Look through Othello's performance history, the character Othello wasn't played by a black man until 1826, when Ira Aldrige stepped up to the plate. The French critic Théophile Gautier praised his acting, saying:
"[Aldridge] had that nonchalance, that Oriental attitude, that desinvolture of a Negro that no European is able to imitate [...] He produced an immense effect and received interminable applause."
But The Times thought it was mediocre:
"[...] such an exhibition is well enough at Sadler’s Wells, or at Bartholomew Fair, but it certainly is not very creditable to a great national establishment."
When Paul Robeson came to play the role in the early 1930s, he talked at length about Othello being a black man's role:
"Shakespeare meant Othello to be a Black Moor from Africa, an African of the highest nobility of heritage. From Kean on, Othello was made a light-skinned Moor because the West had since made Africa a slave center and the African was pictured only as a slave."
Of course, Robeson and Aldrige were not the only black Othellos; there was Salvini and, more recently, Laurence Fishburne (in Parker's film Othello), among countless others.
But given all of this, what do you think of the following?
"I am not sure Othello’s part should be portrayed by a black actor at all, and it should not be seen as the pinnacle of a black actor’s career, as it so often is [...] Shakespeare’s tragedy is not about Africanness, but the white man’s idea of Africanness."
Virginia Vaughan, in Performing Blackness on English Stages, 1500-1800