This book was written several years (1995) before Obama campaigned for President of the United States. As a result of being the first African-American to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama received an advance from a publisher to write a book. The book primarily addresses the life of Obama and other people of color in their seemingly constant struggle to overcome what he portrays as control from “whites”. There is substantial profanity and language that might be considered inappropriate and offensive to some people.
To say this book is a candid snapshot of a man, the most powerful man in the world, is an understatement. I neither endorse, nor condemn, this book but I will say that it gave me a lesser opinion of the man. He is more of a racist than any white person I have ever known. He wears his color on his shoulder and every look, comment, or gesture from a white person is instantly interpreted as having racist overtones. He is yet another black man with a chip on his shoulder that condemns whites throughout the world as forever oppressing people of color. It is a sad commentary from a man who was later able to convince millions of people that he is the answer to their problems.
I have selected various passages to include in this article and have noted the page where they appear in his book. Most open-minded people might agree that these passages have been written by a person who has yet to reconcile his background with his present and future in a manner that will eliminate his own deep-rooted prejudice against whites.
Page XV of Introduction: “I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites”.
Page 52: “I began to notice that Cosby never got the girl on I Spy, that the black man on Mission Impossible spent all his time underground…there was nobody like me in the Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog…that Santa was a white man…I still trusted my mother’s love-but I now faced the prospect that her account of the world, and my father’s place in it, was somehow incomplete”.
Page 81: “There are white folks, and then there are ignorant mother-f-----s like you, I had told the coach before walking off the court that day”.
Page 86: “Only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me, the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will…He spoke of a wish he’d once had, the wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by act of violence, might somehow be expunged”.
Page 93: “Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the would-be black man. Except the highs hadn’t been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind…”
Page 98: “Surviving classes. Finding a well-paying gig after graduation. Trying to get laid. I had stumbled upon one of the well-kept secrets about black people: that most of us weren’t interested in revolt; that most of us were tired of thinking about race all the time; that if we preferred to keep to ourselves it was mainly because that was the easiest way to stop thinking about it, easier than spending all your time mad or trying to guess whatever it was that white folks were thinking about you”.
Page 99: “I’m not black”, Joyce said. “I’m multiracial.”…”It’s not white people who are making me choose…they’re willing to treat me like a person. No--it’s black people who always have to make everything racial. They’re the ones making me choose.”
Page 100: “…we’re wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and speak impeccable English and yet have somehow been mistaken for an ordinary nigger.”
Page 124: “The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.”
Page 229: Called whites “cigar-chomping crackers”.
Page 270: “I try to remember… the blood rush of a high school brawl. The swagger that carries me into a classroom drunk or high, knowing that my teachers will smell beer or reefer on my breath, just daring them to say something…whenever I split another boy’s lip or raced down a highway with gin clouding my head.”
Page 292: “The title of Reverend Wright’s sermon that morning was ‘The Audacity of Hope’…It is this world …where white folk’ greed runs a world in need…” Author Note: Obama’s second book is titled “The Audacity of Hope”.
Page 295: “…I wasn’t ever going to amount to anything…at the age of fifteen, busted for grand larceny auto theft…”
What bothers me about the Obama I’ve discovered in his book is the revelation that he was a big user of drugs, that he stole a vehicle when he was 15, and that he admits that he views whites as being responsible for the lack of black social, economical, and political progress in the United States. I’m bothered by the fact that so much was made about President Clinton “not inhaling marijuana” but that I never heard anything about Obama’s use of this and even worse drugs when he was campaigning for president. I’m bothered by the fact that media sources have made an obvious and concerted effort to protect the image of Obama by not giving publication to his numerous missteps. I’m bothered that even after learning about his many short-comings, many Americans will choose to ignore these truths and continue to treat Obama as if he is a rock star or the second coming of Christ.
This last realism doesn’t bother me because it is just a fact of life and it’s to be expected from those people who bury their heads in the sand and ignore the truth while labeling it as racism. The realism to which I refer has to do with when any negative truth about blacks is revealed, there will always be those who immediately, and without forethought, will spout the racism word and label such people as the worst racist they have ever seen.
Such comments only serve as a means of retaliation against those who speak the truths, which will remain true, regardless of how many times the word racist is so freely tossed into the ring.
To quote Obama: “Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.”
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