Dreams From My Father, By Barack Obama

1460 words - 6 pages

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,...

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