Is Obama Guilty of Insufficient Blackness?

02/15/2007 05:23 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The week brought many surprises. After 371 years and 27 white, male presidents of varying quality, Harvard University decided to take a trip on the wild side and let a woman run things.

In the category of news we can use, British businessman Richard Branson offered a $25 million prize to the person who comes up with a process to remove a billion tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere. We should all get cracking.

And in the man bites dog category is this startling finding: Consumer Reports says the new McDonald's Premium Roast coffee is better than Starbucks' ``burnt and bitter'' brew.

By far, the biggest recent surprise is that it turns out Senator Barack Obama isn't black. I could have sworn he was, observing him at both large and small events. But I don't count. I can check out the relative merits of a venti coffee versus a Golden Arches' decaf, but not who high-profile leaders in the African-American community find acceptable.

Obama, the argument goes, hasn't suffered through the usual minority struggles as most blacks who arrived here as slaves, or their descendants, did.

True enough. His mother grew up in Hawaii and at 18 married a Kenyan economics student. After her husband went off to Harvard to continue his studies and then back to Africa without his family, Obama's mother married an Indonesian oil executive and moved her 6-year-old son to Jakarta. When that marriage ended, Obama and his mother moved back to Honolulu, where they lived with his grandparents, who scraped together the tuition for the city's top prep school.

Read the whole column here.