Why Obama is a Triumph for Mixed-Race Americans, not African Americans


For Thanksgiving I visited my Aunt, my father’s sister, who is a world renowned Chinese ethnomusicologist, a retired music professor at Arizona State University, author, and recent speaker at the Library of Congress in Washington where she lectured on a rare Chinese opera form: Kunqü: China’s First Great Multi-art Theatrical Tradition
.  Professor Marjory Bong-Ray Liu is the sole expert on the form and recently donated decades of research to the Library of Congress. My aunt and my father were the product of a mixed marriage; the children of a bold English explorer mother and Internationalist Chinese father. My father married an English woman, making me quarter Chinese.

I shared Thanksgiving with my Aunt and her grown children. Her husband was Chinese, making their children more than two thirds Chinese. Around the table where the mixed races of Chinese, English, and Japanese. In a sea of dark hair and dark eyes, I was the only cousin with red hair and blue eyes. Everyone talked with pride of their heritage and I found joy in belonging to a family of “mutts.” This brought my Aunt in to the discussion of President-elect Obama. She spoke for all of us in our understanding of this new president as a man of mixed-race and not an African American man. This is not a triumph for African Americans, after all he is half caucasian, this is an undoubtable triumph for a nation built on the mixed races and a changing landscape of all nations, literally mixing together. This is the triumph of the “mutt.” This is a triumph for the millions of mixed-race Americans who make this country strong but also for those who have suffered the racism that goes hand-in-hand with those who are “different.” African American’s may shout the loudest but they are certainly not the only non-caucasians who have suffered in this country. Let’s not forget the Asians, Indians, and hispanics.

Our new president is not a black president, he is and always will be, a mixed-race president.  I am proud of my Chinese and English heritage and the new president who represents all of us who are “mutts” from many great nations.

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