In 2008, I received an e-mail from a college classmate living in Greenville, SC. He was very concerned about whether or not Barack Obama would ask for reparations from the ancestors of slaves. This was my response:
“I’m still hearing racial concerns from you — why would you ask Obama about reparations and not ask Hillary or John McCain? Maybe Hillary thinks we should pay reparations to women. I do not worry about Barack Obama having a ‘racial’ agenda. I trust him more than that. I trust him more in that regard than I do McCain regarding the military or Hillary regarding almost anything political. I hope Furman [University–the college he and I attended] hasn’t become a hotbed of republicanism. Ann Coulter is scary, in the same vein as Rush Limbaugh, in my opinion. I can’t talk race with you as we are poles apart on that matter. I don’t see black/white; I see American, which is what I believe Barack Obama is trying to instill in all of us. When I recently read this book, Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh, the Japanese American who had been born in California kept trying to tell his friends during World War II that he was not Japanese — he was an American. They didn’t understand. I’m not even sure why Barack Obama should be classified as a ‘black.’ He is only half black. Why doesn’t the white part predominate in his racial identification? Because of his color? No, because all whites with any black blood (no such thing as black blood) have been so classified. We can agree to disagree on these matters, and it does not at all affect our friendship. I promise.”
He and I are still very good friends and closer now politically.