WASHINGTON - He may be the world's foremost mixed-race leader, but when it came to the official government head count, President Barack Obama gave only one answer to the question about his ethnic background: African-American.

The White House confirmed Friday that Obama did not check multiple boxes on his census form, or choose the option that allows him to elaborate on his racial heritage. He ticked the box that says "Black, African Am., or Negro."

Obama filled out the form on Monday, supplying information for himself, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha, as well as for his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, who lives with the family in the White House.

For Obama, whose mother Ann Dunham, a white woman from Kansas, married his father, the Kenyan native Barack Obama Sr., the question of his racial identity has been a lifelong struggle.

His first memoir, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," is an account of a difficult journey of discovery.

Obama the community activist and then politician always identified himself as African-American, and he now wears the mantle of America's first black president with pride.

On a visit to Ghana last year, he took his wife and daughters to see Gold Coast Castle, the one-time slave-trading depot from which thousands of Africans were sent in shackles to a life of toil in the New World.

- AP

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