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What did Obama mean when he said, "To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully"?

In his book "Dreams from My Father", Obama retells a story he had with a classmate whose father was Italian and her mother part African, part French, and part Native American....he asked her if she was going to the Black Students' Association in which she replied, "I'm not black, I'm multiracial and why should I have to chose between them"? So....does this in a way make all of us multiracial including Obama? Why is it that we all seem to pick one race over the other when in fact most of us come from multiracial heritage????

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:30 PM on Oct. 8, 2008 in Politics & Current Events

Answers (5)
  • As a bi-racial woman (half Chinese, half Mexican) I don't always have a choice as to what ethnicity I am identified as. Because I look mostly Chinese, people automatically assume I am Asian and refer to me as such, not really knowing I am half. Similar to Obama (who is only ever referred to as "black"), I am usually only referred to as Asian. Doctors, teachers, everyone assumes that I am "Asian" even though they may not know which race (Chinese, Japanese, etc) and even though I was raised in the Mexican culture, I have little to say about it. Personally, I identify as bi-racial, but can easily say that I know more about Mexican culture, religion, and traditions. So in answer, I don't think us bi-racial people get to pick one race or the other, it's those around us who look at us and decide what we are based on how we look.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:05 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • Its not necessarily how you see yourself but how others see you.

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 2:23 PM on Oct. 8, 2008


    Answer by heatherama at 2:34 PM on Oct. 8, 2008


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:46 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • I pick the race that my parents are, and my grandparents are. If everyone can just be what they actually are then it would really help.

    Answer by SylviaNCali at 4:09 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

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