"Even within families with the best intentions, race can intrude in ugly ways. We can't escape ... this historical legacy that this country's created."
-- Barack Obama, 1995
There's probably some kind of profound essay I should write about this, but between the "dog whistle" smears and everything else, I just don't feel like it right now.
What Obama is dealing with here, in his ultra-sincere bien pensant manner, is the nature of identity in a multiethnic society. At some level, we cannot escape who we are -- the subtitle of his book, after all, is "A Story of Race and Inheritance."
Non-Obamamaniacs, I think, will focus on his contextualization of his own identity within "historical legacy that this country's created." What, exactly, does he mean by this? Any conservative, hearing a liberal speak that phrase in such a context -- essentially smearing his own grandmother as a bigot -- automatically senses a classic anti-American sentiment, the idea that racism is something invented by America, a sin of which America is uniquely guilty.
That Obama seemed so drawn toward his Kenyan father, who had abandoned him, and so indifferent to the American family who raised him, is the kind of puzzle that would tempt an armchair psychologist. But as I said, I'm weary of the whole subject, and merely note a few points on the graph, perhaps for future reference.