Warren Harding and his “Negro” percentage

Someone somewhere has once again rolled out the old story of President Warren Harding (1921-23) having a great-grandfather who was black.

John McLaughlin apparently barged into the comments of a guest on his news show “The McLaughlin Group” who was expressing excitement about Barack Obama running for president by saying, sternly and loudly, “You act like there’s never been a black president before.” As the guest paused in confusion,¬†McLaughlin shouted, “Warren Harding was a Negro!”

Why he chose to say “Negro” is unclear. Suffice it to say McLaughlin looked absolutely crazy when he said it. But the saddest thing about his comment is that now people will once again pointlessly debate whether one of Harding’s great-grandfathers was black (something that should be pretty easy to prove or disprove).

I find this at once sad and hilarious because it gets all of us 21st century modernites talking and thinking like 19th century quack doctors. Grown, modern American adults start talking about what “percent” black blood¬†Harding may have had, what “percent” of black blood makes you black, etc.

While you can have percentages of ancestors (for example, one can say “50% of my ancestors were black, 20% were Chinese, and 30% were white”), you cannot have a percentage of blood. The blood in a body is not 50% or 10% or 1% anything but blood.

It’s also sad and hilarious, but more sad, that Barack Obama, whose father was black, is not considered black by some Americans, while Harding, who may or may not have had one multiracial great-grandfather, is considered black therefore by some Americans.

What we all are is 100% American, and presidents should be judged on how well they uphold our founding principles, and nothing else.