AAIHS: On Michelle' Wright's Physics of Blackness

By Julietta Hua
African American Intellectual History Society


Physics of Blackness (Michelle Wright)As President Obama finishes out his time in office, Michelle Wright allows us to reflect on the question of whether he was or wasn’t the nation’s “first black president.” President Obama, for people like Donald Trump, has been both too black and not black enough. Trump, in questioning the validity of his birth and citizenship, suggests that on the one hand, President Obama is “not black enough”— his blackness is tied to his father’s African immigrant background. He is not “black” in the US-centric sense. On the other, in questioning his attachment to the United States, Trump characterizes President Obama as suspect, a potential criminal or terrorist threat. In this way President Obama becomes “too black,” he becomes just like the other black men in the United States threatening to undo what is “good” and “true.”

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