Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting Blacker and Funnier

Barack Obama is no Chris Rock, but he’s trying. At the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Las Vegas today, he sauntered in late to make a little joke about “colored people time.”

“You guys keep asking if I'm black enough," Obama said, "so I thought I'd just stroll in."

Until now, the issue has been no joke for the Illinois Senator, who has been running behind Hillary Clinton in polling of African-Americans. Starting in January as a 3-1 underdog, he has only recently caught up into a virtual tie.

“We're still locked into the notion,” he told black journalists today, “that somehow if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong," adding, "There's some of that 'Is he keeping it real because he went to Harvard,' which a lot of you in the audience had to deal'd think that we'd be over that by now."

Because his mother is white and he is not descended from African slaves, Obama has had to overcome both the hurdle of trying to become America’s first black president and carping by some African-Americans that he is “too white.”

Keeping a sense of humor about it all can’t be easy, but Obama is working at it. "If I'm outside your building trying to catch a cab," he told Charlie Rose in an interview, "they're not saying, 'Oh, there's a mixed race guy.'"

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