Dreams from My Father Essay
1313 WordsApr 25th, 20126 Pages
Essay: Dreams From My Father
Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father is exactly what it claims to be by title, a story of race and identity. Barack Obama comes from a diverse background, which he explores throughout the book. Having a white American mother and black Kenyan father, he has a different experience than the majority of people in society when it comes to race and identity, however still it seems similar to the experience of many blacks as described in William E. Cross’s Black Psychological theory, the Nigresence Model of Racial Identity Development. While Obama’s experience does not necessarily occur in chronological order according to Cross’s model, in my opinion, it portrays a good example of how someone enters each stage of…show more content…
At this stage, it is suggested that an individual sees him or herself as part of the entire human family, proud to be black, but not limited to blackness. The individual sees people only as people, not as black people, or white people, etc. Furthermore, one thing that pertains particularly to Barack, in my opinion, is that individuals in this stage enjoy regular company of a wide array of people and most importantly fight for a wide array of causes, which are not specific to race.
Getting to this place was a journey for Obama just as it is for all others, in my opinion. My perception of the encounter, for Barack, was neither horribly negative, nor very positive. He was simply lost, it seemed. As a young child attending a prestigious school in Hawaii, Barack Obama was cared for by his white American mother and grandparents, but was a brown child, having also a black Kenyan father. Barack was an outcast for everyone, being secluded from the whites because of his look, and having a different outlook than other black students at his school who held the view that they were oppressed by white people. It was far from sensible that the people who loved, cared for, and supported him the most could oppress Barack.
Curiosity was inevitable for the boy, however, and led him into what William E. Cross’s Nigresence Model declared was the immersion stage of racial identity for a black person. In this stage, African Americans basically submerge
Dreams From My Father, By Barack Obama
In Barack Obama’s Dreams from my Father, many aspects of race, gender, class, education, etc. are involved in the life of the current president. This novel introduces and brings out discussion for further analysis into these categories of privilege and discrimination. Though certain categories have caused great adversity for Barack Obama, he is still able to overcome his minority group due to the other privileged groups that he is in.
In the autobiography, Obama entails on the beginning journey of his life from early childhood to young adulthood. The novel begins with him finding out from his aunt that his father has passed away in Nairobi. Obama’s father left him and his mother when he was only 2 years old. Obama then talks about the family he grew up with, his mother and grandparents, and the racism they dealt with at a time when few accepted interracial relations and even more so marriages. He recalls being made fun of as a young child when other kids would make monkey noises when it was discovered his father was from Kenya. He then moves to Indonesia when his mother remarries, but then at 10 years old moves back to Hawaii where he spent his early childhood. It was with his grandparents that he developed much of his character and learned how strongly education was emphasized in his family. Obama also talks about how fascinated he was with by his father. As he grows a bit older into adolescence, Obama learns more about race relations and reads the book Heart of Darkness. This book helps him to see how white people look at black people, as a white man wrote the book talking about black people. He also delves into his marijuana use, which he used to help him during this confusing and rough period in his life. Obama’s story then goes to New York, where he is now a young adult and wants to be a community organizer. Though he actually becomes a financial writer, he pulls his life together and starts to focus deeply on his work. He eventually lands in Chicago, where he gets this job. This comes with adversity, as the different church groups of different races do not want to work together. He sees much racism and poverty while working in Chicago. He is later visited by his sister and eventually visits Kenya to meet the rest of his family. There he sees his father’s grave.
In regards of race, Obama faces many difficulties in his life not only reflected in the novel but afterwards as well which further expands many racial issues for all people of color. First, he was made fun of as a kid because his father was from Africa. This reflects the idea that these people are funny and are below whites. Second, he learns to see how white people look at black people when he reads the book. He understands that as a black man, he is looked down upon by whites. Thirdly, as a worker in Chicago, Obama sees first hand the tension among races and the bad race relations when the church groups do not want to work together. Fourthly, going beyond his autobiography,...
Loading: Checking Spelling0%