January 24th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
8 years ago

Will Obama have to be better because he's black?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/24/obama.pressure/art.obama.jpg caption="President Obama strides into history as the nation's first black president."](CNN) - Just days before he was sworn in, President Obama was giving his daughters a tour of the Lincoln Memorial when one of them pointed to a copy of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address carved into the wall.

Obama's 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, told her father that Lincoln's speech was really long. Would he have to give a speech as long? Obama's answer was completed by his older daughter, 10-year-old Malia.

"I said, 'Actually, that one is pretty short. Mine may even be a little longer,' " Obama told CNN recently. "At which point, Malia turns to me and says, 'First African-American president, better be good.' "

The story is light-hearted, but it touches on a delicate question: Will people hold Obama to a different standard because he is the first African-American president?

Full story

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. clifford

    Being black has nothing to do with his policies or his agenda. He is who he is! But his policies and his agenda are doomed to fail him!!

    January 24, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Janie, MO

    Yes, this country is still racist, and he's still the first black. He will have to a role model whether he likes it or not. He will have to be a role model whether it's fair or not. That's just how it is.

    January 24, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Curtis

    YEP! It's called the black tax. I am a prime example of this. I have a masters degree and currently writing a dissertation for the completion of my PhD. All my evaluations have been almost identical to my peers, but I am looked over for specific duties and promotions. I am not complaining though, it's just a part of life.

    January 24, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIt

    Unfortunately YES!!! W was elected without how to correctly use the English language. He had to speak with the eloquency of Kennedy to get where he's at.

    January 24, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. tee

    YES, African Americans wre always told, they have to be twice as good
    to be equal.

    January 24, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Gabe

    Can you guys just allow him to be President. Do you have to incite race into everything? He has to be better because the country can't afford someone worse than Bush. CNN is making this about race. The American people are making it about renewal.


    January 24, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. AJ

    This story is enough to make me puke.

    January 24, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    #44 is human. Only the media wants him to be better because he's black and they backed him in 2008.

    January 24, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. T. Mckinley

    Unfortunatly, Obama WILL be held to a different standard because he is black. There are millions of racists in this country who voted for McCain because they didn't want a black man to become President.

    Now that Obama is President, he is going to have to be more than good. He is going to have to be exceptional. If not, those millions of racists are going to be gloating over EVERY mistake he makes.

    I believe Obama understands that if we are to ever have another African-American president, at least in the near future, he is going to have to be an OUTSTANDING President.

    January 24, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Obama has to be better because we deserve better.

    January 24, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Kimberly from Houston, TX


    January 24, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. susie

    It has nothing to do with race. He has to be better because he said he would!!

    January 24, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. chuck


    January 24, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. tee

    Yes, African Americans are not allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. Automatically your deem as not being able to do the job.

    January 24, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Obama 2.0

    No, but he is better because he is brilliant and values wisdom.

    January 24, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. pam

    What kind of ridiculous question is this? I am so sick and tired of hearing how Obama is Black. Who cares?!!! He is a man who unfortunately in my opinion was voted into the most powerful office in the world. Are you asking this question as a set up so when he fails everyone will say it is because of predujuce and people did not give him his due because he is black? He actually is multi-racial if we want to get right down to it. Lets judge him based on his actions not based on his skin.

    January 24, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Dr. Nick Grewal

    No he will not have to be Better because he is black. That is just silly . He will have to be better because the stakes are higher now.

    January 24, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Albo58

    The race card has only been played by the very people who attribute all their own personal failures to the color of their skin or the party that has exploited the "injustices" of those same folks! Now hear this, most Americans are Not under any illusions about the uphill climb President Obama will have to do during his term. If he fails to accomplish all those promises he made during his campaign, then most Americans will attribute it to things like his leadership/management style, competence of his cabinet, or maybe the partisan politics of the Congress. One thing is certain, most Americans WILL NOT ATTRIBUTE HIS FAILURES TO THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN!!!

    January 24, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. annjeannette jordan

    yes, yes, yes

    January 24, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. jason, tx

    no, he will simply be better because he's smart. his skin color matters not.

    January 24, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Deb

    Being an African American Woman I think the fixation of Obama's Presidency is apparent. Unfotunately this fixation comes with a double edge sword. Everything he chooses to do will be under the microscope (Campbell Brown gives a good example of this). I don't know of a President who has come to office (at such trying times in America History) and has immediately gone to work and has tried with every effort to work in a bipartisan manner. However, he is not given much of a chance by some and is already scrutinize by petty silly people. So the answer is yes, he will be held to a higher standard but it would be the same if he was any other race other than caucasian

    January 24, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Ryan Erik de Nuevo Mexico

    This story is a ridiculous notion.....and if it were true wouldn't bother me if he was a good or bad president JUST because he was black

    January 24, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. Kendall

    As an african American I was alwways expected to do better than my white peers, but the pressure ddin't come from the whites it came from those in my own ( black) community, So based on my experience which is only 24 years living, I'd bet he's expected to do well because he raised the bar so high himself, but like most successful people regardless of race I'd bet he's used to it.

    January 24, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. legal in nc

    Not because he's black but he will because the media and the radical left have built him up to be the "savior" of the world. Even being a conservative I don't see how this man can live up to the hype that has been placed on him.

    January 24, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Dianne

    I think this "black talk" is a little out of line. He is human and more importantly our President. Lets all move on, it is time to be hopeful.

    January 24, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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