Opinion: Will Passing the Brown Paper Bag Test Be A Failure for Harris and Booker

The vast majority of African Americans supported the presidency of Barack Obama both of his terms in the White House. As a people, Obama will always hold a special place in the collective hearts of African Americans. With that said, it’s the other Obama that African American really, really relates to- Michelle. Michelle Obama shares something with nearly every Black person in this country- she is an American descendant of slaves. With a native African father and a white mother, being an American descendant of slaves is something Barack Obama didn’t have in common with nearly every Black person in America.

Now that the nation has had its first Black president, I think many African Americans are longing for the first Black president who is an American descendant of slaves and who looks like most African Americans. Although Michelle Obama was FLOTUS and not POTUS, she looks, sounds, grew up like, and has swag like most African Americans. African Americans understood that although Barack Obama is not an American descendant of slaves, we understood that he laid down every night with one. With all the mishaps, misspeaks, and fake backtracking that we’ve seen lately in the media, fashion world, politics, etc., even young African Americans have realized the importance of having an American descendant of slaves in the room- or in the bedroom.

Here in lies the potential problem for Kamala Harris. She is not an American descendant of slaves. Her mother is from India and her father is from Haiti. Now, as I’ve written about in an earlier piece, Harris attends a Baptist church, belongs to a Black sorority, and attended an HBCU. She has since then publicly claimed her Blackness. The only thing I’m saying is that may not be enough during this presidential election cycle.

Colorism is a construct created by white people and many Black people believe perpetuated, and even perfected by Black people. There has been a huge resurgence attempt recently in main stream television, movies, advertisement, and many other “art” forms, of colorism written, produced, directed, and created by white people. I guess it’s time for them to rejuvenate the Willie Lynch model. Here in lies the potential problem for Cory Booker. Although there is much evidence that Booker is an American descendant of slaves, his skin complexion may be an issue for Black people this presidential election cycle. In some lighting situations, Booker looks even lighter than Harris. A whole lot of Black people are hip to this resurgence of colorism perpetrated by white producers.

As I stated above, I think many African Americans are longing for the first Black president who is an American descendant of slaves and who looks like most African Americans and sounds, grew up like, and has swag like most African Americans. Here in lies the opportunity for Stacey Abrams. Even if you’re white, it’s probably clear to you that she embodies all the qualities that I believe many African Americans are looking for in their next president. And why not? What in hell was white people looking for when they voted for Donald Trump and politicians like Roy Moore from Alabama.

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