Obama ran from his biracial roots when he decided to go into politics

Obama ran from his biracial roots when he decided to go into politics May 9, 2017
Image Credit: TravelingMan Flickr
Image Credit: TravelingMan Flickr

David J. Garrow won a Pulitzer prize for his book on Martin Luther King, Jr. and now he’s turned his sites on Barack Obama. His book, called Rising Star, has an interesting tidbit of information in it about the former President’s relationship with a woman he apparently dated… while dating Michelle.

The WaPo reports:

“He shares for the first time the story of a woman Obama lived with and loved in Chicago, in the years before he met Michelle, and whom he asked to marry him. Sheila Miyoshi Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College, is a recurring presence in ‘Rising Star,’ and her pained, drawn-out relationship with Obama informs both his will to rise in politics and the trade-offs he deems necessary to do so.”

What were those “tradeoffs?” Well, Sheila was white. Her parents were fine with her dating Obama. (In fact, a family friend said they considered him to act as white as they did – whatever that means.) But when Obama decided – at the age of 25 — that he had political ambitions, he started to craft himself into a package that would appeal to more people. Make that more black people, probably due to his feeling of inferiority of not being really all black but biracial. He has had this life-long struggle of needing constant validation from black racialists to prove he down with the struggle. Sort of like Hollywood elites who wear torn jeans and other acts of self-flagellation to prove that they are common people even though the jeans they wear cost hundreds of dollars a pair. In the hood it’s called faking the funk.

For Obama, a black guy married to a white woman was not going to sell on Chicago’s predominantly black southside, according to Garrow. “For black politicians in Chicago,” he writes, “a non-African-American spouse could be a liability.” Even though he had proposed to her – and they decided to wait until they were older to be engaged – he cut Shelia off and started dating Michelle. Wonder how Michelle Obama feels knowing that her marriage to Barack is not based on true love but on political ambition, convenience and expediency. Wow.

See, I’m comfortable enough in my blackness that I didn’t have to stick my finger in the air and see which way the racial winds were blowing when I proposed to my wife. I never look at her and see a white woman. But apparently, Obama is so keenly aware of race that he was willing to sacrifice this woman’s relationship on the altar of his ambition.

He  has been on a lifelong chase seeking the approval of others in his unending search for self identity and has struggled forever with trying to figure out who he is.

Garrow’s assessment of the former President is just as scathing. “While the crucible of self-creation had produced an ironclad will,” he wrote, “the vessel was hollow at its core.”

I’d disagree with that assessment. I don’t think he’s hollow at the core. I think he’s full of racial strife, bitterness, insecurity and self-promotion.

David J. Garrow won a Pulitzer prize for his book on Martin Luther King, Jr. and now he’s turned his sites on Barack Obama. His book, called Rising Star, has an interesting tidbit of information in it about the former President’s relationship with a woman he apparently dated… while dating Michelle.

The WaPo reports:

“He shares for the first time the story of a woman Obama lived with and loved in Chicago, in the years before he met Michelle, and whom he asked to marry him. Sheila Miyoshi Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College, is a recurring presence in ‘Rising Star,’ and her pained, drawn-out relationship with Obama informs both his will to rise in politics and the trade-offs he deems necessary to do so.”

What were those “tradeoffs?” Well, Sheila was white. Her parents were fine with her dating Obama. (In fact, a family friend said they considered him to act as white as they did – whatever that means.) But when Obama decided – at the age of 25 — that he had political ambitions, he started to craft himself into a package that would appeal to more people. Make that more black people, probably due to his feeling of inferiority of not being really all black but biracial. He has had this life-long struggle of needing constant validation from black racialists to prove he down with the struggle. Sort of like Hollywood elites who wear torn jeans and other acts of self-flagellation to prove that they are common people even though the jeans they wear cost hundreds of dollars a pair. In the hood it’s called faking the funk.

For Obama, a black guy married to a white woman was not going to sell on Chicago’s predominantly black southside, according to Garrow. “For black politicians in Chicago,” he writes, “a non-African-American spouse could be a liability.” Even though he had proposed to her – and they decided to wait until they were older to be engaged – he cut Shelia off and started dating Michelle. Wonder how Michelle Obama feels knowing that her marriage to Barack is not based on true love but on political ambition, convenience and expediency. Wow.

See, I’m comfortable enough in my blackness that I didn’t have to stick my finger in the air and see which way the racial winds were blowing when I proposed to my wife. I never look at her and see a white woman. But apparently, Obama is so keenly aware of race that he was willing to sacrifice this woman’s relationship on the altar of his ambition.

Obama has deeper psychological struggles than most people realize. He has struggled forever with trying to figure out who he is.

Garrow’s assessment of the former President is just as scathing. “While the crucible of self-creation had produced an ironclad will,” he wrote, “the vessel was hollow at its core.”

I’d disagree with that assessment. I don’t think he’s hollow at the core. I think he’s full of racial strife, bitterness, insecurity and self-promotion.


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  • Katrina

    Very good article. Michelle seemed to support him when in front of the camera, but as soon as his presidency was over, she split – blaming the weather!? Even before that, taking vacations without him? Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or at least tolerate your spouse for the “good of the country”. The kids have not shown themselves to be as perfect as media would like them to be seen, either.
    So tired of hearing how ‘racist’ white people are from a completely racist black man and the racist woman he married.

  • Mona Bale

    I sense an episode of dr. phil in the making…

  • John L. Battey

    It explains a lot about the level of “warmth” we always saw exhibited between Barry & Michelle.