Global Lit.

November 22nd, 2010

“I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Dubois and Mandela.”

Posted by mea1234 in Uncategorized

Check it out: Obama

WEB DuBois declared that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” He further wrote that beyond the challenges of interaction with their lighter-hued and more powerful compatriots, America’s people of color had to wrestle with an interior double-consciousness, the task of merging their “African and American” identities. (If this interestests you take a look at this:http://facstaff.gpc.edu/~mbenneki/The%20Talented%20Tenth.pdf).  also interesting : http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/W_E_B_DuBois/The_Souls_of_Black_Folk/

Often individuals of multi-racial backgrounds feel like they are forced to choose only one part of the racial identity to define themselves. W.E.B. DuBois theory of ‘Double Consciousness implies that as a black person, one has a dual identity. This theory relates to the theme of racial identity in Barack Obama’s book, Dreams from my Father. Barack discusses how he was aware of this idea of a spilt identity at a young age.

“I went into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror with all my senses and limbs seemingly intact, looking as I had always looked, and wondered if something was wrong with me,” said six-year old Obama.   This notion came after Obama read about blacks’ unsuccessful attempts to lighten their skin and become white.   “I began to notice Cosby never got the girl on I Spy..nobody was like me in the Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog, and that Santa was a white man..I kept these observations to myself.”(52).

The ideas of racial tension and how Obama chose to try and not make his bi-racial heritage a topic of interest while pursuing his political aspirations is something I rather admire. “I hear the spirit of Douglass and Delany, as well as Jefferson and Lincoln; the struggles of Martin and Malcolm and unheralded marchers to bring these words to life.   I hear the voices of Japanese families interned behind barbed wire; young Russian Jews cutting patterns in Lower East Side sweatshops; dust-bowl farmers loading up their trucks with the remains of shattered lives. I hear the voices of the people in Altgeld Gardens, the voices of those who stand outside this country’s borders, the weary, hungry bands crossing the Rio Grande.   I hear all these voices clamoring for recognition, all of them asking the very same questions that have come to shape my life.” (437-438)

Overall, I did not find this book to be one big propaganda ridden text with “vote for me, vote for me, vote for me” as subliminal subtext hidden within.  I felt like I could be reading anyone’s story, not necessarily that of the now current President of the United States.  Obama seemed to me, for the first time, a real person; one who sat on some of the same steps and stoops as I on the UWS of NY, one who despite many advantages in life, still struggled to make it and to define himself, one who tried to answer the question of “What does it mean to be American?”

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5 Responses to ' “I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Dubois and Mandela.” '

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