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President Obama, Ricky Martin & stating the obvious

What do President Obama and singer Ricky Martin have in common? Both men made announcements last week that fall into the category of "Yeah, and?" But each was notable in its own way.

Martin came out of the closet via an introspective online posting that concluded, "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am." With a career, two children and inner peace, I'll say. As heartwarming as his low-key declaration was, I was also pleased with the near-universal "We know" reaction. In this age of increasing acceptance, it's easy for folks who haven't had to tell friends and loved ones to not realize that coming out of the closet is a process whose duration varies from person to person. But it involves a self-discovery that can only be done on the explorer's timetable. I'm glad Martin was able to do all this on his own terms.

Meanwhile, MSNBC.com made me burst out laughing with this late-breaking news: "It's official: Obama is black." There was no doubt in my mind that the first black president of the United States was, indeed, black. And if you ever doubted it, just listen to the cadence of his voice in speeches. Or, better yet, take a look at his gait as struts out to Marine One. He could be one of my uncles. I never got the strut thing down, but I digress. Sure, there were some who thought his biracial lineage would make him incapable of truly understanding the African American experience. But they were cranks with nothing better to do, if you ask me. There. I said it.

Anyway, Obama could have checked multiple boxes on the Census form. And that would have been just fine. After all, he is the son of a black Kenyan father and white Kansan mother, who struggled with his identity in his youth. That he checked "Black, African Am., or Negro" shows a man long comfortable with who he is. Now, had he checked "White," all hell would have broken loose. While he would have been correct, everyone would have thought him nuts. Passing for white can be dishonest. Denying you're black -- when everyone else can see that you are with their own eyes -- is delusional.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 5, 2010; 4:58 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

So Barack Obama came out of the closet?

Wow! He fooled me completely.

Do Michelle and the kids know.

He's a presidential first.

Posted by: battleground51 | April 5, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

And the point is? That the only talking point you have to offer us is race? It's seem thou protest too much.

Posted by: elcigaro1 | April 5, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Capeheart writes "Passing for white can be dishonest. Denying you're black -- when everyone else can see that you are with their own eyes -- is delusional."
****************************************

Gee, cant imagine why Obama had trouble with his identity in his youth, what with such understanding brothers like Capeheart..

Posted by: kreator6996 | April 6, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Or, does his lack of strut mean Capeheart is whiter than Obama, and just deceiving himself?

Posted by: kreator6996 | April 6, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Dear Sirs,
The Mormon Church is also against homosexuality.
One of their leaders, Warren Jeffs, is now safely behind bars because of his role in multiple rapes!
Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
Did he, or any other Republican, denounce Warren Jeffs?
Are they still in the closet?
Clifford Spencer

Posted by: yankeefan1925 | April 6, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Re: Yankeefan1925

"Dear Sirs,
The Mormon Church is also against homosexuality.
One of their leaders, Warren Jeffs,"

Warren Jeffs is not...I repeat IS NOT a leader of the Mormon Church. He is the leader of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints), a basterdized off-shoot from the Mormon Church that the offcial organization itself doens't recognize. Please get YOUR facts right before you start spouting off mis-information.

I AM a Mormon, and yes if you ASK us WE DENOUCE Jeffs. We don't have to Publically.

Posted by: Dane_StIgnatius | April 6, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

"Now, had he checked "White," all hell would have broken loose."

If he had checked white, why would anyone care? What is the whole point of this article?

Posted by: wadeb123 | April 6, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I guess he is ashamed of his white heritage? I think what this article should have addressed is that Obama is not the traditional African-American. His black heritage comes from a foreigner Kenyan father. I doubt that he could or even should claim African-American in the sense that most take that ethic term. He did not have the heritage here that say his wife's family represents. He did not have the same life that say a black from Alabama or Michigan had. He was raised by a white grandmother. He attended elite schools. I sometimes think that he is purposesly misleading the American public when he tries to sell himself. But then he had misled those of us who thought that he might actually do what he promised during his election bid...but alas he has proven himself to be just another two-faced politician. A poor one at that.

Posted by: staterighter | April 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

President Obama is exactly right, and in his case, it's clearer than clear that he's African-American, just like my mother was Swedish-American (her father was 100% Swedish, and her mother was a mix of English, Irish, and what we commonly think of as "American".) When will every American admit that ALL of us who call ourselves American are a mix of all sorts of nationalities and races?

Obama is honest, open, straightforward, and never claims to be anything he is not. I'm immensely proud that he's our president. We've seldom had a leader who is as honest, as accountable, and as fair. Thank God for President Obama, and whatever he wants to designate himself is fine with me. He has nothing to hide.

Just like me, he's 100% American. That's all that matters.

Posted by: cturtle1 | April 6, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Why is it honest for the President to call himself black but not to call himself bi-racial since he is equally white? I just don't understand the discrepancy. He obviously connects more with his black heritage but he was raised by the white part of his family. Is it more politically expedient for him to identifiy with a black culture or is he simply more comfortable being black? I raise these questions as a white person who voted for the President and is trying to understand his viewpoint about his racial identity.

Posted by: pjsilva | April 6, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Hello,
I do not want to pass for white but I was born in Argentina, Latin America and I am white. My question is: if I had to check the census boxes in your country, what should I check: hispanic (my grandparents were Spanish) or white?
Maybe it sounds like a stupid question, but not for me. I am an English/Spanish translator in my country, that's why I'm interested.
Delia M. Giménez de Acuña
Traductora pública de inglés
Perito judicial
(Certified & Sworn English/Spanish Translator)
(Court Expert)
Tel: (54 11) 4658-9191
Cel: 1558069867 (54 9 11) 58069867 (from abroad)
Skype: mercedes5940
www.efi-traducciones.com.ar

Posted by: rockoismypet | April 6, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

wow calling the lowlife racists who attack this president "cranks" must have really riled you up to a simmering boiling point.
to the commenter who is trying to understand the presidents' viewpoint on his race, it's quite easy this president as well as others of mixed ancestry usually identify with the race that they most resemble. he could say he is white which is half true, but he looks black and as this writer notes he walks with a distinct gait......"blackwalk".and the cadence of his voice..... "blackspeak".
when you see him, you see a black man.
now when capehart comes out of the closet and admit he's black, we can all rest.


Posted by: ninnafaye | April 6, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Wheres the box that says Foreigner ? African ? Fraud ?

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | April 6, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

He's so proud of who he is he waited, what, 30 years to announce it? And why is it anyone's business, anyway?

As for Obama, the Census didn't have a "Black Enough" category?

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | April 6, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Delia M. Giménez de Acuña wrote: "I was born in Argentina, Latin America and I am white. My question is: if I had to check the census boxes in your country, what should I check: hispanic (my grandparents were Spanish) or white?"

Sorry, Delia -- basically, there are three races in the world: Negro, Oriental, and Caucasian. If you aren't black or Asian, you're white. You can be a mixture, but you sound ethnically "white." I'm not sure how all the mystery came to surround this issue, but that's the science of it.

Posted by: PatriotBloodInMyVeins | April 6, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

America one drop rule still applies.

No one ever sees a bi-racial child/adult and identified them as anything other than biracial or black never ever has a biracial person been identified as white so based on the society in which we live he's black or bi-racial and it's up to the individual to self identify.

Posted by: rlj1 | April 6, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Now, had he checked "White," all hell would have broken loose. While he would have been correct, everyone would have thought him nuts. Passing for white can be dishonest. Denying you're black -- when everyone else can see that you are with their own eyes -- is delusional.
*********

so you're saying he would have been "correct" but "delusional"?
i'm sure it all makes sense if you are a really really really smart liberal.

Posted by: dummypants | April 6, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I would not have objected if Obama checked 'white' on the census form.
Keep in mind the basic use of the census, i.e., to reallocate wealth extorted from the taxpayers of the United States. It's also used to reapportion the 435 representatives in the US congress and for various informational statistics.

Posted by: joy5 | April 6, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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