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What is Obama’s Core Worldview?

Seldom has a public figure of obvious intelligence and education running for president left so scanty a political trail of breadcrumbs to follow. His geniality and ability to connect on a personal level is such that even Illinois archconservative GOP legislators and lobbyists found him to have been, despite his politics, a reasonable person with whom they could deal, at least on occasion.

Obama has a disconcerting number of hard-core, ex-revolutionaries and shady Machine fixers  not only in his past but his immediate present ( you’d think the Democratic Party would have enough raw talent that the Obama campaign would not have to scrape and make use of Communist wingnuts) but seldom has Obama himself ever uttered a controversial word or committed a suspect deed. His voting record, thin as it may be, troubles me:


Voted against free trade zone with Central America (2005)

Voted against letting the IC spy on foreign suspects without a court order (2007)

Consistently voted for timetables for troop withdrawals on several funding bills (2007)

Voted against the confirmation of the superbly qualified Samuel Alito and John Roberts ( 2005, 2006 – I suppose if President Obama nominates the superbly qualified Lawrence Tribe to SCOTUS then all the Senate Republicans should vote “No”.)


Voted against allowing homeowners to argue self-defense who used firearms against local ordinances (2004)

Voted to limit handgun purchases to one per month ( 2000)

Voted against making street gang “hit men” eligible for the death penalty (2001)

In Obama’s defense, while in the Illinois legislature he voted to allow at least former police officers and military personnel to have “conceal and carry” rights which cannot be said of all Democrats in a state where the all-powerful Mayor Richard Daley is near to insane on the issue of gun control. Nor is his brief stint in the Senate any less substantive than John F. Kennedy’s “gentleman’s C” record who served a longer time before running for President than did Senator Obama.That said, Obama is still disturbingly close to our first, modern vaporware, candidate. 

What hill would this man die on, figuratively speaking in terms of political issues?  Whom or what can Barack Obama not abide?  We all saw the video of a young Bill Clinton shaking hands with JFK by this time in 1992 and heard about innumerable Arkansas characters but Obama in contrast has remained a relative cipher. Does Obama have any longtime friends? Keep in touch with Harvard classmates? Anybody? Where are his Indonesian schoolyard chums popping up on CNN ? If the MSM can find John McCain’s  75 year old North Vietnamese jailer from the Hanoi Hilton they could at least find someone who hung out with Obama somewhere, sometime and heard him express an unguarded opinon. Fred Thompson was runing for all of five minutes and every chick he ever had dated had been interviewed by the Post or the NYT before the New Hampshire primaries opened. It’s weird.

I have readers who are Right, Center and Left.  If I’m missing something here or if you care to sound off in Barack’s defense please do so but I’d really like to know what this man holds as non-negotiable principles.

29 Responses to “What is Obama’s Core Worldview?”

  1. Eddie Says:

    Excellent question. 
    Personally, media outlets have interviewed his classmates in Indonesia (he was in primary school during this time) but again, nothing controversial aside from (so far) unsubstantiated claims he was a Muslim while there.
    His biography is candid about minor drug use, racial divisions and confusion, social dysfunction, etc. Substantiated criticism has been made of him inventing or enhancing memories or events in that bio.

    Policywise, I think he did a good job as a freshman senator for all of 2 years before running for the WH.
    The blogger Hilzoy documented Obama’s bipartisan and policy legislation in his brief time in the Senate. Not fantastic but certainly not bad or even average. He focused on wonky stuff that he felt was overlooked, like
    avian flu
    nuclear arms smuggling/control
    medical tort reform
    genetic testing.
    He worked with Republican Tom Coburn on an ethics reform bill that was not popular in the Senate by any means, and he made the government more transparent with requirements for spending information on everything unclassified to be available on the internet.
    He supported withdraw timetables from Iraq during the dark years of 05-06 before the ‘surge, when there was no plan for victory and little progress being made. He continued to support it until the surge was proven to have worked wonders, now he dances around the issue because poll after poll shows the country wants the US out of Iraq regardless, so he plays the opportunist to McCain’s principled support of the surge and its aftermath.

    He also supported death for child rapists a few years before the recent Supreme Court decision, writing about the need for it in his "Audacity of Hope" book.

    Some of his conservative and moderate colleagues at University of Chicago and elsewhere have spoken well of or even praised him. A few examples of this would be….
    Cass Sunstein
    (calling up a colleague to ask for their opinion on why warrantless surveillance could be constitutional)

    Professor Robin West, Federal 10th Circuit Court Michael W. McConnell (potential conservative Supreme Court nominee) regarding his stewardship of the Harvard Law Review, widely regarded as the "calm before the storm" of ideological struggles run amok in the rest of the decade

    (1) Hilzoy on Obama legislation

    For a man with a thin record, this isn’t a bad collection though.  Considering what we knew about Bush before he was elected, and how he acted in office compared to his past performance as governor and some of his policy pronouncements, that still isn’t the most assuring state of affairs.

    I think he’s liberal, inexperienced and quite open-minded. I also believe he’s ruthless and shrewd, which makes him a far different sort of liberal from the liberals of national stature in the past 40 years.

    Mark, you are fond of comparing (and I agree) HRC with Nixon. Perhaps Obama shares more traits than we realize with Nixon as well.  He’s already speaking approvingly of Bush I’s realism with every foreign policy reporter.

  2. Jeremy Young Says:

    Read Obama’s book (the second one).  I did, and while I support him over McCain, the book is the reason I don’t support him enthusiastically, so I’m probably qualified to offer a "defense" of it, seeing as how I don’t like it.

    Obama explains exactly what he believes in the book, and I think he’s pretty up-front about it.  He is a traditional liberal except for in a few areas: his support of the death penalty, his support of faith-based initiatives, his greater-than-average fear of terrorists, and his opposition to gay marriage.  That is to say, he’s a traditional liberal except where his religious and national-security views make him moderate.  This definitely puts him to the left of someone like the Clintons (on trade, taxes, and national security, primarily).

    However, what distinguishes Obama from other Democrats — and it’s the reason you can’t pin him down on positions just by looking at his voting record — is that he believes bipartisan unity and working together is more important than advancing an agenda.  Thus, for instance, he’s unlikely to support a bill legalizing partial-birth abortion, even though he would personally favor such a bill, because he believes that it would do more harm by dividing Americans than it would do good by helping poor women.  You can see this sentiment at work in Obama’s endorsement of the FISA compromise.  I don’t buy the argument that Obama need a Sister Souljah moment — certainly Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer still thought the American people were with them on the bill — but Obama seemed to believe that the people wanted him to create a bill and move on rather than continue to obstruct the workings of Congress.  It’s not exactly the same thing as Bill Clinton poll-testing his every word; Obama’s eloquent and skilled enough a politician to win without that, but he seems to genuinely believe that good government tries to achieve consensus rather than ideological rigidity.

    I can say this with some certainty because it’s the biggest disappointment I’ve had with Obama this cycle.  I wrote at HNN that "we do not need Obama to heal the rift between good and evil," and I still believe that.  I wasn’t a Howard Dean fanatic for nothing.  But if you’re looking for what Obama truly believes, I think he lays it out very convincingly in his book, and I think that’s what he’s saying — "I may be a liberal, but I think unity’s more important than policy."

  3. Fabius.Maximus.Cunctator Says:


    Highly interesting. 

    "Does Obama have any longtime friends? Keep in touch with Harvard classmates? Anybody? Where are his Indonesian schoolyard chums popping up on CNN ?"

    This aspect is new to me because I do not read US MSM much except a peek at the NYT and WAPO now and then. Reminds of the young RM Nixon although everybody knew where he stood, of course.

  4. Seerov Says:

    His actual "core" is Marxist-Guevarism with a pinch of black nationalism.  But his "practical" side (Meaning what he’ll talk about or present himself as) is social-capitalism(Like in Western Europe) economically, multicultural centric-Frankfort school inspired-Social Marxism socially (For an understanding of Social Marxism see Bill Lind’s film titled "The History of Political Correctness [1]), and Wisonianism for foreign policy.
    [1]  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8630135369495797236

  5. Smitten Eagle Says:

    "Does Obama have any longtime friends?"
    He probably does.  They seem to hide rather well.  Once they’re exposed, Obama may defend them for a time, but in the end he always does the same thing:  Disavow his relationship to them.  Ask Wright, Power, Rezko, Austan Goolsbee, James Johnson, and others.  The only thing that has kept him from disavowing his wife seems to be his marriage to her.
    I’m sure most politicians do this.  McCain is an older politician.  One would think he would have more baggage that would require comparatively more disavowals, yet I really cant think of any.  Sure, McCain shook up his campaign staff a few times, but that was a result of poor campaigning in some states.  Obama, by comparison, is much more young, yet he has a huge number of disavowed relationships.
    This tells me two things:  1)  He has lots of friends who aren’t fit for public knowledge.  2)  Obama is just another politician when it comes to his personal relationships–hardly hopey and changey.
    From The Audacity of Hope, Obama’s second book:  "“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”
    Unity More Important Than Policy:  That’s typical claptrap of parties in power.  Majorities always want more unity of the minority with their policies.  Hopey and changey?  Not so much.

  6. Dave Schuler Says:

    McCain has personal baggage (his divorce) and political baggage (Keating).

    Mark, I think you’re looking for the wrong thing in searching for his “non-negotiable principles”.  Sen. Obama doesn’t organize his character around principles but around identity. He was rather frank about this in his first book.

    He’s not unique in organizing his character around something other than principles.  What were Bill Clinton’s principles?  Other than the urge to power, I mean?

    I think that Ann Althouse has the right take on Obama.  His changes of position have practically all been in the right direction.  There are a couple of ways to view this.  On the one hand you can believe that Sen. Obama assumes his positions based on political calculus.  On the other hand you can believe that once he becomes familiar with the real issues and constraints involved he’ll change his mind in the direction of the more reasonable position.

  7. Jeffrey Says:

    Mark, one of the people on my short blog roll is Matthew Burton. He wrote an excellent analysis on the amount of information that Obama has published on specific issues versus Hilary Clinton. While the point of his Feb, 08 post is now moot, Matt’s work still provides ample evidence that Obama does more than just "talk well". http://www.impublished.org/wordpress/obamastalk/

  8. Dan tdaxp Says:

    That said, Obama is still disturbingly close to our first, modern vaporware, candidate.

    This is the best thing that Obama has going for him.

    The institutions of the United States function the way they do for a reason, and random change is likely to do more harm than good.  A vaporware candidate should be generally unable to coordinate any meaningful change, instead becoming a President of the Establishment.

    Compare this to the domestic works of, say, Richard Nixon, a man whose determination, detail-oriented nature, and expertise allowed him to do great damage to much of the country.

  9. Jeffrey Says:

    Does anyone know the etymology of "vaporware"? It’s software that’s delayed but never cancelled according to this tech writer: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/347394/vaporware_software_lost_in_time.html. Now why might that happen? According to the same post, "Certain products that are put on hold are no longer a main priority of the company. More important projects will jump ahead in the development process if too much time is taken. As hype or demand for said projects declines, the likelihood of completion does as well."

    This pretty much describes the political process, regardless whether one is a Democrat or a Republican. Political issues are mutable based on media attention, voter interest, current events, lobbyist pressure, and a host of other variables. For better or for worse, this is the reality of politics, and, although I’m not a historian, it seems like it has always been that way. Politicians, likewise, are just as mutable. In that respect, Obama may be the perfect political creation, able to reach across parties, races, ethnicities, and genders to find common ground. I don’t see that as a negative at all. Instead, I find it refreshing.

  10. Winghunter Says:

    The outrageous extent of ludicrous garbage dug up on republicans by the media as well as the lack of same on Obama is merely the direct result of the MSM’s flagrant contribution to the subversion of our elective process.

    Barack Hussein Obamahttp://bhobama.blogspot.com/


  11. yarrrrr Says:

    He has tried to frame himself recently as a "pragmatist".  That makes a lot of sense considering his campaign has framed Obama as a hypothesis for people to will themselves into believing in. 

  12. Jeremy Young Says:

    Eddie, you really think Cass Sunstein is a moderate or conservative?  He seems pretty liberal to me.

    Seerov, I dare you to show me one whit of Obama’s worldview that has anything to do with black nationalism.

  13. Seerov Says:

    "Seerov, I dare you to show me one whit of Obama’s worldview that has anything to do with black nationalism." (Jeremy Young)

    Jeremy, if I was a paying member of an organization for 20 years that espoused and propagated an ideology known as "White Liberation Theology" people would label me a "White Nationalist."  If this organization featured speakers such as David Duke or Jared Taylor, along with taking as "unapologetically pro-white" stance on political and social issues, this too would make me a White Nationalist.

  14. CurtisGale Weeks Says:

    Lol Seerov Jeremy was asking about Obama not about you.

    As I once mentioned elsewhere, the "unapologetically pro-X" (whatever X, say black) does not fit the Obama rhetoric or anything about him really.  I.e., if his former church is exactly as some are trying to paint it (on the basis of……?), then Obama must be a heretic or apostate in truth.

  15. Seerov Says:

    "the "unapologetically pro-X" (whatever X, say black) does not fit the Obama rhetoric or anything about him really. " (CurtisGale Weeks)
    You’re absolutely right, black nationalism doesn’t fit the Obama rhetoric. But the question that Zen asked was "what is Obama’s core worldview?"  If someone sits in a black nationalist church for 20 years, then its safe to conclude that they find spiritual inspiration from this ideology.  If I sat in a White Nationalist church for 20 years, then it would also be safe to conclude that White Nationalism was part of my "core" worldview.  I do want to point out that I never have attended such a church, nor do I have the desire to.

  16. Jeremy Young Says:

    Seerov, the United Church of Christ is far from a "black nationalist church."  Try another tack.

  17. yarrrrr Says:

    UCC is a congregational denomination.  Many of the theological positions are unique for each congregation.

  18. Seerov Says:

    "Seerov, the United Church of Christ is far from a "black nationalist church."  Try another tack." (-Jeremy Young)
    I’m not trying any sort of "tact?"  If you read the UCC website (even now, after they changed when they realized it may hurt Obama’s chances) it has all the characteristics of a Nationalist organization.  If I apply the same standards that are applied (by organizations like the SPLC or ADL) when describing white organizations of the same nature, then I would have to go further and call it "Black Supremacist."  Because I find the SPLC’s and ADL’s characterizations to be unfair much of the time (Like calling the Minute Men a "hate-group), I will not call the UCC "Black Supremacist." 
    But I don’t see why you guys (or gals?) are running from this? Black nationalists are just as much a part of the Democratic coalition as the unions, school teachers, or Hispanic Nationalists (See: La Raza).  Why aren’t you proud of your "big tent?"  What’s wrong with the Democratic party catering to black nationalists?  I’m starting to sense some intolerance?

  19. Jeremy Young Says:

    I’m not "you guys."  I’m someone who would be proud of Obama if he actually were a black nationalist.  But since I see no evidence that he actually is one, I’m getting the worst of both worlds here: you get to bash him for being a black nationalist, while I don’t get to have a black nationalist President.  Since I can’t get Obama to be what I want him to be, the best I can do is to correct the record so you don’t get to bash him for being what I think he isn’t.

    As for the UCC, having attended meetings of a UCC congregation in which no African-Americans were present, I find it baffling that you would describe the entire religion as black nationalist.

  20. Eddie Says:

    Ah, I forgot negotiating with Iran.  When he proposed this last year, it was viewed as a terrible gaffe that his Democratic opponents would pounce on. Yet he stuck with it in the face of withering criticism, and now, a year later, most of the foreign policy establishment (even McCain’s neocon adviser Robert Kagan) supports his view of negotiations with Iran, rather than that of McCain or Clinton. Polls since then have shown the majority of Americans agreeing with Obama’s position. Did he know that before he made the "gaffe" or? A fair question.Jeremy, As a believer in the idea of judicial minimalism as well as his testimony in support of numerous conservative judges and officials Bush appointed, I find it hard to see Sunstein as a liberal.  I guess the country has shifted considerably to the right (a good thing IMHO) in the past 25-30 years that he may have been considered a moderate then but now would be construed as liberal. The FDR 2nd Bill of Rights he wrote and some of his subsequent writings in support of that perhaps have him painted as a liberal, but I don’t see it.

  21. CurtisGale Weeks Says:

    An aside:  Remember when Obama praised Reagan?  Then Hillary jumped on him in a knee-jerk "we hate everything Republican" attempt to paint Obama as a traitor to the cause.


    Re: Seerov.  It is funny, and apropos of the main question and theme of Mark’s post, that on the one hand some will call Obama a blank slate upon which fanatical fans (redundancy) can see whatever they like….yet somehow certain opponents can be 100% sure that Obama is this or that (whatever is negative.)  This tells me that


    1. Perhaps certain hyper-negative critics are writing their own particular biases upon the blank slate, whether because they believe those biases or for merely political/spin purposes, or


    2. Those hyper-negative "Obama is a racist!"  "Obama is a Marxist through and through!" critics have some special knowledge of him that the vast majority of people studying the race do not have. 


    But it seems that every time these questions are put forth, most of the proof offered by those critics is not special knowledge but assumptions and highly abstract permutations of the "Anyone who spends 20 years yadda yadda MUST be yadda yadda."


    Mark has mentioned some verifiably votes, Eddie has offered some links and more info.  But where is the proof of anything Seerov et. al. try to paint onto Obama?  Or is Obama indeed a blank slate upon which bigoted or biased or politically motivated opponents can paint their worst demonic images?

  22. Seerov Says:

    "you get to bash him for being a black nationalist, while I don’t get to have a black nationalist"  (-Jeremy Young)
    I’m not bashing anyone?  Not once did I say that its wrong to be a black nationalist.  Look, I want Obama to win too.  In fact, I’d like Obama’s friend Louis Farrakhan to be his vice President.  So be happy, we’re getting what we want 🙂
    "Those hyper-negative "Obama is a racist!"  "Obama is a Marxist through and through!" critics have some special knowledge of him that the vast majority of people studying the race do not have. "  (CurtisGale Weaks)
    First of all, I would never call Obama a "racist" because I don’t call anyone a "racist."  I don’t even really understand what the word means?  And just because someone is a black nationalist (like Obama) doesn’t mean that he is a racist. (I use the word "racist" here as our society uses it, but I must point out that I still don’t really understand what the term even means?)  
    I certainly don’t claim to have "special knowledge?"  I’m just using the same standard that our society uses when describing white political leaders with similar backgrounds.
    "As for the UCC, having attended meetings of a UCC congregation in which no African-Americans were present, I find it baffling that you would describe the entire religion as black nationalist." (Jeremy Young)
    Where did I say that the "entire religion in black nationalist?"  There are Baptist churches that have a black nationalist ideology but I wouldn’t call Jerry Falwell a black nationalist.
    "Or is Obama indeed a blank slate upon which bigoted or biased or politically motivated opponents can paint their worst demonic images?" (CurtisGale Weaks)
    Well it can’t be "politically motivated" because I want Obama to win.  As far as "bigoted" or "biased" I don’t know what these words really mean.  If they mean I hate blacks, then no, I am not. 
    But please answer this question:  If a white man in America belonged to an organization that was "unapologetically pro-White" what do you think the establishment would call him?  All I’m doing is applying the same standard as our media establishment. I doubt they would even call him a white nationalist, instead, like YOU, they would call him "bigoted" or "White Supremacist."  Its important to understand that I’m not using the term black nationalist or Marxist as a judgment statement.

  23. CurtisGale Weeks Says:


    My last comment wasn’t strictly addressed to you, but a conglomerate of the various criticisms I’ve heard.  For instance, Dan tdaxp has used the term racist in reference to Obama’s church or minister or message (will have to refresh my memory on that), others have well or have outright called him a racist; others have given the 20-years membership to suggest he must agree with the church’s messages (although they like most who comment have 1 or 2 video clips to attest to the 20-years of messages); and so forth.


    On the pro-black and pro-white analogy you are making:  false.  For this reason: a long history of oppression and suppression exists against blacks in America unlike against whites, despite the fact that some unapologetically white critics would call affirmative action a suppression of whites.  Of course race relations have improved greatly and blacks have more real opportunities now than ever before in America, but the history and the memory still exist.  We might even say, as Obama said in his speech on race, that the backward-looking philosophy that holds a fixed eye on past grievances and oppression/suppression is out-dated or ought to be.  Nonetheless, whether from the culture in general, or from some within the culture, or from within the family histories or black culture, the negative messages still exist.  To be "unapolegetically black" is quite similar to something else I read today in an article on Will Smith in USA Today [1]:

    "When I was doing Ali, I realized that he kept saying, ‘I’m the greatest, I’m pretty,’ to make himself believe it," Smith says. "He doesn’t believe it, but he was dealing with racism. He was reacting to pain and rejection. He said it so much that he started to believe it. That’s what I’ve tried to do for myself."

    Now, we may interpret the pro-black message differently of course.  Nonetheless, the "pro-white" comparison you are trying to make is false because quite simply, whites in this nation have never had to deal with the same history.  Being "pro-black" is similar to the whole "gay pride" thing, which I think is a silly thing (being PROUD of it), but I do understand it.

  24. CurtisGale Weeks Says:

    Ah the link: Will Smith has found the magic formula

  25. zen Says:

    This has been a very interesting discussion.
    For my part, I do not think Senator Obama is "Afrocentric" nor does he aspire to be perceived as such though he may have associates with Afrocentric sympathies as he clearly does with white radical Marxists like Bill Ayers. Obama’s political actions have not been of the kind that an Afrocentrist politician would take.
    Nor do I think a genuinely Afrocentric candidate, representing a loose philosophy that is historically and politically heterogeneous and unified mostly on the point of radical rhetorical resistance to white supremacy, going to have wide electoral appeal. Afrocentrism is a subcultural niche in American life, not a panoramic vision. Unlike Jeremy, I think such a hypothetical president would be likely to fail as they would start from a position of political isolation from and presumed hostility toward the mainstream of American society. That’s not a strong hand to bet on.

  26. Seerov Says:

    CurtisGale Weeks,

    the idea of blacks (and other minorities) being allowed to pursue their ethnic interests because of "past injustices" is no doubt a successful racket.  Its success is largely due to the fact that no one can produce a metric which can tell us when everyone is "equal?" 
    Because of this, people of European descent are supposed to accept a lower standard of living.  This is exactly why I support Obama.  After electing a black President, the civil rights racket will no longer be able to claim that they are in some way being "discriminated" against.  Of course I have no doubt that they will.  But the important thing is this will give the green light to European Americans to start pursuing their own ethnic interests.  
    Affirmative action, racial quotas, negative portrayals of people of European descent in the schools and media, black (and other minority) on white crime, forced busing, illegal immigration, and forced diversity are all issues that need addressing, and a black president will make it all the easier. 
    Its unfortunate that Africans sold other Africans to Europeans 400 years ago as slaves.  You have no idea how much I wish this didn’t happen?  But since its obvious that this excuse will always be used to further black interests, it only makes sense that whites start taking measures to protect their own interests.   

  27. Lexington Green Says:

    " If someone sits in a black nationalist church for 20 years, then its safe to conclude that they find spiritual inspiration from this ideology. "

    Probably, it is just as safe to conclude that (1) there was political utility to going there, (2) his wife liked it there.  He probably made a lot of good contacts there.  As to 2, women set the religious tone in many families, with husbands going along with it.  I suspect the Obama family is that way, based on Michelles’ comments and demeanor. 

  28. democratic core Says:

    I suspect that Obama’s "core worldview" is essentially indistinguishable from that of Bill Clinton – centrist/liberal, internationalist, moderately pro-business but not libertarian.  Like Clinton, his principal focus is on gaining and holding political power, which means that he is flexible within a very broad ideological range.  I think the principal difference is a procedural one.  Clinton was given to interminable debate and vacillation on policy issues, generally culminating in an attempt to straddle all sides, often without success.  Obama seems to be far more decisive.  Take for example the recent FISA legislation.  I had assumed that Obama would oppose it, but let Feingold and others on the left attempt a filibuster, and count on there being enough votes for cloture to allow the legislation to pass, thereby minimizing it as a campaign issue.  That would be the classic Clintonian approach – try to please the left without having to suffer the consequences.  Obama didn’t do that – he cut through the BS, said the law wasn’t perfect but he’s supporting it anyway.  It’s the difference between smoking dope and admitting it and smoking dope but claiming not to have inhaled.   Obama’s personal story and the role of race make him a very interesting political figure, but at the end of the day, I think he’s a pretty mainstream Democratic politician.

  29. phil Says:

    " I’m someone who would be proud of Obama if he actually were a black nationalist."When did racial nationalism become a good thing, let alone something to be proud of? I thought we put paid to that in 1945. It’s important to remember that Obama is not black, he’s biracial. Other countries have been more sophisticated in their terminology and have a word for this and it is time that we recognize this too. There are a lot of Americans of mixed-race backgrounds and our terminology is outdated and inappropriate to our social reality. 

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