In last week's post, we shared that the only notable difference in terms people used to describe Barack, Michelle, Sasha & Malia Obama had nothing to do with where the black folks in their families came from. Instead these differences were due to Barack’s mother’s heritage. Even though the 2015 Soulvile Census questions only ask about the black folks in your family, people repeatedly referred to the white folks in the Obamas' family when explaining the terms they used to describe them.
- Over 10% of census responders said “Mulatto” was one of terms they would use to describe Barack. This term was added to the census form when we began incorporating terms Afro-Latino/as might use to describe themselves. We thought people might use it describe themselves, but were surprised to see people using it to describe Barack.
- Over 10% selected “Other” and wrote in their own terms. These terms often referenced Barack's mother's family.
- The percentage of people who used the above terms to describe Sasha and Malia Obama was much much lower. When asked to explain why they were describing daughters differently than their father, people repeatedly cited Barack's mother's family using specific percentages and fractions which, any way you slice them, added up to this belief: "50% white is worth noting, but 25% white means you're black."