Obama Essay - Caitlin McGowan QU101 Section 69 Obama Essay...

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Caitlin McGowan QU101 – Section 69 Obama Essay September 20, 2010 Professor Engelsgaard Barack Obama’s Identity Earned Over Time The definition of an individual is a single human being, as distinguished from a group. Ones identity shapes a person as an individual. Barack Obama states that an individual is formed through community and responsibility. It is formed by how a person carries themselves and how they present themselves to the world. Throughout his memoir we learn how one expresses oneself in a society and how they treat themselves as an individual also defines ones identity. In Barack Obama’s memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, he identifies the questions of identity, community, and responsibility through his own life experiences. Growing up, Obama attended a segregated college. Most of the blacks were disrespectful towards the whites, and the whites were disrespectful to the blacks. Throughout his memoir he battled to be accepted by whites. All Obama wanted to do throughout his childhood was to be treated like fairly, he did not want to be judged because of his race. Sometimes he would make up little white lies about his life before he moved, just to fit in. For example, when Obama told the boys at lunch that his father was a prince. He was born half black and half white, yet he is categorized as being black. He spent a lot of time throughout his childhood questioning who he really was. “I don’t know. I didn’t have the luxury, I suppose, the certainty of the tribe. Grow up in Compton and survival becomes a revolutionary act. You get to college and your family is still back their rooting for you. They’re all happy to see you escape there’s no question of betrayal.
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But I hadn’t grown up in Compton, or Watts. I had nothing to escape from except my inner doubt.” (Obama, 98) Here Obama is talking about is race. The opposing forces are who he grew up as and who he recognizes himself has. He didn’t have his own plight; he wasn’t escaping from a terrible childhood, yet he was still categorized as black. He tried to live separate lives by hanging out with his black group of friends and trying to fit in with the white people but he quickly realized that he couldn’t compromise his beliefs and the way he wanted to be treated by people that didn’t even care what his goals in life were. Through Obama’s experiences he learns that an individuals identity is formed by the social and educational factors presented by his community and surroundings. The social factors that he experiences are both positive and negative throughout his childhood up to his early adult years. His childhood was difficult since his mother was white and his father was black. Society back then did not approve of that. Obama was not treated like the other kids in his community because of the mixed races of his parents. Obama’s grandpa tried supporting his mother’s decision of marrying a black man but he still didn’t exactly understand the concept.
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This note was uploaded on 06/10/2011 for the course ENGLISH 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '07 term at Rutgers.

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Obama Essay - Caitlin McGowan QU101 Section 69 Obama Essay...

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