(Editor’s update: Aaron McGruder responded to his statements in a letter to Clutch, which can be viewed in the comments section below.)

Aaron McGruder, creator of the highly risible and acerbic Boondocks, recently stirred up some things with his flammable comments about Barack Obama’s heritage. To McGruder, Obama’s not really black because he wasn’t the descendant of slaves.

The person who is one of us in the White House is Michelle Obama and her momma,” McGruder said.

As a Boondocks aficionado, I find his statements unsurprising. As a witness of the hysteria involving yesterday’s events, I am astounded. As a student of history and culture, I wonder what A-Mac was thinking.

Never mind the fact that Africans enslaved each other, which facilitated the American slave trade. I’ll even concede him that, because I’m sure he was referring to slaves in the United States. This is actually something that I discussed many times with my friends and associates. They were on the “It doesn’t matter where his dad was born, he’s still black” fence and I was on the “well true, but doesn’t family lineage play some part in how he is perceived and received” fence. It’s amazing how sensitive the biracial component is in this country. Derek Jeter faced similar criticisms from his former teammate Gary Sheffield, who essentially said that Jeter’s treatment from Yankees management was due to his white mother. Tiger Woods refuses to be pigeon-holed into one race and as a result, he faces reproach from the Black community.

So my questions are: Is Obama different because his mixed background put him in a different environment? Or because society saw him differently due to his mixed background? Does Michelle’s blackness legitimate Barack as “black enough” for black folks or is this just a clear and simple commercial of someone drinking the Hater Juice?

For my edification, these questions demand answers.

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  • I see what he is saying, Obama does not share the same experiances that African Americans, or black people in the western hemisphere in general, share through slavery.

    The effects of that experiance on AA can not be dismissed since it has molded the culture and moral values (such as the love affair with outlaws).

    But I think his life as a black man in America balances that.

    But in reality he is “technically” the first black president.

  • Rif Raf

    Aaron is a controversy cat, I love em’ but sometimes he takes the critical thinking too far. In America dude is black. His dad was seen as black. You have some black folks who pass for white with lineage going back to slaves…does that make them more “black” than someone who is seen as and treated as black who doesn’t have lineage reaching back to slavery. I tend to take the diasporic view of black anyway, but I think its especially silly to split hairs on whether your ancestor was here, or there – bottom line 1 drop rule still applies to melanin content.