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.

8 thoughts on “Warren Harding and his “Negro” percentage

  1. i wish i could have seen mclaughlin say that… isn’t that the guy Dana Carvey used to make fun of on SNL? would be interesting to see that spoof brought back with this current incident.

    but seriously… at this point, who cares what Warren Harding’s DNA holds… he was still a lame duck, and you’re right. funny how some people don’t consider Obama black but are quick to point out Harding’s heritage…


  2. Your DNA is your heritage, and there should be no shame. If Harding had black ancestors, even one, it should be claimed. If one link in the chain is omitted, everything changes, he changes — and if it doesn’t make a real difference, then we should stop classifying each other by race. We all know we can’t and won’t do that. Ask the British royal family to omit their great great ancestors — impossible because it matters.


  3. The whole race thing at this day in age in America is troublesome. We have a President that is just as much white as he is black, but does it really matter? He’s the man elected and deservingly so. He worked his way through the system and ended up with the most powerful office in the free world, reguardless of his race. He obviously didn’t sit around and waste all his energies worrying about inequalities, but embraced his gifts and worked towards his goals.

    So maybe it’s time to just say I’m human of “this or that” descent and leave it at that. Even the government can’t get the race thing correct in their questions on government documents… race: White, Black, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander… what’s wrong with that question? Hispanic is a cultural term not racial–meaning anyone that decended from the Spanish Empire. There are black hispanics, there are white hispanics and there are native american hispanics… and a combiniation of all 3 thereof! So even the government can’t logically seperate peoples into racial catagories.

    The bottom line (what I’m getting at) is maybe we needed data in the 1800’s and through the mid late 1900’s to ensure all people that were getting a fair deal when taking into account race. That time has arrived where everyone (for the most part) gets a fair shake if they work hard. And in the case they don’t get a fair shake at things based on race, well there is the legal system which has time and time again ruled in favor of what is right. I mean anyone can just look around and see there are many more faces of color at the higher levels of government, business CEO’s, etc. And I think the people that are still complaining about inequal rights are now becoming the minority. I’m not here to say it never happens because I know it still does… but I’m saying that maybe the whole racial discussion is to the point now where it actually hurts people at times by being counter productive and negative and helps remind younger people with no concept of “racial differences” that they are different. If someone spends their whole life bitching why things are not equal instead of showing what you can do then, in my opinion, they have shot themselves in the foot about arriving at their full potential.

    So I agree a president should be judged on how well they uphold our founding principles… the whole racial debate to me should be over with and we should be spending the time debating how to stop people from taking the freedoms we hold dear as well as solving issues like global warming which is affecting us all.


  4. I am a descendant of Warren G. Harding. My grandmother was his niece. There is no way that his great great grandfather was black. I am researching family history and see no black heritage in it.


    1. It is said that my paternal grandmorth was the niece of Warren Harding but she did not like to admit it.My grandmother had 4 children, my father, and 3 daughters, two of which were twins. Her son was my father.


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