You wonder if President Obama sometimes finds himself singing a variant on Kermit the Frog’s anthem about the burdens of being green: It’s not easy being Barack Obama.
This is not simply or even primarily a matter of color, although the president’s racial background has been a source of both opportunity and trial. As the first African American in the White House, he has won an unprecedented level of support among black Americans and the goodwill of enough white Americans to build a national majority.
Yet it’s undeniable that racism lurks beneath so many of the preposterously false charges against him — that this son of Hawaii wasn’t really born in the United States, that he is a secret Muslim who “hates America,” that he’s animated by a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Among African Americans, his persistent emphasis on responsible fatherhood, a key theme of his recent commencement address at Morehouse College, is sometimes cast as a way of pandering to white prejudice by hectoring a community to which he owes a large and still-unpaid political debt.