Even though "he could have checked white, checked both black and white, or checked the last category on the form, 'some other race,' which he would then have been asked to identify in writing." In the last census, in 2000, 6.8 million Americans opted to present themselves as bi- or multi-racial. Presumably, a lot more people will do that in 2010. Why didn't Obama?
The census form, we should see, extracts an opinion about race from us. And what do we think of the opinion of the President who, some of us thought, would move us into a new era of race?
My first thought was that he disrespected his mother and maternal grandparents, who contributed so much more to his upbringing than his father ever did. My second thought was that his experiences in society, including his rise into vast political power, had so much to do with being perceived as black (and not white). My third thought was that he wants to preserve his designation as The First Black President. He's into himself as a historical figure, and First Mixed Race President doesn't have the same cachet — and there'd be all those pesky arguments about whether he was the first. Out on the internet, I'm seeing claims that various former Presidents — Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge — had a mixed racial ancestry. I can see not wanting to get bogged down in that.