With Shades of Gray

With Shades of Gray

Emory Magazine
Emory University
Spring 2009: Coda: A Changing Country

Reflections on the Inauguration of President Barack Obama

Taharee Jackson, ’10 PhD

The last thing I could afford to do was attend the presidential inauguration at the National Mall, but I simply couldn’t miss it. I had to go and represent my multiracial family. As a multiracial woman, I am seldom presented with the opportunity to see someone just like me in the public eye.

Tiger Woods has made multiraciality somewhat “cool,” yet people still have trouble identifying him in photos. That being said, to have the entire globe’s gaze finally affixed on a biracial person—on Barack Obama—compelled me to travel to Washington, D.C., to support him. He wouldn’t know I was there, but my family and I would . . . and it would mean the world to us.

…I braved subzero temperatures, no sleep, millions of people, closed train stations, and hours of no food or bathroom usage, not because I think of Obama as our first black president. True, I am part black, but so is he. He is part black. Barack Obama is half black and half white—he is biracial. To acknowledge one part of him—his blackness—is certainly not to deny his whiteness, unless we deny him the right to identify himself…

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