Elizabeth Chang on Obama’s Census Form

Interesting piece in the Washington Post from Elizabeth Chang about President Barack Obama’s (D) census form. You see, Obama—who is the mixed-race son of an African father and a Caucasian-American mother—marked his race as ‘black’ on his census form.

People keep referring to Obama as our first black/African-American president, but in truth he is our first non-white president and our first bi-racial president. This is an equally important and notewothy accomplishment, but it has troubled me throughout the 2008 campaign and into Obama’s presidency that so few seem willing to report it accurately. Doesn’t accuracy count for anything any more? He’s not fully black; he’s not fully white. He is both and neither. He is mixed-race.

I’m a white American. My wife is an Asian-American (her family is of Chinese descent). If God blesses us with biological children, they will be bi-racial. I hope, in that case, that they will equally and equitably acknowledge and embrace both sides of their heritage. I’m disappointed that Obama chose not to do so. For Obama to mark his race as black and black alone is disingenuous at best. Personally, if I were on his mom’s side of the family, I’d be pretty pissed about it—especially considering that his mom’s side of his family is the side that raised him after his father walked out.

After long lobbying by mixed-race advocacy groups, the census form was revised in 2000 to permit the selection of multiple races and, if that wasn’t enough, it also has a blank to enter ‘other’ races than the ones listed. Obama should have availed himself of the opportunity to fill out the form honestly and accurately.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.