Here's a new, quick hit category just to tickle your right (as in renewed) brain:
What if the United States saw a man with a white mother and an African (or otherwise black) father the way they do in most of Latin America?
Well..then Barack Obama would be on his way to something other than the first black President of the United States. He'd be on the verge of something like the first mestizo or mixed-race President, as many, many people would prefer.
In Brazil, for example, most people with much less "white" blood than Obama are not considered (and definitely do not consider themselves) black. They actually call themselves white.
Ditto most other Latin countries with significant amounts of African "blood" running in the national veins.
Now, Brazil of course has never come close to putting someone of Obama's hue in as head of state. But if (or when) it happens, the "white" (i.e. the whitest, most entitled) part of the electorate will not have as far a bridge to cross as American whites do. They would be far more culturally (if not politically) prepared to say what Americans still have a hard time saying: "He's just as much one of 'us' as one of 'them'. "
Because "us" and "them" are far more fluid concepts in Latin America, where race is as much about your family name or what an individual makes of themselves as mere skin color.
In other words, when Brazil's Obama rises and puts it all together the way America's has, his merit will immediately overrule the question of his race. If we here had a different perspective—i.e. if we saw no "One Drop" rule—it would be the same for our Obama.
And we would then move way ahead of Latin America, because this revelation about the falsity of race would follow and complete the ordeal of the civil rights movement that's barely begun in Latin America.