Dreams from My Father

1316 words 6 pages
Essay: Dreams From My Father

Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father is exactly what it claims to be by title, a story of race and identity. Barack Obama comes from a diverse background, which he explores throughout the book. Having a white American mother and black Kenyan father, he has a different experience than the majority of people in society when it comes to race and identity, however still it seems similar to the experience of many blacks as described in William E. Cross’s Black Psychological theory, the Nigresence Model of Racial Identity Development. While Obama’s experience does not necessarily occur in chronological order according to Cross’s model, in my opinion, it portrays a good example of how someone enters each stage of
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During immersion, people may look upon other blacks as bad in a sense if they do not follow a similar routine. In my opinion, it seems that people in this stage view “black” as the only way, not even just the right way. One thing that I didn’t get from this book was that Barack believed that one way was right over the other, which to me represents a shortcoming of the Nigresence Model, which has such strict limitations as it defines the stages of identity.
I say that Barack Obama immersed himself in blackness as he voyages to find his father’s livelihood for most of the book, and often seems to suppress or even reject his white heritage. He goes to Kenya to learn about himself in that way, he reads thoroughly about black history, and even joins a church that openly shares its views under strong black nationalist belief, all of which I believe are active signs of an individual in the immersion stage of Cross’s Nigresence Model. Between pages 196 and 201 of the book, I think is a great example of Barack Obama possibly subconsciously immersed in placing black above all else. Here, he talks about discussion and beliefs that emerged from Rafiq, regarding black people and nationalism. On page 199, it reads, “And as I thought about Ruby and her blue eyes, the teenagers calling each other ‘nigger’ and worse, I wondered whether, for now at least, Rafiq wasn’t also right in preferring that that anger


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