By now, most everyone in America, and it seems, around the world, knows that Senator Barack Obama from Illinois is running for president in 2008. What's ironic isn't that race has already come into the discussion; it's how it's come into the discussion.

As reported in the blog The Black Factor, it would seem that some white radio announcers, among them Rush Limbaugh (and we're surprised), have taken to calling him, and other mixed race celebrities, "halfricans". One, Brian Sussman, actually said that Senator Obama doesn't have the right to call himself African-American because his family aren't descendants of slaves.

This follows up on the interview that was broadcast this past Sunday on 60 Minutes, where the good senator was asked if he was bothered by the assertions some are making that he's not "black enough". It's a strange question, from my perspective, coming from a white reporter, one that made me shudder because, well, it was just odd and troubling.

Black people come in all different shades. For that matter, so do Arabs, Indians (American and from India), Asians, and, for that matter, pretty much everyone else on the planet. When those who are mixed have darker skin, they are going to be perceived by everyone, and I mean everyone, as black, no matter what the other race they're a part of happens to be. People tend to be visual that way. I remember many years ago complaining because one hospital made its determination of a person's race based on their own observation of what they thought the patient was, which was easily a compliance violation. I also remember the heat Tiger Woods took when, as a very young golfer, he said he was more than black because he wanted to honor his mother's heritage.

If this is the best that conservatives are going to be able to come up with in talking about Senator Obama, he may not have any problems whatsoever against any Republican candidate he goes up against if he wins the Democratic nomination for president. However, comments like the ones being made now are going to set race relations back many steps. And these media folks are going to eat it up because controversy sells, and so does meanness.

Try questioning yourself if the best you can do with your time is sit around questioning someone else's skin color.