Eight years later, Obama’s race is still front and center

"The American people are pretty sensible," Obama said at a summit in Rancho Mirage on Feb. 16, speaking about the presidential election. "And I think they’ll make a sensible choice in the end."

“The American people are pretty sensible,” Obama said at a summit in Rancho Mirage on Feb. 16, speaking about the presidential election. “And I think they’ll make a sensible choice in the end.”

(Mandel Ngan / AFP-Getty Images)

When Barack Obama made history as the first African American president, a dichotomy was born: Would Obama showcase his black heritage too much? Or would he, the son of a white mother, prove not to be "black enough"?

The latest speculation comes from Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, who implied to Politico that he’s more authentically African American than the president.

“He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.”

Obama has addressed the concept of blackness before.

"The notion that there’s some authentic way of being black, that if you’re going to be black you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that has to go," Obama said in 2014.

Conversely, activist Michael Skolnik started #ObamaAndKids this weekend in honor of Black History Month. The hashtag quickly became a top trending conversation on Twitter.

“This would be the last Black History Month celebration at The White House during the presidency of the first African-American in the history of The United States to hold the highest office in the land,” Skolnik wrote in a Medium blog post.

Obama himself has spoken openly about his race in connection with his presidency. Earlier this month, he talked with Los Angeles Times reporter Christi Parsons about his legacy.

“You’ve got a whole generation of kids where the only president they know … is African-American,” Obama said.

President Obama on generational attitude changes

Could the U.S. see a female or Hispanic president in the future? Obama chatted with us about the changing attitudes of each generation:

Posted by Los Angeles Times on Thursday, February 11, 2016

On Sunday, the White House released a video of 106-year-old African American Virginia McLauren meeting the president and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House in a Black History Month celebration.

And last week, the president made a Black History Month joke in reference to black culture.

We’re nine months out from election day and at the start of official retrospection on the 44th presidency. But judging by the past eight years, and even the past month alone, Obama's race will likely continue to be a topic of debate and conversation even after the torch is passed.