BARACK OBAMA ADDRESSES THE RACIAL ISSUE: THOUGH RAISED BY A WHITE MOTHER, HE SAYS IF YOU LOOK AFRICAN-AMERICAN, YOU ARE TREATED LIKE ONE -- "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY ON CBS
THOUGH RAISED BY A WHITE MOTHER, HE SAYS IF YOU LOOK AFRICAN-AMERICAN, YOU ARE TREATED LIKE ONE -- "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY ON CBS
Acknowledging that his presidential campaign has opened a racial debate, Sen. Barack Obama, who has a white mother and an African father, says if you look African-American, you are treated like one. Obama and his wife, Michelle, who also addresses the race issue, appear in an interview with Steve Kroft to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday Feb. 11 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS television Network. If, as expected, Obama declares his formal candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination tomorrow, it will be his first interview to be broadcast after that event.
When asked by Kroft if growing up in a white household had caused him to make a decision to be black, Obama replies, "I'm not sure I decided it. I think...if you look African American in this society, you're treated as an African-American." "It's interesting though, that now I feel very comfortable and confident in terms of who I am and where I stake my ground. But I notice that...I've become a focal point for a racial debate," says Obama.
Obama's wife also addresses the race issue when asked by Kroft whether she fears for her husband's life as a black candidate. "I don't lose sleep over it because the realities are that...as a black man...Barack can get shot going to the gas station," says Michelle Obama. "You can't make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen."
Will being African-American hold him back as a candidate? "No....If I don't win this race it will be because of other factors --[that] I have not shown to the American people a vision for where the country needs to go...that they can embrace," Obama tells Kroft.