Would We Still Back Barack Obama if He Were Married to a White Woman?

May 8, 2012  |  

I’m going to cut right to the chase and pose this question straight up: Would African-American support for President Barack Obama be the same if Michelle Obama were a white woman? Oh Snap! No she didn’t just go there? Oh, yes I did.

I am a firm believer that we must be upfront about race relations in this country instead of acting like it isn’t worthy of discussion. Folks think about and act on their prejudices every single day, so there should be no reason why we don’t talk openly and honestly about race.

With that disclaimer, last week, the blogosphere had its attention on an excerpt from a new biography about the President called, “Barack Obama: The Story,” by David Maraniss. The excerpt from the yet to be released book focuses on the relationship the President had with Genevieve Cook, a 25-year-old Australian-born (white) Park Slope elementary school teacher, whom he met will living in New York City. Through observations from her diary, we learn that they first met at an east village Christmas gathering and he wooed her back to his apartment with promises of grub. They small talked on an orange bean bag chair before moving the conversation to the bedroom.

They were together for a while, at one point living together. Yet almost immediately Cook said that she began to notice that while the “sexual warmth” was definitely present, Obama, at many times, was also distance and wary in their relationship.  On time, he confessed to Genevieve his ideal image of the perfect woman, which he described at as strong, upright and a fighter, “a black woman I keep seeing her as,” she said.

Overall, I thought the piece interesting in that we get to see a more intimate side of a young Obama, which by most accounts is considered to be calm, deliberate and hard to read by most in the press. But besides the tawdry stuff about his relationship with this particular woman, we also get to see a black man of mixed backgrounds trying to find his place in both culture and society. The reference to him carrying around and rereading a tattered copy of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, a story all about black identity, I found very endearing.

Of course, not everyone felt that way. A few friends of mine on Facebook questioned the timing of the release of the excerpt and its overall agenda. Some thought that some of the passages in the book, particularly finding out about his prior relationships with white women, would further question Obama’s blackness and drill down the narrative that Obama doesn’t really have a connection to the black community. I brushed it off until I began reading similar sentiments expressed in the comment section, mostly on black sites, which too covered this story. Comments such as:

“Couldn’t make it past the second page of this rubbish.  Do better, GOP! “

 “Well from what I was told president o was a virgin before he met his Mrs. right and on top of that I also recall hearing that Mrs. O was his only girlfriend *shrugs*”

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  • SK

    Wow, I’m a young white woman, and after reading I realized a few things about myself. 1.) I probably would’ve still voted for him, but Obama would not be such an awesome guy to me. 2.) There really is still a lot of racism in television. I guess because I’m not a black woman, I didn’t notice how black women are portrayed as single mothers or unmarriable a disproportionate amount. Michelle Obama is an amazing woman from what I’ve seen. She seems very warm, has done a lot to support her husband, but she has her own projects she’s working on too. She a perfect example of a wonderful woman. The Obama family is a perfect example of a family. And they’re black. Our first lady and first family make me feel good because I don’t feel afraid that I’m subconsciously racist. I also feel like I don’t have to feel that embarrassment at being born white, because I can feel like the USA is better than all that racist crap now (not totally, but it’s still a milestone). It also make me feel that I can overcome any of my obstacles as well. I don’t care, I’ll admit it, the Obama family’s race matters to me, and I like that they are African-American. And I don’t think that’s wrong.

  • George

    He wouldn’t have made it as a candidate married to a white woman in the first place.

    • Devin Clarke

      Very well said…

  • FoolishU

    People have nothing else better to do. That’s the reason the US is a mess today. Grow UP!!! Every

  • Fakeer Raheem

    The issue of whether or not to support President Obama if he were married to a white woman is really unfair, because his mother and grand-mother is/were white women.  Therefore, he is used to being in the arms of and held by a white woman; and, as the son of a white woman, who he holds in high esteem, I am surprised that he isn’t married to a white woman! 
    Bi-racial (African American) men are quite often drawn to white women for the very reasons I stated earlier. In other words, it’s natural. This argument is usually so one sided, it’s pathetic.  Seldom is the issue of ‘black’ women and ‘white’ men given the same scrutiny; and, even then, the African American women are applauded for getting someone with bank; which is another racist myth/stereotype.
    All ‘white’ men are not rich; some are as broke as any brutha/brudda man around.
    I heard a famous comedian say (about the stupidity of racism): ‘We had better learn to get along with each other and come together before it’s too late…..because we are the only ones left who speak English’.

    • Devin Clarke

      Oh shut up

  • Ifuaskme2

    Love how Blacks vote for President. High expectations indeed!

    • ann

      Your implication is insulting. No question was asked of Blacks when both candidates were white. However, because this President happens to be Black this had to be the ONLY qualifying reason for Black people to vote for him. Disgusting.

      I was for HIllary long before I was for Barack. According to your reasoning I must have only been for Hillary because she and I are both women. You’re an idiot!

      • Ifuaskme2

        So tell me thang, what was Hilary’s record before she ran for President? Face the facts. This election brought out more minorities to the voting booth than ANY election prior (Clinton included). Of course they voted for him based on color. Why? Because no one knew a damn thing about him before that election. And if they did, they didn’t care. Get off your soapbox and face the truth. I’ll be the idiot who told it like it is.

    • Devin Clarke

      How how have white folks voted for president over the past couple hundred years?..oh that’s what I thought

  • Wisdom

    NO. Black America (and white America) wouldn’t have backed him to the same degree had he some white woman on his arm. There would be many implications, most already mentioned in the comments. 

    I also agree its surprising that the son of a white woman married Black. That is very rare. Typically they are more comfortable with white women. After all, that’s the had that rocked the cradle and there’s heavy implications in that too.

    • ann

      Very nice. I haven’t heard or read that saying in a very long time: “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”

      Not all Black men with white mothers marry white women, because believe it or not, not all white women are “good” mothers. If that were the case you would not have so many white kids taking guns to school and killing other students, serial killers, or sexual deviants. It pisses me off this narrative that white women are some how better parents than Black women, when the truth is financial stability is the advantage in parenting. If more Black women had the werewithal to remain home and be hands on mothers without the stress of bringing in a living wage paycheck things would turn around for Black families.

  • Guest

    Black people probably wouldn’t support him as much,but he would’ve still been elected. The mostly white electoral college got Obama into the White House, not black people. Their support helped, but it wasn’t a decisive factor.

  • Guest

    Black people probably wouldn’t support him as much,but he would’ve still been elected. The mostly white electoral college got Obama into the White House, not black people. Their support helped, but it wasn’t a decisive factor.

    • Veherndo

      The question posed was specifically about African American support NOT the mostly white electoral college. However, I will respond for both with a resounding NO. We are too biased as a society and race to find this acceptable in a President. Neither African Americans nor the white populace would have supported or elected President Obama if his wife were white. You can choose to believe otherwise and I have a nice bridge I would like to sell you along with some oceanfront property in Arizona.

    • ann

      What? Who are you trying to convince with your deliberate insult? You’re trying to down play the contribution of Blacks, even in this? smh. You are disgusting and it explains why you signed in as a guest and not as yourself.

      Trying to appear reasonable while slapping down any notion that our contribution was irrelevant and negligible, at best.

      There are more than 40 MILLION BLACK AMERICANS in America. Of, the Blacks that voted President Obama received 98% of the vote. Please don’t tell US that our votes did not matter.

      White people voted for him, yes, but THEY DID NOT ELECT HIM ON THEIR OWN. You self-conscious white people are always needing to seek an advantage over Blacks by slapping them down with back handed comments.

      Please go work on yourself.

      • Devin Clarke

        That was well said,I picked up on that too..like white people put him in office..the second term around he got less than 50% of the white vote.

  • Jus’ Sayin’

    1) Every college educated brother who went to an ivy league school has had a white woman; and usually more than 1;
    2) If he had married Ms. Cook, his life trajectory would have changed, and that person woyld not be the Barack that we now know;and to directly answer the question3) HELL TO THE NAW

  • LuckyDucky

    He would not have made it to the white house, that’s for sure.

  • Gimmeabreak78

    One of the things I admired about President Obama after having read “Dreams From My Father” is that he was very deliberate in choosing his identity because he realized that one wasn’t just handed to him.  While many people properly credit Michelle Obama for being a wonderful black woman in his life, I was also struck by how his Kenyan sister Auma, was portrayed as very wise, sophisticated, elegant, and observant in the book.  In other words, long before Barack Obama knew what a Michelle Obama was, he had already seen and been around beautiful black women whom he respected and could make him think.

    I think Barack’s story would have been entirely different if he had married a white woman.  For one thing, I don’t see him attending Jeremiah Wright’s church with a white wife.  For another thing, there is no way he would have been elected President with a white wife.  Too many black and white people would have been uncomfortable with that because it plays on long-held racial fears and resentments. 

  • That’s a really good question…..I think we all know the answer to that question.

  • lovessoldier

    Really Madame NOIRE?  Why would you even pose that type of question?  The reality is he is married to a BEAUTIFUL, EDUCATED woman of COLOR.  I am HIGHLY disappointed in this title and article, it serves to further divide the races.  Race baiting should be left to the racists, if we are truly envisioning a CHANGE then judge him on what policies he has drafted to protect women and children if this truly is a minority website geared towards WOMEN OF COLOR.    I find this post RUDE to say the least.  Educate don’t divide.

    • Gimmeabreak78

      Why shouldn’t they ask the question?  It’s a thought-provoking question that merits discussion.  As black people, we always ask what-ifs in situations where we think race plays a factor in the outcome of a scenario. 

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  • kay

    not ashamed to say, when i first began hearing of Barak Obama and how he could be potus i assumed he would have a white wife, but was pleasantly surprised and an immediate fan when I saw what Michelle looked like. A black wife AND black children! “wow” i thought to myself, “maybe he does get it”, know what I mean?.  A person’s choice of spouse says alot about who they are and provides a basis for how they feel on many sunjects.   To me, him having a smart, attractive , successful black wife meant that he values this (black) woman as his lover, partner and equal  – it meant alot to me and definitely  made him more favorable imo

  • Guest1234

    Nobody would respect him.  Shoot….white folks don’t even respect black men who marry white women.  Little known fact:  All men get more respect for marrying black women.  It’s just that the dumbass black men don’t know that.  

    Example:  I married a white man.  And I kid you not, any time I met one of his bosses at a work-related function, HE got a raise. They gave mad props to a white guy with a black wife.  There’s something about us that commands respect. It makes the guy look like he’s got it goin’ on. Black men who run away from us look weak, ineffectual, stupid.  

    So.  No.  

    • Mls2698

      Girl, he’s just a good worker, and plays the ” go to the functions” game.

    • BabaPuppe

      Lol you sound incredibly insecure.

    • SK

      Actually, I bet you’re right. I mean I’m sure he works hard too, but I think there is something about having a black wife that means your a decent guy. I think it’s partly because for some reason, it seems like black women are generally more strong and independent, and the stereotype anyway is they take crap from no man. Also, it seems more politically correct to not marry your own race, especially if your race is white. But still, mostly the first one I think. And you’re speaking your mind pretty straight forwardly, so I’m guessing your are a strong, independent black woman whose respect must be earned. You have a lucky husband.

  • NOPE!

  • GeekMommaRants

    Well, since the President was introduced to the nation by Oprah Winffey, who publicly called for his election, I’m going with No.  The majority of Americans are NOT comfortable with Black man white woman marriages.  Not at all. 

    If Michelle was white, the Obama family would have stayed in Chicago. 

  • Flystateofmind09

    Honestly I don’t think so. I think black people wanted the whole black experience with a black family.

    • Vickybelieve

      What if we have a white president married to a black woman?

      • Vintagebrat

        i don’t think anybody is ready for that one

  • Jess

    this is a very color conscious country we live in and some black people are no different. i didn’t vote for Michelle, nor did I vote for skin color. maybe one day we can all get past what you look like on the exterior, and look at the interior, but i seriously doubt it. you can’t change hate, by hating back. and a lot of us are hell bent on hating back.

    • activist1

      I totally agree. I like Mrs. Obama because she seems really nice, not because she’s black. If she were the same way but white I’d like. I appreciate her as a person not as a race, but I agree, I’m voting for a president not his/her spouse.

  • 40colors

    Michelle Obama is a woman I believe is eloquoent, sophistcated and very rare in out time ,She  represents my black people & shows the world we can be looked up too! The fact that she’s black makes her essential to this time erra Right now! She’s is what every Blk woman should model themselves after. Our first black family in the White House is the Emancipation from every stereo type of black, African American, colored people still insultingly bridles. NO, I would  not pay as much attention if Obama was married to a white woman.

  • FromUR2UB

    I would have expected that a biracial man raised by his white mother and grandparents, would have had a preference for white women.  Generally, intelligent, successful black men seeking white women for wives has become trite and predictable.  They appear to act under the presumption that a black woman who can compliment them is far-fetched…an anomaly. So, it’s refreshing that a highly accomplished black man, or one who looks black, chose an equally accomplished black woman for his wife.   That definitely had some influence on me.

  • Ms_Mara

    Some of Black America would have a problem with him, and I think some (more) of White America would dislike him too. I could easily see that scenario rubbing folks the wrong way. 

  • Black America wouldn’t support him, the way they do, now. 

  • “Chasing Becky”. What a downright stupid phrase. So if someone of one race dates someone of another, there’s an instant negative connatation attached to it. If he dates a white woman, he was “chasing” her? How about if he *gasp* LIKED her?! Shocking, I know.

    And him marrying a black woman suddenly makes him acceptable?  What if he had married an Latina? Would he had been “Chasing Consuela”?

    I’m so tired of the judgement of someone dating outside of their race as them doing something “wrong”. Date who you like. Love who you love.

    Yes, there are people who are self-loathing, but some of those people are in relationships with someone of their own ethnicity as well….

    • roni2012

      Oh hush!

    • corbeau

      You have the following illness: DABMS
      Dumb A** Black Man Syndrone
      Get some help.

    • Stans4Forreals

      Just remember – just as a person has the right to date how they want a person has the right to vote/support the way they want & I happen to agree with those who say Obama would not be president if his wife was white! Harold Ford shows Obama would have had a hard time getting elected Senator with a white wife! Some people just aren’t with it..

      • Yes, and those people would be called bigots. If a white person express the same views, they’d be screamed down as racists.

        • Jess

          so true. voting color does nothing but take away from the ligitamacy of the way we each think as individuals. if the shoe was on the other foot and Romney had a black wife, he’d be president. it’s beyond ridiculous. this election, this country would be better off voting for “none of the above”, lol!

    • Janis

       What you fail to realize is that most brothers who date non-black women perceive us in a negative stereotypical way. Most brothers that date nbw have issues with their own blackness. I think we all can agree on that ! So to answer the question presented in the article from a black woman’s perspective the answer is NO. You know 9 times out of 10 he doesn’t view you in a positive light. Therefore he will not have your best interest in mind. Why would I vote for him and the majority of his type wouldn’t spit on me ( their own kind) if I was on fire. Not saying all are like that but come on you have to admit more than most are ! Politics are about what you can do for the people of your country. What could I trust such a person to do for me ?

      • activist1

        “I think we all can agree on that.” I disagree because i know for a fact that some quite a few it really is about love. If someone would not vote for him because he married a white woman, I’d think something is wrong with them, not him.

      • SMHgurl24

        And if these men are really painting all black women with the same brush, why the hell would you want to be with him?! Who cares what they think, its one less idiot you have to worry about. If these BM can’t see past how the media portrays us or their own negative experience, I say don’t let the door hit their a** on the way out because personally I’m not going to feel bad about myself because they take everything they see and hear on tv as truth value! There are alot more good BW then whats seen on tv 🙂

      • Gimmeabreak78

        As a black woman, I have to respectfully disagree with your assessment.  It’s very presumptuous of you to assume you know the hearts of “most brothers who date nbw” as having “issues with their own blackness”.  While I agree that there are people who do have a problem with their own or someone else’s blackness, isn’t it just cynical and trite to believe that a black man is not capable of evaluating his compatibilty with a woman based on something other than color?

      • That’s what you believe and I’m glad you’re honest enough to admit it. You’re just proving what I said.

        You keep saying “most brothers” as if you took some poll. Of course you haven’t you just THINK that’s why a brother would date a non-white woman. You don’t bother to even consider that two people met, liked each other and fell it love. In your mind, it’s obvious that the brother just doesn’t like sisters and so on and so forth.

        Again, I’m glad you were honest enough to admit that. But saying downright silly things like “9 times out of 10 he doesn’t view you in a positive light” is nonsense. Those are your insecurities talking. As soon as you see a black man with a non-black woman (particularly a white woman) YOU assume those things. I doubt you asked the man how he met his woman.  Some sistas just love to stare at an interracial couple and sneer and eye-roll and hiss “fake-a** brotha” or “scared of a strong sista” etc. Never allowing their narrow minds to process the possibility that two people that were attracted to each other and had things in common fell in love.

        Address the insecurities that interracial dating raises in some black women. This very article is proof! The author simply invented a scenario where Obama married a white woman for the very purpose of having sistas come in here and b**** and moan. THAT’S insecurity!

      • Ookami597

         I just think its really funny that you are complaining about black men stereotyping black women when that is exactly what you are doing to them. “Black men who date nbw view us in a negative stereotypical way”, well you view bm who date nbw in a negative stereotypical way. And to finally state the obvious, there are more white woman in this country than black women. Hello. Now thats actually a numerical reality, unlike your 9 out of 10 statement. And in my personal experience, more white women approach me than black women. So maybe some re-evaluation needs to take place.

    • activist1

      I see your point…

    • Mls2698

      Clarence Thomas for President…….no way!

    • Ookami597

       DAMBS does not exist. Just clearin that up. I could not agree more. For personal reasons I decided I did not want to date a white woman, again, but ended up doing it because I fell in love with one. There are people out there who expect to me to tell her to go to hell because she’s white which is racist and stupid. As it turned out, things ended even more horribly then they did with my first love who was black, and racism, definitely played a part! Here’s where the bigoted blacks would say I told you so but you know what, I don’t regret it even after all that happened. I certainly don’t discourage other interracial relationships(I live with one now and they have the best relationships I have ever seen). I also see the strong black family argument too. Thing is, do what makes you happy.

    • GraceAlexander

      Agreed, the fact that the author of this article denoted his relationship with Becky as “Tawdry” made me cringe. Wow.

  • Anonymous

     I will rather focus on the fact he’s married to a beautiful, intelligent black woman, don’t want to think of the other way around. Honestly, Barack knew he needed a strong woman, not just a trophy/status to get to where he wanted to be in life.  He’s an intelligent, self confident, insightful man and I respect him for recognizing a good black woman.  I know love is love but no other love can compare to a healthy Black love because you both understand what it means to have black skin, the struggles, challenges, overcome so much together and on top of that you enjoy the result of hard work together. Whites think we need them to be successful, we need them in everything, so it’s refreshing to see a beautiful black marriage to show them we can indeed do it by ourselves, we love each other, contrary to what they want us to believe. When we do it right, nothing else can compare.

    • Ookami597

       Great words, whoever you are

  • Nitty


  • NikkitaMichelle

    He wouldn’t be president.

    • Mls2698

      I’ll just go ahead and cosign here……… That way I won’t have to say anything to offend.

  • Ms. Esq

    Hell Naw. 

  • tery

    Nope  and neither would white America ! Our POTUS has a BLACK woman. Not a half breed, but a black woman. We wouldn’t have taken him seriously & most likely black women wouldn’t have felt he was for us/our race…not that a president should be for “us/race” but with a white woman…please. Us and white America would have given him a classic FOH ! It’s like trying to preach about something, you don’t understand, or tell someone else not to do what you are doing….you now. Something like that !

    • @ tery, you forgot strong and educated in the third sentence. It’s interesting to see what’s going to happen during this upcoming election. It’s difficult being black American.

    • Guest

      ” Not a half breed, but a black woman.”

      What’s wrong with being a “half breed”? Isn’t that what Obama is? And maybe you should read up on your history. Michelle Obama, like almost every black American, is NOT 100% African descent. 

  • With him having grown up with a White mother, it would not have been odd for him to marry a White woman. However, I think Michelle makes him shine and he knows it. I truly believe he could not have done it without her. The Tiki Barbers and Tiger Woods’ of the world think they are winning, but they could never be on the level of Barack Obama.

    • Nitty

      tigerrr woods.
      Smh @ that blasian..lol.i just amused myself

  • Vintagebrat


    • Tell us how your really feel, Vintage 🙂 And that’s what they call keepin’ it one hunnit!