“The One”

Barack Obama has risen to the highest office in the land on a thin résumé—a pair of Ivy League degrees, some time spent as a “community organizer,” and short periods in the Illinois legislature and the U.S. Senate.  And then there are the books.  The President is the author of the best-selling Audacity of Hope (2006) and Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995).  Dreams depicts a sensitive and intelligent, if somewhat self-absorbed and brooding, young man.  Obama is famously the child of an African father (who abandoned him) and a white mother (who largely did so as well).  As the subtitle of Dreams of My Father implies, race was at the forefront of Obama’s dream.  His struggle for identity was not aided by growing up with his white grandparents among the open racial attitudes in Hawaii, where, he writes, “we said what we pleased” and “sat at the front of the proverbial bus.”  Reflecting on his atypical background, Obama writes,

Grow up in Compton and survival becomes a revolutionary act.  You get to college and your family is still back there rooting for you . . . But I hadn’t grown up in Compton, or Watts.  I had nothing to escape from except my own inner doubt.  I was more like the black students who had grown up in the suburbs, kids whose parents had already paid the price...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here