

Obama's Delay On Immigration Creates Uncertainty Ahead Of Midterm Elections

Barack Obama
Win McNamee via Getty Images

You're Forgetting About The One Backyard Feature That Can Extend Your Summer

Outdoor Fireplaces
Porch.com

Cop Who Pushed CNN Reporter In Ferguson Retires With Full Pension

Dan Page
YouTube

Chicago Business Learns Little Leaguer Is Homeless, Offers To Pinch Hit And Pay Family's Rent

Jackie Robinson West
Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

Police Allegedly Assault Black Father Waiting For His Kids

Chriss Lollie
Courtesy Chris Lollie

How Obama's Tan Suit Broke The Internet

Obamasuit

Remembering Madam CJ Walker As Organizations Aim To Preserve Estate

Cj Walker
Craig F. Walker via Getty Images

UN Condemns U.S. Police Brutality

453768716
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Most White People Don't Have A Single Black Friend

Interracial Friends
Kerstin Geier via Getty Images

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

Beyoncé & Jay Z Looked Really Happy At Made In America

Beyonce Made In America
Michael Buckner via Getty Images

Part Of Kanye West's New Song Debuted On 'Kardashians'

Kanye West
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Gabrielle Union And Dwyane Wade Tie The Knot

Gabrielle Union Dwyane Wade
Omar Vega/Invision/AP

'Black-ish' Creator Talks Race & Responds To Critics

Abc Blackish
ABC

Rihanna's Vacation Photos Will Make You Jealous

Rih Binocs
Twitter

The One Film You Must See This Weekend!

Through A Lens Darkly
Film Forum

LISTEN
Hip Hop Heavyweights Dedicate ‘Don't Shoot' Track To Michael Brown

Michael Brown Funeral
Pool via Getty Images

This Summer's Movies Were Even Worse Than Thought

Spilled Popcorn
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy via Getty Images

Ashlee Simpson And Evan Ross Are Married!

Ashlee Simpson Evan Ross
Jean Baptiste Lacroix via Getty Images

5 Reasons Why We'll Always Remember Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
Associated Press

Terri J. Vaughn Talks 'Girlfriends' Getaway'

Terri J Vaughn Girlfriends Getaway
Elise Romany

Hip Hop Moves As Strong Force For Michael Brown

Chuck D Public Enemy
Mick Gold via Getty Images

Mystery Donor Gives Money To Vandalized Stores In Ferguson, Keeps Town 'Hopeful'

Money In Wallet
Jonathan Kitchen via Getty Images

WATCH
SWV Singer Discovers Devastating News

Swv
WE TV

Colbert: Why Can't Black People Can't Be More Like Cliven Bundy?

Colbert Ferguson Cliven Bundy
Comedy Central

Obama's "Angry Black Man" Criticism: Isn't He Also Half White?

Comments (34)


In light of all of the interesting analysis that others have done regarding why President Barack Obama can only get so angry about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I was wondering if any of this analysis makes sense. In fact, most of the controversy began when Dee Dee Myers, former Press Secretary under President Clinton, stated that Barack Obama needs to control his anger when responding to the crisis because he doesn't want to appear to be an angry black man. Obama made his threats apparent when he said that he was going to find out "whose ass to kick," which likely led to cheers from those who've been waiting for him to get tough with BP.

As I watched people analyze Obama's reaction, Obama's response, and the public's analysis of Obama's response, I thought about one thing: Did we forget that our president is also half-white?

I admit that I admire President Obama for quite a few reasons, one of which is that he seems to have gladly accepted the chore of being a black man in America. He marks "African American" on his census form, he attended a black church led by a pastor (Jeremiah Wright, who I respect tremendously) who almost cost him the election, and he married a black woman (Michelle Obama) who represents the essence of what black women are supposed to be.

Critics like myself have ridden Obama mercilessly about his obligations as the first black president, and he has responded to the challenges in the best way he could, by ignoring us periodically and sometimes giving us the nod and wink to say that he might help us out a little bit later. My love for Obama is laced with extreme skepticism, but only because I am skeptical of all politicians. But what many of us seem to forget is that Barack Obama has certainly taken the road less easily traveled by simply referring to himself as a black man, and not a "Caublinasian," half-white man, or anything else.

Therefore, when we talk about President Barack Obama being an angry black man, the truth is that by getting angry, he would also be an angry white man. In fact, I wonder why he can't simply be an angry American and leave it at that. All the while, we must ask ourselves whether it was Barack Obama who put himself in a box, or us as Americans who've boxed him in with our limited thinking. We look at him, and we don't see anything half white about him. We see a black man, with black skin and a beautiful black family. White America, which has spent 400 years being subconsciously trained to believe that black people are inferior, have loved Obama in spite of his blackness, rather than because of it. Some white Americans have allowed the black half of Obama to guide them toward a level of hatred not seen in our country for forty years.

The point of all this is to say that Barack Obama's anger, whether he appears to be an angry black man or not, is not as simply analyzed as we might think. With Obama's election, we got our first black president, but we also got our 44th white one. What's most interesting is that America's racial legacy is so tinged and complicated that we hardly even noticed the difference.



Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Comments: (34)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 4

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."

Most Commented Articles

Daily Drama

The Best Clips From TV's Hottest Shows


More Daily Drama >>

Get Closer to BV

  • slider Image
  • slider Image
  • slider Image

BLACK MUSIC NEWS
The latest news and updates on a multitude of music stars.
Check It Out!

BLACK MUSIC NOTES

       

MEN OF MCCAFÉ SEARCH
McDonald's continues its nationwide search to find five community-service minded black men during this year's CIAA tournament.


LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN

       
 

Find a Message Board

Discover conversations on everyone from Barack to Beyonce. There are nearly 50 forums, so click on a category below and find the right one for you.