Imagine if Obama's wife
was white, asks African-American author
By Manish Chand
Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) In a fresh insight into complex race
relations in the US, iconic African-American author and academic
Ali Mazrui says Barack Obama would not have been in the White
House if he were married to a white woman.
ranked by a British magazine as one of the top 100 public
intellectuals in the world, also prophesied that the US will
have its first Muslim president in another 40 years.
Obama had chosen a white woman as his wife, that would have
decisively destroyed his presidential hopes," the Kenya-born
Mazrui, who has lived and taught in the US for nearly three
decades and boasts personal equations with leading public
figures in the US, told IANS in an interview here.
because the Americans are not comfortable with the prospect
of a White First Lady married to a black president. They are
not able to accept horizontal inter-raciality," said
Mazrui, Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities at State
University of New York.
US is used to vertical interraciality. Nobody is outraged
when you are born to parents of mixed race. Sixty percent
of black people in the US have mixed parentage," said
Mazrui, who enjoys personal rapport with many African heads
US is home to around 40 million African-Americans who comprise
13.8 percent of the total US population.
was a greater acceptance of Obama's mixed parentage because
he did not choose his parents. But he chose his wife,"
he said while stressing that Obama's promise of restoring
America's image and his message of hope combined with his
charisma and brilliant Internet-driven fund-raising strategy
finally won America.
a rare insight into the unstated complex racial chemistry
in the US, Mazrui said Obama was not a darling of African-Americans
as they thought neither of his parents were African-Americans.
"In fact, Andrew Yang (civil rights leader and a former
mayor of Atlanta), went to the extent of saying that Bill
Clinton was as black as Barack Obama. Obama was seen as black
in colour, but not culturally black."
fact, it worked to Obama's advantage that he was brought up
by a white mother and his Kenyan father did not have much
role in his upbringing," he said.
was compensated by his wife Michelle who is a quintessential
African-American," Mazrui underlined.
eventually African-Americans rallied around in large numbers
when they saw he had a good chance to win the White House
and thought by voting for him they would set a good precedent
and be part of this historic process."
also director of The Institute of Global Cultural Studies,
Binghamton University, and the author of seminal books like
"The African Predicament" and "The American
Experience: A Tale of Two Edens" was in India to attend
an international conference on African resurgence.
also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his contemporary at
Oxford University, and gifted him a signed copy of his latest
book "Euro Jews and African Arabs: The Great Semitic
Divergence in World History".
is surprised that nobody has commented on another "staggering
phenomenon" - the US having a black president before
it could have a Jewish president as Jews control crucial levers
of power in the US.
Jews have outperformed blacks in every field except sports.
Now, a black man has outperformed the Jewish genius by winning
the White House," he said.
although the US may have got its first black president, there
is no black left in the US Senate after Obama resigned his
Senate seat from Chicago, Illinois.
the last 100 years, there have been only two black senators,
including Obama, So far there have been only five black senators
in the 200-year history of the US," he said.