Powell, Obama, and Their not Born African American Advantage

Powell, Obama, and Their not Born African American Advantage

In the 1995 republican presidential nominee race many conservative republicans wanted Colin Powell to run as the republican candidate. If Powell had run and won the nomination he would have run against President Bill Clinton in 1996. He refused to be a candidate, he said he had no passion for politics. Barack Obama was elected president and it possibly could have been Colin Powell who would have become the first black president (president with visible black ancestry).

How come white conservatives felt comfortable with Obama and Powell being presidential nominees but not Rev Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, black republican Alan Keyes, and other African American candidates?

The reason is because Obama and Powell were not born to African American parents.

Colin Powell’s father and mother came from Jamaica, and Colin was born in Harlem, New York in America. Therefore, he is not an African American by birth. He is a Jamaican Caribbean American by birth. He is first generation American, and the child of two Jamaican immigrant parents. He has grown up in black American culture but he is not a black American by birth, and this not being a black American by birth counts in the eyes of white conservatives.

Barack Obama is not an African American by birth either — his father was a black man from Kenya, Africa and his mother was a white American. Obama is biracial and Colin Powell is a multigenerational mixed race man. Powell has white and black ancestors in his family tree. Powell is a republican and Obama is a Democrat, and the fact that many conservatives liked both of them shows that it was the fact that they were not African Americans by birth.

Powell had grown up culturally African American but not African American by birth. Obama had grown up in an Indonesian culture and white American culture but was not African American by birth or culture. This proves, that it was the fact, that both had not been born to African American parents or one African American parent that gave them the advantage of being liked by whites.

Obama and Powell do not come across as hostile and angry at America for all of the injustices that America has done to people of black ancestry. Powell has criticized former republican president Ronald Regan’s administration. Powell said that the Regan administration was very racist, and even after saying this many white conservatives still wanted him to become president.

It’s the way he said it, he said it with no hatred in his heart, and they can sense that. Whites feel that a person born African American would be hostile and use the presidency to seek revenge on whites if elected. The reality is also, that Obama is not the first African American president. He is the first biracial president with black ancestry because he has no African American parent. When will there be an African American president born biracial with an african american parent or two African American parents? So not being born an African American was is a benefit to both men. 


  1. mike

    Take it a step further. Any American Black that is not hostile to White America is called “not Black” by many American Blacks. As a white conservative, I would vote for a Clarence Thomoas or a Walter Willimas type. But the only “Black enough Black” for too many Blacks is a hostile one. So Authentic Black = Hostile to America. Whites know it and now have another reason to be against Blacks. Its a viscous cycle. So for Blacks, Obama isn’t the first Black president because, if he turns out to not be hostile to America, he won’t count.

  2. Chance

    But they also said Bill Clinton was the first black president. The question is was Clinton Hostile enough towards America and whites?

  3. mike

    They said Clinton was the first Black president but they didn’t mean it. They didn’t get excited about him like Obama. He was just the best they could get. His southern and rural style appealed to some Blacks. That’s all. “They” have a hard time with Bill Cosby. They can’t say he’s not Black, but he is against rebelling against White America. He is for self improvement and success and becoming a productive part of America. These used to be Black values. Then the “Authentic Black Identity” movement came and now they aren’t good enough for the “activist” Blacks.

  4. Chance

    Now that brings us to ask ourselves what is good enough for the activists, and what should they start promoting among black Americans since these activist have so much power.

  5. mike

    Interesting question Chance. But I suspect that they don’t have real power. I suspect they are only able to agitate and disrupt and get money for themselves. To really build individuals and build communities, that power I don’t see in them. If they would vanish, perhaps White America could assimilate Black America and create some feeling of unity in the country. Like the military has been able to do to some extent. On the other hand, White America is facing a very serious identity crisis on its own, as liberals and ahtiests tear at the fabric of this society.

  6. Chance

    I agree that they really can’t build individuals and communities because they are limited in many areas character wise, and know how wise themselves. White America would never assimilate black America because white America inherited their opinions about blacks from their forefathers. These opinions where not good either, thus the black stereotypes. In the future this will be possible because of the interracial marriages combined with death of the older generations of whites.

    The liberals and the atheists? Some people would say it is conservatives also that are contributing to the decline of America. There is enough blame to go around. Some whites feel that if non whites where not here in America it would be a better place.

  7. Arthur Ward

    I’m still confused by your language when you say “mixed” – “biracial” – “african-american.” Now my dumb self used to think that one of the characteristics of african-american genetics is the admixture of African, European and Native American elements. You seem to look at Blacks as if we are some kind of “pure” race. Did miss something?

    What were the race of the children produced by slaves and the slavemasters and slavetraders? And if they were “biracial” – what race were the children produced by two “biracial” slaves?

    And then a child that was produced by an African black man, and an American white woman – is not African-American? But mixed? Is the two children he produced with a (Chance Approved) African-American woman “mixed” or African-American (both parents and both children were born in the United States).

    What if both his parents were African-American but he was born in Indonesia? Then what?

  8. Chance

    When I speak of mixed it depends on what context I use it in. I could use it in biracial or multigenerational mix. African Americans are mixed but they are called black and call themselves black and black is a racial identity. So therefore, since as a collective they don’t call themselves mixed race and prefer to call themselves black they are therefore, seen as black in the eyes of many whites and nothing more. Therefore, phenotype in destiny in America.

  9. Well

    I do think that some white people may have likley voted for Obama because he is biracial but I also think it had more to do with his excellent speeches and the promises that he made as well of the fact that people are looking for change. He might be biracial but his physical features are closer to African American which means that he has faced the same discrimination as mostly all African Americans have or will in thier lifetime .I dont think he can be compared to Colin Powell
    who I feel is an uncle Tom

  10. Chance

    How is Powell an uncle Tom, Colin Powell has spoken out against racism directed at blacks. Powell also supported affirmative action, and Powell also said that the Regan administration was a racist presidential administration.
    He does not always agree with white conservatives.

  11. Hey, just ran across your blog four years late. But this is what I’ve been telling people ever since Obama won the first time around. And I completely understand this phenomenon, especially because Im a Jamaican who lived in the US from 1980-2001. I live in Japan now. But you’re one hundred percent right. I don’t think there will be an African American, non-biracial, Negro (covering all my terminology here, so that Im clearly understood) president who hails from two African American, Negro parents. never.

    By the way, you were wrong on some things. Colin and Barack ARE both biracial African Americans. they are both born in America (which makes them Americans) and they’re both of half african descent, which qualifies the “African” part. Contrary to what you stated, Colin powell is biracial. both his parents are Jamaicans, but his father is of African descent and his mother is of Scottish descent. There is a small Scottish minority in Jamaica. (Remember Jamaica was a british colony. So, both men are African Americans by birth and both are biracial. Obama’s father is from Kenya (african) and his mother is from America (american). Hence Obama is an African American, especially since he was born there. By they way, I have some friends from Egypt who bore kids in the US. Their kids are African-Americans.

    The more important point you wanted to make is that, whilst both men are African Americans by birth, they are not culturally African Americans. Ever since my initial arrival on American soil at 15 back in 1980, it was blatantly obvious to me that effective contemporary African American leadership will come from outside the typical African American cultural dynamic, hence outside the US. Non American cultured Africans are less angry. Don’t get me wrong, African Americans who are descendants of slaves in the US, have all right to be angry. However, its not conducive to effective leadership. All it does is alienate European Americans, who are the economic majority. And thats my very late 2 cents. But if you’d like to read a good book about what its like to be black in Japan, check out my book, Black Passenger Yellow Cabs: A Memoir of Exile and Excess in Japan. Let me know what you think.

  12. I really like some of the comments here especially Arthur Ward’s back in 2008…

    I personally think that our representative democracy is archaic and furthermore that it has been gamed by corporations and special interests… After all they have had since 1776 to figure out how to pull the strings on the nation…

    If the United States of America where a genuine democracy then we would vote directly for laws like Sweden…

    Politicians livelihoods are contingent on soliciting sponsors and votes… and the very rich actually just gamble their money on backing whichever front man they think can win over the public and be at their mercy when they need him/her…

    Everything is for sale in America even political offices effectively…

  13. Conrad

    True, Obama and Powell are less then a threat
    because they had the best of both worlds so to speak, sheltered and guarded to a point, not really touched by discrimination, but shielded
    from it, as best there parents could, until adulthood . Educated in a excellent environment and the rest is history.

  14. Joe Nations

    The answer to when there will be an African American American president that is not biracial is never. All the president’s are related and trace their blood line to British royalty, including Obama through his mother.




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