Obama on Trayvon Martin: The first black president speaks out first as a black … – Washington Post

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Obama on Trayvon Martin: The first black president speaks out first as a black … – Washington Postby wpjljron.Obama on Trayvon Martin: The first black president speaks out first as a black … – Washington PostLives with his grandparents; father not around, mother somewhere overseas. Pretty good student, sometimes distracted. Likes to play pickup hoops and smoke pot. Hangs out with buddies who call themselves the Choom Gang. Depending on who is providing the physical description, he could seem unprepossessing or intimidating, easygoing or brooding. And black. On the inside, […]

Lives with his grandparents; father not around, mother somewhere overseas. Pretty good student, sometimes distracted. Likes to play pickup hoops and smoke pot. Hangs out with buddies who call themselves the Choom Gang. Depending on who is providing the physical description, he could seem unprepossessing or intimidating, easygoing or brooding. And black.

On the inside, the young Obama had already begun a long search for identity — and by extension a study of the meaning and context of race. His mother and maternal grandparents were white. He was not. He lived in one culture, and the skin color passed along to him by his absent father placed him inalterably in another, in the eyes of others. How and why did race define him, limit him, grace him, frustrate him, alienate him, propel him and connect him to the world?

His effort to reconcile those questions and figure himself out was his quest. It took him off the island to Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, where he finally found a sense of belonging and comfort in the black community. It took him into writing, and then politics. He wrote a book about it. “Dreams From My Father” is not so much an autobiography as a coming-of-age memoir filtered through the lens of race. As a state senator in Illinois, where he worked on legislation to overcome racial profiling, some African American colleagues dismissed him as not being black enough. As a candidate for president, when he was linked to a fiery black preacher, some white detractors said he hated white people. He eventually reached the presidency on a theme meant to answer both extremes. His idealistic message was that people yearned to transcend the differences that kept them apart, race prime among them.

Once Obama reached the White House, it appeared that his intense interest in the subject diminished. He would be judged by the content of his presidency, not the color of his skin. Race seemingly became unimportant, if not irrelevant, to the first black president of the United States. He rarely spoke about it, only when circumstances pressed him — once when a notable African American Harvard professor was detained by a cop for forcibly entering his own home after being locked out, and again when a jury found the man who shot Martin not guilty.

Source Article from http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-on-trayvon-martin-the-first-black-president-speaks-out-first-as-a-black-american/2013/07/20/41f7045c-f154-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html

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