Genealogy Shocker: Barack Obama May Be Black

  Surely no one will say anything racist about this

Chain, chain, chain...In news that is certain to leave birthers confused and angry, a team of genealogists has announced that President Barack Obama may be descended, through his mother, from one of the first African slaves in North America. In a transparent PR bid that may nevertheless turn out to be historically significant, online genealogy outfit Ancestry.com published a paper suggesting that Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was descended from John Punch, who traveled to colonial Virginia as an indentured servant, but after running away in 1640, was sentenced to a lifetime of servitude, making him one of the first documented African slaves in the colonies.

The Ancestry.com team used DNA analysis to make the connection, and it also combed through marriage and property records to trace Mr. Obama’s maternal ancestry to the time and place where Mr. Punch lived. The company said records suggested that Mr. Punch fathered children with a white woman, who passed her free status on to those children, giving rise to a family of a slightly different name, the Bunches, that ultimately spawned Mr. Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

We already knew that Obama has New England roots going back to 1669, and now it would appear that another branch of his maternal line goes back even farther into the American past. This could be rather embarrassing to greenhorn Mitt Romney, whose family didn’t even set foot on the continent until the 1840s — indeed, can such newcomers to our shores ever shed their strange foreign ways?

While the connection to John Punch cannot be fully documented due to gaps in the earliest records, DNA evidence of sub-Saharan roots for modern descendents of the Bunch family led the researchers to make the link. “The odds, based on what does actually survive, strongly suggest that President Barack Obama is a descendant (he would be the 11th great-grandson) of the first enslaved African in America,” said the paper’s lead author, Anastasia Harman. Two independent genealogists contacted by the New York Times found the analysis persuasive, if ultimately inconclusive.

This will surely come as news to writers like Stanley Crouch or Debra Dickerson, who once fretted that Obama’s lack of genuine slave heritage meant that he was “not black enough,” let alone Laura Ingraham, who once suggested that Herman Cain would be America’s REAL “first black president.” Furthermore, it remains to be seen if this news will inspire any hack columnists to meditate on its greater meaning for Race In America (it definitely will).

Readers of Free Republic and The Blaze were quick to conclude that the researchers’ conclusions were utterly false, planted by the Obama campaign, calculated to incite voter fraud (and / or liberal white guilt), and completely trivial compared to the President’s continued refusal to turn over all of his college records, particularly what is believed by many to be a trenchant English 101 analysis of the theme of conformity in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”

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About the author

Doktor Zoom lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his pseudonym after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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204 comments

  1. Barb_

    Wow, someone is up early this morning.
    Let me finish my coffee and Plan B and I will have something to say.

        1. tessiee

          We used to, but we had to stop, because it interfered with our having eight or nine abortions every year.

    1. Millennial Malaise

      Oh, so on top of being the fastest wonkette commenter, you're a mind reader too. Nothing gets pass you!

    1. horsedreamer_1

      What are 'things overheard in gentrifying neighborhoods'?

      I'll take 'Trustifarianism' for 600$, Alex.

  2. Estproph

    "Readers of Free Republic and The Blaze"

    There can be no readers of Free Republic and The Blaze. It's impossible by definition of the word "reader".

    1. thatsitfortheother1

      Sir or Madam, I do believe that given copious amounts of lip movement it is possible for the average conservative to read.

      A bit.

    2. Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Yes…and when their 'readers' can't make out those little squigly things what light up the screen they'll just put in copious links to "Birth of a Nation"…that'll get just the right amount of honkey anger, especially when they say Obama is the savage white guy in blackface as their "alternative theory" to ancestry.com.

  3. Goonemeritus

    Isn’t Ancestry.com affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints? I’m sure not going to vote for anyone mixed up with that outfit. I guess I’m a Romney man now.

    1. kittensdontlie

      Ancestuous.com is the mormons way of gettiing everyone to figure out their own lineage so after death they may be brought into their 'faith', and you people had better fear the mormon god, for he is a vengeful one.

  4. randcoolcatdaddy

    I'm sure that Obama and his ancestors fully understood the "special" Anglo-Saxon relationship.

      1. Beowoof

        You plant the cotton and the you pick the cotton, then we will sell it and keep all the profit. I think that is the plan they are still using, just now it applies to everyone but the wealth.

        1. thatsitfortheother1

          At least they stole the land fair and square in those days. Some element of risk, unlike today.

      1. sewollef

        I did my reproductive duty — once — she turned out to be gorgeous, blonde, tall, going on 12-years-old and lives with her batshit crazy mother in the south of France.

        Sadly, I'm 5,600 kilometres away in Noo Yawk. Thank god for, er, Skype.

        There is only one god and her name is Skype!

          1. sewollef

            Good point… and sometimes I wonder.

            But my ex is French [from Marseille -- an absolutely great city, btw]. We were living in the south before it all fell apart 10 years ago.

            New York was as far as I could get from Toulouse on one tank of gas.

        1. MittBorg

          (Hugs sewollef) You, my friend, could use a hug. I'm so sorry your little girl isn't with you. I hope she does come to visit and lights up your life. She sounds like a little ray of sunshine.

          1. sewollef

            Thanks MB. We get to 'video-conference' from time to time…. where we flit back and forth from French [her main language] to English. I fly back to France as often as I can, given only 2 weeks vacation here [ grrr.]

            She's a bit of a celebrity at school, since she has an English dad who lives in NYC… and for a young girl, she's got a wickedly good sense of [gallic] humour.

      2. finallyhappy

        I did but am pretty sure one will never reproduce and not too sure about the second one

        1. MittBorg

          The younger stepson used to say he was going to have dozens of kids. We signed him up at the local childcare center one summer. He's in his 30s now, and no kids on the horizon. OTOH, at least we won't have to worry about the grandkids suffering on a water-poor planet.

    1. tessiee

      "a descendant of a Wonkette commenter"

      Not this commentrix, thank god.
      I prefer disposable income to disposable diapers.

      1. deanbooth

        As far as you know, of course.

        (What? It could have been a little tiny baby that snuck out while you were sleeping and made its way in the world.)

      2. horsedreamer_1

        Cloth diapers or get the feces out.

        (Seriously, better for the environment AND creates jobs for didie services.)

    2. 102415

      I'm in the pool and my granddaughter is already wearing a Obama onesie. At 6 months the snark in deep in this one. Plus she started loling at 3days.

  5. actor212

    So he's a real American story, pulling himself up by his bootstraps from his slave roots in Colonial America to become leader of the greatest nation in the history of the fucking planet, bitchez?

    And this Mitt Romney fellow moved here from Mexico for the waters, right?

  6. TootsStansbury

    Dude in the photo needs to be beaten with his sign. I'd say beaten senseless but…

    1. Chet Kincaid

      I love the term "white slavery," as if slavery is just lightly immoral if the enslaved are black and brown, but enslaving white women is the deepest and darkest horror.

      1. tessiee

        Huh.
        Interesting.
        I didn't even think of the traditional connotation of "white slavery" as "sex slavery". I was picturing a reversal of the plantation South, because I think that's the fear of a lot of racists and wingnuts: "what we did to them, they'll do to us".

  7. Steverino247

    You know, I was thinking. A guy who would carry a sign like that must not be able to remember that if it wasn't for white slavery, he wouldn't get any pussy at all.

  8. sharethegrief

    The Romney family tree split in half 2 generations ago from the weight of all those great-aunts.

    1. Willardbot9000_V2.5

      Shouldn't that be the Romney's make and model split into two serial numbers? Because I refuse to believe that robotic tin man is human; no one but no one can be THAT boring…even Joe Lieberman.

  9. Hera Sent Me

    So Obama's earliest recorded ancestor was a proto-marxist, who took other people's property (i. e., himself) and used it for his own purposes.

    I guess being a commie is genetic.

  10. Doktor Zoom

    In a very tenuous connection to this story, I recently learned something odd about the heritage of my 73 Chevy, Vlad the Impala. It turns out that the differential, which died noisily and expensively on the way to the Wonkette Drinky Thing in Seattle last month, is (egad!) not actually from a 1973 Impala; at some time while the car was owned by my Idiot Brother, the rear end was replaced with one from god knows what other GM vehicle. Not that I'm opposed to vehicular miscegenation; this is just a complication in finding the right parts.

    What I'm saying is, the Tip Jar is still open…

    1. thatsitfortheother1

      I want my money back. You conveniently failed to mention that Vlad is of mixed heritage.

  11. Mumbletypeg

    "White Slavery", yeesh — again? Let whitey hurry up and get over this world of butthurt, please. I've had it up to here waiting for someone to address the true anathema of our times, White Slovenly.

        1. thatsitfortheother1

          My grandad was from Ljubljana. He stowed away out of Bremmerhaven and made it to Ellis Island. I took may parents and we found the old sod, about ten years ago.

          1. IncenseDebate

            My grandfather was from near Trieste (Trst) and grandmother from near Ljubljiana. I want to go there someday.

      1. Mumbletypeg

        Soon as you're done developing a riding Slanket habit for one's four-legged equines themselves, I'm sure you'll get a phone call from Ann Romney-owned subsidiary Dressage For Success.

      1. Mumbletypeg

        Thinking about wearing one to the wonkette meetup. Could function as a sort of beer bib. It'll be impossible not to recognize me. "…Something Slank'ed this way comes!"

    1. sewollef

      Did the Romneys own Barry's Great-great-great-great-grandfather?

      There's a 200 year gap since Barry dates from the 1640's or so and Mittens from the 1840s.

      I'm sure Mitt will make up some shit to fill in the missing time though…

  12. freakishlywrong

    I get the feeling that somehow this will be spun by wingnutz in to something dark and sinister. (It's Obama's fault).

  13. LesBontemps

    Also, records suggest John Punch was a gay Kenyan Muslim Fascist Socialist terrorist educated at a radical madrassa in Indonesia, according to lead researcher Jerome Corsi.

  14. kittensdontlie

    Soon we will have expert confirmation that his ancestors were technically never freed, so impeachment and enslavement will only rightfully follow–A. Scablia

  15. ManchuCandidate

    In the usual wingnutty racist wank fests about Barry HUSSEIN OBMAER, they always seem to forget his US Amercian white (or partially white) mother.

    Now the wingnuts have every reason to hate her memory as much as they hate Barry.

      1. Chet Kincaid

        Yes, one of the favorite pastimes of the Corsis and their ilk is typing furiously about the poor morals and judgement of race traitor Stanley Ann Dunham, going so far as to accuse her of being a porn model.

  16. StealthMuslin

    "Descended from dark-skinned individual who "fathered children" (raped!) a white woman?
    Yeah, we can work with that." -R. Murdoch

  17. TavariousChinaSmith

    Wingnuts claiming that this explains why Barry's mother was attracted to a black man in 3…2…1…

      1. tessiee

        It used to be, "Once you go urban, you don't wear a turban", but that's since been disproven, because muslin.

  18. chascates

    This will just serve as proof of what miscegenation has wrought and the southern states will call for new laws to protect the 'traditional [white] family".

  19. Mumbletypeg

    Genealogists obsessing over Obama's ancestrals produce a surge in interactivity.
    The Salt Lake area is a known magnet for family researchers seeking preserved records documenting their past/ forebears.
    Ergo, this is good news for Mormon archivists and by extension their favorite shopkeeper, Mitt Romney.

  20. arihaya

    what will these so-called "scientists" say next? Thomas Jefferson fucked a black lady?

  21. BornInATrailer

    I wonder how Michele feels about Barack's family being "down with the swirl."

    (to an even greater extent)

  22. arihaya

    Your headline is incomplete. It should say "Genealogy Shocker: Barack Obama May Be Black and All of His Ancestors Have been Baptized as Mormons. "

  23. HistoriCat

    Why are we only finding out about this now? Nobama was never properly vetted! I blame the librul media.

  24. bureaucrap

    If romney's really Mexican, shouldn't he be with his countrymen at the home depot, waiting for someone to pay him 5 bucks an hour to shovel dirt? Really, he should.

  25. bflrtsplk

    Wait a minute. I went to all the trouble of voting illegally for a ….? Say it ain`t so!

  26. fitley

    I find it ironic that people assign all these diabolical plans to Obama, all of them not true at all, even though he's introduced plenty of real substantive plans. Then you have Romney who has no plans of any kind and that same crowd thinks he's the smarter one, he has a vision.

    1. Come here a minute

      Because, Why Not, I Paid for it on Ancestry.com
      Random White Guy: "Kiss my Jeffersonian Black ass"

  27. Trannysurprise

    Hmm – Obama is a descendant of one of the first slaves??? Doesn't this make him more of an American than about 99% of all the birther assholes?

    1. thatsitfortheother1

      He's got about 300 years in America on my family.

      We're starting to move back.

  28. MacRaith

    I'm somewhat skeptical of Ancestry.com, after using them to trace my wife's ancestry all the way back to the Norse god Odin. Seriously – no snark, I'm not making that up. According to their records she's descended from Odin via Thor. Also the biblical Adam AND King Priam of Troy.

    1. thatsitfortheother1

      They came up with a family crest for my Dad. I was like "Gee Dad, why all the swords and castles, but nary a goat?"

  29. KeepFnThatOwl

    In an unrelated story of meaninglessness, the Democratic Party acknowledges its approval of same-sex marriages. Wingnuts will now speak of how gay marriage is being used as a political prop, which is designed to energize (according to Wikipedia, because I'm lazy) the 2 to 3 % of gay people in America.

    They say shit like this as if it's a swing state. By my estimate, of the same "2 -3% of homosexuals," I'd wager 2 – 3% of them are Republican.

    I mean, while we're talking about non-issues being issues…

  30. Dildeaux

    White people would make very bad slaves. Too high maintenance.

    Although some white people might be put to better use, as say, boat anchors.

  31. Fraudulently_Joe

    But the MAIN take-away is that, not unlike Familial Mediterranean Fever and the FEMV gene, Jungle Fever actually has a genetic basis and runs in families?

    Actually, that does go a fair ways to explaining my family tree also, come to think of it.

    1. vulpes82

      All it means is "Humans like to fuck each other, and don't much care about race or any of that other bullshit." We'll generally do it with anything vaguely human. Just ask the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.

      1. Fraudulently_Joe

        That's nothing. You should read up on the quadruped=>biped hominid transitional period, which is hypothesized to have occurred during or immediately after the chromosomal fusion event.

        Let's just say that that the claim that early hominids were willing to fuck anything that walked on two feet is perhaps inaccurate, on account of undue specificity.

        1. vulpes82

          Yeah, we're not terribly particular. And more and more evidence mounts as we study our DNA that all the hominin primates were mixing together for millions of years

  32. thatsitfortheother1

    " suggesting that Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was descended from John Punch, who traveled to colonial Virginia as an indentured servant, but after running away in 1640, was sentenced to a lifetime of servitude…"

    It occurs to me that running away in 1640 and just kinda trying to blend in ANYWHERE in America must have been a little tough.

    Not like now where all you have to do is pack on a couple hundred pounds and go down to the nearest RNC headquarters.

    1. MosesInvests

      Actually, most escaped slaves would try to join Native American tribes-who generally didn't care what color your skin was, as long as you could hunt or fish. The Seminoles in Florida took in a lot of runaways, which was one of the main reasons for the Seminole wars. There are still a lot of Seminoles of African descent-they're still known as the Seminole Freemen.

    2. Advn2rgirl

      Irony of ironies? He was apparently owned by a black former indentured servant who'd become a land-owner on the Eastern Shore of VA.

      Who's The Man? It's unclear.

  33. MissTaken

    Woah, woah, woah. Are you implying that some white people in America are actually descended from black people?? Oh my! Get me my smelling salts!

    1. vulpes82

      A lot of white people can get rather "nasty" shocks if they dig deep enough in the old family tree or in the DNA.

  34. mrblifil

    They also found that when you line up Barack's mitochondrial DNA strands end to end under an electron microscope they spell out "REPARATIONZ!!1!"

  35. ttommyunger

    This news was also the subject of the lead story in this Month's Issue of "Who Gives a Fuck" Magazine.

    1. Redgyal

      You mean the issue with the cover story titled "Meh…that's cool."??? Because I bought that today. Good read.

  36. DahBoner

    Unlike India, it's a good thing we have electricity.

    Otherwise, we'd have a BLACKOUT, and then how would Teabaggers know who to chase down and kill, if everyone was dark???

  37. Chet Kincaid

    This business of Barack Obama not being an authentic African-American because he (supposedly) was not descended from slaves is one of the silly things a small number of intra-snobby African-Americans say when their heads are up their asses looking for their "specialness" in the African Diaspora — like when they try to make distinctions in the culture/oppression of black people in the Caribbean or South America vs. the USA, or somehow miss that Colonial oppression of Africans is as much a form of humiliation, suffering, and economic theft/destruction as enslavement.

  38. tessiee

    So, let me see if I understand this correctly:

    There's this guy who, his opponents can't go for two minutes without calling him black black black blackity black banana fana bo flack black black black (when they're not using much more hateful terms for it)…
    And now, those same opponents are shocked — shocked and dismayed — that this black black black fella has a previously unknown ancestor *who came from Africa*?

    Have I got that right?

  39. Chet Kincaid

    The original and most widespread epidemic of miscegenation in this country was white men routinely raping the black slave (and later, free) women whom they could assault with few or no consequences. (I'm sure Pat Buchanan thinks we should be grateful for the genes.)

    1. DCBloom

      This was way before slavery was institutionalized. In 1640 there were only about 150 blacks in Va. At first, they were treated as indentured servants, just like the Irish and English peasants. It was common to intermarry, til the laws changed. Lots of those mixed race folks moved away and intermarried with whites, Indians, and other mixed race people. We Americans are more complicated than we know!

      I read the article on Ancestry.com. My mother is still fanning herself on her fainting couch after finding out that Obama was our cousin…. I had so hoped that I could really freak her out with this. Unfortunately, this is a different branch.

      1. Butch_Wagstaff

        I downloaded all the pdfs about this from the site.
        There were way to many online "sources" cited for my taste. But maybe that's because I prefer the "old fashioned" way of doing genealogy research.
        Admittedly, I just skimmed the descendancy report but it's actually one of shortest I've ever seen.
        IMO, I think it was just a public relations move to promote ancestry.com.

  40. TribecaMike

    The president's mother was named for Bette Davis' character Stanley Timberlake in the 1942 tearjerker "In This Our Life."

    With that in mind, my question to the President is: what ever did happen to Baby Jane?

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