Birthers think that Obama’s birth certificate is an obvious forgery. Some of them knew it even before they looked at it. They claim that it was hurried and sloppy, but I argue that it is not.
A hurried, naive or sloppy forger would have done minimal research and selected the value “Negro” for the race of Barack Obama, Sr. The naive and sloppy birthers certainly selected that value and declared it must be the only valid entry.
A specialist in vital statistics like me would have known that this was wrong. Parental races are supplied by the parents, not assigned by the Department of Health. However, someone like me would not have known that in 1962, Kenya, the native country of Obama Sr., used “African” as a standard racial category in its census. Of course, “African” first appeared on Obama’s “short form” in 2008 and was much criticized at that time. That is a hugely obscure fact found in an academic archive (commenter TollandRCR at The Fogbow is the first I know to have reported it in July of 2009). The correct selection of “African” is simply beyond what a hurried, naive or sloppy forger could have done (either in 2008 or 2011).
The second point against the birther forgery theory is the penciled race code next to “African.” A hurried, naive or sloppy forger would have had big trouble getting those codes right. They probably would have assumed (incorrectly) that they were federal codes, but the 1961 federal code sheet was not on the Internet. I had to get it through FOIA and that took some months. The crank crack investigators of the Cold Case Posse couldn’t get that code sheet, and had to make up one that was wrong. But what a forger would be hard pressed to have known was that the codes were actually unique to the State of Hawaii, not federal codes. Indeed, it was not until quite recently that I was able to obtain from the State Library in Hawaii the 1961 Statistical Supplement to the Department of Health Annual Report that lists the code categories. Who could have guessed that Hawaii didn’t even have a race code for negro, and had to use code “9” for “other race” for Obama’s father? It took 3 years to figure out the correct race code to go with “African” using obscure sources not available on the Internet. A hurried, naive or sloppy forger simply could not have gotten it right.
The deeper we dig in any direction, whether into the file format and compression, or into the contextual data on the form, Obama’s birth certificate is recognized as more and more exactly what it should be.