A Sense of Belonging

For my African Diaspora class we’re currently reading Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father.  It’s quite the read I must say.  I purchased the book back in November of 2008 after Obama won the presidential election.  I attempted to read the introduction and started on the first chapter, but I became extremely bored.  After finally getting into it I must say that I wish I had ready it when I originally purchased it.  So many people in the Black community have viewed Obama as being this perfect man, but when you read his memoir you really discovered that he was a troubled soul growing up.  

The most interesting thing about this book has to be his mother’s, Stanley Ann, choice in men.  The subject was brought up in my class today about whether she fetishized “otherness” or were her marriages to two foreigners a coincidence.  The class responses ranged from her being a girl who feel in love too soon to it’s never a coincidence when a White girl marries men who aren’t of her race.  In my personal opinion Stanley Ann’s marriages were a reflection on her upbringing.  Her father was quite the dreamer and never wanted to stay in one place.  The family went from Kansas to Texas to Seattle to Hawaii it seemed all because Stanley (the father) never seemed to desire stability.  It was almost as if Stanley Ann lived the life of a military brat.

Living a lifestyle that causes you to jump around a lot can help or damage a child.  For extroverted children making friends is nothing, but for introverted children it takes a toll on them.  You’re never able to make friends out of fear of not knowing when you’ll have to move leaving them behind.  It starts to make you feel like the minority wherever you go.  I think Stanley Ann’s constant moving and difficulty making friends that were like her made her gravitate more towards  Blacks, Indonesians, and other minorities.  In her opinion it probably seemed like only they would understand moving to a place where you know nobody and feeling like an outsider.  The feeling of belonging.  That’s all she wanted.  This is normally a problem you see in children who are multiracial or the only Black child at a school that’s predominately White.  Nobody’s like you so you automatically feel as if you are alone and when someone offers their friendship you accept it quickly.  You don’t want to be “The Black Kid” or “The Girl With Good Hair,” you just want to be like everyone else.  You want to belong.  

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