Barack Obama Dreams From My Father Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1326 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Black Studies

¶ … Barack Obama. Obama's feelings about his black heritage and his white family are discussed. His reasons for running for president, and what his election would mean for the United States are also reviewed. Obama's election as president would signal an important watershed in race relations and political policy in the United States.

What does Obama think about being black?

Obama's thoughts on being black are revealed in his autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In Dreams from my Father, Obama describes his life up to the time he enters Harvard Law School.

Obama was born to a black father, Harvard University-educated economist Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., of Kenya, and a white mother, Ann Dunham. His parents divorced when he was four, and his mother married Indonesian Lolo Seotorio. His new family moved from Hawaii to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he lived until he was ten. His birth father was absent for most of his young life. Barack Obama moved back to Hawaii when he was ten, and saw his father for the last time before his father was killed in a car accident in 1982. He went on to enroll in Occidental College, and later transferred to Columbia College at Columbia University.

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After college, he moved to Chicago, where he worked with the Altgeld Gardens housing project, where he worked to organize African-Americans to get funding for projects to improve their quality of life. He travels to Kenya to visit his relatives, where he has an epiphany about his father's role in his life, and his own biracial nature (Obama).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Barack Obama Dreams From My Father Assignment

During this early period of his life, Obama struggles to understand how his mixed race impacts his life, and his interactions with the rest of the world. As a minority student, Obama encountered racism in his early school days, as well as in college. During his early life, Obama goes through a period of introspection about his biracial nature. He goes through a rebellious period of partying and drug use in college.

Ultimately, Obama cannot reject the white side of his nature. In Dreams from my Father, Obama writes, "I knew as well that traveling down the road to self-respect my own white blood would never recede into mere abstraction. I was left to wonder what else I would be severing if and when I left my mother at some uncharted border."

Obama has often seemed puzzled by the ongoing suggestion that he may not be "black enough" for black voters. In 2007, Obama told a meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that the question of being "black enough" is not really a discussion of the color of his skin or even his record on issues that appeal to black voters. Noted Obama, "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong" (Payne).

Ultimately, Barack Obama seems to see himself as biracial. He recognizes that much of America sees him as a black man (despite the fact that his is half white and half black), but his internal identification is with both races.

Was Obama ashamed of his white mother and grandparents, or were they ashamed of him?

During his early life (prior to his entrance into Harvard Law School), Obama struggled with racism. During this time, he came to recognize that many Americans saw him as black, rather than biracial. This leads him to a period of rebellion against his white heritage. While it would likely be an exaggeration that he was ashamed of his white mother and grandparents, he certainly went through a period where he struggled to identify with his white heritage.

There is scant evidence in Dreams from my Father that Obama's white mother and grandparents were ashamed of him. Obama does not dwell much on the white side of his family, but he does not imply that his white family was ashamed of his black roots.

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How to Cite "Barack Obama Dreams From My Father" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Barack Obama Dreams From My Father.  (2008, June 21).  Retrieved September 20, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Barack Obama Dreams From My Father."  21 June 2008.  Web.  20 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Barack Obama Dreams From My Father."  June 21, 2008.  Accessed September 20, 2021.