August 13th, 2007
01:04 PM ET
11 years ago

Cut it out: Obama's wife on Barack being 'black enough'

Watch CNN's Don Lemon report on how Obama addressed the 'black enough' issue last week.

(CNN) - Michelle Obama dismissed any lingering questions over her husband’s racial identity at a “Women for Obama” event in Chicago Sunday, demanding that people “cut that nonsense out because it is not helping our children.”

The comments came two days after Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama addressed in detail whether he was “black enough” for the African American community at the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in Las Vegas.

Michelle Obama told the audience Sunday, “What are we saying to our children if a man like Barack Obama isn’t black enough? Then who is? Who are they supposed to be? So we have to cut that nonsense out because it is not helping our children.”

At the recent National Association of Black Journalists convention, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, was also asked by CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux whether she was black enough to sustain the kind of support her husband former Pres. Bill Clinton has long had in the African-American community.

Clinton and Obama lead most national polls for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, and both are aggressively vying for the support of the African-American community, historically a very reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party.

–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Jason, Washington DC

    I find truly interesting that the mainstream media has no problem suggesting that Bill Clinton (a white man from Arkansas) was America's first "black president", but question whether Barack Obama (a black man) is "black enough" to be president. This should truly be discussed more because I do not think its fair.

    August 14, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Ayveel, Dallas, Texas

    greg jones from ohio said:
    ALL black people should be in absolute support of Barack Obama for President, not just because he's black, but because of his stance, capabilities and qualifications. This should be a period of rallying in the streets, shouting with pride that we have a true opportunity to change history and put a black man in the White House. And this rally cry should be lead by our leaders. Yes, Rev. Al, Rev. Jackson, the NAACP…ALL black leaders should be sounding the trumpet to inspire all black people to vote for this historic change.

    my response: Why should ALL black people be in support of Obama? You said it isn't because he is black, but because of his stance. If you are stating that ALL black people should vote for him, it means that blacks have different voting gauge than others; which is color.

    All black shouldn't tout him so this historic change can happen. What is historic if he wins? The fact that he is African-American. That is the only thing that makes him winning historic. And that is what most people want. Yes he does have charisma, yes he does charm, and I believe the ability to lead this country.

    You said it isn't about being black, but then you state everybody should be shouting to get a black man in the White HOuse. Then it is about him being black and not his qualifications.

    August 14, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. Greg Jones Cleveland, Ohio

    Al Sharpton..Jesse Jackson..Black Leaders: Stop 'hatin' on Barack !

    (Greg Jones, Cleveland, Ohio)
    I regularly listen to talk radio ranging from Air America, which is more progressive or Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved which are Republican....and black radio particularly Warren Ballentine and Rev. Al Sharpton on the Radio 1 Network which is doing a great job of reaching the black community and creating an opportunity for voices nationwide to be heard. I find it interesting to hear the different views from the well as callers nationwide...on the subject of Barack Obama for President. Many of the hosts, even callers, on both Air America and the Republican shows voice massive approval and support of Barack Obama. It's actually quite refreshing to see and hear that so many white Americans are ready for a black president, basically because they feel he is the best choice regarding the issues of America and the world. Now, that's progress.

    Then I listen to the Rev. Al Sharpton. First of all, let me state that I greatly admire Rev. Sharpton. The work that he does through his National Action Network is developing into becoming a mighty force in the black community nationwide and I feel that all blacks should be supportive of NAN. But when I listen to Rev. Sharpton talk about Barack Obama's presidential campaign I am totally amazed, shocked and beyond extremely disappointed. I'm almost embarrassed. Here we have Rev. Sharpton, who many blacks, including myself, look at as the number one leader for justice and empowerment in the black community.....and here we have a black man...Barack Obama...who is a very serious, capable, qualified candidate for President of the United States, supported by millions nationwide, with a realistic chance to enter the White House. But instead of rallying, supporting and stating this black historic opportunity as it is....Rev. Sharpton would rather not express his support of Obama at all !!! What's wrong with this picture ? I cannot believe that the leader(s) of the black community like Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson are NOT supportive of what could be the first black president of the United States, ever? That is crazy !!!! We, as blacks, know that in order for the black communities to rise up out of the muck and mire that permeates, we must all work a family. We know that we always preach that we should be supportive of black achievement, black businesses, our black youth and each other. If that is the case, that we are to be supportive of each other, which I do believe that to be true, then never has that need been more evident than now. ALL black people should be in absolute support of Barack Obama for President, not just because he's black, but because of his stance, capabilities and qualifications. This should be a period of rallying in the streets, shouting with pride that we have a true opportunity to change history and put a black man in the White House. And this rally cry should be lead by our leaders. Yes, Rev. Al, Rev. Jackson, the NAACP...ALL black leaders should be sounding the trumpet to inspire all black people to vote for this historic change.

    Why aren't they ? Rev. Al states that he hasn't heard enough from Obama regarding the issues to make a decision. I find that a bit disingenuous seeing as to how I know where Obama stands on the various issues....and so do the millions of white Obama supporters. Rev. Al also says that Obama may not have enough experience. I find that to be a sadly interesting comment, particularly considering both Rev. Al and Rev. Jackson ran for President with absolutely NO political experience, but never stated that they were too new for the post. (NOTE: Rev. Al knows that Barack Obama has been a U.S. Senator for over 2 years.....and that Abraham Lincoln was a Senator for 2 years....and turned out to be considered one of the greatest Presidents of all time). Rev. Al also states that he is not hearing enough talk from Obama regarding specifically what he will do for the black community. Now common sense should tell all black folks that Obama has to play the political game. Keep in mind, he is running for president of the United States...that means everyone, black, white, hispanic, muslim, jews,and all others. Obama cannot appear as if he will only be concerned with the black community's needs or he has absolutely no chance of winning. Maybe that's where Rev. Al went wrong with his campaign. Does Rev. Al think that Obama should be shouting 'ungawa...Black Power' during each debate ? There is no way that he could do that and expect to win. But once he is President, common sense tells us that he would be more receptive to the needs in the black community than any other candidate. That's just common sense based on what we DO know about Obama. Then some folks want to say he's not 'black enough'. That is the most pathetic thing I've ever heard. First of all, his name is Barack Obama......not like Jesse or Al. Secondly, Obama is half Kenyan.....that's pretty black !!!

    Sometimes I just wonder to myself, why aren't Rev. Al and Rev. Jackson leading the rally to support this historic cause ? Could they be jealous that Obama has already achieved more acceptance than they did during their campaign efforts ? I would hate to think that to be the fact. Or, are they hopeful that Hillary will win because they feel that she will assist them in their personal efforts if elected President ? I hope that too is not the case.....that would be selling out.....and I would never believe either to be sell-outs. But for our leaders to not support Obama is like saying that they feel a white person would do better or more for the black communities, which history has proven is just not the case. Then what can it be ? That is the question. I believe that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be very proud and thankful to see that, in spite of all of the weights that have burdened and held the black community down, one black man has risen to such a level that he is a viable choice to be President of the United States in 2008. I believe that Rev. King would truly lead a powerful movement to change the tide of history. I envision marches, flags, signs, songs, t-shirts, buttons and millions of blacks proudly expressing jubilee for this opportunity to make a real change in our country. WE SHALL OVERCOME....has been our motto for the black struggle for many generations and we are still struggling, in oh so many ways. And we will never overcome, until our leaders wake up, stop 'hatin' and vigorously lead the cause that will truly make a positive difference in our country, in our black community, and in the entire world. Rev. Al....Rev. Jackson....

    It's Time To LEAD !!!

    (Greg 'Peace Song' Jones)

    August 14, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  4. Mary, Rolla, MO

    In a country that's SUPPOSED to be over the racial slurs, this is offensive.Obama is not black, he's not white. He's not racist, either.. and to me, that makes him 100% better than those who make race an issue.Get over it, shut up about it, and get on with life. There's more to life than tripping on stuff you're SUPPOSED to be over.

    August 15, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. RuthieM

    He's black enough. Are you, to vote for him?

    August 16, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Lamar Perryman

    Yes, Obama is Black Enough. He is also doing something that needs to be done
    in that Black Americans become a More Integral part and force within our Own
    Government. That is Black Federalism. It is time that we expand on The Constitutional Destiny of this Nation.

    However, to be more effective with the Black American Voice, I Believe that WE should have our Own National Political Party that represents Black American Interests only.

    Thank You All.

    January 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Rohit

    “On my glory for life as Shiva”The cover of Shiva as Absolute Power had quietly taken over my body’s being in the month of July 2009 for bcnmoieg through play of its essence and power of play over life.When the play through me had become the cover, I got the release from it with my inherent status of Krishna Power complete as Sri Gnash under the Absolute Grace of the Absolute as the Absolute that was standing over the crux of my body of material crux of fortune standing in life of the combined power of Jupiter/Sun/Moon that was taken over straight by my body’s ruling star Mercury that had stood at the time of my body’s birth in life in the year 1936. The ruling star Mercury now has been carried of its status Man gal that had come to be held by the Power of Supreme Light of Lights (SLL). The Power of SLL had related itself with the Blue Power of Supra Cosmos that had presented itself of complete glory and that I relate of Shiva in me as Shiva.Naturally therefore, as explained above, Shiva in me regards my ordinary being as my being of God for God. That is why a question of the self to self had appeared in me to answer with my reply on it sent yesterday as comment pasted on Obama’s uncategorized blog.Now having got myself with clarity for life, I would like to admit “I have all the states of glory imprisoned within me for material life’s progress in my absolute capacity as the ordinary of life in global terms”. I have conveyed this because I am being made to convey like that meaning, the world of life can help me unlock those through the already created new Consciousness of life by bringing the state of my Non Being on it materially into the life of earth as the absolutely normal being of life as I am on my surface consciousness?In material life, the only person who had somewhat touched on me in sympathetic terms was Sara Freder, who also seems stuck with her individual laurels on it and that brings the question of others of life on me who may have been silent under the famous Milton sonnet “they also serve who stand and wait”. I have come to quote this for life because at the time when I was initially individually going through integral transformation of my body and being the wordings of the sonnet had stood for the ordinary in me to live with it. So to conclude on this, I would say indirectly thanks to Milton to what I am today.

    April 27, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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