Bill Clinton only got to be America’s first “black” president. Interesting take from Eric Randall in the Atlantic Wire:
Newsweek’s cover this week declares that Barack Obama is the “First Gay President,” playing on the reader’s knowledge that Obama isn’t himself gay, but his support for same-sex marriage earns him an honorary rainbow halo. The headline obviously calls back to 1998, when Toni Morrison declared Bill Clinton the first black president in The New Yorker, which at the time was edited by current Newsweek editor Tina Brown. “Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas,” Morrison wrote, laying out the formula for how to declare a President has attained the identity of someone else through actions and behaviors. Newsweek‘s cover has been called “controversial” and “pretty shocking,” but it’s merely the most recent in presidential firsts that weren’t for the country’s actual first black president.