Barack Obama

The new face of the Democratic Party — and America
Barack Obama has come to graceful terms with his mixed-race heritage. Now, as he runs for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, he’s connecting with voters across the color spectrum.
By Scott Turow

March 30, 2004 | CHICAGO — I met Barack Obama, the new Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, eight years ago, at the home of mutual friends. Making introductions, our hostess suggested we had a good deal in common. Like me, Obama was an author — he had recently published an autobiography, “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” — and he was a graduate of Harvard Law School, my legal alma mater. Unlike me, however, Obama was about to step into politics as a candidate for the Illinois State Senate from Hyde Park, home of the University of Chicago and a stretch of poor neighborhoods that run west from there. I spent much of the evening speaking to Obama and his wife, Michelle, yet another Harvard Law School graduate, and bought Obama’s book the next day, which I praised when we met again. In the ensuing years I have stayed in touch with him, observing the ups and downs of his political career.

It seems to me that Obama’s ease with whites and stardom in the Democratic Party is precisely because he is so NON-BLACK in his heritage and upbringing. Of course, if his looks made him “African American” and neutralized his mother’s genes, why do blacks denounce Anatole Broyard, who “looked white” and followed the white identity path his looks led him to?

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