President Obama is "really" a white person because of his background and power, according to a controversial new book. Despite the color of his skin, Obama is essentially "white" not because of his "white" mom, but due to his educational background, income, power, and status, eminent American black historian Nell Irvin Painter is claiming in her book. The whole idea of "race" is merely a social construct, like the idea of beauty, not supported by science, she argues in The History of White People.
Historically, the classification of "whiteness" set up an "us versus them" system that was used to justify slavery, argues Painter, who also considers herself "white." Painter has a point worth considering, argues the Independent, especially since the Human Genome Project has discovered that all humans are 99.9% the same. But Painter's view has unleashed a storm of controversy, particularly among right-wingers. One Stormfront member (possibly "black" under Painter's definition) complained on the Internet that the book will "likely win a Pulitzer" for "patronizing and indulging these negroes."