General Question

dannyc's avatar

Would you feel differently about Obama if he were white?

Asked by dannyc (5228points) June 5th, 2009

I like Obama a lot, but his skin color means nothing to me. Does it to you? Are some people fawning over him and not analyzing his comments and policies? Or do people try and find fault with him because of their prejudice?

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40 Answers

applesaucemanny's avatar

You know, it’s times like these when I see that people view him more as a celebrity than our president

hiiiiiiii's avatar

I wouldn’t know who he is as he wouldn’t have gotten in, we have too many black racist in this country

PandoraBoxx's avatar

What?! You mean he’s not?!?

oratio's avatar

I don’t know. He is great so far and different. But of course he being the first non-white president makes him a bit special. I have noticed that it is not very appreciated to make Obama-jokes, so he’s not treated as just any president. I don’t think he’s loved for being black though, but for being Obama.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I think he’s appreciated for being remotely intelligent, and not an embarrassment. And he’s a consensus builder.

marinelife's avatar

He is half white and half black.

It does not, either half, impact my reaction to his policies.

RedPowerLady's avatar

His skin color does make a difference. He is the first Black President in the United States. That is something to be celebrated and not ignored.

I believe in equality and in fact most flutherites know I argue in favor of it, sometimes endlesslessy. I believe in ending oppression and disparity.

But I also believe you can’t ignore the differences of others. They exist. They should not be ignored but honored and respected. We are all different and equal.

Obama is a Black man, a Black President. And that is awesome if for no other reason than he is making history. We must also consider that his culture and ethnicity has shaped who he is as a person. As is true for all of us.

Would I think of him differently if he were White? There is really no way for me to determine that. The fact is that he is not White. If there were a President who was as well-spoken as Obama and as open to creating change as Obama and were White then I am sure I would back that person as well.

dannyc's avatar

@RedPowerLady . Unfortunately, in my opinion, there will be no true equality till his skin color will make no difference to blacks or whites. My question goes to the heart of that matter, I think. But I understand your well stated points.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dannyc Skin color will always matter to every race until oppression no longer exists.

Anyhow, I am not a fan of the “color blind” sentiments. We are all different colors and that makes us different. And I believe we should acknowledge those differences. We should acknowledge and accept those differences. We can be a society of equals even though we are all different. This is the fundamental difference between the melting pot vs. salad bowl theories of race relations.

In short I believe true equality is being able to allow people to recognize skin color and still retain equality.

Aethelwine's avatar

Not at all. I still would not have voted for him.

Likeradar's avatar

I agree with @oratio and @RedPowerLady.

I am so excited to have a president who is intelligent, an excellent communicator, a listener, and who shares many of my beliefs about how this country should be run… I would have voted for him if he was purple.

The fact that he is not Caucasian is an added bonus. I love that this country is at a place where he could be elected, and I love that people in other countries got a clear message that the majority of Americans are not racist and will elect a leader with brown skin.

archer's avatar

since he is both white and black i decided to think of him as one or the other on altenate days. you happened to have asked this on a day that he’s white.
today he’s the coolest, hippest, most unqualified, socialist, white associate college professor community activist president we’ve ever had.

dalepetrie's avatar

There are 4 questions here, these are the answers…no, no, yes, yes.

dannyc's avatar

@dalepetrie . Those are your answers, not the answers. Also, would be helpful if you attached a rationale, obviously.

Darwin's avatar

Actually, Obama is not “The first Black President.” Nor is he even “The first mixed race President.” At least four other Presidents were mixed race. They just looked white and no one cared.

He is, however, the first US President born in Hawaii.

Personally, I voted for him because he was a Democrat and because he seems to have some common sense. He also makes good speeches with few grammatical errors..

bea2345's avatar

If he were white, the question of his colour would not arise, would it? So yes, it makes a difference. Allow me to point out that since the election, West Indian men seem to walk a little taller, especially the younger ones.

Darwin's avatar

@bea2345 – They should also walk a bit taller because of Colin Powell, who is a level headed person and a good leader (even if he is a Republican), and who happens to be descended from West Indians.

And then there is also Sydney Poitier, who is a very accomplished and talented man.

bea2345's avatar

@Darwin – there is a difference. It has to do with power, and the perceptions, and expectations, of the onlookers. We were, and are, very proud of Colin Powell; we want to emulate the successes and achievements of Michael Jordan, Sydney Poitier and many others. What sets your President apart from all of these, he is exercising real power, (and so far he is handling it with grace and style). As Josef Stalin commented, in a different context, “How many divisions does the Pope command?” Well, Mr. Obama commands a lot of divisions.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Darwin Black is a skin color and not an ethnicity. So he is the first Black President…..

We also have to consider the fact that just because other Presidents had African ancestry does not mean they claimed that ancestry. Which also promotes a big difference. So you could say he is the first openly Black President, if you are using “Black” to mean ancestry.

Editing to add article that backs up that point:

dalepetrie's avatar

@dannyc – as almost anyone will tell you, I normally do elaborate. For this question, I didn’t think it was necessary, and I chose “the” instead of mine, to answer the question due to the way the questions were phrased. I felt that answering them in the way I did made a stronger point than would my usual type of answer. I reserve one word answers for questions to which the answer are so patently obvious that it actually serves to emphasize my point by giving a short answer (in light of the fact that I NEVER do so).

1) Would YOU feel differently if Obama were white. A: No. I could say no, I would not, but it would have been redundant, I’m already saying “I” would not by virtue of the fact that the question asked if I would feel differently. It is not my answer that is no, it is THE answer that is no, the “my” part of the answer is implied by the question. As for a rationale…don’t need one, I wouldn’t…no need to elaborate, you can take that one at face value. Another thing that anyone who knows me from here knows is that I was an Obama supporter from day one, and that’s because I believe fiercely in the things he says. I can elaborate and say, no, I would not because I like his ideas and don’t care about the superficial, but I believe that really doesn’t need to be said. So “no” IS the answer to question one.

2) You say you like Obama a lot, but his skin color does not matter to you, and ask if it matters to ME (aka you asked, “does it matter to you?”). That is question 2, and again the answer IS no. Not my answer…if the question is posed to me whether or not Obama’s skin color matters to me, THE answer is no, not “my” answer, because “my” answer from “my” perpective is THE only answer (if I’m the one answering the question). Again, very specifically did not intend to use the world “my”, very intentionally used the word “THE”. As for why his skin color doesn’t matter to me, it just doesn’t. I could explain that to me race is an artificial construct and that I judge people by their actions and not their appearances, but in this case, a strong “no” implies that “no” it doesn’t matter (to me), and I don’t need a reason, it just plain doesn’t. It’s like if someone asked me, “do you like pork chops,” I would say “no”, no “reason”, I just don’t like them, that’s good enough.

3) Are some people fawning over him and not analyzing his policies? Answer is “yes”. This to me is not a matter of opinion, and that is what I wanted to impart by using a strong “yes” rather than a statement of my opinion supported by anecdotal evidence. Obama is someone in the public eye…that is an indisputable fact. Some people (which is the threshold your question set) do fawn over people in the public eye, and do see them as infallible. It is a psychological fact, it is part of the human condition, and just by saying “do some people fawn over him regardless of what he says,” being a charismatic person in the public eye, the answer is yes…not my answer, not a matter of opinion, “some” people do. If you want me to discuss this, we could discuss the percentages, that might be up for debate, but even if only 2 people do it (and I’ve seen more than 2 people on the web and on TV who do it), that qualifies as “some”, it makes THE answer to this question yes…no further need for discussion.

4) Do people try to find fault with him because of their prejudice? Do I even NEED to explain why THE answer, not just “MY” answer to this is yes? I shouldn’t, because that is the very DEFINITION of prejudice…people pre-judge him and in order to support their judgment, they find ways to justify it. By definition, THE answer to this question is yes.

Sorry to split hairs here, but I meant what I said and I said what I meant

and an elephant’s faithful 100%

77777776's avatar

We all know that he would have not have gotten in be honest with yourselves

dannyc's avatar

@dalpetrie Thanks for the feedback.

Mr_Callahan's avatar

Yes, especially on the basketball court, I think I could take him under that scenario.

dalepetrie's avatar

@dannyc – no problem!

adreamofautumn's avatar

@77777776 I think that’s a sweeping over-generalization. I voted for Obama, but quite frankly I think a good portion of the country was so fed-up with the situation in this country that no matter WHO the democratic nominee was he/she would have won. If Obama had been white and the democratic nominee and he was as well spoken as he is and he was able to inspire hope to those that were frustrated, he would have won anyways. Black or white, the people that voted for him voted because they wanted change, any change, and his opponent was not change, he was a continuation of good-old-boy politics.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

not really. though since he is black (or half black, whatever, percentages really don’t mean a thing to me), i think it’s awesome that he is the first black president. not just because he’s black, but because it’s never been done before, and after such a tumultuous history, it’s definitely cool that there’s finally a black dude in office.

proXXi's avatar

Not one bit, however my negative opinion of him would be considered more socially acceptable.

So much for the content of his character.

Haleth's avatar

If Obama were the same person, only white, I still would have voted for him, but would he have won? People were so unhappy after eight years with Bush in office that the democrats had a really great shot, and it was the best possible time to run a non-white or non-male candidate. If Obama had been white, people would have still voted for him because of all his outstanding qualities, but maybe they would have been more excited over Hillary, and she might have won.

Anyway, I wouldn’t feel any different about Obama politically if he were white and I would still think he was a sexy president but man! It is so exciting and awesome to have our first black president. The parties when he was elected were amazing; when was the last time you saw tons of people pour into the streets to celebrate?

proXXi's avatar


However, I suspect that because of his racial makup a lot of Americans that aren’t usually invested in our election system turned out to vote this time…

And aren’t they in for a suprise when they discover that having a President the same color as them doesn’t automatically fix everything they think is wrong.

But hey, you can still get a getto bling Obama watch, t-shirt or poster….

Zen_Again's avatar

I would like to think not.

Nullo's avatar

Not in the least. I dislike his policies, and even if he were the whitest white or the purplest maroon, I’d still dislike his policies.
Of course, my dislike of him as a President means that I simply must be racist.

bea2345's avatar

@Nullo – of course not. You will get the same consideration you give to others.

Nullo's avatar

I’ve had people call me a racist for thinking about ol’ Barry. Racist, fascist, brownshirt, the works. Some are less kind than others.

Polly_Math's avatar

Because of all the societal, cultural, biological, personal, emotional and intellectual variables, I would have to say yes. I don’t consider myself prejudiced (I was in an interracial marriage), but there are are so many factors to consider, and unless you’re really in touch with your unconscious motivations, it is very difficult to determine if you’d feel differently about him. I would say that an overwhelming majority of people would, though not necessarily in a bad way.

ItsAHabit's avatar

I have to ditto repeat proXXi’s on-the-mark answer:

“Not one bit, however my negative opinion of him would be considered more socially acceptable.

So much for the content of his character.”

The very fact that criticizing our president leads to accusations of racism suggests that a proportion of his supporters are racists.

josie's avatar

There really can not be a distinction by race for politicians in my opinion. All are equally ammoral and foolish. If indeed there was a Hell, they would all go there and burn equally.

JustmeAman's avatar

No his color makes no difference to me. I think he is terrible and should leave his office to help America. I really don’t even think he was born in America.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He was a great president first and foremost. However, he and Michelle brought a groovy jive coolness to the White House that it had never seen before, and that merged seamlessly with their grace and elegance, and I loved that. It wouldn’t have worked if he and Michelle had identified as white.

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