…ide in America and was not at all attempting to bridge the gap through this turn of phrase. Rather, he’d spent 8+ years being paraded as the US’s first black president, and he was probably just alluding to the fact that his experiences growing up were as much linked to being specifically mixed race as they were about being black or African American.
This was a bit more complicated with Obama. He self-identified as African-American on the Census and actually did know who his family was in Africa. He actually did know who his father was, even though he spent a great deal of time with his mother and her Indonesian husband (and of course he brought Maya Soetoro-Ng around). So he wasn’t hiding his upbringing with his stepfather nor could he even attempt to hide clear features on his African side. But there’s no escaping that he seemed to be as firmly comfortable on Chicago’s South Side (largely black) as he was in Hawaii. We didn’t ignore that he was biracial. He himself just seemed comfortable in his skin around black folks. Both of his books clearly laid out his background. His “A More Perfect Union” wasn’t alluding to anything; he was telling an entire nation flat-out what his experience was like being biracial and how he was bothered by remarks his own grandmother made. That doesn’t sound like a hint; he was airing out the complications from both sides.