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President Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, Kamala Harris, and the New World Order of Race in America

02/24/2015 09:10 am ET | Updated Apr 26, 2015
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"What race is President Barack Obama?"

"What race is famous golfer Tiger Woods?"

"Are they both African-Americans?" "Are they biracial?" "Are they racially mixed?"

These are the taboo-filled questions now being whispered in the white-on-white halls of power throughout American society and around the world. Indeed, the somewhat racially ambiguous identities of a growing number of people is leading us into a new world order of race and racial classifications.

Ever since Eldrick "Tiger" Woods' remarkable initial victory at the Masters, social media has been abuzz while desperately searching for a racial label to impose on him.

The fact that Tiger happens to be an incredible athlete is not enough.

Nor is the fact that he is a well-spoken, gifted person who has made some personal missteps. In American society, it seems necessary to place people into pre-determined racial categories. I call this the racial black box.

The very idea that someone can be a member of two or more racial groups is unacceptable to some.

"Are you black or white?" "Are you Latino or Asian?" "Are you this or that?" "You can't be both!"

Too often in America, people of mixed ethnic parentage are often forced to make a permanent choice.

Thus, a person who is both black and white may be forced by social pressure to choose the black identity and neglect the white one or vice-versa.

In his bestselling book, "The Audacity of Hope", President Obama writes eloquently about his search for a firm and stable racial identity rather than shifting ambiguously from one identity to the other.

Ultimately, Barack Obama, who has a black Kenyan father and a white American mother, chose to identify solely with a black, African American identity. But why didn't President Obama choose to identify as white? Would America and the world have accepted him if he had claimed to be a white man?

This vicious and unnecessary cycle of forced choices often prevents the individual from simply enjoying the best of both and all racial identities.

As an African-American who chose to convert to Judaism, I am sometimes confronted by people who do not believe that one can be both "black" and "Jewish."

They have been taught to accept the false stereotype that all Jewish people have light skin and dark curly hair and Semitic noses.

Similarly, they believe the vapid generalization that all blacks are Christians or Muslims.

Thus, it is difficult for them to accept someone who disproves their narrowly formed preconceived notions.

Barack Obama and Tiger Woods' popularity has increased not only because many consider them to be a black Americans, but also because many consider them to be multiracial just like the American social fabric. I think Obama and Woods steadfastly refuse to deny any aspect of their rich heritage, and eloquently pay tribute to all those races, traditions, and cultures. Many races equals many riches and many choices.

Tiger transcends racial categories and presents himself as a universal human being, a mensch. Indeed, by refusing to choose a single race he challenges society's close-minded obsession with skin tone, complexion, hair texture, and facial features.

I can recall being deeply affected by the racial divide at an early age. As one of a few blacks in an all-white, upper-middle-class called Lowell Elementary School in Long Beach, California, I was well accepted by my peers both black and white. Then I fell in love with Jennifer, a blond girl with sky-blue eyes.

Because of our innocent third-grade relationship we were subjected to name-calling and racial epithets. Only when Jennifer died later that year of a brain hemorrhage did the other kids realize how much pain they had caused. Only my white girlfriend's death brought an end to the racial persecution and terminated the inquisition of skin color.

I learned that it is wrong to categorize people by race because it can only lead to racial division and misunderstanding. Thus, racial obsession breeds racism.

When I'm asked what race Tiger Woods is, I respond, "The human race." When I'm asked President Obama's race, I reply, "He's a child of God." To me, they are neither black nor white nor brown. They are human beings who utilize their talent to do incredible things.

In my competitive campaign for United States Senator here in California, my main opponent is Attorney General Kamala Harris who is both black Jamaican and East Indian. However, I accept Harris as a beautiful, talented, attractive, smart, compassionate, and strong woman who is a socio-political tour de force. She is a rainbow of races.

It is foolhardy to reduce a complex human being to something as simplistic as race. Every child knows that one should not judge a book by its cover. Racial categories inevitably evaluate people based upon outward appearances. America's racial obsession judges the book by its cover. And this is the fundamental injustice. It's time for a new world order of race and an end to racism.

Mark Charles Hardie is a candidate for United States Senate in California (2016). An attorney, Mr. Hardie is a veteran of both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). His critically acclaimed autobiography is titled "Black & Bulletproof: An African American Warrior in the Israeli Army" (New Horizon Press, New Jersey, 2010).