Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal responded with humor Monday when asked about the controversy over a portrait that depicts the Indian-American governor with light skin.
“You mean I’m not white?” he joked at a Christian Science-Monitor breakfast.
As the Republican Party looks to appeal to an increasingly less white and more ethnically diverse electorate, Jindal appears uninterested in playing up his ethnic background as he considers a 2016 presidential bid.
“I think this whole thing is silly. I think the left is obsessed with race. I think that the reality is, one of the dumbest ways we divide people is by skin color,” Jindal said.
“I will give you permission in every picture you run of me, every story you run about me, you have my permission to put a disclaimer, to put a note that, I’m not white.”
Jindal’s parents immigrated to the United States from India in the early 1970s, some months before the second-term governor was born.
“We’re all Americans, and one of the great things — one of the great aspects of our country is that we’ve been a melting pot, it shouldn’t matter whether you came here five minutes ago or 100 years ago, we’re all Americans and that’s the important thing,” he said.
Jindal indicated he would make a final decision on whether to run for the White House some time in the next few months.
“My wife and I continue to think about it,” he said. “Who is the next president is not as important and what the next president does. We face serious challenges. I think this is an election that will be a serious election, not just about who can tell the best jokes or deliver the best speech.”
The Republicans bring additional diversity to the presidential field with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose parents came to the U.S. from Cuba, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose father also came from Cuba, and African-Americans Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon, and businesswoman and 2010 California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina.