Birther claim about Obama’s father’s race goes down with the Titanic

File this one under sometimes articles write themselves. Since the release of a copy the Obama short form birth certificate in 2008 the Birthers have been claiming that “African” was not a valid term to describe Barack Obama Sr.’s race.  Mark Gillar talked at length about this on Mike Volin’s show this week. Often they claim the BC says “African American” which of course it doesn’t because the elder Obama was a British citizen. Well thanks to a commenter named Matt at Obama Conspiracy Theories we know that African race designation was around at least as early as the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Matt found that the National Archives contained documents from the ship Carpathia who picked up some of the survivors from the Titanic. In the paperwork was a ship surgeon’s report that contained a guide for listing the “race or peoples” aka aliens who were aboard ship. The first entry is, you guessed it, “African (black)”. The guide for filling out the form says:

“African (Black) refers to the African Negro, whether coming from Cuba or other islands of the west indies, North or South America, Europe or Africa. Any alien whose appearance indicates a mixture of Negro blood should be classified under this heading”

So as early as 1912 Barack Obama, Sr. would have been considered of the African race.

The Titanic meme works so well for Birthers. 😆


Index to manifest

Listing of races


[Updated 1/10/2017 to fix broken links.]

This entry was posted in Birth Certificate, Birthers, Conspiracy Theories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Birther claim about Obama’s father’s race goes down with the Titanic

  1. gsgs says:

    but was Hawaii familiar with the ship-surgeon-guide from 1910 ?
    Hawaii would not have bothered about black races – too rare.- other.
    So why even bother about the nuances ?
    If the Feds want it for their stats – das ist doch die ihr Problem

  2. This wasn’t just a surgeon guide. The carpathia landed in New York where it unloaded the survivors of the titanic. This was standard shipping coding and apart of the US archives for aliens. Hawaii used what the parents identified as.

    • gsgs says:

      yes, and independently on what US did.
      Would “African” have looked strange in USA in 1961,
      it probably didn’t in Hawaii – well, not much more than “Negro”.
      In that regard Hawaii was like a big ship.
      Which just recently had raised the US-flag.

  3. gsgs says:

    had they given Negro in the BC, Obama jr would have been “black” in the 1970 census
    by giving “African” in the BC, he would have been “other”


    if he was in USA at the time of the census

    if self identification would not have been allowed in 1970

    I remember there were lots of places in continental USA in the 60s that were forbidden for Negroes

    Obama might have been able to get some official document stating that he had not been Negro
    by birth. Or Obama’s parents/Grandparents may have thought that this could be an issue.
    And Obama wrote a book about that sort of issue.

    races in Hawaii in the census
    1950 was: (499794)
    Hawaiian and Part-Hawaiian ,86091
    Other races (including Negro,Korean,and those described as “Puerto Rican”),(20851)
    1960 was 632772

    Click to access tab26.pdf

    for the US-census
    Information on race was obtained primarily by enumerator observation through 1950,
    by a combination of direct interview and self-identification in 1960 and 1970, and by
    self- identification in 1980 and 1990
    With enumerator observation, a person of mixed White and other parentage was usually
    classified with the other race. A person of mixed race other than White was usually
    classified by the race of the person’s father through 1970 and by the race of the
    person’s mother in 1980 and 1990.

    The major categories used to classify the population by race since 1790 in this report
    are those used in 1990 census reports: White; Black; American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut;
    Asian and Pacific Islander; and Other race
    from Negro to Black between 1970 and 1980

    Bennett, Claudette. 2000a. “African-Origin Population,” in Margo J. Anderson, Editor in Chief,
    Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census, pp. 18-22. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

  4. John says:

    Doesn’t cut it. Birthers claim that Obama Sr. should have had his race declared as “African” instead of “Negro”. The Obots have produced many resources that apparently refutes this claim. However, my claim is that Obama Sr. should have been declared “Kenyan”. I base this on the Obama Sr. Immigration File where Obama Sr. apparently was declared “Kenya” on US Immigration documents filled out when he attended the University of Hawaii. I would take “Kenya” to mean “Kenyan” or they may simply left off the “n”. The point is that when Obama Sr. attended the University of Hawaii, he apparently conveyed to the immigration officers that he was “Kenyan” not “African” as the the Obots claim. This apparent discrepancy in found on Obama’s BC where he should have told the Hawaii birth certificate people that he was “Kenyan” not “African” as it shows. If the immigration office at University of Hawaii was following some sort of standard, then this in contradiction to this post since Obama Sr. was an alien from Africa and should have declared “African” not “Kenya(Kenyan)” as shown in the docs.

    • JY

      You wouldn’t be satisfied if you had an 8 mm home movie of Dr. Sinclair delivering Barack Obama at Kapiolani Hospital. Your theory on “African” and “Kenyan” is pure nonsense that you invented. Examples abound of the term African being used to describe race. It isn’t a mistake.

  5. Fuzz T. Was says:

    The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) used a coding system required by the federal government to categorize and code information on all birth certificates registered in any state including Hawaii. This coding involved writing a number, by hand, in pencil, next to information contained in a data box on the certificate. The coding numbers on the President’s LFBC do not all match up with the hand written pencil code written by the HDOH clerk. The codes used in 1961 were as follows:

    1…White, 2…Negro, 3…American Indian, 4…Chinese, 5… Japanese, 6…Hawaiian, 7…Other non-White, (no #8), 9…Unknown or not stated (Race of parents only).

    In box 9 on the document, “Race of Father” is entered as “African,” but the hand written code next the word in box 9 is “9,” meaning unknown or not stated. In other words, box 9 would have been left blank.

    African was not a correct race identifier for a Black person in 1961. It would have been Negro. Even if a parent self-identified as “African” the clerk at the HDOH would only accept the term Negro. (Page 47 of the 1960 vital statistics manual. The manual in use when Obama was born.)

    During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s in America, Negro became a defiled word to many and “Black” or “Afro” came into vogue. In the late 1970’s political correctness brought in the term “African” as a descriptor of Black people.

    The forger of this birth certificate did not know the correct 1960’s descriptor of “Negro”. They unknowingly used the twenty-first century politically correct race identifier of “African”.

    Africa is a continent not a race indicator. Blacks, Whites, Arabs, Berbers and Asians can claim the label of “African.”

    There were no African (Negro) Baseball Leagues, no United African (Negro) College Fund and no National Association for the Advancement of African (Colored) People.

    Black people were identified as Negro, or sometimes “Colored,” on legal documents but not African.

    In 1961 America, Blacks were Negros not Africans.

    • gorefan says:

      “1…White, 2…Negro, 3…American Indian, 4…Chinese, 5… Japanese, 6…Hawaiian, 7…Other non-White, (no #8), 9…Unknown or not stated (Race of parents only).”

      You are citing the codes from 1968.

      Here are the codes for 1961 (page 11);

      The Number “9” means “Other nonwhite”

      Here are the codes for 1960 (page 47):

      The Number “9” means “Other nonwhite

    • Wrong. Debunked long ago. You got nothing.

    • Wrong year. Your coding is from 1968. The 1960 and 1961 codes have 9 as other nonwhite. If we were to use birther logic Caucasian wouldn’t have been accepted on birth certificates and should have been switched to White. Also the Johanna Ah’nee certificate Corsi released on WND disproves this theory as they have mixed races for the parents. Hawaii used their own standard and the federal guidelines weren’t requirements.

  6. John says:

    It seems this may have been DEBUNKED:,0519-smith.shtm

    “Change began with amendment of the traditional List of Races or Peoples devised by the Immigration Service on Ellis Island in 1898. Internal instructions issued September 11, 1936, announced two changes to the list and four additions. The two revisions illustrated a continuing mixture of race (as color) and nationality on the list. “African (black)” changed to “Negro,” no doubt simplifying the classification of blacks from the Caribbean or Central and South America. Previously, blacks from Cuba or the West Indies, for example, were designated as “African” though typically not native to Africa.”

    • NBC says:

      Lovely so african was in fact a term used.

      So what’s the debunking… You still do not understand who decides what the box states?

      Such despair.

  7. I still often see Birthers lying that the “African” race designation on Barack Obama’s birth certificate is proof that it was forged told quite often. I usually give them a link to this article. I happened to check and a couple of links in the article were broken. I think it is because the National Archives is now using Amazon servers. Anyway, I fixed them.

    I most recently saw the lie about how Obama’s fathers race should have been “negro” in a comment on Cody Robert Judy’s YouTube channel. When I corrected them a person using the name “hyzercreek” left this lovely comment:

    Reality check, you need to come up with some evidence about that. None of the survivors were called “African” because first of all, black people can’t swim. Second of all, nobody would let them in the life boats. Third of all, if they did let them on lifeboats, it would only be on “colored only” life boats, which didn’t float, or make them sit in the back of whites only lifeboats. Fourth of all, blacks in those days were called hepcats, brothers, homies, soul brothers, darkies, or coons. Nobody even knew they were from Africa, people thought they were all from Mississippi.

    • gorefan says:

      It is also on Mike Volin’s new WOBC2 website.

      “The second glaring question mark was the fact that his father was listed as an “African”. I was born in the 1950’s myself and today’s African-American people were referred to as “negro” or “black” during that time period.”

      • Did you see that Doc proved Volin copied his background image from OCT? That site is every bit as butt ugly as Volin’s original. I like that his visitor counter shows 789 million visitors. He must have used the late Ed Hale’s visitor counter.

        Volin two big issues on the birth certificate are halos and the fact that he thinks someone from Africa in 1961 could not have called themselves an African. I have explained both of them here. Volin is just not very bright.

      • Northland10 says:

        It does appear that Volin may not be see a difference between an African American and an African Not American. They’re all blacks to him.

        I realize it could be hasty writing on his part, but I think at some level to him, black equals African American. They are labels for color, not ancestry.

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