Thursday, April 16, 2015

Obama on Racism circa 1995

It is always fascinating to find articles and video about Barack Obama from the past. Recently a group called 22-CityView in Cambridge released the video of a reading and book discussion on Dreams From My Father by Obama back in 1995. At the time he had graduated from Harvard Law School, moved back to Chicago, was working as a civil rights lawyer and had recently married Michelle.

The reading is from what I remember as the most racially poignant part of the book. It takes place when he was 16 and includes the incident when his maternal grandmother was frightened by a black man at her bus stop as well as an interchange Barack had about that with Frank Marshall Davis.

In the discussion after the reading, Obama talks about how he has reconciled the anger he experienced as a teenager and how his faith gave him an optimism about our ability as Americans to deal with the racial divide.

If you can find the time to watch this video (introduction and reading until 25:10, then Q&A), you will be reminded that we have a President who has had his own unique experience of racism and taken a deep personal journey to not only understand himself, but how his life is part of the greater American story.

1 comment:

  1. Up till now, I never considered buying this book ...

    But just this part makes it clear that one *cannot* understand Barack Obama without reading it.