Since he burst onto the national political scene, Barack Obama has faced questions about everything from his place of birth to his college transcripts -- but his race?
Oddly, apparent doubts about the president’s racial identification now are being raised not by his critics but by one of his strongest supporters: Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He told a surprised NPR interviewer last week that the United States has yet to see its "first black president."
Freeman was trying to make a point that some people oppose Obama because of his race, when in fact, the actor argued, Obama is "mixed race" and not African-American.
"First thing that always pops into my head regarding our president,” he said “is that all of the people who are setting up this [racial] barrier for him ... they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white -- very white American, Kansas, middle of America. There was no argument about who he is or what he is. America's first black president hasn't arisen yet. He's not America's first black president, he's America's first mixed-race president."
Traditionally, Americans of mixed racial heritage are allowed to decide for themselves which, if either, of their parental communities with which to identify. Obama has self-identified as an African-American from an early age.
Freeman went on to blast the GOP for reflexively and programmatically opposing Obama’s every move. The president, he said, "is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party, who started out at the beginning of his tenure by saying, 'We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he's only going to serve one term.'
"That means they will not cooperate with him on anything."