By JAMES NYE
PUBLISHED: 17:54 EST, 10 July 2012 | UPDATED: 01:08 EST, 11 July 2012
Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman has declared that the U.S. is still waiting for its first black president as Barack Obama does not qualify because he is of mixed-heritage.
Making the controversial comments on NPR, Freeman said that even though President Obama identifies himself as African-American, the fact remains that his mother was a white woman from the Great Plains.
‘First thing that pops into my head regarding our president is that all of the people who are setting up this barrier…they just conveniently forget that Barack had a mama, and she was white – very white American, Kansas, middle of America.’
Actor Morgan Freeman (left) has expressed his opinion that President Obama (right in Cedar Rapids today) is not the first black president of the U.S. because he is in fact of mixed-race heritage
U.S. President Barack Obama eats a cone of mint chocolate chip ice cream today in Cedar Rapids
Expanding his own take on Barack Obama’s ancestry, which the President outlined in his memoir ‘Dreams from My Father’, Freeman made comments which might not be considered acceptable from a white political commentator.
‘There was no argument about who he is or what he is,’ said Freeman.
‘America’s first Black president hasn’t arisen yet.
‘He is not America’s first Black president – he’s America’s first mixed-race president.’
President Barack Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House aboard Marine One. The president was returning from a campaign trip to Iowa
President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, following his arrival on Marine One helicopter from Iowa where he was on the campaign trail
Freeman is the respected and popular star of films such as the ‘Shawshank Redemption’ and African slave history, ‘Amistad’, and was attempting to make the point that while some oppose Mr Obama because of his race, they are missing the point that he is ‘mixed race’ and not African American.
The context of Freeman’s comments were meant as a wider criticism of Donald Trump and his fellow birthers and were meant to attack Republican’s and the presidents opponents.
‘He is being purposely, purposely thwarted by the Republican Party,’ said Freeman.
‘Who started out at the beginning of his tenure saying, ‘We are going to do whatever is necessary to make sure that he’s only going to serve one term.
‘That means they will not cooperate with him on anything.
‘So to say he’s ineffective is a misappropriation of the facts.’
Barack Obama with his father, Barack Obama Snr. at Honolulu airport during their first and only meeting (left) while he sits with his mother Ann Dunham and half-sister Maya (right) in Indonesia
Despite identifying himself as African American, President Obama’s struggles with his identity are well known and his memoir followed his journey to discover his Kenyan roots and how he came to feel more of a black man than a white man.
However, for Freeman, himself a prominent African-American, to deny Mr Obama the right to identify with one half of his heritage more strongly than the other is sure to cause debate, especially as Freeman has been a finanical donor to the president’s election fund.
Indeed, during the 2010 U.S. Census, the president did not check multiple boxes on his form, or even elaborate on his racial heritage.
He ticked the box that said, ‘Black, African Am., or Negro’.
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at Barbara Goleman Senior High School during a campaign event today in Miami Lakes, Florida, while her husband appeared in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
For Obama, whose mother Ann Dunham, a white woman from Kansas, married his father, the Kenyan native Barack Obama Sr., the question of his racial identity has been a lifelong struggle.
Before he was president, Mr Obama was a community activist in Chicago and always self-identified as African-American, and wears the mantle of America’s first black president with pride.
On a visit to Ghana in 2009, he took his wife and daughters to see Gold Coast Castle, the one-time slave trading depot from which thousands of Africans were sent in shackles to a life of toil in the New World. Mrs. Obama is descended from a South Carolina slave.
The president’s multiracial heritage has been a subject for oceans of commentary in America and around the world. But it’s also been a cause for teasing, and even satire.
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at Barbara Goleman Senior High School during a campaign event today in Miami Lakes, Florida
‘The first black president!’ exclaimed comedian Wanda Sykes at a dinner in 2009 for the White House Correspondents’ Association.
‘I’m proud to be able to say that. That’s unless you screw up. And then it’s going to be, ‘What’s up with the half-white guy?’
Traditionally, Americans of mixed racial heritage are allowed to decide for themselves which, if either, of their parental communities with which to identify.
President Barack Obama will host Democratic congressional leaders at the White House to discuss his plan to extend Bush era tax cuts for middle class taxpayers as well as jobs initiatives.
Morgan Freeman played an African American president in the 1998 blockbuster movie ‘Deep Impact’
The Wednesday afternoon meeting comes as Obama is hitting the campaign trail with a renewed call to retain decade-old tax rates for households earning less than $250,000 and for letting taxes rise for those households earning more. The tax cuts expire at the end of the year.
Speaking today in Cedar Rapids in Iowa, Obama was clear in his commitment to his tax plans.
Congressional Republicans prefer to extend the tax cuts for everyone, which Obama said would provide $5 trillion in relief for the wealthiest Americans.
‘And that fight is a big part of what this election is about,’ said Obama.
‘But in the meantime, doesn’t it make sense for us to agree to keep taxes low for 98 percent of Americans who are working hard and can’t afford a tax hike right now?
‘Why don’t you compromise to help the middle class? Go ahead and do the 98 percent, and we can keep arguing about the 2 percent. Let’s agree when we can agree.’
Wednesday’s meeting coincides with efforts in the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate to vote on partisan tax plans that don’t have a chance of passing both chambers
Nine members of the Democratic leadership are expected to attend, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.