April 3rd, 2010
02:19 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama's Census form – signed, sealed, delivered

President Obama checked the box labeled 'Black, African Am., or Negro' on his Census form.
President Obama checked the box labeled 'Black, African Am., or Negro' on his Census form.

Washington (CNN) – President Obama last week urged Americans to fill out their Census forms and, as a way of setting an example for the rest of the country, he filled one out himself.

The White House press office even released a photo of the President filling out the ten-question form in the Oval Office.

And in completing the form, President Obama made official what we have long known: He is the nation's first African-American president.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that the President checked the box labeled "Black, African Am., or Negro" when asked his race.

Like many Americans, Obama – the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas – could have selected multiple races, but there is no check box for Americans that consider themselves multi-racial.

The Census first started collecting data on race in 1790, and according to the Census bureau, the question "is key to implementing many federal laws and is needed to monitor compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act."


Filed under: Census • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Great job Mr. President and we support you.

    April 3, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. race?

    Can someone explain how the question of race is even relevant on the census? Since Hispanic isn't listed as a race are Hispanics black or white? What about middle eastern people? They're not Asian are they? I guess they're white too. I found the race question on the census to have some very specific races, but it's completely missing other categories.

    April 3, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Are We Still Allowed To Vote?

    I'm getting tired of the federal government trying to be in charge of everything. I liked it when Americans could make their own choices and run their own lives. This kind of government hasn't worked anywhere. Why would anyone think it would work here? We've done better than any country in the world with the "old" way of governing (laisse faire). Now we're changing it... why? (Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, the old iron curtain countries... they all starved with their governments controlling everything.)

    April 3, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. El Gordo

    Obama is African American? I voted for him because he's White!

    April 3, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. no news here

    I hope that there isn't anyone who expected anything different. He's not a Tiger Woods who thinks he has to be all things to all people to be accepted. POTUS lives his life as he is treated and as he finds his concious leading him. If anyone was ever confused about how he is perceived and treated, then they have not been alive for the past 18 months. Bravo for POTUS Obama on not being confused or feeling like he has to deny reality to be accepted. He's should be proud of who he is because that doesn't disparage any other race or disrespect his mother.

    April 3, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. tony

    The one thing that I will agree with concerning complaints of the Census Form is no selection for "Latino"............But, the form clearly states that you can select multiple races..........That said, why would there even be a need for a separate place for Multi Racial? I do not see the need for that.

    Tammy selected multiple races for both her children. She selected both black and white for her daughter; and she selected black and Native Hawaiian for her son......Seems pretty straight forward to me...

    The president could have done the same thing....

    April 3, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Preston kathy

    I sent mine in if they do not send them in then go to there houre and see how many people there are in that house if they are brakeing the law put them in jail

    April 3, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. Rahm

    A person's race shouldn't matter. Nor should their age. Just count how many people live there, that's it. Everything else is divisive and discrimination.

    April 3, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Northwest

    This is rather odd if overseas at census time only people that are working for the Goverment are counted.
    How do I know my son and family U.S. citizens that are overseas for a short time ask me to send them a form and when I called headquarters to ask for a form was told ONLY Goverment employees that are out of country at time of the census are counted.in this 2010 census.

    April 3, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Don

    Who cares? The man has been black all his life.

    April 3, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Jake

    I was hoping in an age of post-racial divide that Obama was supposed to usher in, he would not have selected "other."

    April 3, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. MJH

    Obama is multi-racial not black. You can be 5' 5" and call yourself tall but you are still short.

    His unwillingness to acknowledge his white genes is racist. Moreover, Obama was raised by his white grandparents and to some extent his white mother. His back father did nothing but abandon him early on. This makes his refusal to acknowledge his whiteness all the more dispicable.

    April 3, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. PaulDinKC

    This is about as interesting and newsworthy as him checking Male for gender. What would you expect him to check???

    April 3, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. kygirl

    African-american, black, caucasian, white, native american, etc. They are just labels (unfortunately) based on what we think we are looking at. Mostly everyone in the US is of mixed race ancestry. In Barack Obama's case, all most people see is a black man. Forget the fact that he was raised by a "white" family and that he is part "white." Why is race an issue enough for CNN to report this crap? It's because (unfortunately) race matters to most of society.

    April 3, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. EuphioTGank

    isn't it time we drop the whole question of skin color or race on census forms and give everyone the option of putting in their ethnic background instead? we are a multi cultural society from white Africans to black Europeans..a better question would be which country and when did your ancestors first emigrate to this country? for example an African-American who's family came here in the 1960's is treated the same as one who's family was brought here as slaves in the 1840's it really just needs to be changed.

    April 3, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Reynald

    I did send mine but was disturbed by the word negro. Last time i checked this was 2010.

    April 3, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Edwin

    I think there are a lot of Americans who identify themselves as multi-racial. It's about time to add that category, or at least allow multiple checks.

    April 3, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Bob

    By the President taking this step, rightfully so, it adds credence to many critics of the Census that it does not provide enough distinction in individuals.
    In this multi-racial, multi-cultural mecca called the United States, the government, as many critics have suggested are behind the times in the manner in which we collect our population data. For example, I am "White" and my wife is "Asian, Korean". Both of our daughter are mixed just like the President. They have to make a choice when they check the box of the Census Form. There is no alternative.

    Middle Easterners are defined as "Caucasian or White" on the Census form. This completely eliminates them from any numerical assembly unlike the large breakout for Asians.

    Are our immigrants from North Africa like Egypt, Algeria, Morroco supposed to check some other race and then print in what they would indicate their race is, or are the lighter skin North Africans considered "White". Doesn't make sense.

    For the most part, a good form, but not inclusive enough for the difference that have exponentially expanded with inter-race marriage in the last twenty years and is expanding rapidly.

    April 3, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Florence

    That's right, they should have included multiple races also.

    April 3, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Chuck

    I have voted for you, sir, and am proud to say that I will always look at you as a distinguished african-american white man who became our President of the United State of America. You have perpetually demonstrated a demeanor and intellect long sought for the highest office in the land. Add to that, integrity, coupled with a sense of humor that is so often not seen in many holding public office.

    April 3, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    so much for his mother I guess

    April 3, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Luvinia Knight

    They should add such a category. More and more of us are simply not "white" anymore. Consider Asians, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans who are not enough of any of those (and what is enough?) to list that as a category.

    April 3, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. willard bullock

    I heard that cenus will not great

    April 3, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Jeff of Peoria

    So he could have marked the box WHITE as well as black. I guess he knows what everyone else knows. He needs every black vote he can muster. His only problem is he's losing the BLACK indepedant vote every day. He's already lost the most of the WHITE independant vote.

    HE won't lose the Black or White liberal vote. They're still hanging onto the DREAM that one day these DEMOCRATS will actually help them instead of keeping them in poverty.

    April 3, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    At work this week I overheard a remark this week by a black woman about a black man who she apparently didn't consider "black enough". She said he "can't check one box on an application". As a white man who doesn't buy the politically correct view that "race matters" for purposes of "diversity" in the workforce, I decline to voluntarily "self-identify" on applications. As U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

    April 3, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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